Van Dyke Parks – Super Chief: Music For The Silver Screen

Bella Union is very pleased to announce that we will celebrate this year’s Record Store Day with new music from Van Dyke ParksSuper Chief: Music For The Silver Screen is an ‘orchestral fantasy’ inspired by a rail journey Van Dyke embarked upon across the United States in 1955 and will be made available for the first time on very limited vinyl on Saturday 20th April.


1. The Super Chief
2. Go West Young Man
3. The Dining Car
4. The Pleasure Dome
5. Bar Talk
6. Joan Crawford
7. Last Call
8. Into The Gloaming
9. Crack Of Dawn
10. Flats As A Platte
11. Old Joe Clark
12. The Water Is Wide
13. I Ride An Old Paint Horse
14. Iron Horse
15. Teepee Motel
16. By Campground
17. Forgotten Not Gone
18. The Continental Divide
19. Just Yonder
20. Virgin Territory
21. A Spanish Kitchen
22. Bolero Torero
23. The Road Runner And Rattler
24. Bed Of Stones
25. So Long Santa Fe
26. Crossing The Colorado
27. A Date With Valentino
28. A Short Chat With Miss Crawford
29. The Joshua Tree
30. Chateau Marmont

From the man himself…

“SUPER CHIEF

Music for the Silver Screen!

I’ve made an orchestral fantasy illustrating my first trip across the U.S.A. by rail, in 1955. This Suite is drawn from over a score of years, and as many films, now re-recorded from my archives as a film-music composer..

Most of this music has been faintly presented, under the din of horse hooves, gunplay, and voice-over. Much of it has never been heard before, having ended up on editing room floors from entirely re-cut films, or movies that never made it past a box office. I felt it was high time to give it a proper listen.

As I pondered the amazingly broad array of genres available, the challenge was what not to include. Quickly, it all simmered to clarify like butter, reducing to my impressions of that first epic rail-ride I took across the United States.

In editing, I was surprised to discover my penchant for folk themes, reframed in orchestral settings. (There are countless quotes from the 19th century “The American Century”).

The lingo of such traditional American music reveals my obsession, however unconscious, for rustic old saws that can still cut the wood. Yep, it’s Americana. All made in the great 48.

Celtic examples abound: “The Water is Wide”, “Old Joe Clark”, “The Forked Deer”, “Saint Anne’s Reel”, “I Ride an Old Paint” etc. With these references, a dash of low-church hymns (“Goin’ Home”) and an occasional Aboriginal motif, all embedded in this novel and singular Ode to that passing American scene….so long ago, yet about a handshake away.

As to the hyper-romanticism of this dream escape? Guilty as charged. And why not?

My first impressions from the three days’ journey that introduced it to me was pure romance.

My only creative license in these titles? The introduction of Joan Crawford.

Miss Crawford was nowhere near that luxury liner I took that year. Yet, I’d met her even before I embarked, and I knew she’d ridden on other Super Chiefs.

Rail then was the exclusive way that stars rode West. (The “Super Chief” era was a full generation  before Pan Am and TWA brought trans-continental travel to the skies on the propeller-driven Lockheed Constellation).

It’s been said: “Never judge a book by its movie”. The same mercy may apply to music that springs from the Silver Screen, where it’s often more felt than heard. Lest we forget.

So I’m content, just that this music may be felt, only in a purely audio setting.

It can come in handy as a backdrop to a romantic interlude in candle-lit dinner conversation over a fine linen-count. (I’ve tried this at home). Perhaps for a head-set in a subway tunnel,  or as a car-tune in a smooth segue from the surrounding road-rage on a daily commute.

Such dreams are still born in Hollywood.”

Songs Cycled, a new album from Van Dyke Parks is also to be released on May 6th, with a UK date in London at Alexandra Palace on May 5th (at ATP curated byGrizzly Bear).

Vinyl release: The Walkmen // “Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me is Gone”

As part of this year’s RECORD STORE DAY celebrations Bella Union records are thrilled to announce that THE WALKMEN will be making available their seminal debut album Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone for the first time in the UK/Europe. This much sought after rarity will be available on coloured vinyl and will also include a CD.

Having sold-out the London Forum back in November The Walkmen will be making their UK live return in early May, first as main support to The Vaccines at  the O2 followed by a headline show at Liverpool Sound City and as one of headline acts at the Grizzly Bear-curated ATP at Alexandra Palace. The guys will then return at the end of the summer to perform at Bestival on the Isle of Wight. Upcoming live info below:

Thursday 2 May – LONDON – O2 (main support to The Vaccines)
Friday 3 May – LIVERPOOL – Liverpool Cathedral
Sunday 5 May – LONDON – Alexandra Palace (ATP – I’ll Be Your Mirror festival)
Friday 6 September – ISLE OF WIGHT – Bestival

John Grant // Pale Green Ghosts // no. 16 in the UK charts

Exciting times for John Grant. His second album Pale Green Ghosts has entered the UK charts at Number 16 this week having been one of the year’s most critically-acclaimed releases, the reviews surpassing even those of his debut album three years ago….!

Congratulations to John. Catch him on tour in May, dates below:

Tuesday 7 May – BATH – Komedia (£16.50)
Wednesday 8 May – OXFORD – Academy 2 (£16.50)
Thursday 9 May – BIRMINGHAM – Institute – The Library (£15)
Saturday 11 May – LEEDS – Metropolitan University (16.50)
Sunday 12 May – EDINBURGH – Queens Hall – (16.50)
Tuesday 14 May – MANCHESTER – Ritz – (£16.50)
Wednesday 15 May – LONDON – Shepherds Bush Empire (£20)
Thursday 16 May – BRIGHTON – St Georges (£16.50)
Saturday 18 May – CAMBRIDGE – Junction (£16.50)
Sunday 19 May – NORWICH – Norfolk & Norwich Festival @ Open Up (£15)

Marques Toliver announces St Pancras Old Church headline show in May…

With his much-antipated debut Land Of CanAan due for release 13th May on Bella Union Records, Marques Toliver has just announced a London headline show at St Pancras Old Church the week after release. Ahead of this date Marque will be joining label-mates BEACH HOUSE as special guest at their two sold-out Shepherd’s Bush Empire shows at the end of this month. Marques will perform solo for the Beach House supports and with his full band at St Pancras Old Church.

Monday 25 March – LONDON – Shepherd’s Bush Empire [with Beach House] **(SOLD-OUT!)**
Tuesday 26 March – LONDON – Shepherd’s Bush Empire  [with Beach House] **(SOLD-OUT!)**

Wednesday 22 May – LONDON – St Pancras Old Church (£9)  

Land Of CanAan is released 13th May on Bella Union.

John Grant “Pale Green Ghosts” out TODAY!

The excellent new album from John Grant, Pale Green Ghosts, is out Monday NOW (!!!) on Bella Union.

You can order the record now from the Bella Union store,
and also Amazon and iTunes.

Catch him live:

12 Mar 2013 / London, Rough Trade
13 Mar 2013 / London, Heaven
16 Mar 2013 / Reykjavik, Silfuberg Harpa
05 Apr 2013 / Rotterdam, Grand Theatre
07 Apr 2013 / Cologne, Bergerhaus Stollewerk
08 Apr 2013 / Hamburg, Mojo Club
09 Apr 2013 / Berlin, Babylon
11 Apr 2013 / Milan, Teatro Parenti
12 Apr 2013 / Rome, Parco della Musica
13 Apr 2013 / Bologna, Teatro Antoniano
14 Apr 2013 / Bologna, Teatro Antoniano
17 Apr 2013 / Paris, Divan Du Monde
18 Apr 2013 / Brussels, Botanique
19 Apr 2013 / Amsterdam, Paradiso
02 May 2013 /  Belfast, Marquee
03 May 2013 / Dublin, Vicar Street
04 May 2013 / Cork, Cyprus Avenue
05 May 2013 / Kilkenny, Watergate Theater
07 May 2013 / Bath, Komedia
08 May 2013 / Oxford, Academy 2
09 May 2013 / Birmingham, The Institute
11 May 2013  / Leeds, Metropolitan University
12 May 2013 / Edinburgh, Queens Hall
14 May 2013 / Manchester, The Ritz
15 May 2013 / London, Shepherd’s Bush Empire
16 May 2013 / Brighton, St Georges
18 May 2013 / Cambridge, Junction
13 Jun 2013 / Bergen, Bergen Festival