Reblogging: NPR’s Decade In Music ’00-’09

Last week we at NPR Music launched a two-week long jaunt looking into the decade in music from 2000-2009. Focused primarily on Carrie Brownstein’s awesome blog Monitor Mix, we delve into all sorts of topics regarding the most important news events, recording industry and business issues, technology changes, the relevancy of labels, big overarching trends and most important recordings of the decade…oh yeah and ‘American Idol.’ Plus so much more, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Here are a few of my own personal contributions:

Interactive Multimedia Timeline: The Decade In Music

— Song Of The Day: The Decade In Music: OutKast’s ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ (2001)

— All Songs Considered: The Decade’s 50 Most Important Recordings (Here I write about TV On The Radio, The Flaming Lips and Animal Collective.)

— Monitor Mix: The Decade In Music Timeline: What Did We Miss?

— All Songs Considered: Missing The Cut: More Important ’00s Music (Here I nominate Girl Talk’s uber-mashup, Night Ripper)

— A Blog Supreme: The Decade In Review: Jazz And The Mash-Up (In which I considered Norah Jones, Ornette Coleman and Floratone — among others — as helping define the decade in jazz.)

Talk Show Roundup: Grizzly Bear & The Flaming Lips Play Conan

From time to time I like to tune in to the telly to see what bands are making the rounds on the late night talk show circuit…

We had two notable back to back talk show appearances this week:

On Monday night, Grizzly Bear performed indie hit “Two Weeks” from Veckatimest on “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien.” They were joined by Beach House’s Victoria Legrand to sing those heavenly backing vocal lines.

Check it out here:

And Tuesday night, The Flaming Lips visited Conan as well to play the fantastic closer from Embryonic called “Watching The Planets.”

Wow. Both are just stunning.

Reblogging: Flaming Lips First Listen

So I had the noble task of hearing the new album from The Flaming Lips, Embryonic, about a month ahead of time and then getting to write a short entry about it for NPR Music.

We are featuring the album on the website, in its entirety for the next few days, so take a listen and see what you think. Me? I think it’s awesome.

Best Song I’ve Heard All Day — Psych Pop Edition

(parts 731-733 in a 1001 part series)

I cannot express how much I am looking forward to the new Flaming Lips album Embryonic, which arrives in stores on October 13. From what I’ve heard of the pre-leaked tracks, the band sounds to be taking another sonic shift… a bit more psychedelia and noise than the last few albums. I was probably one of the few who thoroughly enjoyed At War With The Mystics, but I can see why people thought it was a bit too similar to Yoshimii and were subsequently underwhelmed.

Anyway here are all the songs so far…

Silver Trembling Hands:


Convinced Of The Hex:


The Impulse:


See The Leaves:


Reblogging: ‘Soft Bulletin’ on NPR’s All Songs Blog

No, this is not becoming a Flaming Lips fan blog, but, I did do a blog entry over at the All Songs Considered Blog today in honor of the tenth anniversary of their amazing record The Soft Bulletin.

Hard to believe this album came out ten years ago this summer. [ENTER I’M FEELING OLD JOKE HERE]

Go there to read…

Things I Will Apparently Put Up With To See The Flaming Lips

As part of Washington D.C.’s Earth Day celebration, The Flaming Lips headlined a less-than star-studded lineup to help bring awareness to the now-named ‘Green Generation.’ Of course they didn’t go on until 5pm, a mere 5 hours after the event kicked off at the National Mall. To kill time until Wayne Coyne and his clear inflatable ball came out, here are things I will apparently put up with just to see The Flaming Lips:

1) Shitty Weather

2) Chevy Chase: If you would have guessed in 1976 which member of Saturday Night Live would end up having the most success surely Chevy Chase would top the list. Turns out that while Murray, Belushi and Ackroyd have become legends, Chase has become an painfully unfunny hack spokesman — dolling out lame jokes and bland statements about how saving the environment is, you know, ‘good.’

3) Hippie Doodah-ing: Includes Hula hooping, ribbon twirling, self-dancing. Somehow in high school and early college, it didn’t seem nearly as annoying to see grown adults acting like impish fairies amazed with bright colours and simple childlike activities. In one instance, a woman who had been twirling ribbons all afternoon gave her toys to an actual kid to play with. And yet sadly she then didn’t know what to do with herself, staring longingly at the ribbons like a former smoker who doesn’t know what to do with their hands anymore.

4) Matthew Modine: We couldn’t think of a single movie he has ever done. Why is he famous?

5) moe.: Yikes. One song said to be inspired by Hurricane Katrina was particularly terrible, lasting about as long as people in New Orleans have been waiting for their FEMA trailers.

6) The heavy-handed appropriation of Obama’s Change message: Look, we all know that President Obama is well, President, which is, by my estimation still a pretty great thing. We all know that the environment is a good thing, issues like climate change are very real and scary and should be taken seriously. Likewise, events like Earth Day, especially in D.C., can be great ways to bring awareness to green causes.

But, as bad as this sounds, I’ve found that more and more, it’s getting sorta annoying to hear over and over about how things are so much different now. Have we hit the point where it doesn’t quite as ring true as it once did?

In one amazing non-statement — although to be fair, one of many during the day by a variety of speakers — Chevy latched onto the popular, yet increasingly meaningless ‘yes we can’ mantra by asking the audience ‘Isn’t it great Barack Obama is President?’ Well, yes, of course. “Isn’t it great that food is delicious?” I asked back.

7) The Flaming Lips: They opened dramatically with Coyne taking to his giant inflatable ball and being tossed in the crowd, then segueing into a stellar “Race for the Prize” complete with confetti guns, smoke machines and all that.

But it was hard to believe that The Flaming Lips would take two of their best songs, “Fight Test” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and turn them into ballad-like lullabyes for a crowd waiting around in overcast, cold, windy and wet weather.

There were a few other good renditions of “The W.A.N.D.” “She Don’t Use Jelly” and set closer “Do You Realize?,” but set fell flat overall, Then again, a free Lips show is still a free show, so cannot totally complain.