Lawrence Arabia has completed his innovative new album Singles Club with the final song ‘Just Sleep (Your Shame Will Keep)’ boasting a collaboration with cult US composer Van Dyke Parks.
For his new long player, the singer-songwriter James Milne released a song a month over a 12 month period. All 12 singles are now available digitally, with the vinyl/CD release set for March 29, followed by an extensive nationwide tour with his six piece band.
The final song on the Singles Club project ‘Just Sleep (Your Shame Will Keep)’ is backed with a new video shot at Roundhead by acclaimed NZ documentary filmmaker Florian Habicht and features a string arrangement from Parks, who is best known for his work on the seminal aborted Beach Boys album Smile.
As well as his cult solo albums, Parks has also collaborated with a distinguished line-up of artists, including Ry Cooder, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Grizzly Bear, Joanna Newsome and our very own The Chills.
‘Just Sleep (Your Shame Will Keep)’ was originally written for Milne’s psychedelic comedy podcast Mysterious Secrets Of Uncle Bertie’s Botanarium, but took on a new lease of life with the addition of Van Dyke’s piano, accordion, scratch woodwind and double bass.
“Since I first heard of Van Dyke Parks, I’ve been fascinated by him, appearing as he did, Zelig-like, in the stories of people somewhat more famous than he, yet making some truly glorious art himself. I’d always nursed a fantasy of working with him.”
Singles Club also includes collaborations with the likes of The Ruby Suns’ Ryan McPhun, Hollie Fullbrook of Tiny Ruins – who sings on ‘Everything’s Minimal’ – and Heather Mansfield from The Brunettes ‘A Little Hate’, which also features Liam Finn on drums.
Funded via Kickstarter, Milne says it’s been a monumental year.
“The whole experience was initially terrifying but ultimately heart-warming and encouraging,” he says. “The energy from all that rampant human positivity ended up pushing me into the process of producing 12 new songs with some sense of manic, irrational vigour. It was pretty exciting.”
To support the physical release of Singles Club, Lawrence Arabia will be on tour throughout New Zealand in April.
April 3: Christchurch, Blue Smoke; April 4: Oamaru, Grainstore Gallery; April 5: Dunedin, Captain Cook; April 6: Queenstown, Sherwood; April 7: Wanaka, Festival of Colour; April 11: Napier, Cabana; April 12: Wellington, San Fran; April 13: Paekakariki, St Peter’s Hall; April 26-27: Auckland Hollywood Cinema.