New on the Shelves
Columbia Records has issued a live compilation of performances from Ozzie Osbourneís heavy metal showcase Ozzfest. Ozzfest Live 2002 includes a generous sprinkling of four-letter words and pounding rock from Ozzy Osbourne ("War Pigs"), System of a Down ("Needles"), Rob Zombie ("More Human Than Human"), and P.O.D. ("Outkast") as well as tracks from Drowning Pool, Black Label Society, Hatebreed, Meshuggah and more.
If you are looking for something a little less "in-your-face," French synthesizer-based act Deep Forest has just released Music Detected, its sixth album of engaging and exotic electronic beats mixed with World music rhythms and African vocals on Sony Music.
While Martha Stewart may have some legal issues to deal with these days, her relationship with Rhino Records continues. Her latest release through the label is a disc of fun and relaxing songs originally intended for adult consumption, but that play perfectly for kids as well. Martha Stewart Kids: Playtime includes Jane Siberryís wry "Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog and Nanci Griffithís "If I Had A Hammer (The Hammer Song)," as well as The Rembrandtsí "Rolliní Down the Hill," Donna Lewisí cool pop hit "I Love You Always Forever," and Elvis Costelloís "From Head To Toe." Also included are songs from Carly Simon & James Taylor, Patty Larkin, Nickel Creek, Keb Moí, Luka Bloom and more.
The Flaming Lips
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The Flaming Lips have been making adventurous fringe rock for more than 15 years now.
How adventurous, you ask?
At one point in 1997, they released Zaireeka, a four-CD set that was intended for simultaneous play. Thatís right Ė one album divided up between four CDs that you were supposed to start on four different CD players, more or less at the same time. Needless to say, that experiment wasnít a widespread hit, but did get a four-star review from Rolling Stone.
The Flaming Lips first popped out of the bubble of Lincoln, Nebraska cult status with the quirky goofball single "She Donít Use Jelly" nearly a decade ago, and in 1999 they actually scored a chart hit with the glorious summer soundstew of "Bugginí," from their layered pop masterpiece The Soft Bulletin.
Now the Lips are back with one of their most adventurous offerings (on a single CD anyway). Merging the kitchsy sounds of bleepy, throbbing synthesizers (reminiscent of the early work of Japanese synthesizer pioneer Tomita) with their trademark twining guitar and staccato drum attacks and Wayne Coyneís plaintive, somewhat nasal vocals (which occasionally bring to mind Neil Young), Yoshimi listens like the soundtrack to some lost classic B-movie. You can almost see the flying gigantic turtle in the distance.
Opening with the science fiction robot voice of "Fight Test," The Flaming Lips enter instantly into a catchy sonic pop stew. The chorus of "Fight Test" (backed by those bouncing, buzzing synth bass lines) is instantly catchy. Those walking synth basses come into play again on the more introspective "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21" and then the guitars start strumming and the drums start pumping as Coyne begins the tale of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," the story of a black belt in karate who works for the city to battle "those evil-natured robots". The chorus tells of her heroism: "Oh Yoshimi/they donít believe me/but you wonít let those robots defeat me/Yoshimi/they donít believe me/but you wonít let those robots eat me."
"In the Morning of the Magicians" sounds more like Soft Bulletin-era Lips throughout much of its soundscape, with strumming acoustic guitars and strings (though it ends with a Tomita-style bass-synth line). As the album wears on, things get a little more jammy and mellow, from the hopeful introspection on the death of a Japanese friend ("Itís Summertime") to the instrumental "touring" ride of the ending song, "Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia)."
Itís all ridiculously kitschy and incredibly great fun. Buy this disc, kick back and be ready to smile.