Soft Bulletin Live Corrections and Clarifications

With @waynecoyne and @theflaminglips tweeting last week about a new live recording of their 1999 classic The Soft Bulletin- and eight highly anticipated shows featuring that album played in its entirety to take place between next week and the end of July – many music websites have recently posted about The Soft Bulletin Live.  The Flaming Lips’ 2011 plans are so ambitious, detailed, unusual and ever-evolving it’s easy to get confused if you don’t follow them on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, it seems some of the writers that posted about Bulletin in the last week for top music sites – including Pitchfork, Stereogum and PrefixMag – are among those that haven’t been fully watching these developments, their writings thus adding to the confusion.  Most of these recent reports are primarily copied from a series of earlier posts by Consequence of Sound – which in turn were based on various posts since April 23rd from Psych Explorations of the Future Heart.  Last week’s posts on these other sites jumbled some of the facts previous reported here and by CoS,  while added in some new bits and pics from the band’s and Wayne Coyne’s tweets.  It is through twitter after all that most Lips information is publicized nowadays, but they tend to leave loose-endings open and references unexplained.  Thus, it’s also through twitter that most Flaming Lips misunderstandings get started nowadays – perpetuated by authors who don’t fully grasp what they are writing about and are on a deadline to spruce up their copy-of-a-copy.  Below are corrections and clarification of some of the misinformation spread in the past week by these sites and others.

Pitchfork does not list July 8th at Aragon Ballroom as a Soft Bulletin show (it is – UPDATE: Pitchfork has corrected their error).  Pitchfork also reported several bits that aren’t inaccurate perse, but do create a wrong impression. 

  • Pitchfork’s post – from May 6th – reported live recordings “will be” sold in a Gummy Skull ticket package (for The Flaming Lips’ Hollywood Forever Cemetery gigs) when in fact they were already on sale (since May 5th).  To clarify further – two-day passes with a strawberry Gummy Skull (the brain is marijuana-flavored brain and contains an autographed USB with Soft Bulletin live recordings and an as-of-now unexplained “unique playlist”) sell for $160 at ticketfly (as-of the afternoon of May 9th they are almost sold out); two-day passes without the extras are $80; single day tickets (for either June 14th’s Soft Bulletin or June 15th’s Dark Side of the Moon performances) are $40. 
  • The Flaming Lips filmed two music videos at SUNY Fredonia: “Race For The Prize” and “What Is The Light?”.  Separate from that, they recorded a live version of The Soft Bulletin – where and when has not been revealed.  Though it’s been suggested it’s in fact a live-in-studio creation, Coyne told Billboard he “can’t really say where” it was recorded, “the mystery is part of the appeal.”  As with most performance shoots, the Fredonia videos were mimed (to those live recordings of secret origin) – in other words, the videos technically are not “live performances” (but the music heard in the videos, supposedly is). 
  • It has not yet been revealed if Live La Fantastique de Institution 2011 is the title of videos, the live sound recording, or both.  Pitchfork implies it’s the name of the Fredonia videos (which is logical, seems likely, and is implied by this tweet from Wayne, as well as the title itself – but has not been confirmed).
  • Pitchfork also implies Live La Fantastique de Institution 2011 will be released separately for fans not attending the Hollywood Forever Cemetery gigs.  There has been no indication this is the case.  Though this could change, SUNY Fredonia’s newspaper Fredonia Leader quoted Wayne at the film shoot saying“We’re doing this exclusively for the show we’re doing in The Cemetery in Hollywood.  I kind of thought it would be cool…”
  • Various other websites state there is “no release date” for The Soft Bulletin live recordings.  As mentioned above, the Gummy Skulls housing these recordings have been on sale since last Thursday at ticketfly – who specify “pick up will be available on the 2nd day of the event”.  In other words, the release date is June 15th (or, the night before – if they are onsale at both cemetery shows, as Billboard reported they will be).
  • As a side note, Pitchfork says “the band is currently working on” a collaboration with Prefuse 73.  In fact that 12″ EP was finished and released to a select few fans on April 21st.  A much wider – but still limited – official release is coming soon. 
  • Also for the nitpicky, The Flaming Lips spell their concoction “Gummy Skull” – not “gummi”.

PrefixMag and Exclaim do not list May 20th’s Atlanta show as a Soft Bulletin gig (it is), but do list May 21st’s Gulf Shores Hangout Festival and May 26th’s Primavera Sound Festival appearance as Bulletin shows (they’re not).  Like Pitchfork, some of their statements also create a false impression.

  • The Flaming Lips are not “spending a generous amount” of the year playing The Soft Bulletin, as Prefix states – just eight shows (announced so far): three in May, one in June, four in July (see dates below).
  • “These new live versions” will not be “immortalized” on Live La Fantastique de Institution 2011 – as discussed above, both the live version of the album and the videos filmed at Fredonia (referred to as Live La Fantastique de Institution 2011 by Wayne on twitter) have been recorded already.  Prefix implies they are recording a live album on tour this year.  There has been no indication of this whatsoever.
  • Prefix and others also assume the picture tweeted by Wayne (above left) is “cover art” – again, a logical assumption, but an assumption nonetheless (though this may be true, it has not been confirmed what that image is).
  • Prefix and others claim most details are still unknown.  While there are still many unanswered questions about this release, much information about every facet of this project has been revealed in the past few weeks.  I posted exclusive pictures from the video shoot and interviews with participants on April 23rd, detailing the entire evening.  Elsewhere I and others – most significantly The Flaming Lips themselves, via twitter – have posted info and images on the cemetery gig, the special $160 package, the marijuana-flavored Gummy Skull brain (including a video of Wayne testing it on one of his little helpers…) and most other related items.

The Audio Perv does not list two Soft Bulletin shows as such: May 19th Atlanta or July 8th at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom.  Consequence of Sound and Tiny Mix Tapes do not list May 20th’s Atlanta show as a Soft Bulletin (it is) and leave July 31st in Montreal completely off their lists!  To their credit, Consequence of Sound officially confirmed with the “band’s representation” the “rumour” they learned from Psych Explorations of the Future Heart: I knew the live Soft Bulletin recording was underway (or I wouldn’t have stated so on April 23rd) but lacked the means to prove it as they did.  Although they have done more than any other major music news site to break recent Lips’ stories to the blogosphere-at-large as accurately as possible, Consequence of Sound have however also stated (in fact, started) some of the misconceptions discussed above.  In their defense, at the time of their postings (before all the others above), some of what we now known was still unknown or unconfirmed (leaving them no option but to report it the way they did).

Below are the eight announced shows at which The Flaming Lips will play The Soft Bulletin.  All other shows listed elsewhere as such are done in error.  I have personally checked this list three times in the past two weeks with a member of The Flaming Lips, most recently this morning.

05/19 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
05/20 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
05/29 – George, WA @ Sasquatch
06/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Forever
07/01 – London, UK @ Alexandra Palace
07/07 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
07/08 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
7/31 – Montreal, Quebec @ Osheaga Music and Arts Festival

If you find further errors in any of the above or have additional tips please leave a comment below or e-mail futureheart@ymail.com.

Psych Explorations of the Future Heart is by and for fans of rock n’ roll, The Flaming Lips and enthusiasm for life.  Every effort is made to present the most accurate and complete information on the web.  For the latest updates (weeks before Pitchfork will get around to it), follow twitter/FutureHeartDay.

5 responses to “Soft Bulletin Live Corrections and Clarifications

    • I contacted the Lips over the weekend, and they said they are addressing the press release issue. I suspect that’s why Pitchfork changed the error soon after I heard back from the Lips earlier today.

      Don’t mean to knock you – I understand how hard it can be to put together factual posts. Just wanted to clear some stuff up for Lips fans (especially ones buying tickets specifically to see Bulletin live.

      All the footage you post from late night etc is amazing. Thanks!

  1. Pingback: Peace and Punk Rock Summer 2011 Tour Dates: Flaming Lips « Psych Explorations of the Future Heart·

  2. Writers never seem to be willing to do even the most basic amount of research when they write about the Lips.

  3. Pingback: Hanging at Hangout Festival? If not, watch Umphrey’s McGee, Mariachi El Bronx, Primus, Flaming Lips, Ween and others in live webcast « Psych Explorations of the Future Heart·

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