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Alternative & Indie - Released May 13, 2002 | Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After the symphonic majesty of The Soft Bulletin, the Flaming Lips return with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a sublime fusion of Bulletin's newfound emotional directness, the old-school playfulness of Transmissions From the Satellite Heart, and, more importantly, exciting new expressions of the group's sentimental, experimental sound. While the album isn't as immediately impressive as the equally brilliant and unfocused Soft Bulletin, it's more consistent, using a palette of rounded, surprisingly emotive basslines; squelchy analog synths; and manicured acoustic guitars to craft songs like "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21," a sleekly melancholy tale of robots developing emotions, and "In the Morning of the Magicians," an aptly named electronic art rock epic that sounds like a collaboration between the Moody Blues and Wendy Carlos. Paradoxically, the Lips use simpler arrangements to create more diverse sounds on Yoshimi, spanning the lush, psychedelic reveries of "It's Summertime"; the instrumental "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon"; the dubby "Are You a Hypnotist?"; and the barely organized chaos of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2," which defeats the evil metal ones with ferocious drums, buzzing synths, and the razor sharp howl of the Boredoms' Yoshimi. Few bands can craft life-affirming songs about potentially depressing subjects (the passage of time, fighting for what you care about, good vs. evil) as the Flaming Lips, and on Yoshimi, they're at the top of their game. "Do You Realize??" is the standout, so immediately gorgeous that it's obvious that it's the single. It's also the most obviously influenced by The Soft Bulletin, but it's even catchier and sadder, sweetening such unavoidable truths like "Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?" with chimes, clouds of strings, and angelic backing vocals. Yoshimi features some of the sharpest emotional peaks and valleys of any Lips album -- the superficially playful "Fight Test" is surprisingly bittersweet, while sad songs like "All We Have Is Now" and "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" are leavened by witty lyrics and production tricks. Funny, beautiful, and moving, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots finds the Flaming Lips continuing to grow and challenge themselves in not-so-obvious ways after delivering their obvious masterpiece. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 27, 2015 | Warner Bros.

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Even though Clouds Taste Metallic is generally regarded as a great album, it's always been somewhat dwarfed by the more aspiring outings in the Flaming Lips' vast, confounding catalog. The album never had an iconic, instantly recognizable hit single on the level of "She Don't Use Jelly" or "Do You Realize??," nor was it as preposterously ambitious as Zaireeka (not to mention the group's later releases that experimented with the very idea of physical media formats), and it certainly didn't receive the overwhelming critical praise that the Lips' 1999 masterpiece The Soft Bulletin did. Clouds was the final Lips album to feature guitarist Ronald Jones, who had joined the band prior to their excellent major-label debut Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992), and it was the final recording to present the Flaming Lips as a guitar-driven band, before they began exploring more orchestral and experimental arrangements and incorporating electronic instruments. Of course, by no means was Clouds a standard rock album; as with any of their albums, they played around with conventional song structure and form. All of the songs on Clouds were three or four minutes long, but they didn't always have obvious hooks. Despite a few catchy numbers such as "This Here Giraffe" and "Christmas at the Zoo," it was hard to imagine any of the album's songs becoming radio staples. Nevertheless, the album was significant for heading toward the Brian Wilson-inspired melodies and arrangements that would be fully explored with their later albums, as well as lyrical themes commonly found in the group's later songs such as prevailing through hopelessness and facing the pressure of having to save the world. Clouds still holds up as an incredible batch of songs, adding up to far more than just a mere transitional album. Two decades after the album's release, the Lips revisited it with a deluxe three-CD (or five-LP) edition titled Heady Nuggs 20 Years After Clouds Taste Metallic: 1994-1997 (not to be confused with a 2011 vinyl box set called Heady Nuggs: The First 5 Warner Bros. Records 1992-2002). Much like the group's pair of 2002 releases on Restless Records that chronicled their early output, Heady Nuggs is loaded with material from other releases from the same time period, in addition to unreleased recordings. The most exciting inclusion is Providing Needles for Your Balloons, a fantastic 1994 EP intended as a stopgap release between Transmissions from the Satellite Heart and Clouds. The EP featured loose, casual recordings of Transmissions album cuts (including a gloriously blown-out version of "Slow Nerve Action," inexplicably recorded live on a Top 40 radio station), a nifty B-side called "Jets, Pt. 2 (My Two Days as an Ambulance Driver)," covers of Suicide's Alan Vega and a then barely known Bill Callahan, as well as a boombox-recorded grandiose piano ballad called "Put the Waterbug in the Policeman's Ear," which foreshadowed the group's later sound. Augmenting Providing Needles on this collection is The King Bug Laughs, a further collection of rarities focusing primarily on covers, which range in origin from Bowie, Bolan, and Lennon to less obvious influences such as Rolf Harris. Rounding out Heady Nuggs is Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus with Needles, a previously unreleased live album recorded in Seattle in 1996. Typical of a Lips concert of any era, it's unhinged, messy, and noisy, with the group's mega-trippy songs drowning in explosive guitar effects. The set's title track (a cut from Clouds) is stretched out from its original three-minute length to seven, followed by a few minutes of fanatical applause while the audience anticipated an encore. ~ Paul Simpson
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 15, 1995 | Warner Bros.

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
The same extraordinary madness that infected the best work of Brian Wilson rears its head on the shimmering and melodic Clouds Taste Metallic, a masterful collection which completes the Flaming Lips' odyssey into the pop stratosphere. The Pet Sounds comparisons are obvious -- two of the highlights are titled "This Here Giraffe" and "Christmas at the Zoo" -- yet not unfair; like Brian Wilson, Wayne Coyne has refined his unique vision into something both highly personal and powerfully universal. Similarly, while Coyne's lyrics remain as acid-damaged and inscrutable as ever, his densely constructed songs convey emotional complexities far beyond the scope of their head-case titles ("Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus With Needles," "Guy Who Got a Headache and Accidentally Saves the World"); galvanized by equal parts newfound maturity and childlike wonderment, Clouds Taste Metallic is both the Flaming Lips' most intricate and most irresistible work. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Ryko - Rhino

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 20, 2018 | Ryko - Rhino

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The loony Flaming Lips are diving back into their old material and, with it, releasing a remastered collage titled Scratching The Door, a sort of family album from their early days. It features recordings from 1985 to 1989, as they were still in their original formation: Wayne Coyne on the guitar, his brother on vocals, Michael Ivins on the bass and Dave Kotska on drums. The opus focuses on their debut and features their first self-produced EP, demos and a completely destroy version of the Who’s Anyway, Anywho, Anywhere. Now fifty something, they were just 20 years old back then and their already battered sound − a sort of raw post-punk carried by gritty and scruffy guitars, thunderous bass (Flaming Lips Theme Song), heightened by harmonica digressions (Handsome Johnny) − more so than their psychedelic convulsions was already spreading through Oklahoma City. In June 2018, they will follow up this album with Seeing The Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings Of The Flaming Lips 1986-1990: a compilation of their first albums, of their Restless Records period, before their move to Warner. Fantastic news for their early fans. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 27, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Pop - Released November 3, 2014 | Bella Union

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Though it may seem like a quaint, family-friendly entry into their iconic discography, the Beatles made major waves with the release of their eighth album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in 1967. With wildly intricate and far-out production that wowed listeners, and possible references to drugs and counterculture to freak out the establishment, the proto-concept album would become a major influence on psychedelic music for decades to come. Looking to revisit this landmark album, Oklahoma's fearless freaks the Flaming Lips reinvent the classic album with a slew of guests on With a Little Help from My Fwends. No strangers to the covers album, having previously reworked Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, the Lips, along with an army of guests, artfully transform the album from an intricate pop masterpiece to a fractured, acid-fried freakout. With its skittish and fuzzed-out production and tendency to shift direction on a whim, the album feels as though it's trying to re-create the feeling of hearing an album like Sgt. Pepper's for the first time in 1967, re-creating that feeling that absolutely anything could happen at any moment. Like some of their past collaborations, the album shows that not all fwends are created equal, so even though cuts like "Getting Better" can be pretty uneven, guests like Miley Cyrus and Tegan and Sara on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Lovely Rita," respectively, provide the band's sound with a new dimension and attitude, providing With a Little Help from My Fwends with the kind of eclectic atmosphere that made the original so charming. Although die-hard Beatles fans might see the album as a bit blasphemous, the Flaming Lips' treatment of the classic work makes it clear the band have a great respect for the Fab Four's legacy and influence, making the album a wonderful distraction that provides fans with a window into the influences of one of rock's most enduring and joyously weird bands. ~ Gregory Heaney
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 15, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 2009 | Rykodisc

With a few more studio tweaks and tricks at play, part of the band's continual efforts to find out just what could be done with a studio, Telepathic Surgery is pretty much the companion piece to Oh My Gawd!!!, blending the same great, crazy combination of influences into the mix. That the opening track has everything from a rushed Sonic Youth rhythm roil to heavily flanged guitar solos that are all treble and back again isn't surprising at all, really. Coyne later described the album as more open-ended experimentation with overdubs than a collection of songs per se -- some of the random orchestral samples and other drop-ins indicate as much -- but Telepathic Surgery has its joys, as much garage rock nuttiness as fried, off-kilter post-punk. Coyne himself is still in rough voice in plenty of places, but finding his own bit by bit; he still doesn't really sound like he would in the '90s, but the gentler side creeps in here and there. "Chrome Plated Suicide," another in the string of Lips songs with brilliant titles, has him sounding a lot more wistful than on numerous other full-on crunch monsters. Call it the bells on "Chrome Plated Suicide" that also help the slightly dreamier feeling, even as Coyne peels off a nicely zonked guitar solo halfway through. Other fun titles (and fine songs) include "Redneck School of Technology" and "The Spontaneous Combustion of John," the latter a short but fun little track. Then there's the cryptic subtitle of "Hari-Krishna Stomp Wagon" -- "f*ck Led Zeppelin" -- which may yet forever remain a mystery given the Lips' own clear influence by said group. The most notorious track actually only surfaced on the CD version -- "Hell's Angel's Cracker Factory," a nearly 25-minute-long zone through backwards-run vocals, endless solos, trance drums, and more. ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Ryko - Rhino

Deliciously strange and eccentric, the Flaming Lips are one of these bands from the 80s alternative rock scene that have survived remarkably well. Their psychedelic and quirky tendencies are as surprising as they are fascinating. With these madmen from Oklahoma, everything takes a different shape. A sort of mix between exaggerated distortions and sped-up headbanging, or even role-play in a world ruled by hallucinogenic mushrooms. That’s the kind of atmosphere these rock geniuses have maintained from 1983 to this day, and that caught the eye of label Rhino Records. For the first time, the entirety of the Flaming Lips recordings from 1986 to 1990 for the label Restless Records are being released in a remastered version (by Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins and David Fridmann, the band’s long-time producer) and gathered on six albums under the title Seeing The Unseeable. A huge collection that includes four of their best albums: Hear It Is, Oh My Gawd, Telepathic Surgery and In a Priest Driven Ambulance. And as a bonus, an album filled with rare gems: The Mushroom Tapes. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 22, 2009 | Warner Bros.

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The Flaming Lips have a flair for making other artists’ music their own. Their versions of T. Rex’s “Ballrooms of Mars,” Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” and Madonna’s “Borderline,” a song they recorded with Stardeath and White Dwarfs, who also appear on the literally titled The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon, all show what they took from those artists and what they gave back. Though the Lips always seemed more indebted to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, they put their own stamp on Dark Side’s paranoia and moody atmospheres. They performed this version of Dark Side of the Moon at their 2010 New Year’s Eve celebration, capping a triumphant 2009 that included the release of their revitalized-sounding Embryonic. While the Lips recorded that album on their own, it’s still easy to hear how this album is symbiotic with Embryonic. The same wildness permeates these songs, giving them a feel that’s more primal than the original’s polished reflections. “Speak to Me/Breathe” opens the album with short-circuiting keyboards and raw, vaguely Latin-sounding percussion immediately tying it to the Lips’ last album, while “Time/Breathe (Reprise)” rides on the driving, fuzzed-out bass that was Embryonic’s spine. However, …Doing Dark Side of the Moon feels more focused than its predecessor -- of course, the familiarity these songs have helps -- with its rawness providing contrast instead of adding an intentionally primordial feel, as it did on Embryonic. Elsewhere, the Flaming Lips and guests are just as faithful to Dark Side of the Moon as they need to be, using Peaches as a stand-in for Clare Torry on “The Great Gig in the Sky” -- although Peaches’ super-saturated howls are far more odd and jubilant. As on the original, some of the best moments are the spookiest ones. “Us and Them” sounds like a conversation held across a kitchen table instead of in deepest space, regardless of the synths whooshing around Wayne Coyne’s vocals, and tender guitars underscore its unique intimacy. “Brain Damage” is even more stripped-down while remaining true to the original’s air of eerie knowingness, of being just sane enough to know you’re going crazy. As always, the Flaming Lips approach this tribute by exploring how they can serve the songs, without worrying about the legacy or image of the artist they’re covering. The only time this backfires (slightly) is on “Money,” which has a cleverly tinny drum machine that sounds like coins piling up, but its heavy vocoders and stiff beats lose too much of the original’s jaded swing. Despite the sheer number of musicians playing on it, The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon is a distinctly non-bloated treatment of one of rock’s most epic albums. While it might be more fun than impressive, fun has always been a vital part of the Flaming Lips’ best music. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 29, 2013 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 5, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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