I'm new to Van Dyke Parks and I feel silly. I always knew the name of the Beach Boys producer and arranger, and later saw the face of the man behind the biggest and stringiest moments of Silverchair's Diorama. But up until a couple months ago I had never bothered to look into his career. I was too busy with new music and the time vortex of Spotify to remember that, despite what they try to convince us of, music existed before Pitchfork.
Flash to Record Store Day 2013 - Van Dyke Parks Song Cycle is rereleased on 180 gram vinyl. I make it my mission to find a copy and try to break myself out of listening to The Postal Service album for the 200th time. I drive from Cambridge to Norwood to Natick trying to find a copy. I don't know why, I had never heard it before. Finally in a tiny record store down the street from the Natick Mall I find the last copy. The cover image looks nothing like the short and stocky white-haired old man I saw playing Papa Cello with Daniel Johns - he looks like a... poet? As many of you may know, the album is insane. If I were Pitchfork I would call it a psychedelic -folk-experiment - But I am me so I'll just say this: It's super good and it fills me with wonderment. That's all I want out of music right now.