Friday, July 13, 2012

The Flaming Lips

One of the most notable modern-day purveyors of that wonderfully loopy and deliciously weird sub-genre known as psychedelic rock is Oklahoma mainstays the Flaming Lips, led by the incomparably mercurial Wayne Coyne. Starting off as fringe-dwelling muso weirdoes in the early 1980s, the Lips slowly metamorphosed, through the course of a dozen mind-expanding studio works (including the virtually unclassifiable, crazily anarchic 'Zaireeka' from 1997), to become veritable elder statesmen of alternative rock, winning the hearts and minds of adventurous listeners everywhere. The group's long, strange trip through the kaleidoscopic nether regions of popular music has seen them taking in and mixing up a myriad of diverse influences, from obvious ones like classic prog-rock and angular post-punk, to less apparent and more revolutionary things like psych-metal, worldbeat, cow-punk and acid bubble-gum, and even conservative forms like bluegrass, surf-rock and modern classical. Incorporating all this into a singular, recognisable sound might seem like a Herculean task and something that only a highly stoned musical mad scientist can pull off, but the group's inventive values, instinctive songwriting and sheer musicianship make it all work like a charm. Check out the Lips' unique aesthetic at work in this joyfully nutty and studiously experimental video of one of their better-known singles, 'Race for the Prize'.


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