Van Dyke Parks releasing new music on 7″ single series

This is a pretty big deal. From the release:

Legendary artist, composer and producer Van Dyke Parks has announced the launch of a unique series of 7″ vinyl singles, the first new studio music in over 15 years since he released his acclaimed album Orange Crate Art. Each vinyl single is illustrated by some of the most important remarkable modern artists of the time. Out on his own label Bananastan and distributed by City Hall/ Runt worldwide, the singles will be released starting in August, available wherever vinyl records are sold, as well as online at the label’s website, eBay store, and during live performances.

The iconic musician, who has been at the heart of some of the great albums of the last 50 years including Brian Wilson’s ‘lost’ masterpiece ‘Smile’, Randy Newman and Ry Cooder’s first recordings and Joanna Newsom’s critically acclaimed 2006 album ‘YS’, intends to release six new singles over the course of 2011.

Parks has commissioned some of the top contemporary artists in America to illustrate each single with what he describes as “a work of art that relates to the music within.” The first two singles to be released will be the Ed Ruscha-illustrated “Dreaming of Paris” / “Wedding in Madagascar” and the Art Spiegelman-illustrated “Wall Street” / “Money Is King.” Van Dyke Parks said of the singles, “They are from highly different genres, each of them. They don’t cohere. They belong somewhere. But the emphasis on the visual art is a big, big deal. These are the pre-eminent American artists of our time. We’re calling it “Nouveau Niche.”

The Featured Artists Include:

Frank Holmes
who created the sleeve artwork for the lost Beach Boys album ‘Smile’ over 40 years ago

Charles Ray
whose “Boy with Frog” overlooking Venice is the new hot topic over the Grand Canal

Art Spiegelman
Pulitzer Prize-winning artist/ author whose award winning graphic novel ‘Maus’ helped define the way Parks looks at life

Ed Ruscha
of Los Angeles (like Ray, an 8 -figure visual artist dominating the American Art scene)

Billy Edd Wheeler
the Alpha songwriter and vernacular artist, of the Appalachian Smokey Mountains

Sally Parks
whose Mississippi birthright and ability as a watercolorist has made her the perfect candidate for Parks’ new song about Katrina, called “Pass Christian.”

In addition, Parks has confirmed the September 20th release of a compilation album of some of his greatest arrangements. Arrangements by Van Dyke Parks will contain 15 songs featuring artists including Arlo Guthrie, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Sal Valentino, Mojo Men, Bonnie Raitt, Dino Martin, Lowell George and Van Dyke Parks himself.