Dark Night of the Soul, Indeed


Wayne Coyne, esteemed singer of the Flaming Lips, reclines on a chaise lounge in the walnut paneled office of his bald headed, round, thick-rimmed glasses-wearing, Austrian psychoanalyst.

Analyst:  (looking over his glasses and across his desk at Mr. Coyne)  So what seems to be bothering you, Mr. Coyne?

Wayne Coyne:  Well, I had this awful dream the other night.

Analyst:  Go on…

Wayne Coyne:  Me and the other guys from the ‘Lips got this call to do this record with these other cool guys, Mark Linkous, and this other guy Danger…. danger…. Uh… Mouse or something like that.  It sounded cool and all so we all agreed to do it.  Mark was this real swell guy. Had a few bands, made some cool records in the late 1990’s, 2000’s. He had this kinda funny, high, whiney voice. But I always thought secretly, deep inside me, that it must have come from the most honest place, given that singing seemed to have been such a chore for the guy. Anyhow, we hit it off when we finally got together to record. He was like, “Man, I am a huge Flaming Lips fan….”  And I was like “….Yeah I love your records too!” And Danger Mouse just kinda looked back at us over his shoulder from his mixing board nodding through the haze of cheeba.

Analyst:  Uh-hmmm…

Wayne Coyne:  So Mark gave us this song called “Revenge” and we started to play around with ideas and such. I noticed the lyrics are really dark because, you know, I’ve spent some time in that zone as well. There was this one lyric about “in my mind I have stabbed you in the heart”  and I was just like yeah….I know exactly where he’s coming from. But I went ahead and asked Mark, “how ’bout ‘shot and stabbed you in the heart?’” He looked at me as if to say, “o.k., sure.”

I scratched my beard a bit and suggested a couple of slowly soaring chorus parts to the song and, of course, some glockenspiel somewhere. “Gotta have the glockenspiel in this one, Mark.  Right, Mickey?” Linkous nodded but looked just a bit flustered by the suggestion.

So we all got to work and it was sounding real good. I gave Mr. Mouse some other mixing suggestions along the way and he just nodded like he does. But you know, by the end we were listening to the mix-downs and I just could almost see the gold oozing from the speaker cones, dripping into little puddles of gold records on the ground. And, no, I haven’t taken acid in like 10 years. So afterwards I go back to Oklahoma City, ’cause that place just centers me, man.

Analyst:  So far this doesn’t sound so bad, Wayne.

Wayne Coyne: Yeah, but then I woke up the other morning and my wife was like, “Did you read the paper today?”  Teary eyed, she brought her iphone over and I was like, “How do I scroll down again?” And there it was.

My stomach just sank and the back of my neck got real hot.

Analyst:  That seems like the normal reaction for a murderer to have.

Wayne Coyne:  What?!!

Analyst:  How do you think you got here Wayne?  (he begins to laugh maniacally)

[Camera slowly zooms out from Wayne Coyne’s face staring wide-eyed and dazed, hands on his head, out the window.  The camera zooms back further to reveal that steel bars cover the window, and continues to pull back from the barred window to a barred, grey, prison-like building silhouetted against a darkening landscape at dusk. The camera then pans up to the stars above as MUSIC, etc swells.]

click picture to hear entire "dark night of the soul" album
click for link to album stream


So Beck Hansen is walking through one of the lesser-known, divier neighborhoods of LA looking for inspiration. As he passes an alleyway he does a double take and backs up to check out a small, hairless mutt fucking a discarded mechanical monkey with clapping cymbals. A light blinks on in his head and he signals his limo driver to pick him up and sweep him back to his Silverlake studio lair. After an hour or two of attempting to recreate the stuttering rhythms on digital tape, he surrenders in frustration. As awkward self-awareness washes over him, he retreats to his favorite bathroom, which is stocked with vintage 70’s Playboys. He distractedly flips through several issues, attempting to rid his mind of the persistent image of the strange coitus. He finally settles on a spread with a buxom black woman with a big aftro and big tits, kind of like Etta James in the early 70’s, but with Beyonce’s face. He jerks off into a jar and sends it to a random fan, only the method of delivery is a secret vacuum tube like they used to have in bank drive-throughs. This one can only be accessed by a certain echelon of celebrities and very well-to-do people, and it can go to the past or the future. The ‘fan’ he chooses is a teenager living on a commune in Vermont in the 1980’s. As she picks up the strange bank capsule that has mysteriously appeared in her room she reads the note from Beck (“a famous musician from the future”). And then she reads it again as she inseminates herself with a turkey baster. Thus the tUnE-yArDs are born.

Check out this action from SXSW ’09 at an east side BBQ joint in Austin.

Lissie | Why You Runnin’

I missed Lissie’s debut ep Why You Runnin’ when it came out on Fat Possum back in November ’09, but was turned on to it not long ago by the folks at Aquarium Drunkard. Lissie’s bio, posted on her Fat Possum page, describes her as a California farmhouse-livin’, wine-drinkin’ loner and the rustic folk of these tunes, sung in a voice that is both sweetly scented and scarred, like a Hot Toddy mixed with cheap whiskey or one of Neil Young’s infamous honey slides, reflects that lifestyle. Check it out…

If you’re in Austin in March, you can catch Lissie at one of her many SXSW performances. See dates below…

Mar 17 1:00pm @ Galaxy Room

Mar 18 3:00pm @ Stompin’ Grounds

Mar 18 8:00pm @ The Parish

Mar 19 1:15pm @ Beauty Bar

Mar 19 9:30pm @ St. David’s Historic Sanctuary

Mar 20 2:15pm @ Red Eyed Fly

The Soft Pack!

The Soft Pack, formerly The Muslims, rock it straight ahead garage-punk style on their self-titled debut, out on Kemado Records. Producer Eli Janney, of 90’s alt-rockers Girls Against Boys, keeps things lean, mean, and clean on an album filled with up-tempo toe-tappers that brings to mind some of my favorite Twin/Tone rockers. On relentlessly catchy lead-off track “C’mon” the band sounds like a slightly less torn and frayed Soul Asylum, or a less shambling Replacements. When I hear it I just wanna crack open a cold Corona and watch really hot chicks play beach volleyball. (I realize I’ve just listed a few descriptions that could come off as insults, but I mean them as compliments–really.) This music will pick you up and get you movin’ right up to the front of the stage as you sing along to its unhinged melody. Check it out…

It’s available as MP3s from LaLa.

Or you can pick it up online from Kemado.

And, of course, you can always buy it at your local record store.

And if you’re in Austin, you can catch The Soft Pack during SXSW at some free day parties as well as at their official showcase. See times below…

Mar 18 – 9:30pm @ Stubbs

Mar 19 – 4:15pm @ Trailer Space Records

Mar 20 – 2:00pm @ Waterloo Records

Mar 21 – 3:45pm @ the Mess with Texas party