Flaming Lips

The long, strange trip of Oklahoma psychedelic troopers the Flaming Lips appears to have reached a fresh threshold with the nearly concurrent releases late last year of Embryonic and its complete version of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. Both albums fundamentally deal with the relative nature of madness and paranoia, and in a variety of blatant and subtle ways reflect the Lips' longstanding debts to incarnations of Floyd all the way back to Syd Barrett's tenure. Still, the appropriately titled Embryonic feels at least like a rejuvenation for the Lips, who cultivate a raw, swirling spirit that seems to organically ebb and flow from noisy, raucous rock to spatial drifts laced with ethereal pulses and stray snippets of sonic punctuation. It's consistently unsettled and experimental, but with unexpected blossoming of soul and melody, ultimately hanging together to feel like an epic. The Lips' homage to Floyd's Moon is relatively straightforward, albeit with plenty of quirky Lips service, plus contributions from Henry Rollins and Peaches. Perhaps not coincidentally, another Pink will open. Nearly as eccentric as the Lips, Ariel Pink creates mash-ups derived from a jumble of pop, rock, and R&B splinters generally culled from the '60s through the '80s. James Brown, the Beach Boys, Jay and the Americans, punk, and much more all compete in fragmented bits that somehow coalesce on the recent Before Today, Pink now leading a full-fledged band after a long, singular studio existence.
Sun., Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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