You know how the last Flaming Lips video, for “Ashes in the Air,” featured an alien with an eyeball for a head and lots of dead naked people? Well, their latest clip features no aliens or death, but it’s pretty much just one big ol’ nakedfest. It’s for “You Lust,” a 13-minute epic of their latest album, The Terror. Thankfully it’s been edited down to more like four minutes for the video, because four minutes is about as much flaccid penis close-ups as I can stand. Watch and you’ll see what I mean. (Heads-up: NSFW on account of it being a nakedfest and all.)
Classic Frank Zappa albums “Freak Out!” and “Over-Nite Sensation” getting the deluxe vinyl reissue treatment
Since regaining the rights to Frank Zappa‘s vast catalog, his heirs over at Zappa Records and Zappa Family Trust have wasted no time in finding new and creative ways to get his music out into the marketplace. Some moves, like selling CDs with a distribution license for $1,000 a pop, have struck us as a bit ill-conceived. But they’ve also put out some cool unreleased material and finally made his stuff available on iTunes, a long overdue boon to those of us who still quaintly insist of paying to download music instead of just listening to Pandora all day.
Even more quaintly, some of us still listen to music on big black pieces of vinyl—and now Zappa Records has those folks covered, too. Next month, they’ll be reissuing two classic Zappa albums on collector’s quality 180-gram vinyl: Freak Out!, the groundbreaking debut from Zappa’s band The Mothers of Invention, and another Mothers mind-bender, 1973′s Over-Nite Sensation, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Damn, I feel old just typing that.
No word yet on the exact release date of these suckers, but keep an eye on the somewhat bewildering Zappa.com site for (hopefully) more info soon. Meantime, let’s play out this post with a golden Frank oldie from Freak Out!, shall we?
Even though it features an alien with a giant eyeball for a head, a baby with a man’s face, and lots of blood-soaked naked people huddled around mutilated corpses, the most perverse thing about the new Flaming Lips video might be that it’s for a song that isn’t even on their latest album, The Terror, which comes out this month. Instead, it’s a fan favorite from last year’s collaborative album, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, featuring folkie falsetto hero Bon Iver on vocals. Has no one explained promotion to these people? (I’m kidding, of course: head Lip Wayne Coyne might be the shrewdest self-promoter of any artist we’ve ever covered.)
In another perverse move, the Lips’ label, Warner Bros., has decided to release The Terror in the U.K. on April 1st but delay its Stateside arrival until April 16th. Why, Warner Bros., why? It’s like you’re daring us to illegally download it. (I’m kidding, of course: We here at TWBITW do not condone online piracy or illegal sharing of copyrighted material in any form. Stay in school, kids!)
Anyway, here’s “Ashes in the Air” in all its bizarro glory. I’ll resist the urge to give away the surprise ending, but I will say this: If you’re easily grossed out, you should totally post a video of yourself watching it.
Remember, kids: All good things come to those who Kickstart. Because we kicked down 15 bones to the Polyphonic Spree for their Kickstarter campaign, we get to hear the album we helped to fund before the general public does. They even just sent us an advance download of two tracks! Really, they’re giving more to us than we ever did to them. We feel all warm and fuzzy about it.
We’re not sure when exactly we’ll receive our very own CD copy (old school!) of Yes, It’s True, but the masses get to hear it on May 28. Sometime after that, we’ll all finally get to see the Polyphonic Spree concert film Kickstarter helped fund, too. Basically, 2013 is gonna be The Year of the Spree.
The Yes, It’s True tracklist is below. They sent us a copy of album opener “You Don’t Know Me” and while we can’t share it here (cuz that would be cheating*), we can tell you it’s trippy and anthemic and a shade or two darker than we’ve come to expect from the Spree. In other words, it’s awesome. They also sent us a non-album track called “You Plus Me” that we’re sorely tempted to post so we can put to rest once and for all any lingering debate over whether Tim DeLaughter’s merry band of Texas hippies is really all that “weird.” But we’ll resist. Put it this way: It’s basically nine minutes of abstract whooshes and reverb-soaked horns and kind of sounds like this one time at band camp when I tried to simultaneously huff nitrous and play “When the Saints Go Marching In.” (Kidding! I was never in band camp.)
1) You Don’t Know Me
2) Popular By Design
3) Hold Yourself Up
4) Carefully Try
5) You’re Golden
6) Heart Talk
7) Blurry Up The Lines
8) Let Them Be
9) Raise Your Head
10) What Would You Do?
*Turns out you can listen to it on Consequence of Sound. No cheating required!
Sorry, the Flaming Lips Anatomically Correct Chocolate Heart is sold out. Your Valentine will hate you now.
If you’re like us, you probably have a tendency to procrastinate before Valentine’s Day, then freak the fuck out on Feb. 11th when you realize that every restaurant in town is booked up and you’ll be taking your wife to In-N-Out Burger (again). So it’s no surprise that we totally missed the boat last week on telling you about this crazy anatomically correct, limited-edition chocolate heart the Flaming Lips released via Oklahoma-based gift shop Dwelling Spaces. We’re a little slow sometimes.
Made by a chocolatier from Texas called Dude, Sweet Chocolate, the “Flaming Lips Chocolate Human Heart” is made from “72% South American dark chocolate studded with hazelnut mini whoppers and waffle cone crunch” and contains a USB drive featuring various Flaming Lips love songs, including such baby-making classics as “Love Is Mind Control” and “Moth in the Incubator” (and yes, clearly they’re defining the term “love songs” a bit loosely here).
Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, apparently it was so awesome that it sold out almost instantly. Sorry, kids. How about some In-N-Out instead? You have to admit, it’s a pretty romantic name for a burger joint.
In other Lips news, their new album The Terror arrives April 2nd. No word yet on what Wayne Coyne will encase it in, but you can bet it will be something delicious and/or disgusting.
Has it really been five months since we first reported that the Flaming Lips were gearing up to release The Terror, their 13th studio album and first “proper” album (if that even means anything anymore) since 2009′s Embryonic? My how time flies when you’re eating paint chips and going to GWAR concerts.
Anyway, after some overly optimistic speculation from irresponsible music bloggers (us included) that The Terror might see the light of day as early as last December, we now have it on good authority (Warner Bros., the Lips’ label) that the nine-track set will finally arrive on April 2nd. We just previewed the whole album earlier today (“already?” you ask—yep, we’re fancy) and are happy to report that it’s far and away the weirdest, darkest shit Wayne Coyne and co. have recorded since Zaireeka, not counting any of that 24-hour-song nonsense they were churning out awhile back. Here’s the full tracklist:
1. Look…The Sun Is Rising
2. Be Free, A Way
3. Try To Explain
4. You Lust
5. The Terror
6. You Are Alone
7. Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die
8. Turning Violent
9. Always There…In Our Hearts
We’ll have a full review closer to the actual release date. We wouldn’t want to give away too much before then.
P.S. Apparently, if you pre-order The Terror on iTunes, you instantly get a non-album bonus track called “Sun Blows Up Today.” Here’s a lyric video for the track that just debuted today. Warning: Nothing on The Terror is this catchy. Or this apocalyptic. I almost resisted the urge to describe this song as “catchalyptic” but…no, I went ahead and did it.
Is there any band on the planet better-suited to putting on a Christmas concert than The Polyphonic Spree? Do I even have to answer that? This is a band that, even in non-Christmas mode, radiates so much joy to the world that they practically levitate off the stage. Slap a few Santa hats on them, and the joy is so intense you could probably weaponize it and have the entire nation of North Korea doing the “Gangnam Style” dance in the streets. So it’s about time that they finally released a Christmas album, Holidaydream, and took their semi-legendary annual Holiday Extravaganza concert on the road.
The first stop of the Holiday Extravaganza (Holivaganza?) tour was right here in Los Angeles this past Thursday night. Held at the usually dark and clubby Henry Fonda Theatre, it was a kid-friendly affair with unconventional opening acts (a magician, a children’s book author), people in Santa suits and giant snowman and reindeer costumes running around the crowd, printed programs with song lyrics, and a decidedly non-rock concert vibe. One friend of mine brought her seven-year-old daughter, who was happily tear-assing around the venue with another little girl with blinky lights on her shoes. At one point I spotted Spree frontman Tim DeLaughter in the audience, chillaxing and enjoying himself as much as everyone else. It was like being at a church social that just happened to have a full bar with six beers on tap.
The Spree played an early, holiday-themed set for the families and kids; then, after a couple of other musical acts (YouTube-famous folkie Gustafer Yellowgold and the punk-rock-meets-Blue-Man-Group racket of Street Drum Corps), they returned for an extended “rock set” that included old Spree standards like “Soldier Girl” and “Light & Day/Reach for the Sun.” Both sets featured balloon drops, confetti cannons, and loads of rowdy singing along—along maybe not as much singing along as DeLaughter was hoping for when he invited a bunch of the kids up on stage and launched into “Feliz Navidad.” Turns out most little kids whose parents have dragged them to a Polyphonic Spree concert don’t know the words to “Feliz Navidad.” Note to Tim: Try “Jingle Bells” next time. That’s every seven-year-old’s “Sweet Caroline.”
To the Spree’s credit, they didn’t stick to the obvious, feelgood Yuletide classics. Yes, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and “Joy to the World” were practically meant to be played by an 18-piece rock orchestra, and they were suitably grandiose and exuberant. But an eerie, slightly atonal version of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was also one of the highlights of the holiday set, as was the “Town Meeting Song” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I also loved that they turned “Silent Night” into a harp solo so beautiful, it actually made you forget that “Silent Night” is one of the dreariest, most dirge-like Christmas carols of all time.
The latest incarnation of the Spree has been stripped down to a comparatively lean 18 members—or so my program tells me. Actually, I only counted 17 people onstage, but maybe the second guitarist was out sick or something. Even minus a French horn or two, they still managed to pump out quite the wall of sound.
The highlight of any Spree set, for me, is their electrifying cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium,” and the version on this tour, accompanied by a pink balloon drop, does not disappoint.
The only part of the show that was even better than “Lithium”? The milk and cookies they handed everyone in the lobby on their way out. Can all bands start doing this now, please?
The Polyphonic Spree Holiday Extravaganza is only playing four more cities: Chicago (Dec. 11th), Philadelphia (Dec. 14th), New York (Dec. 15th) and Dallas (Dec. 22nd). If you’re lucky enough to live in one of those places, go. What else are you gonna see this time of year? Mannheim Steamroller?
As if the Flaming Lips haven’t had a busy enough 2012: Next week, the five-years-in-the-making stage musical adaptation of their classic 2002 album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, is finally set to debut at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. It’s being directed and co-written (along with Wayne Coyne) by Des McAnuff, the guy who brought The Who’s Tommy to life at La Jolla back in 1992. McAnuff’s Tommy eventually ran for two years on Broadway, so a Flaming Lips musical on the Great White Way isn’t as crazy as it sounds. It might even be pretty good, given McAnuff’s track record. Then again, he also directed Jersey Boys.
In other Lips news: The band’s next studio album, The Terror, is now tentatively set to come out in January of 2013. Originally, it sounded like Wayne and co. really wanted out the album out before Christmas, but maybe they finally decided they’ve done enough for one calendar year.
Yoshimi runs Nov. 6 through Dec. 16; tickets and more info available here. Judging from this behind-the-scenes video, it should feature at least one awesome 14-foot-tall robot and a few not-quite-so-awesome flying ones.
This week’s band comes to us from Norway, which seems to have more weirdness per capita than most EU nations (see also: Mayhem, Hurra Torpedo, etc.). And even though Norway is only like fifth on the list of Countries Where They Actually Read Our Blog, this band kicked major ass in our latest Facebook poll. Somebody from the Obama campaign should hire them to run their get-out-the-vote efforts in Ohio. Ohio is kinda like Olso, right? They both have shitty winters and begin and end with an “O.” Close enough for government work, as they say.
But about this band, which is called Ping: They’re a prog/psych-rock/jazz/fusion/whatever five-piece who have been around since 1999, when they were started by guitarist Mattis Janitz and bassist/vocalist Jørgen Greiner. They list such TWBITW favorites as Frank Zappa, Mike Patton and Ween among their many influences (also Wilco, but probably just for the Nels Cline guitar solos). And one of their albums is called Discotheque of Darkness, but is neither disco nor especially dark. So while they’re hardly the weirdest band we’ve ever blogged about, Ping definitely keep the quirk factor high.
The fan-made video below isn’t really Ping at their weirdest (for that, I’d have to recommend checking out the very Zappa-like “Anyway But Now“), but it does feature a truly amazing array of misfit goth/metal fan photos, plus a few shots of some of our favorite bands (keep an eye out for GWAR). Our kinda people!
Ping’s fourth album, The Hurricane Spoof, came out this past May. You can get it, along with the rest of their catalog, from the Norwegian version of iTunes.
P.S. Want your heart and/or other body parts to swell with pride when you see next month’s reader-voted Weird Band of the Week? Then go vote in our new Facebook poll. You’ll have to like our Facebook page first, but don’t worry, we’ll keep it casual.