Vark, Pictoria – The Parts I Dread [ORANGE CREAMSICLE VINYL] - New LP
Songwriter and bassist living in Iowa City.
"nobody sounds like Pictoria Vark. She’s a classic punk balladeer and veritable witch of the North. Her melodies are cool and ethereal. It’s the lyrics that are warm, and when she sings, her voice is naked: wholly unadulterated and unpretentious. In fact, there are moments in Pictoria Vark’s latest album, The Parts I Dread, that sound like organic, unprocessed Sleater-Kinney. You can picture her recording instrumental tracks in a garage studio. Play The Parts I Dread on a cloudy afternoon. As you listen to the opening bars of “Twin” for the first time, feel free to imagine you’re the main character in a ’00s-era indie film. The song seems destined to open a future cult classic, coming-of-age dark comedy drama, as Pictoria Vark effortlessly intones over a classic, understated bass: “Born on the same fateful day in June / I was an hour ahead of you.”
While accessible, the album is highly introspective. The themes evoke reaching out or looking across distances through time and/or space. It’s appropriate that one of the earliest tracks — titled “Wyoming” — slips between easy-going pop-rock and sprawling strings that conjure the image of a strong, independent woman pulling away from a curb because she’s sick of someone’s shit (“A childhood home set on fire”). Song narrators focus on movement and the strange confidence of the wondering wanderer; that is, striding toward the unknown, sure-footedly unsure. She tells us there’s “more to be than in Demarest / More to live for than I know yet.” Tracks like “Demarest” and “Out” don’t neglect the corresponding urge to break free; from an ode to escaping New Jersey’s suburban air to the delightfully forthright, “I wanted out / I wanted out / This fucking house / I wanted out.” The artist’s history of travel and wanderlust is a critical influence. By day, Pictoria Vark is bassist Victoria Park, touring with Squirrel Flower and schooling Twitter (@pictoriavark) on everything from workers’ rights to life on the road. She’s a citizen of the world, having lived in folk aesthetic microcosms like Wyoming (of course) as well as cultural hubs like Paris and NYC. Currently settled in Iowa City, we should enjoy her company while we can. This summer, she’ll tour and promote The Parts I Dread, which arrives on April 8 for streaming and download.
Press issues (read: supply chains) have pushed back the release date multiple times. Regardless, it will be worth the wait. This is an album made for vinyl. The rocking guitar that closes out “I Can’t Bike” simply must blast from two giant, wooden speakers.
All music and lyrics by Victoria Park
Produced by Gavin Caine and Victoria Park
Recorded remotely in Cresskill, NJ; Denver, CO; Grinnell, IA; Manhattan, NY; Staten Island, NY; and Tenafly, NJ
Mixed by Gavin Caine at Sock Studios
Mastered by Sarah Register
Bonus tracks mastered by Etai Fuchs
Album art by Dani Sabando
Reference photo and press photos by Meanz Chan
Makeup and styling by Sara Castro
Package design by Steven Duong
Artist biography by Connor Beckett McInerney
Victoria Park - Bass and Vocals
Gavin Caine - Drums, Percussion, Keys, and Guitar
Jason Ross - Guitar
Lauren Black - Vocals and vocal arrangement on 7
Michael Eliran - Guitar on 1
A-Tran, Aidan Conlan, Al Poehlman (One L), August Greenberg (Riverby), Cam Dasher, Cheska Colombo, dietz, Eman Zwawi, Dylan Harley Thomas (from The Unitaskers), Fluffy the Cat, Gracie Regala, Jared Cunanan (Cuni), Jessica Doherty, Ky Lim, Lex Carel, Lexi (Suzie True), Max Oakland, Mandy McHale, Miles "Baze" Blackwood Robinson, MythOfMetal, Nkem (Mon Nobi), Scott Jones, Tim (Back Up Kid), Zayne Vaughn - Guest Vocals on 6
In addition to all the wonderful friends and collaborators who directly contributed to this record, I’d like to thank Jo Morgan, Jer Berkin, Kevin Kendrick, Alex Lichtenauer, Koji, Get Better Records, Jacob Getzoff, Rain Johannes, Caroline Mills, Marina Escandell, Matt and Susan Ross, Pam and Paul Caine, Sherronda Brown, Jane and John Park (love you, Mom and Dad), Lindsay, Evan, Sophia, all my friends from Grinnell (but especially Sara Castro and Phinn Lloyd), and you, who cared enough to listen <3