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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Flaming Lips controversy rages on.

Well, not really. But I did get an e-mail from Ben of the band Farm, regarding my initial post. It reads:

Hello Casey,

I was listening to At War With the Mystics when I read that Pitchfork thing.

"Hippies n' sequencers": Two of the biggest features of hippy stuff, in my mind, are its lack of clarity and a sort of quasi-mystical/we believe in anything-positive worldview. The Flaming Lips are pretty much atheist/physicalist and fairly direct with their music. What's the Casey Rea/Flaming Lips/Hippy Connection?

We're still recording. We've got about 10 tracks with meat on their bones. Some kid just gave me a pirate copy of Sonar 4 producer's edition. I'm trying to learn its ways.

Please, excuse my grammar and "clarity" — I've got about a half a gallon of Dayquil in me right now.

Hope everything is good with you,

My response:

I give the Lips shit mostly because they were the first of the so-called "alternative" bands to embrace giant hippie festivals. Now everyone's doing it. Also, I'm a bit tired of high pitched bleating about robots and the like.

I'll admit I did listen to them back in the day. They always sounded good on pilfered pharmaceuticals. But somehow the relationship soured. I believe it was back when I was working at Pure Pop and the consonant-averse, mouth breathing burnouts were rocking "Yoshimi" like it was a live Phish album.

Sonar, eh? No idea how that sucker works. Good luck!

Yours in Dayquil abuse,


Further commentary is, of course, welcome.

PS: Remember the other day, when I said that I'd be "all set" if Stevie Nicks joined Sunn O)))? Well, the next best thing has occurred. One of my favorite spooky-Americana performers, Jesse Sykes, is featured on Sunn O)))'s upcoming collaboration with Japanese noise terrors Boris.

While I can't quite imagine what that'll sound like, I look forward to hearing her
syrup 'n' sandpaper coo on some evil fucking drone.


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I give the Lips shit mostly because they were the first of the so-called "alternative" bands to embrace giant hippie festivals

Why? I give them props for the same reason. They could have gone on being indie darlings and been too cool for the whole jam band scene, but instead they brought some much-needed good music into a patchouli-scented teenage wasteland. I get just as annoyed with dumb fucking lyrics and endless guitar solos that go nowhere (and Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" accepted as the beginning and end of jazz, jesus fucking christ), but you've gotta hand it to the jam band scene, even in a respect-your-enemies kinda way: they're a huge & vibrant grassroots music scene, plus they're virtually the only remaining live music that people go out to dance to. That's huge.

Even if their music has changed and the live show gone soft, what pisses me off is that precious indie rock fans think they're somehow immune to the same kind of knee-jerk judgment that makes a hippie think a band's good because they can squeeze out a half-ass version of Cissy Strut. Shitting on the Lips (ewww... shitting on lips...) smacks too much of the love-em-and-leave-em attitude described here.


Don't get me started on indie-rock bands. The same herd mentality applies to that scene, too. I'm plenty aware of it.

And anyone who knows me understands that I'd rather rock some Dead or Allman Bros (vintage, of course) before CYHSY or any other blogger-approved flavor of the week that just tumbled out of art school.

As far as live music goes, I'm convinced that slightly more than half of those who regularly attend big festivals don't go for the bands, but rather the opportunity to brandish their predefined cultural identity badges amongst the other sheep. There's big money in it, too.

The rest are there to get laid or high, which is slightly more valid.

But long as you have a good time and don't leave a mess, who cares? Still, I'm certainly not going to proselytize for a bunch of conformist non-conformists and their quest for the never-ending party.

Even when the Flaming Lips provide the soundtrack.


Post Script:

There are too many serious issues currently facing humanity to worry about whether or not a small-town music critic disapproves of the modern jam scene. Doesn't mean it's not fun to bitch about now and again, though.

And hey -- there's always Otis Redding to remind us of what soul in music is all about.

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