From The Desk Of Van Dyke Parks: Calypso Music (Pre Soca & Disco)

VanDykeParksLogoWith Van Dyke Parks’ new Songs Cycled (Bella Union), the renowned composer, arranger and vocalist (in that order), not only releases his first album of originals since 1995’s Orange Crate Art (with Brian Wilson singing), but lends his usually complex creations a renewed sense of simplicity. The thoughts may be determinedly complicated and touched by the soul of social protest, but Parks’ music is deliciously direct, while remaining as elegant as anything he’s done for himself (à la 1968’s chamber-pop initiator Song Cycle) or others (the Beach Boys and Rufus Wainwright amongst them). Parks will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature with him.

Calypso

Parks: I prefer Lord Kitchener above all songwriters of the 20th century. Yet, writers from Atilla the Hun, Lord Invader and Sir Lancelot (Murder In Trinidad, 1941) all appeal. Recommended intro to the genre: Mighty Sparrow‘s Hot & Sweet album (I co-produced it in 1971). It was recorded during a hurricane, on our own generated power, in just one day. Like, wow! Without doubt, this album is as hi-fi as you’ll ever hear outta the Caribbean.

Yeah man, it’s retro, but part of my diet today. I totally eat this stuff up.

Available on CD here.

Video after the jump.

Continue reading “From The Desk Of Van Dyke Parks: Calypso Music (Pre Soca & Disco)”

Film At 11: Dawes

Sweet folky band Dawes‘ video for “Most People,” off Stories Don’t End, is one for the fans, so if you saw if saw them in Minneapolis, Carrboro, Louisville, Asheville or Nashville, you might in the clip. Directed by Reid Long, it documents concert lines, roadies working and the band performing, of course. Check it out below.

From The Desk Of Van Dyke Parks: Musso & Frank Grill (Est. On Hollywood Blvd., 1919)

VanDykeParksLogoWith Van Dyke Parks’ new Songs Cycled (Bella Union), the renowned composer, arranger and vocalist (in that order), not only releases his first album of originals since 1995’s Orange Crate Art (with Brian Wilson singing), but lends his usually complex creations a renewed sense of simplicity. The thoughts may be determinedly complicated and touched by the soul of social protest, but Parks’ music is deliciously direct, while remaining as elegant as anything he’s done for himself (à la 1968’s chamber-pop initiator Song Cycle) or others (the Beach Boys and Rufus Wainwright amongst them). Parks will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature with him.

MussoFrank

Parks: Each day’s dated menu should give you the first clue that your escape from the hectic carney pavement beyond will be a consolation of detailed service. Simply the greatest chop-house in town (with the best offal drizzled in beurre noire, or a New York steak hot off the pit, charred and medium rare). A perfect martini may lubricate a starter of choice oysters. A balanced lobster newberg, finnan haddie and signature dishes of sand dabs (a Pacific Coast delicacy) are all of finest fresh fish fare.

Side orders include every imaginable presentation of potato, and options for vegans, a killer chiffonade salad or more pagan pursuits.

I came here first with Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness, and had lunch in the Chaplin booth in the corner, in 1955.

Absent now are abalone (they’re reserved for the threatened off-shore otters now), but everything else (down to the kindly light from wall sconces), is as it was on my first entry. (Orson Welles likened being in Musso-Frank to being in a womb!)

It is a timeless comfort zone now, as it was in the wild ’60s, when I’d stand at the mahogany bar (longest in town) with Danny Hutton, shooting down pre-prandial “Bishop’s Caps.”

This is L.A.’s oldest eatery, and very much alive pre-&-post theater. Its muted murmur actually invites a dinner conversation, where deals may be made or forgotten, and the good life goes on, reflecting the glories of the silver screen. Pure romance!

Video after the jump.

Continue reading “From The Desk Of Van Dyke Parks: Musso & Frank Grill (Est. On Hollywood Blvd., 1919)”

MP3 At 3PM: Raccoon Fighter

RaccoonFighter

If you like gritty, blues-driven rock that assaults your sense, chances are you’re going to love Raccoon Fighter. This Brooklyn three-piece’s debut album, ZIL, is set for release October 1 via Papercup Music. The band’s first single, “Santa Tereza,” will suck you in with its gravely vocals and hypnotic bass line. Download it below.

“Santa Tereza” (download):