BY FRED MILLS
In 1984 the twisted Okies known as the Flaming Lips released their eponymous debut record, a 5-song 12” EP pressed on both green and red vinyl, and at only 1000 copies apiece it soon became a collector’s item in the wake of the band’s steadily rising star touring behind their underground hit LP Hear It Is. Their label Pink Dust/Enigma would subsequently reissue The Flaming Lips with different artwork and on purple vinyl, but that 12”, too, eventually went out of print.
As the saying goes… it’s baaaaack! Reissued on the eve of Christmas by the Lips, The Flaming Lips arrives anew on green vinyl and with Wayne Coyne’s signature on the center of the record, pressed as a limited edition of 2000 copies. (It’s all over eBay as of this writing at grossly inflated prices, incidentally. –Ed.) The pleasures of early Lips also arrive anew, from the opening goth-punk fuzz ‘n’ thud of “Bag Full Of Thoughts” and the gurning, echo-drenched psych of “Out For A Walk” (which suggests a Christian Death influence) to the Syd Barrett-meets-Led Zeppelin rawk of “My Own Planet.” The material, in its primitive-yet-powerful thrust, clearly foreshadows that of the Hear It Is full length.
Meanwhile, a second Lips slab o’ wax has also surfaced in time for this year’s reindeer games: First Cassette Demo, comprising four songs from their 9/14/93 cassette demo that was circulated among fanzine writers and tape traders. It’s here as a 7” EP and the music makes for a perfect companion to the officially released stuff. The tracks are “Flaming Lips Theme Song,” “The Future is Gone,” “Underground Pharmacist” and “Real Fast Words, and of those tunes, “Theme” is the obvious standout, with its locomotive beat, garage-shock guitars and signature harsh/punk-fueled vocals. “Underground Pharmacist” is a near-revelation, too, displaying a distinctive Sex Pistols punk influence (listen for the tempo shift/breakdown near the end too), while “Real Fast Words” is doomy post-punk. None of it is essential listening in the larger scheme of things, but it’s still interesting in how it helps complete the Flaming Lips story—which includes the fact that Coyne’s brother Mark was on lead vocals initially—for those who weren’t in on it at the very beginning.
Like the 12”, the single is pressed on beautiful colored vinyl (here, blue) in an edition of 2000, boasts Coyne’s signature on the label area, and comes housed in a thick stock poly sleeve with slipcase-style two-sided art sleeve. Clearly, this band knows how to sprinkle catnip out for collectors, and these two records make for quite a Christmas gift on any level.
DOWNLOAD: “Flaming Lips Theme Song,” “Bag Full of Thoughts,” “My Own Planet”