Tag Archives: The Flaming Lips

Fave songs from 2014, so far: The 3Q wrap-up

Avant Gardner, Courtney Barnett – Smart, jangley, singer-songwriter cut. It’s worth it just to hear her use “emphysema” as a verb.

Change My Ways, Tony Molina – If you’re into the whole brevity thing, as well as enjoying melodic punk, Tony Molina is your man.

China, BRONCHO – I’m guessing, but these guys probably own The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine albums. Broody, distortion heavy rock.

Come Back Home, Trampled By Turtles – I love me some light-speed Turtles, and Come Back Home is that musical comfort food.

Don’t Mess With Me, Brody Dalle – The former Distillers frontwoman and wife of QOTSA chief Josh Homme unleashes a blast of mad girl rawk.

Doses & Mimosas, Cherub – A cheeky and hedonistic electro-funk, kiss-off, come-down jam that my brother mistook for an Andre 3000 joint. If pressed to pick my favorite song of 2014 so far, this would be in the running.

D.R.E.A.M., Pharoahe Monch feat. Talib Kweli – Hip-hop vets crank out a cut that, if you don’t bob your head when you listen to it, just proves you have no soul.

Eye to Eye, Lee Bains & The Expressions – This might be my favorite song of 2014. I think this because I keep periodically singing the chorus to myself as I go about my daily business.

High & Wild, Angel Olsen – A swirling haze of distorted guitars wrapped around Angel’s easy, unique voice. From one of my favorite albums of the year, Burn Your Fire.

I Don’t Want to Go Home, Curtis Harding – My one big regret about Forecastle Fest this year was not catching Harding, who has gallons of boogie to go with pounds of woogie.

I Just Don’t Understand, Spoon – The grooviest band of the past decade releases what will likely be remembered as one of their finest albums. I Just Don’t Understand is the tip of the aural iceberg.

I Wanna Be a Yank, Fucked Up – Sometimes, being punk as fuck is enough.

Indie Cindy, The Pixies – The title track of the Pixies latest album nails their classic sound, which just never gets old.

Just Another Bullet, Young Fathers – Some of the eeriest production since the Geto Boys’ Mind Playing Tricks on Me. The sound of organized madness.

Legs, Chuck Inglish feat. Chromeo – Sexy, cool and not nearly as misogynistic as Blurred Lines.

Like a Mighty River, St. Paul & The Broken Bones – A sweet, smooth slice of soul music.

Little Monster, Royal Blood – To steal from Ron Burgundy, Royal Blood is “the balls.” Melodic, heavy rock with plenty of brains to go with the cajones.

Lonely Sunday, Reignwolf – Speaking of the balls … My greatest hope for 2015 is a full-length from these metalheads. Until then, this will have to do.

Longer Than You’ve Been Alive, Old 97’s – The ballad of the rock band that’s been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale.

Lost Boys, Sir Michael Rocks feat. Mac Miller and Trinidad Jam – I’ve heard a lot of good production from underground hip-hop acts this year, and Sir Michael Rocks and crew benefit from this here. Lyrically, young hoodlums try to figure out how to grow up.

Love You Forever, Jenny Lewis – Aaah, Jenny’s back and all is well. Articulate, funny and heartfelt pop rock by one of my favorite lyricists.

Mama Said Be Careful Where You Lay Your Head, The Wind and the Wave – I don’t love the album, but there’s a few fine tracks on From the Wreckage. This is the standout.

My Resignation, Besserbitch – Dedicated to anyone who has walked off the job with a middle finger flying high. High-energy punk pop with plenty of “screw you” built into it.

People Don’t Get What They Deserve, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – The title says it all.

Raw Milk, Parquet Courts – These guys are growing on me … in a good way, not in a “I have this fungus I can’t get rid of” way. When I hear them, I think of a lot of good ’90’s bands: Pavement, Sonic Youth, Slint, etc.

Summer Dress, July Talk – Blues rock with a pop hook with a terrific one-two punch at lead singer.

Violent Shivers, Benjamin Booker – A track that falls somewhere between classic Chuck Berry and the Kings of Leon’s debut, Youth and Young Manhood. Unrestrained blues rock.

Watch You Change, Drowners – A Strokes-ian breakup song with one of my favorite lines of the year: “There’s not a shoulder cold enough for me to give her.”

Welcome to America, Lacrae – The perfect hip-hop track for the Michael Brown era, a look at what America is for those who can’t rely on white privelege.

Honorable mentions: 27, Passenger; Ain’t So Simple, Protomartyr; American Horror, Speedy Ortiz; Black and White, Parquet Courts; Blue Moon, Beck; Bobby Reid, Lucette; Brand New, Pharrell feat. Justin Timberlake; Brooklyn Baby, Lana Del Rey; Cedar Lane, First Aid Kit; Chaghaybou, Tinariwen; Creepin’ Jenny, The Pack a.d.; Different Days, The Men; Dog Bumped (Live), Tim Barry; Don’t Leave Me Dry, Spanish Gold; Down With the Monster, White Lung; Emerald Tuesday, Cibo Matto; Fall In Love, Phantogram; Frequencies, Katie Herzig; The Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger, The Coast; God & Nature, Loudon Wainwright III; Guns + Ammunition, July Talk; I’ll Go To Sleep, BLUFFING; I’m Only Joking, Kongos; Interference Fits, Perfect Pussy; Jerk Ribs, Kelis; Life of Sin, Sturgill Simpson; The Littlest League Possible, Guided By Voices; Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Flaming Lips feat. Miley Cyrus and Moby; Native Korean Rock, Karen O; Never, The Roots feat. Patty Crash; Now Here In, Cloud Nothings; Other Lovers, Devan DuBois; Parade of Choosers, Centro-matic; Place Names, Cymbals Eat Guitars; Rollercoaster, Bleachers; Run Rabbit Run, Black Pistol Fire; Runners, Lacrae; Sexy Socialite, Chromeo; Sisters, The Raveonettes; Supernova, Ray LaMontagne; Take Away These Early Grave Blues, Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra; Tongues, Joywave feat. KOPPS; Top Notch, Manchester Orchestra; Uno, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib

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The Flaming Lips: Indianapolis, 4/29/13

The Flaming Lips bring 'The Terror' to the Hoosier State.

The Flaming Lips bring ‘The Terror’ to the Hoosier State.

When I was back in college, a buddy of mine and I came to my hometown to watch my brother’s band play a show. It was a big deal at the time, the first time the under-21 dance club in the area was having live bands. For the bands, it was an opportunity to have professional lights, fog, video and all sorts of neat stuff your average garage bands don’t usually have access to when they’re playing basements and veterans’ halls. It was a helluva show. The bands were hyped, the crowd was into it, everyone into the local scene was there.

The next day, my buddy and I were required to attend church (my parents’ house rules). Midway through the sermon, my friend, eyes glazed over as he fought the desire to sleep, leans over to me and says, “Why do I feel like I had the religious experience last night?”

I thought of that as I watched the Flaming Lips at the Egyptian Room in downtown Indy on Monday. This wonderful, beautiful, intense group experience. People of like minds and spirits focusing all their energy for a few hours on the moment, the power of music and art to unite, the comfort and ecstasy of being part of a like-minded community.

After the Lips finished covering David Bowie’s Heroes, lead singer Wayne Coyne spoke to the crowd, the “heroes” he was singing about. He made the point that we should celebrate living life the way we chose, and not fight or engage those who would impose their will, their doctrines, their dogmas on our lives. Rise above the small minded, the emotionally crippled, the self righteously enraged. We’re just a bunch of animals spinning around on a rock, the clock is ticking, so now is what we have, and we should do everything we can to honor that.

So sayeth the word of Wayne, straight from the trippy-lighted pulpit.

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Favorite 12 songs of 2012

Adele, Set Fire to the Rain – If you don’t sing along with this, you have no soul.

Fiona Apple, Hot Knife – She’s great on the piano, and just as great without it.

Azealia Banks, 212 – An ass-shaking track from the Missy Elliott tradition.

Gary Clark Jr., Bright Lights – Probably my favorite song of the year. Blues done right.

Divine Fits, Shivers – This is the one track where this indie “supergroup” really comes together.

The Flaming Lips feat. Ke$ha and Biz Markie, 2012 [You Must Be Upgraded] – Classic Lips weirdness with a pair of superfreaks contributing to the fun.

Japandroids, The Nights of Wine and Roses – It rawks, plain and simple.

Alicia Keys, Tears Always Win – This could have been a Motown hit in the 1960s.

The Lumineers, Dead Sea – Cool and soulful.

Frank Ocean feat. Andre 3000, Pink Matter – Deceptively mellow, until you get into the lyrics, and the intensity kicks up a notch.

Old Crowe Medicine Show, We Don’t Grow Tobacco – An old-school, bluegrass stomper.

Tame Impala, Elephant – Groovy as hell.

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Favorite Five Albums of 2012

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Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do – I’ve never been huge on Fiona before this, and the older she gets and the longer the albums titles get, the more annoying it gets. That said, she floors me on this one. There’s a maturity to her work now that gives her a base to work from, and her talent is undeniable.

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Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leaving Eden – If you’ve heard them, I shouldn’t have to say anything. If you haven’t, that’s your damn problem.

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The Flaming Lips, The Flaming Lips and Their Heady Fwends – “Gimmick” albums always tend to be a disappointment (I’m not just thinking of the Judgment Night soundtrack, but I can start there). The good thing is, The Flaming Lips tend to be a “toss in the kitchen sink, too” kind of band, so adding lesser known acts (Neon Indians, New Fumes), up-and-comers (The Tame Impalas, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros) and fellow freaks (Biz Markie, Ke$ha, Yoko Ono, Nick Cave, Jim James) seems like a very natural thing.

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Fun., Some Nights – I’m a bit surprised to be finding this here, but so it is. Some Nights is pure pop end-to-end, but ranges stylistically from the piano showmanship of Billy Joel to the over-the-top glam of Queen. These guys should be interesting for a while.

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Murder By Death, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon – When you listen to an album and think of names like Johnny Cash, The Pogues and Tom Waits, that’s never a bad thing.

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Favorite 5 albums of 2012 (for now)

Little late on this, but it’s been a busy writing month. So here I go …

Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do – I could see this being my favorite album of the year by the time 2013 rolls around. I could also see me running from Idler in fear by the end of the year. There’s rarely middle ground with Ms. Apple, and this album is no exception. There are times she loses me lyrically, but the piano on this disc is just mesmerizing.

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leaving Eden – There just aren’t enough bluegrass bands with full-time beat boxers. 2009’s Genuine Negro Jig is one of my favorite discs of the past five years, and their take on Blu Cantrell’s Hit ‘Em Up Style is hands down my fav cover over that same time period. I have a feeling Leaving Eden could earn the kind of love with a little more time.

The Flaming Lips, The Flaming Lips and Heady Friends – Me loving this disc isn’t surprising. I tend to love everything Wayne Coyne and Co. put out. Their previous disc, Embryonic, and their take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (with help from Peaches, Henry Rollins, etc.) were a taste of what was to come. Heady Friends sees appearances by Yoko One on the unnerving Do It!, the long-overdue Jim James’ collaboration That Ain’t My Trip and the disc’s opener and shining star, 2012 [You Must Be Upgraded] with Biz Markee and Ke$ha.

Japandroids, Celebration Rock – I love fuzzy, distorted guitar rock. Celebration Rock at times reminds me of Social Distortion, at times the best of early … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. I’d much rather end an album thinking I want more – like with Celebration Rock – than feel like four or five songs could have been cut from the bloat.

Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE – I don’t often respond positively to R&B albums. The last album I cared for by a male R&B artist was Maxwell’s BLACKsummer’snight in 2009, and before that, it would have been D’Angelo’s Voodoo from 2000. I’m not sure I’ll love this album in a week or a month. But there’s something … seductive and gripping about what Ocean is doing here. What hurts it is that it could probably be 3-4 songs shorter.

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