SOFT BULLETIN: Flaming Lips Still Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To So You Don’t Have To

In between one-off shows scattered around the world in the past several months THE FLAMING LIPS have still found time to record a series of unique and experimental sessions for an album featuring a diverse cross-section of heavy friends from every corner of the musical cosmos. THE FLAMING LIPS AND HEADY FWENDS includes vocal and musical assistance from such disparate playmates as Yoko Ono, Nick Cave, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Bon Iver, Ke$ha and many more. Some of these tracks have already appeared on previously released, extremely limited edition color vinyl 12″ EPs released in past months, which sold out as soon as they became available. Most of the tracks on the album are being released here for the first time and will surprise even the most ardent LIPS fans.  THE FLAMING LIPS AND HEADY FWENDS will be pressed on two high-quality, multi-color vinyl discs housed in separate custom art jackets and poly bagged together. No two discs will look exactly alike. This double album will be very limited and released exclusively for RECORD STORE DAY. Once it’s gone, it will not be repressed again making THE FLAMING LIPS AND HEADY FWENDS the most anticipated RSD release this year.

Track-listing for THE FLAMING LIPS AND HEADY FWENDS is as follows: Side 1: 2012 (featuring Ke$ha and Biz Markie); Ashes In The Air (featuring Bon Iver); Helping The Retarded To Know God (featuring Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros); Side 2: Supermoon Made Me Want To Pee (featuring Prefuse 73); Children Of The Moon (featuring Tame Impala); That Ain’t My Trip (featuring Jim James of My Morning Jacket); You, Man?  Human?  (featuring Nick Cave)  Side 3: I’m Working At NASA On Acid (featuring Lightning Bolt); Do It! (featuring Yoko Ono); Is David Bowie Dying? (featuring Neon Indian); Side 4: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (featuring Erykah Badu); Thunder Drops (featuring New Fumes); I Don’t Want You To Die (featuring Chris Martin of Coldplay)

As previously announced, THE FLAMING LIPS will also have this highly sought-after title available on Record Store Day: The Flaming Lips / Mastodon: “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton” (7″ baby pink vinyl single) The mighty Mastodon faithfully covers the Lips classic “Spoonful Weighs a Ton,” from The Soft Bulletin album. Ferociously beautiful!  This single is part of our on-going Side by Side 2012 Series, which was initially introduced in 2011. All are exclusive for Record Store Day on uniquely colored and extremely limited edition 7″ vinyl singles, featuring Warner artists covering other historic and personally influential iconic artists. Stay tuned for further announcements from THE FLAMING LIPS soon including live dates, work on a new studio album and much more.

PREVIOUSLY: AT WAR WITH THE DIPSHITS: Flaming Lips’ ‘Realize’ Voted Official Okie State Rock Song Despite Red Scare

WORTH REPEATING: Cosmic Americana

THE FLAMING LIPS
At War With The Mystics
(Warner Bros.)

Having become sentient in the mid-70s, somewhere in the middle of that that vast mountainous Pennsyltuckian backwoods between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, I had a front row seat to one of the places where the 60?s went to die: the hinterlands. While more cosmopolitan zip codes were sampling disco, cocaine, Members Only jackets and punk, all I could see growing up was ex-greaser shitkickers in dirty bellbottoms, Greg Brady haircuts, faded Dark Side of The Moon T-shirts with knocked-up girlfriends in peasant dresses billowing with pre-natal pulchritude, blasting Zep, Floyd and Yes in souped-up Camaros as they raced off to yet another keggar in the woods. I have it on good authority that the Flaming Lips grew up under similar circumstances in Oklahoma city. And much of their early career sounds like a band failing wonderfully to recreate their older brother’s classic rock album collection — without the pedigree, chops, major label magnanimity or luck of being at the right place at the right time that helped make so much of that music unforgettable. By the early 90s, they had discovered syrupy melody and radio-ready precision only complimented their appetite for noise and whimsy. By the late 90s, they had fully copped to their love of gatefold prog-rock, which was only then recovering a measure of respectability after years of punk’s libelous whispering campaign. By the 21st Century, the Lips had fully embraced electronica, J-pop and pumping house music, and ingeniously grafted the best elements of those musics onto their own tangerine dreams. They drove in this direction pretty much until the wheels came off  with a series of increasingly pointless re-mix EPs that finally wrung all the seemingly bottomless flava out of 2002?s uniformly excellent Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. The new At War With The Mystics — how’s that for a zeitgeist-capturing title? — finds the Lips re-calibrating the ratios of clicks/buzzes/BPMs to classic hesher-rock, striking a balance that older rockist fans will find more pleasing all the while retaining the gravity-defying superpowers that point-and-click production techniques afford mere mortal guitar-bands. As such, At War With The Mystics should please all facets of the Lips surging constituency: the ex-ravers that have seen the light; indie-rockers in search of father figures; aging acid casualties still trying to go furthur; and the people that choose music for commercials. I’ll spare you the requisite adjective orgies about specific songs — the whole album is currently streaming over at flaminglips.com — but barring the occasional lapse into previously-chewed scenery, and the inclusion of the weak-ass “Mr. Ambulance Driver”, this is yet another reason to believe that the Flaming Lips’ psychedelic hot air balloon is still the most reliable transport to book when you wanna go somewhere over the rainbow. – JONATHAN VALANIA

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THE FLAMING LIPS

Embryonic
(Warner Bros.)

The Flaming Lips are one of those bands you first heard about back in high school from the cooler kids who hung around in skinny jeans and wore Fugazi T-shirts. “You’ve gotta check em out man, it’s like Floyd but like… weirder.” You could never tell if they were telling you this to prove how much more music they knew about; or if it was more like a passing of the torch, a sacred gift from one generation of wouldbe hipsters to the next. Seeing as how I am currently in high school, take it from me that not much has changed. Breaking into the mainstream in 1993 with “She Don’t Use Jelly” off the album Transmissions From the Satellite Heart, they were instantly alt-rock darlings, pulled along by various Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvanas, but never quite abandoning their allegiance to the underground. After all, this is the same Flaming Lips who would release an album that needed four boomboxes all playing simultaneously just to be listened to properly, or staged massive parking lot concerts, with frontman Wayne Coyne conducting an orchestra of car stereos. This is the Flaming Lips that I missed out on due to the fact that, well,  I was just being born at the time. Thankfully, this is The Flaming Lips that have returned with the terrifying acid trip they have named Embryonic. At first listen, the album is a blinding, distorted mess. It just rushes by, in a swirl of screams, noise and bloody chaos. The imagery of the lyrics is much darker than on the last few albums, abandoning the blissed-out realms they created on Yoshimi Vs. The Pink Robots and At War With The Mystics. However, after a few listens the brilliance of the double album shows its nightmarish self. It could be compared to what Radiohead, that other psychedelic standby of the 90?s, did with their “radical new direction CD” Kid A. Gone are the poppy hooks, replaced by slicing guitars and shrieks of feedback. Wayne’s voice is mixed low and is almost constantly drenched in ripples of echo, repeating over itself again and again. All of this creates a kind of ambient sense of dread and mystery. This isn’t a record to just pull out your favorite songs and stick them on a mixtape, this is a work to be listened to in its entirety, start to finish. Like old Pink Floyd albums, the flow of the songs taken as a whole is the point. Just let the CD wash over you and meet me on the dark side of the moon. – JAMIE DAVIS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamie Davis is a senior at Kimberton Waldorf High School.  He enjoys Blink-182 more than any Thom Yorke fan should.

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