The always interesting, ever-experimental Lips decided to release (ala Zaireeka) a 12-part song that is meant to be heard by playing parts 1 through 12 simultaneously. It’s only available through youtube. Here is all 12 parts mixed down together. I know it’s cheating… but it will give you a taste of the experience anyhow.
A recent EP collaboration by The Flaming Lips with Texas’ Neon Indian, this review comes from Marc Masters, April 6, 2011 from the Pitchfork Media website…
Outside of geographic proximity (Norman, Okla., and Denton, Texas, are only 150 miles apart), psychedelia is the only obvious link between the Flaming Lips and Alan Palomo’s project Neon Indian. The Lips often veer to the darker side of psych, especially recently (see their 2009 dread-filled opus Embryonic), while Palomo deals in a day-glo take on 1980’s pop. So when Wayne Coyne revealed that they were banging out a fast collaboration — as he put it, “that shit should be ready to go pretty quickly” — the first question that came to mind was whether the result would lean more toward sun or shadows.
That’s settled immediately by the opener on this four-track, 22-minute EP, the ominously titled “Is David Bowie Dying?” It’s not completely clear what the lyrics have to do with Bowie’s potential demise, but the music feels like an elegy, a kind of spaced-out funeral march. With its slow, crunchy beat, cutting sonic debris, and Coyne’s weary intonations, it would fit well among Embryonic‘s doomy mantras. “Take your legs and run/ To the death rays of Read the rest of this entry »
The Flaming Lips, along with Stardeath & White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins (yes, you read that correctly) and Peaches made the brave decision to cover one of the most iconic albums in history. And they pull it off in amazing fashion. You can find it on iTunes.
This review was written by Mike Allen for the Sputnik Music website, Dec. 27, 2009…
When the Flaming Lips announced that they would cover Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, I felt that the Flaming Lips had put themselves in a lose-lose situation. If their version was too similar to the original, we would be hearing criticism that the Flaming Lips did not approach the cover creatively enough. On the contrary, giving Dark Side of the Moon an entirely different sound would result in criticism such as, “they ruined it.” This predicament is especially present in covering Dark Side of the Moon, for the original is plain and simple one of the greatest albums of all-time. Despite releasing the breakthrough record Meddle in 1971, Pink Floyd made a lasting and powerful impression on the world with Dark Side of the Moon; an album that we may not see the likes of ever again. This record may have been the most significant and greatest of a generation, and it’s no wonder that the release is still being glorified and revered in the present day. So, it can be said that the Lips had a bit of a job to do and a decision to make.
The Flaming Lips have proved to be one of the most intriguing and innovative bands of the past two decades, ranging from a soothing psychedelic pop to a creative, and quite frankly strange yet brilliant psychedelic mess. In terms of originality, the Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd are very similar; each delivering enough ground-breaking material to separate themselves from their peers. This is, precisely what makes this cover attempt so fascinating. The question facing the Lips now would be, what sound should be adopted for Dark Side of the Moon? A sound not unlike the Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin would definitely be a viable option, for its dreamy and uplifting feel could prove to be perfect for Dark Side of the Moon. On the other hand, the band could opt to deliver a performance not unlike this year’s Embryonic. An Embryonic– type sound would make for a raw and noisy cover that would be interesting in its own way.
With those options in place, the listener is able to discover exactly what the Lips were going for from the very beginning. Following the heartbeat and scream in the opening seconds of the record, just when you are expecting the relaxing entrance of “Breathe,” a loud and purely psychedelic start is what is implemented. The Flaming Lips version of Dark Side of the Moon is indeed a very intriguing experience, which wavers greatly from the original. This type of style, although seemingly out of place for this particular record, is perfectly suited for tracks like “On the Run.” Just like the Pink Floyd development, the Flaming Lips account of “On the Run” is noisy, bizarre, and creative. The Lips seemed to go about the rest of the record in similar fashion, for instrumental “Any Colour You Like” is one of the highlights. “Any Colour You Like” comes off as a thunderous adaptation of the original that lacks neither the instrumental genius nor the power of the Floyd version. One of the most conflicting areas of the record is that of the “Time” and “The Great Gig in the Sky” tandem. The Lips flex their muscles with “Time,” providing a distorted and tumultuous introduction, and even offering comic relief by making coughing sounds. On top of this, the Lips are able to retain the themes of the album, delivering the same raw edged sound as their account of “Breathe” for “Breathe (Reprise).” Unlike its descendant however, “Time” is quite a successful task. The beauty and masterful vocal performance of “The Great Gig in the Sky” is not replicated in any form here, and is actually quite a strain on the ears. The Lips opted for a distorted vocal effect here, which is conveyed as mindless and irritating screaming.
The most soothing track on the record is that of “Us and Them,” which is in essence a beautiful account to say the least. Although not growing to something greater like the original, the song in this case continues on its aerial ambience for the track’s entirety. Many will argue that the Lips version of “Us and Them” lacks power, but demonstrates to be powerful in that the sound of the song comes out of nowhere on the record. As one of the most significant tracks on Dark Side of the Moon the Flaming Lips replicated “Us and Them” with great virtuosity, which is true for the close of the record as well. “Brain Damage” and especially “Eclipse” are not tampered with a great deal, and although sounding a bit different than the originals, are very effective. “Eclipse” serves as a brilliant close for the Lips cover of the album, retaining the raw edge of the rest of the record and delivering a powerful climax.
In retrospect of hearing the record, the impact does not live up to the influence of Pink Floyd’s version, but to expect that would be ridiculous. It may have proved to be beneficial for the Flaming Lips to mix the styles of Embyonic and The Soft Bulletin for this cover, appropriately assigning different sounds to the necessary tracks. The Lips however, had attempted an extremely complicated task, that was overall a successful endeavor.
The tenth anniversary of this amazing album — we take another look back, with this review by Tod Nelson from Amazon.com, 1999…
The Flaming Lips’ particular and peculiar genius comes to full fruition on the stupendous The Soft Bulletin. Anyone who had the gumption to actually listen to Zaireeka, a song cycle that could only be heard by playing four CDs at the exact same time on different stereos, knows that head Lip Wayne Coyne and his Oklahoma City brethren had it in them. That album, along with the Lips’ Parking Lot Experiments, offered proof that Coyne wasn’t playing by the same rules as everyone else. He was growing up and away from the splenetic psychedelic freak-outs of earlier albums and emerging as a first-rate composer – perhaps the first alt-rock star to earn such status.
The Soft Bulletin is absolutely colossal, a testament to their position as the vanguard of a movement that includes Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs, and Olivia Tremor Control’s Black Foliage. As with those albums, Bulletin shares a love of cosmic, vaguely psychedelic pop and a closet full of pet sounds. But the Flaming Lips only uses these as a launch pad for rocketing into ethereal sonic space. Although Bulletin steps back from Zaireeka‘s over-the-top indulgence, it manages to be symphonic, bombastic, outrageous, and damned catchy – while still oozing the band’s unique weirdness. The sound is massive and complex; gongs, harps, grand piano, bells, pipe organ, strings, oboes, choral harmonies, and, strangely, very, very little guitar squall all merge into one wall – no, wall of sound doesn’t do it justice. It’s a cliff of sound, propelled by drummer Steven Drozd’s tremendous pounding. On top of it all, Coyne’s sweet but ravaged voice yields tender lyrics that tag a catalog of Lips stalwarts, such as insects, spirituality, and superheroes. One imagines Coyne in front of a full orchestra, urging them to keep up as he sings, “Ooh, those bugs / buzzing ’round…” on “Buggin.” But the Lips orchestrated the entire album in their studio, sometimes manipulating more than 200 separate tracks to achieve Bulletin‘s vast symphonic excess. Each song is a rare gem. “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton” sounds like a collusion of Bach and Tricky. “The Spark That Bled” infuses a fey, Belle and Sebastian-esque ditty with Led Zeppelin-like funky swagger. “The Spiderbite Song” is a shotgun wedding between a tender piano ballad and the industrial noise of things falling apart. “The Gash” is just too singular to adequately describe.
It’ll be interesting to hear what the Lips do next. If The Soft Bulletin is any indication at all, they can do anything they please. And we can’t possibly imagine what it will sound like.
What every household should have on their Christmas tree…