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Rockin' Our Turntable: The Flaming Lips Do Pink Floyd

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 22, 2009 6:20PM

2009_12_lips_DSOTM.jpg Count on a band like The Flaming Lips to top off a year in which they challenged their fans to find even the newbies were up for the challenge by suddenly releasing The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon. The title pretty much tells the whole story, but don't worry ... Rollins doesn't do any singing.

The album does open with Rollin's voice as he's pressed into service replicating many of the background soundbites captured in various interviews with studio folk that appear on the original Dark Side of the Moon. And Peaches surfaces briefly but brilliantly adding moaning and shrieking to the cover of "The Great Gig In The Sky." These incidental appearances are largely amusing, but the music supplied by The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs -- a lesser known band led by Wayne Coyne's nephew -- is both exultant and revelatory.

In these bands' hands "Breathe" is turned from a pastoral English reflection into a demented psychedelic jam of an acid trip skittering into the red zone of no return. The instrumental "On The Run" is turned from a proto-ambient synth experiment into a driving freak-out slowly twisting the listener's ears ever tighter until ending in an explosion that segues into a cover of "Time" headed primarily by the Stardeath crew that veers between oppressively rocking and dreamily coasting.

This is Dark Side of the Moon as the 1967 Pink Floyd would have recorded it, a darkly engrossing joyride through sound and rhythm accomplished by just ripping shit up sonically. It's messy, it's vibrant, and it's mostly unsettling and a little bit scary. The bands take up the gauntlet and create a new version of Dark Side of them Moon without resorting to gimmickry, reviving it for a new generation that may be immune to the original's charms while also creating something exciting for old school Pink Floyd fans. It's a win-win situation presented by bands that in the last year haven't shied from walking on the edge with revelatory results.

The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moonis available today exclusively through iTunes. (And here's where we'll geek out a bit and tell you that the download comes with a video of the bands involved playing "Breathe" featuring Steven Drozd behind the drum kit, bashing merrily away...)