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

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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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
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Ryko - Rhino

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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 January 13, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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

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Though "She Don't Use Jelly" paved the way for their breakthrough, the Flaming Lips never seemed like a singles band. With albums as complex and consistent as The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, their music didn't feel like it could be reduced to a handful of standout songs. Nevertheless, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 does an admirable job of boiling down their sprawling quarter-century stint on Warner Bros. into a slightly more manageable three-disc set remastered by the band and longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann. Although missing the ebb and flow of their albums, the collection features the Lips' most immediate songs from over the years, from Hit to Death in the Future Head's "Talkin' 'Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)" to Yoshimi's "Do You Realize??" to Oczy Mlody's "The Castle" (and, of course, Transmissions from the Satellite Heart's "She Don't Use Jelly"). Along with gathering highlights from the band's major albums in a democratic fashion, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 also nods to experiments like Zaireeka and The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. The album's third disc might be the most enticing for die-hard fans thanks to its mix of demos (including the previously unreleased 1991 demo "Zero to a Million"), songs from soundtracks, and hard-to-find releases. Released during a time when hits collections often seemed obsolete, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 caters to all levels of Flaming Lips fans and does it well. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | Bella Union

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Though its title is Polish for "the eyes of the young," the Flaming Lips' state of mind on their Oczy Mlody album isn't exactly naive. As they move on from the crises that inspired The Terror, they bridge the abrasive sound that started on 2009's Embryonic and the try-anything whimsy of their collaboration with Miley Cyrus in ways that are surprisingly complex. Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd and company soften some of The Terror's rough edges in favor of a more eclectic, melodic sound that spans hip-hop, prog, and orchestral elements, sometimes in the course of a single song: "Nigdy Nie (Never Know)"'s wordless sighs and electro beats evoke the unlikely duo of Syd Barrett and A$AP Rocky that Coyne used to describe the album before its release. Meanwhile, the title track begins the album with a synth-driven sense of wonder that conveys seeing things from a new -- or renewed -- perspective. Many of these visions are nearly as bleak as The Terror. Each time Coyne sings the titular chorus on "How??," he sounds less convinced he'll find an answer; he's overpowered by a crest of strings, harp, and woodwinds on "Galaxy I Sink"; and his contemplation of the circle of life becomes a vicious cycle that destroys his "fragile dream of how the world is full of love" on "Almost Home." None of these songs, however, are quite as unsettling as "There Should Be Unicorns," an apocalyptic love-in filled with imagery so outrageous that it could be parodic if the surrounding droning electronics weren't so ominous. At times like these, Oczy Mlody feels like a collection of fairy tales for adults, full of psychedelically heightened emotions that the band deploys with shamanic skill. Towering drums and duelling synths add to the feeling that the band co-wrote "One Night While Hunting for Faeries and Witches and Wizards to Kill," a tale of destruction and redemption, with the Brothers Grimm. Similarly, harp and strings sprinkle some fairy dust on "Listening to the Frogs with Demon Eyes"' meditations on mortality, while the beguiling melodies of "Sunrise" and "The Castle" sweeten their tales of loss. These songs recall the band's work with Cyrus, so it's not entirely surprising when she shows up on "We a Family," where she might as well be the voice of the young. Though the song's happy ending feels a bit tacked-on compared to the of rest of Oczy Mlody's trippy melancholy, its meaning is clear: finding hope isn't easy, but seen the right way, it can be an adventure. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 27, 2017 | 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 June 1, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Though "She Don't Use Jelly" paved the way for their breakthrough, the Flaming Lips never seemed like a singles band. With albums as complex and consistent as The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, their music didn't feel like it could be reduced to a handful of standout songs. Nevertheless, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 does an admirable job of boiling down their sprawling quarter-century stint on Warner Bros. into a slightly more manageable three-disc set remastered by the band and longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann. Although missing the ebb and flow of their albums, the collection features the Lips' most immediate songs from over the years, from Hit to Death in the Future Head's "Talkin' 'Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)" to Yoshimi's "Do You Realize??" to Oczy Mlody's "The Castle" (and, of course, Transmissions from the Satellite Heart's "She Don't Use Jelly"). Along with gathering highlights from the band's major albums in a democratic fashion, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 also nods to experiments like Zaireeka and The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. The album's third disc might be the most enticing for die-hard fans thanks to its mix of demos (including the previously unreleased 1991 demo "Zero to a Million"), songs from soundtracks, and hard-to-find releases. Released during a time when hits collections often seemed obsolete, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 caters to all levels of Flaming Lips fans and does it well. ~ Heather Phares
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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 January 13, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Since 1999's The Soft Bulletin, the Flaming Lips have issued an album once every three or four years -- roughly once per presidential term, making At War with the Mystics the second album they've made during George W. Bush's presidency. While Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots' themes of seizing the moment and accepting mortality could easily be read as a reaction to 9/11, At War with the Mystics is a more overtly timely album for the mid-to-late 2000s, dealing with the motivation behind the war in Iraq and Bush's presidency. By grappling with heavy subjects like these, it could seem like the Flaming Lips are taking their role as one of America's most prominent and beloved alternative rock bands too seriously, but Mystics' light touch shows that they can still be important without being self-important. In fact, the album's most pointed tracks are the most playful. As they did on Yoshimi's "Fight Test," the Lips couch their aggression in bouncy melodies and playful production tricks. With its robotic doo wop vocals and strummy acoustic guitars, "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" -- which asks its listeners if they could do any better if they were handed all the power in the world -- sounds oddly like a Paul Simon song updated for the 21st (or maybe even 22nd) century. "Free Radicals," which sounds like Prince via Beck with a dash of Daft Punk, and "Haven't Got a Clue," which boasts the refrain "Every time you state your case, the more I want to punch your face," get their points across emphatically -- almost too emphatically, actually, for as catchy as these songs are, they don't really expand on their thoughts or sounds much. However, the middle section of At War with the Mystics is expansive and intimate at the same time, like many of the Flaming Lips' best moments have been. "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion" and "Vein of Stars" play like updates of The Soft Bulletin's effortless, weightless beauty, and "The Sound of Failure" is a reminder that it's OK to be sad sometimes (while getting in digs at the teen pop platitudes of Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani) set to a gorgeous backdrop of soft rock flutes and guitars and twittering electronics. This stretch of songs plays almost like a suite, which ties right in with At War with the Mystics' prog rock leanings. Pink Floyd is a major influence on the entire album: "The Wizard Turns On..." is a spacey, late-night instrumental that could easily be synched to The Wizard of Oz, while "Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung" also taps into Floyd's elaborate, epic power. These trippy moments make At War with the Mystics the most psychedelic and least immediate album the Flaming Lips have done in a long, long time, and the way that Mystics bounces back and forth between its ethereal and zany moments gives it a disjointed, uneven feel that makes the album a shade less satisfying than either Yoshimi or Soft Bulletin. Still, as standout tracks like "Mr. Ambulance Driver" and "Goin' On" show, the band is still fighting the good fight and confronting the bad things in life with hope, optimism, and just the right amount of (magical) realism. ~ Heather Phares
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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 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 November 7, 2006 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 25, 2012 | Bella Union

After the release of their freaked-out twelfth album, Embryonic, the Flaming Lips went on a predictably unpredictable musical bender. Rather than just getting back to it and putting out another full-length, the band seemed to be following whatever flights of fancy came their way, first covering Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety before embarking on a string of psychedelic collaborations released in giant gummy skulls, ultra-limited vinyl, candy fetuses, and even actual human skulls. While getting hold of a lot of these limited-edition EPs generally required some combination of dedication, luck, and money (with the human skulls containing the bands 24-hour long song costing $5,000 each), the Lips brought a lot of these hard to find team-ups, as well as a host of new collaborations, to the masses with the 2012 release of The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. Originally released on limited, multi-colored vinyl for Record Store Day 2012, the spaced-out compilation has also seen a wider release on compact disc, allowing people the opportunity to experience previously hard-to-own tracks like "Is David Bowie Dying," "Supermoon Made Me Want to Pee," and "I'm Working at NASA on Acid?," which feature Neon Indian, Prefuse 73, and Lightning Bolt, respectively. The compilation also finds the Lips working with a host of guests that runs from the expected (Tame Impala, Plastic Ono Band) to the downright strange (Biz Markie, Ke$ha). The high point of the album is the cover of the iconic "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which finds the band working with Erykah Badu to transform the song into a haunting and glacial, ten-minute shoegaze epic. The stunning cover is the most beautiful and cohesive on what is an otherwise (understandably) uneven collection which, while definitely appealing to hardcore fans, might be a bit too out there for casual listeners. ~ Gregory Heaney