This Week: Ray-Bans & Rolling Stones Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries

I was so crazy yesterday that I forgot to do the one thing I really wanted to do. This season does that to you. I wanted, expected, ached to attend the Ray-Ban: 75 Years of Legends event at The Darby last night. The Flaming Lips performed. I will attend the Rolling Stones concert as they bring their 50th anniversary tour to the Barclays Center on Saturday. It’s amazing that we are celebrating something that started 50 years ago and another thing that’s 75 years of tradition.

On this oldie-but-goodie tip, we have the wonderful Beatles cover band, the Newspaper Taxis, performing Revolver at the Red Lion, 151 Bleecker St. According to my pal Brian August, The Beatles never performed any part of Revolver live. My ex- wife Jennifer Hamdan did cover “Tomorrow Never Knows” when she was signed to Next Plateau Records. Her track failed to make it to any plateau, but it was fun. Still on the oldies tip, Gary Spencer will celebrate his 50th birthday with a bash tonight at  his Hanky Panky attachment to Webster Hall. Oldies but goodies – the prodigy producer/mixer Neil McLellan and good ol’ Andy Rourke (The Smiths) – will DJ, and The Darling Darling Music Company will perform live.

Older than Methuselah, Marty Abrahams told me about his solo exhibition “Break On Through” at the Salomon Arts Gallery, which will happen on 12/12/12 from 6pm till 9pm. If I’m not at that mega, super duper, ginormous Sandy relief concert at the Garden with Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Roger Waters and all those other old guys, then I will attend Marty’s thing.

Somebody who never ages and whose humor is timeless, Murray Hill, will bring his annual “Murray Little Christmas” to us next Saturday the 15th, from 8pm to midnight to Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St. Murray is amazing, amazing, amazing. Here’s the scoop:

“Expect an evening of hilarious and wacky skits with the cast, a sleigh full of cheesy holiday songs, plenty of nuts, fruits and tree trimming. This year’s special guests:

BRIDGET EVERETT (carnal chanteuse and fearless cabaret star), ERIN MARKEY (wacky performance artist), CARMINE COVELLI (a.k.a. SEBASTIAN THE ELF), THE NYC BURLESQUE CHOIR (conducted by Shelly Watson) with live swinging holiday music from Murray’s band THE CRAIG’S LIST QUARTET (Jesse Elder–piano, Kenball Zwerin–bass, Matt Parker–saxaphone, Arthur Vint–drums and rimshots). Set design by Steven Hammel."

The Flaming Lips and Yoko Motherflippin’ Ono!

The Flaming Lip performed at Terminal 5 last night. Wow. Sure, I could describe the show with big fancy adjectives – but there’re better writers out there that can do that and seeing the Flaming Lips is more of a present moment experience. For example, blogger Salvatore Bono did a really great job of summing up the show and telling us about it in chronological order – from start to finish. Well done. Lead singer Wayne Coyne conducted the psyche musical affair like a leader of a strange church whose religion involves a full-frontal assualt on sight and sound – and occasionally smell. We listened. We watched. We occasionally screamed, "LIPS!" 

Opening the show was Sean Lennon’s new band, The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger. I bet they were good. (This writer missed seeing them because the cab from Brooklyn to Terminal 5 took much longer than was expected, but Salvatore Bono described the experience as: "It was fascinating watching Lennon play.")

One of the highlights of the evening was a surprise appearance from Yoko Motherflippin’ Ono. Yes, the woman who broke up The Beatles set the room screaming. Wayne commanded her to the stage by saying, "I’d like to bring out the mom of one of the musicans here tonight." Hello Yoko. The innovator of the Fluxus Movement shrieked her way into our hearts with a visual spectacle that burnt into our retinas.

If you don’t believe me, simply check it out for yourself: 

Flaming Lips + Ke$ha = Lip$ha

I like to think that the idea of The Flaming Lips collaborating with Ke$ha drives people bonkers, if only for the fact that somehow The Flaming Lips’ brand of nonsense fuckery is somehow better than Ke$ha’s nonsense fuckery. You know, because Ke$ha is played on pop radio stations—horrors!—and The Flaming Lips are not. (For the record, I’m not much of a fan of either of them, but I did get down with that Bob Dylan cover Ke$ha recorded two years ago, if only because it proved that there’s some talent beneath that glittery garbage she’s usually covered in.) Yesterday, in a Reddit AMA, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne touched on his band’s previous collaboration with the pop star and confirmed that they are working on an album together.

Via Spin, here are the highlights of Coyne’s revelations:

What was it like working with Ke$ha? 
"She is a blast on all levels. She’s funny, she’s humble. She’s badass. She’s everything. She’s awesome. We’re actually already working on an album with her. It’s called Lip$ha."

Does Wayne still have any of Ke$ha’s blood? If so, how glittery is it? 
"Yes and it’s VERY glittery. It came out of vagina that way. That’s the truth."

Fascinating, huh? I do love it when a grown man refers to a grown woman was "vagina." Not "a vagina" or "the vagina," but just "vagina." I appreciate that Wayne Coyne is getting right to the point! Anyway, there’s no real confirmation from the band or Ke$ha’s reps that Lip$ha is actually happening, so take this all with a few grains of glitter, I suppose.

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This Is What Wayne Coyne Looks Like Eating A Giant Chocolate Heart

It must be a strange and beautiful thing to be on Wayne Coyne’s Valentine’s Day card/gift list, considering the gifts he gives fans for other occasions. First there was the vinyl collab for Record Store Day where the Flaming Lips and Ke$ha imprinted super limited-edition vinyl with their blood; then there was the NBA playoffs gift for the band’s hometown of Oklahoma City, a new version of fan favorite track “Race For the Prize” about the Thunder. And now, for Valentine’s Day, the Lips have outdone themselves.

Perhaps as an early token of love for fans awaiting their upcoming full-length album, The Terror, out April 2nd, the band released a set of anatomically-correct chocolate hearts with a USB of love songs buried inside. The hearts, which cost $60 and are already sold out (bummer), were made in collaboration with the talented chocolate crafting team at Dude, Sweet Chocolate in Dallas, and consist of “72% South American dark chocolate, studded with hazelnut mini-whoppers and waffle cone crunch.” Inside is a Valentine’s Day greeting from the Lips and 15 tracks, including features from Stardeath and White Dwarfs (on “Love Is Mind Control”), Alex and Jade from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (on closer “All You Need Is Love,” which we’re gonna bet is a cover) and a version of their deep cut “Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung.” Coyne and Steven Drozd signed each of the boxes the chocolate comes in.

If you missed the chance to get the Lips’ version but still want an anatomically-correct gourmet chocolate heart for that special someone (or yourself, because you should treat yourself), Dude, Sweet Chocolate sells non-USB-laden ones for $45, with fillings of Cocoa Puff marshmallows, something called “Crack In A Box” and crumbled waffle cone. For an example of how to properly devour the eatable organ, please observe the photo Coyne posted on Instagram, heart open to reveal the chocolate, bloodied hands, ready to take a big bite. 

Listen to This Flaming Lips Song Before It’s a Commercial

The Flaming Lips are poised to release The Terror, their thirteenth album—though at times it feels they’ve put out twice that many—on April 2, much to the delight of the thousands of college freshman potheads just discovering them for the first time. Today, however, they’re premiering a new video for “Sun Blows Up Today,” a so-called “exclusive non-album track.”

While not exactly as good as a theoretical mashup of earlier songs “Ego Tripping (Self-Admiration With Blow-Up Mix)” and “Assassination Of The Sun,” this new cut does nail the effect of a punk Beach Boys cover band recording underwater. And the beepy 8-bit breakdown should excite whoever’s into that sort of thing, assuming those people are still out there.

“Sun Blows Up Today” is a freebie if you pre-order The Terror, starting tomorrow. That gives you about five days before it crops up as the soundtrack of a Hyundai Super Bowl commercial that stars The Flaming Lips themselves. At which point anyone still playing this becomes a poser. Alas.  

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The Flaming Lips Re-Record ‘Race For The Prize’ For OKC Thunder

When he’s not acquiring vials of Ke$ha’s DNA or announcing grandiose plans to break Jay-Z’s world record for most concerts played in the span of 24 hours, Wayne Coyne is always repping for his hometown of Oklahoma City (their New Year’s Eve hometown shows are the stuff of legends). The relatively-new Oklahoma City Thunder NBA franchise is doing pretty well in the playoffs, in case you haven’t noticed or aren’t into that sort of thing, and the Flaming Lips have proven to be quite the cheerleaders for the team and the city. Today, Coyne unveiled the Lips’ re-recorded, Thunder-centric version of their hit, "Race For The Prize," retitled "Thunder Up:Racing For The Prize!!!"

Although the backbone of the Soft Bulletin track remains the same, the Lips have added some clacking, stadium-stomp-psychedelia beats and a high-pitched "Thunder Up!" chant throughout, in addition to altering the lyrics. Coyne took to Twitter to ask fans for their suggestions. Many had to do with team star Kevin Durant ("Kevin Durant / don’t say he can’t!"; "Rad as can be / led by KD / Ibaka, Westbrook, Perk and Beardy!"); others were far less basketball-centric: "Part time people passing / taking pictures on their phones / aging them digitally / so excited." 

Listen to "Thunder Up," etc., below and watch a little making-of clip. Your move, LeBron. 


The Flaming Lips ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ Musical to Hit the Stage

The Flaming Lips 2002 Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is inarguably one of their best works.  The album has now been made into a play allowing the main character to add one more thing to her resume along with working for the city, being a black belt in karate, and defeating evil machines.

Aarkon Sorkin, the screenwriter responsible for A Few Good Men and the fast-paced dialogue of The Social Network was originally signed on, but backed out when it was decided it would be ‘sung through.” Jersey Boys’ Des McAnuff has stepped in to write and direct the play with frontman Wayne Coyne. 

"It’s a big deal. It’s hokey and wonderful and poignant and powerful,” Coyne told Billboard. “It’s really become a perfect combination of my fantastical robot-world vision and [McAnuff’s] little, internal, humanistic version of what that music is. I really believe it could work — and luckily I don’t have to do much!"

Thirty songs will be used, including tunes from The Soft Bulletin and At War with the Mystics.  Expect it to be trippy, futuristic, and one of the few musicals that attracts those high on shrooms.

It will debut at the La Jolla Playhouse in California in either November or December.

Watch Springsteen, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips, Jackson Browne & More Cover Woody Guthrie at SXSW

What’s a Bruce Springsteen show without an all-star sing-a-long? Last night at SXSW, the Boss followed up a warmly-received keynote speech with a performance at the Moody Theater, accompanied by the E Street Band. At the end of his set, he brought a ton of famous friends on stage — Tom Morello, Alejandro Escovedo, Eric Burdon, Arcade Fire’s Regine Chassagne and Win and Will Butler, among them — to close with a cover of Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land," one of the most "we’re all in this together" songs ever laid down. Consequence of Sound recorded some video for our viewing pleasure, which you can hit after the click.

Morello gets on the mic around the 4:00 mark and makes a bunch of dorky finger-pointing gestures, which is just great. The Guthrie-sharing spirit was all around at SXSW: The day before, The Flaming Lips and Jackson Browne covered Guthrie’s "Along Sun & The Rain," accompanied by some iPads. (It’s a weird world we live in.) Watch that one below, courtesy of Stereogum.

SXSW ends on Sunday, fun for everyone stuck at home following the coverage on Twitter. If you’re up for more man-on-the-beat perspective, remember to read the rest of Sara Romeo-White’s coverage for BlackBook as it comes through the wire.

Cover Tuesday: Flaming Lips Do ‘I Am The Walrus,’ Patrick Stickles Does ‘Video Games’

Okay, so Cover Tuesday is made up; it could be Cover Wednesday or Friday or whenever. But there wasn’t a better way to stick these two songs together, so forgive me. First off: the Flaming Lips doing a scuzzed-out, staticky take on The Beatles’ "I Am The Walrus," one of the Fab Four’s somewhat subtly pro-drug songs. That makes it perfect for the Lips, who are all about being pro-drug. It’s fuzzy and buzzy and out there, delightfully wacked out and befitting of their general sound. The cover’s in anticipation of thir New Year’s Freakout #5 in Oklahoma City, where they’ll do Beatles songs alongside Sean Lennon and Plastic Ono Band. That’s surely a winning formula, if you happen to find yourself down South this NYE. 

On the flipside of that carefully composed and shot cover is Patrick Stickles’ rendition of "Video Games," that Lana Del Rey jam. Stickles is the singer of Titus Andronicus, the best punk band alive; safe to say, his warbling, off-key version of "Video Games" doesn’t seem entirely straight-faced. According to an outburst of earnestness on Twitter, it is. It’s almost touching, if not for the seemingly self-aware goofy faces and winces into the camera. As he Tweeted, "’Girl, there is a pain in my heart you can never understand. Buzz off and let me play San Andreas.’ Man, this song is really real. #Vgames." So who knows? I think this is what people talk about when they gripe and shake their fists about "hipsters."