Have I really waited 5 years to post this song? The revolutionary sound of The Soft Bulletin. This was The Flaming Lips in 1999 and the glory of their ‘Race For The Prize’. “They’re just humans/With wives and children!”
Jumping a decade, the new millennium had hit and The Flaming Lips had released their brilliant LP Soft Bulletin to top off the 1990s. And so, it was no coincidence that I was lapping up all things americana and psychedelic. Released in May 2000, The Sophtware Slump is the second studio pressing from Grandaddy. The opening track ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot’ is lush, conceptual and multi-layered. Have a great week.
Cisco’s Jordi Davieson can sound like the Australian love child of Thomas Mars and Ezra Koenig. But at other times, he, Scarlett Stevens and bandmates have a fair crack at psychedelic pop rock. ‘Wild Things’ is off their 2012 self-titled debut album. The sound has more than a touch of The Flaming Lips about it, which is never a bad thing.
Not strictly a Beatles song as Lennon wrote and part-recorded ‘Now and Then’ in the late 1970s. However, Yoko Ono later passed Paul a batch of unfinished tracks to mark their mid-1990s Anthology compilations. The tapes included demos of this track, ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’. The three Beatles began recording their version in 1995 by overdub. It was then discarded only to later appear on a 2009 bootleg. This floaty and ever-so-nearly-lost gem sounds part Fab Four, part The Flaming Lips.
After finding their coupled lead-vocal sound, Thomas Fagerlund and Søren Corneliussen started to create Kissaway Trail’s debut album. It was released on Bella Union a year after the label had brought us the superlative Trials of Van Occupanther. At times, the sound evokes The Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire. Not too shoddy a list of references.
Let’s push on through the weekend. It’s a decade since The Flaming Lips released the Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell EP as an interim between the full length Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and its follow-up At War With the Mystics. It was late November, and at the end of the extended play, they snuck out a festive track. Unlike ‘Christmas at the Zoo’ off Clouds Tastes Metallic and anything off their freakout film Christmas on Mars, ‘A Change At Christmas’ mixes the trademark synthesizers, drum machine and heart-swelling positivity with sleigh bells and chimes. It all culminates in some joyous sentiment: “I think it’s all going to work out just fine”.
‘Kids’ was the third single off MGMT’s album Oracular Spectacular. The duo are in town having played on Later live … with Jools Holland earlier this week. The single was a breakthrough for the band and one of the great synth pop records of 2008. From Brooklyn, MGMT were crowd pleasers in Blighty with their echoes of our great loves: the Flaming Lips, Supergrass, the Pixies and Suede. The album also features the enjoyable, fizzing ‘Time to Pretend’. But it would be ‘Kids’ that would live on for longer in its second childhood as Chiddy Bang’s ‘Opposite of Adults’. Have a great weekend.
Regions of Light and Sound of God is the debut solo album by My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James. Released last month, the long player was preceded by the single ‘Know Til Now’. He wanted to create a sound “like a hazy dream” that “came from a different place in time.” The place is Yoshimi and the time is 2002. The lost, dreamlike sound is something that oft-collaborator Wayne Coyne would have imagined with the Flaming Lips to hand and Jim James on tenor vocals.
Today, it’s another noisy Parker (Kevin), his band Tame Impala, and just an importantly, Dave Fridmann on the knob twiddling. Producer Fridmann’s CV includes The Flaming Lips, Sparklehorse and MGMT, and Australia’s space rocksters benefit from its full force on ‘Apocalypse Dreams’. Taken from from the band’s recent album Lonerism, it’s an epic piece of psychedelia, full of sun-bleached melodies, fuzzy prog and Revolver-esque treatment. A recent review eulogised the long player’s “pedal-tastic reverb-flanging-Echoplexed-backwards-fuzzboz FX”. Extraordinarily irresistible. Have a great weekend.
‘Summertime Clothes’ is the second single from Animal Collective’s critically-acclaimed long player Merriweather Post Pavilion. The delirious vocals and throbbing sounds can make me feel a little giddy. But perhaps that’s the wave of influences that’s going on… Neu, Grandaddy, Mercury Rev. These guys have been written about as worthy successors to the Flaming Lips at their experimental best. “I want to walk around with you!” In a space suit, no doubt.
Mercury Rev’s feature a couple of weeks back got me thinking. No live gig has been more of a disappointment than Home’s was in 2000. (I have convinced myself the Glass Spider tour never happened.) Their album XIV was the sort of experimental pop americana that I was lapping up at that time. With echoes of Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, it was no surprise to find out that it was also produced by David Fridmann. But even more noticeably than Mercury Rev, without Fridmann’s studio production on show, Home were a complete let down in the flesh. This studio version of ‘Burden’ is anything but.