Ariel Pink, Neon Indian, Deerhoof… Flaming Lips Plan Collaborations For 2011

“Ariel Pink’s ‘Round & Round’. That’s my favorite song right now. I also enjoy Neon Indian. He’s got a great nostalgic ’80s new wave lo-fi scuzzed-out sound.”
-Steven Drozd, early spring 2010,

Last spring, The Flaming Lips music mastermind Steven Drozd got a new car and with it Sirius Radio.  He discovered Left of Center and XMU – and with that a handful of artists just then breaking to wider recognition with the hype of “chillwave” (aka “glo-fi,” aka “hypnagogic pop”) that grew over 2009 into early 2010 (by late last spring even the Library Journal was commenting on the music trend).  Steven immediately fell for Toro y Moi, Gauntlet Hair, jj, Atlas Sound and – most of all – Neon Indian and Ariel Pink.

Steven’s new music obsession led to Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti touring as The Flaming Lips’ opening act on their early fall 2010 dates (from St Louis, though Canada, down the West Coast to California)…

   …which in turn led to several other happenings.  Steven and Lips’ drummer Kliph Scurlock sat in with the Haunted Graffiti on that tour and – most famously – Lip’s frontman Wayne Coyne recording and “directing” the music video for “Round & Round” with his iPhone (he really likes his iPhone).

Less known than Wayne’s video for “Round and Round” – or Steven gushing over Ariel Pink – is that the tour also brought the Lips together with the other artist that stuck-out to Steven from his new car’s Sirius set-up: Neon Indian.

Neon Indian is Alan Palomo, though live he plays with a full band also referred to as Neon Indian. Alan first crossed paths with The Flaming Lips in spring 2010.  Neon Indian and Midlake were the hometown heroes at Denton’s NX35 last March, headlined by The Flaming Lips (and also featuring Stardeath and White Dwarfs, among others).  And in June both played Bonnaroo 2010 (though Neon Indian’s Thursday night set was over by the time the Lips arrived for their late night Friday set).  It wasn’t until September 27th though that Steven and his bandmates met Alan, when The Flaming Lips and Ariel Pink took a detour from their shows to experience one by Neon Indian.  According to Stereogum, after seeing them that night “the Lips offered the group the opening spot at their upcoming show in Dallas on February 3rd,” and goes on to quote a representative for Neon Indian, “Past that it’s just two friends talking about stuff.”

That is, talking and tweeting…


On January 19, 2011, Alan checked into Tarbox – where The Flaming Lips have record all their albums from 1997’s Zaireeka onwards – to work on LP2, the follow-up to his acclaimed début Psychic Chasms.  The next day, Wayne clarified to that they would be joining him to collaborate: “we’re going to do two or three songs with him and that shit should be ready to go pretty quickly.  I have a couple of tunes that he’s heard and we’ll just do that shit and fix that up and fuck around together.” 

The Tarbox sessions – the first song(s) for The Flaming Lips 2011 song-per-month project, and possibly LP2 – should be issued by the end of January, or at least within the first few days of February.  They don’t have much time though.  Based on various twitter accounts, they started working together in earnest on January 30th (much more on that here).  With Neon Indian opening for The Flaming Lips at Dallas’ Jack Daniels Kick-Off Party on February 3rd, presumably their collaboration will be out by then… and if fans are lucky they’ll play it together live!.

The Flaming Lips have invited peers into their studio for collaborations before – such as on 2009’s Dark Side of the Moon (Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Peaches, Henry Rollins) and Embryonic (The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O, MGMT, and, uh, a German mathematician).  They also co-wrote with friend and Beck sideman Greg Kurstin (also of The Bird and The Bee, and a succesful producer) on At War the Mystics and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots really does feature Yoshimi (P-We, of The Boredoms).  But, as it looks now, 2011 could take the Flaming Lips to a degree of creative sharing (and collaborative wackiness) unprecedented in their career.

Coyne told that he wants to collaborate with Deerhoof and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: “I think everybody would be up for doing something. But a lot of it comes down to us fitting into their schedules. I can always sneak in on their thing.”

Perhaps all of them can get together for a super session…

Even if the idea of Ariel Neon Deerhoof Lips is nothing more than a dream scene for someone, after Neon Indian opens for the Lips they will tour with one of Wayne Coyne’s recent favorites, Sleigh Bells…
  …who are signed to the label of another Lips fav,

The collaboration possibilities for The Flaming Lips 2011 “album” are endless…

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