Tag Archives: The Flaming Lips

Things About Music on Netflix

If you’re like me, you can only watch old episodes of Breaking Bad so many times before you start to reconsider keeping that Netflix account open. While Netflix has its own set of problems with its lack of well known things to stream, there are still a lot of great lesser known titles on there to check out. Specifically, music related. While there’s the usual stuff like this Pink Floyd doc or this Queen one, the following is a list of lesser known titles you can (currently) stream, are W.A.H.L. APPROVED (not sure if this stamp of approval really means anything to anyone), and that don’t suck (this last part is probably the most important).

I Need That Record! (2008)

Description: “Imperiled by the rise of downloadable music and the chaotic state of the record industry, the American independent record store is fast becoming a dying breed, as chronicled in Brendan Toller’s shout-out to these beloved spaces. The documentary captures visits to indie record stores across the country, and includes interviews with Dischord Records founder Ian Mackaye, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, philosopher Noam Chomsky and many others.”

PressPausePlay (2011)

Description: “Exploring the connection between fear, hope and digital culture, filmmakers David Dworsky and Victor Köhler profile the leaders of a digital revolution that’s allowed anyone with a creative spark to become an artist.”

The Flaming Lips: The Fearless Freaks (2005)

Description: “Alt-rock favorite The Flaming Lips invite filmmaker Bradley Beesley, who directed many of their music videos, to join them on a journey through the past as they take a look back at their countless escapades. See what the band is like onstage and on the road; listen to the members reminisce over the highs and lows of their 20-year career; meet the people who surround them via interviews and video footage; and more.”

A Technicolor Dream (2008)

Description: “Pink Floyd. Notting Hill. The UFO Club. The International Times. The people, places and happenings that defined the 1960s U.K. underground movement are revisited in this colorful trip back to yesteryear.”

Yanni Live: The Concert Event (2005)

I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam (2009)

Description: “This raucous documentary profiles the nascent Muslim punk-rock movement, a musical subculture largely inspired by author Michael Muhammad Knight’s fictionalized account of an Islamic hard-core band. Director Omar Majeed hits the road with various groups for a problem-plagued tour across the U.S. and to Lahore, Pakistan, where the musicians continue their mission to thrash and shock, and both skewer and celebrate their deeply felt religion.”

Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (2010)

Description: “Good-time specialists Fishbone get the spotlight in this lively documentary about the all-black punk-funk band that sprang out of South Central Los Angeles in 1979, signing a record deal before their principals were out of high school.”

Moog (2004)

Description: “Filmmaker Hans Fjellestad tells the story of Robert Moog, a pioneer in the realm of electronic music who invented the Moog synthesizer in 1964. Initially viewed as a threat to “real” music, the Moog opened up a world of creative possibilities.”

Video Saturday: August 18th, 2012

Here’s 5 videos for you to jam with – two recently new ones, one classic, and two that are lesser known.

1. Animal Collective – Today’s Supernatural

I’m  not really a fan of Animal Collective’s visual work. As trippy and psychedelic as their music is, I never imagine it with such a heavy horror element that so many Animal Collective videos have. Thankfully, though, this video lacks all that usual dredge and keeps a largely pleasant tone. Off their upcoming album, Centipede HZ, “Today’s Supernatural” features dragon go cart races, weird face paint, and violently inclined disembodied arms.

2. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Windshield Smasher

After hitting their goal three times over with their recent Kickstarter, Black Moth Super Rainbow are having a pretty good year so far. “Windshield Smasher,” the first video and single from their upcoming album Cobra Juicy , has a lot of windshield smashing (obviously) and other shenanigans. After a couple, misled by their GPS, stumble into a alley of orange-skeleton masked thugs – their car is destroyed, their heads are shaved, and they are force fed birthday cake lovingly dissected by a chainsaw. Minus the vehicular destruction, though, a free haircut and some cake doesn’t sound all that bad even if it is forced on by a gang.

3. CLASSIC: Cibo Matto – Sugar Water

Cibo Matto’s track “Sugar Water” from their 1996 album Viva! La Women was a minor hit when it came out. The video, directed by Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, shot it in one continuous take. Dividing everything via a split-screen where one half of the video plays forward and the other plays in reverse, this one will give you a real head trip near the middle when everything comes together.

4. HOTT MT – Never Again (ft. Wayne Coyne)

HOTT MT, a relatively unknown band from L.A., showed up at Wayne Coyne’s doorstep earlier this year to record a track with him without announcing their intentions or knowing if he would even let them. Rather than turn them away, though, The Flaming Lips frontman housed the group, recorded the track, and shot a video for it (not a bad deal). Anyway, this is a surprisingly great track. Expect more from this band soon.

5. Ghosthustler – Parking Lot Nights

Ghosthustler, the former band of Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo, is extinct now, but their music still lives on like a thought in the wind(?). The video is pretty fun and features a lot of NES Power Glove punching and dancing inside televisions. So there’s that.

The Flaming Lips – Heady Fwends

Artist: The Flaming Lips
Album: Heady Fwends
Label: Warner Brothers
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

2011 was a cornerstone year for The Flaming Lips for a lot of reasons. Without a label to dictate or control their releases (the band’s contract with Warner Brothers ended at the end of 2010, but the band didn’t renew for another year), The Lips had a sudden control and freedom over their music that they hadn’t had since their days as a punk band in the 80’s. Their audience was much, much smaller in the 80’s, though, and the band with their massive fanbase of now seemed prepped to carve into a new territory of old school DIY ethics like major acts Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails had done memorably in the decade before. This led to the band self-releasing a string of bizarre gimmicks like a 9 pound gummy skull with a USB of music embedded in the skull and a song that lasts a straight 24 hours. Regardless, their more traditional releases were a series of collaborative EP’s with the likes of Neon Indian, Prefuse 73, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, and Lightning Bolt. Although only a handful of tracks from those initial EP’s appears on this release, Heady Fwends is still a culmination of everything the Lips have accomplished in the past year.

Probably the most surprising thing about this record is how cohesive it sounds. While collaborations between artists (especially when it involves two or more) typically dilute into multiple egos drifting past each other only making very surface level music, the Lips have managed to keep things relatively tight. Whether this is because the band chose their collaborators wisely or it’s because the collaborators were given nothing more than a (mostly) fleshed out track to add their own personal dressing to, Heady Fwends never sounds like it’s moving illogically from track to track. This doesn’t mean that the tracks don’t sound as polished or as well constructed as they should be, though, and it’s hard to think how many collaborators literally phoned in their part (the final track with Ghostland Observatory is just a rant about punching cops in the penis that Lips frontman Wayne Coyne recorded on his iphone). In fact, some tracks from the band themselves like the aforementioned Ghostland Observatory track and their track with New Fumes feel phoned in and rushed, as well. The band was only given a short amount of time to complete a lot of these tracks, and unfortunately it shows.

This record still has its fair share of psychedelic freak outs, though, and tracks like “Is David Bowie Dying???” with Neon Indian and “I’m Working on Nasa on Acid” with Lightning Bolt are highlights. The track featuring Ke$ha is probably way better than a lot of people apprehensive towards her thought it would be, but tracks with rock-history legend Yoko Ono seem almost throwaway (especially in comparison to the other great songs that came out on their four song EP with the Plastic Ono Band). Regardless, their track with Bon Iver, “Ashes in the Air,” and their collab with Edward Sharpe, “Helping the Retarded to Know God,” are classic Lips tracks. Heady Fwends is a lot better than it was expected to be, but as a worthy follow-up to their LP release, it is not. This is no worry, though, as the band is prepped to put out a new record in the fall. And as always, The Flaming Lips have been way more interesting and enjoyable than any other band out there when they’re experimenting and braving into territories few do, even if they don’t succeed.

Note: the final track on the CD release, “Tasered and Mased,” was replaced by the track “I Don’t Want You To Die” with Chris Martin originally on the vinyl release due to licensing issues. This track is way better than the Ghostland Observatory one, and you should definitely check it out here, if you haven’t heard it already.