Flaming Lips: 'Watching The Planets' - Video Exclusive

Given my most recent posts, I know it seems like I'm a total, complete Flaming Lips' geek. Ok, I am. But I've been enjoying a lot of other bands lately, including new discs by Built to Spill, The Clientele, and Califone.

The Lips latest, "Embryonic," is pretty weird. In ways, it's nothing like anything they've done, a big departure from their last three, all accessible pop masterpieces – "At War with the Mystics," "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" and "The Soft Bulletin." In other ways, it reminds me of their earlier stuff, especially "Zaireeka."

The video for 'Watching The Planets,' now available exclusively on NME.com, is also pretty weird.
It's naked bodies galore as everyone bares all to run, cycle and chant around the forest.
Weird and excellent. Kind of makes me want to become a hippie and move to Humboldt.

"The Best Music Of 2009 (So Far)"

According to NPR's Bob Boilen, "2009 has been one of the strongest years for new music in recent memory." When listening to the latest releases by Animal Collective, Wilco, Neko Case, Andrew Bird, and Heartless Bastards, I'm inclined to agree.
NPR listeners cast thousands of votes for the year's best music (so far) and kept the race tight. In the end, Animal Collective edged out every other artist for both Best Album and Best Song. Artists like Grizzly Bear, The Decemberists and Neko Case weren't far behind."
You can find a few of these albums on eMusic, which is still the best deal around for downloading legal, high-quality MP3s.

Flaming Lips' Michael Ivins Teases Oklahoma Conservatives

Is the Flaming Lips' Michael Ivins a Communist?!?

First the good news: "Do You Realize?" by The Flaming Lips is now the Official Rock Song of Oklahoma.

Now the back story... during Amy Goodman's interview with John Scripsick on Democracy Now yesterday, they played "Do You Realize?". Goodman was broadcasting from Lawton, Oklahoma. Scripsick's son Brian...
died in a suicide bombing in Anbar province on September 6, 2007. He was just three weeks shy of returning home. Since then, his father John Scripsick has become a leading opponent of the Iraq war here in Oklahoma.
What an appropriate song to play, I thought, and I got teary eyed listening to the lyrics in this new light.
Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes
Let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don'-go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
What a beautiful song by an Oklahoma band, and what a lovely sentiment for an Oklahoma father. Then Goodman said:
Flaming Lips, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report. This is a headline that’s just breaking from “Rock and Roll Daily,” Rolling Stone Magazine, about this song. Oklahoma will finally name the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?” the official state rock and roll song at a ceremony tomorrow afternoon in the psych-rock group’s home state, Oklahoma, where Governor Brad Henry will sign an executive order confirming the selection. This follows a controversial few days for the band. The Oklahoma House of Representatives sought to overrule the Senate’s unanimous vote when the group’s Michael Ivins showed up at the Capitol last month wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the imagery of a sickle and hammer. Lips frontman Wayne Coyne insists the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Ivins didn’t have any subversive intentions, said the “Rock and Roll Daily” from Rolling Stone.
'Didn't have any subversive intentions.' I like that. Anyone who has been to a Lips shows knows better. I recall seeing them at Coachella in 2004 and Wayne Coyne leading 50,000 fans in a chant of "Fuck Bush."

"15 Albums That Changed My Life"

One of the latest memes going around on Facebook goes like this...
Write down the first 15 albums you can think of that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. When you finish, tag 15 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you're it!
When I was tagged in this note by my friend Joe, I resisted looking at his list, to avoid being unduly influenced. Good thing I did, because his list was interesting.
U2 - Unforgettable Fire
Cars - The Greatest Hits
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy
Boogie Down Productions - By All Means Necessary
Cure - Disintegration
Cult - Electric
Doors - Morrison Hotel
Rush - Hemispheres
Grateful Dead - One From The Vault
Bob Mould - Workbook
Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
Radiohead - Kid A
Kruder & Dorfmeister - K&D Sessions
While none of those albums "changed my life," several of these artists did. I included other albums by Rush and Radiohead in my 15 and would have included albums by U2, The Cars, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Cure and The Rolling Stones if the list were 30.

Here is what I came up with, without giving it too much thought:

Seal - Seal [1991]
Julian Cope - Peggy Suicide
The Beatles - Revolver
Poi Dog Pondering - Volo Volo
Radiohead - OK Computer
Verve - A Storm in Heaven
The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
R.E.M. - Life's Rich Pageant
Morrissey - Viva Hate
Rush - Signals
E.L.O. - A New World Record
The Smiths - Meat is Murder
World Party - Goodbye Jumbo
P.M. Dawn - Jesus Wept
Two days after making it, I think it's a pretty good list. It reflects my musical preferences and personal attachments to particular albums. My list, and others which friends have posted, make me realize that music is especially powerful when you're a teenager and young adult, a time in life when music still has the power to transform and inspire you. I'd like to think that it still can.

I've created a Pandora station seeded with my 15 artists above ("15 Albums That Changed My Life"). I hope you enjoy it.

So what's on your list?

Michael Franti & Spearhead's Obama Song (MP3)

"Michael Franti & Spearhead have released a new song called the 'Obama Song,' a tribute to the president elect Barack Obama and a celebration of the hope and optimism that has filled the hearts and minds of the country ever since the words uttered on the campaign trail, 'Yes We Can.'"

Download "Obama Song" here.