I just got the new lips record for my birthday, and it's probably one of the more interesting things the Lips have done in their Radiohead-like career (we'll get to that later). Whereas the previous records - Clouds Taste Metallic, The Soft Bulletin - have gone more towards quirky, childlike indie pop, this new record is a throwback to 70's psychadelic prog-rockers such as Gong and Pink Floyd with a pit stop at the Fiery Furnaces. The Gong and the Pink Floyd come in because the record plays like an old concept record - complete with instrumentals, a coherent (is that the word) sound, etc...
But let's go back for a moment to my reference to the Furnaces. It suprises even me that I am comparing these two bands, but they both have a flair for the theatrical and the overdramatic. The Furnaces make records of high concept ("Rehearsing My Choir" is about the life of the brother-and-sister's grandmother, also a musician. I have not heard the record but fans appear to be divided on whether they like it or not) and songs of high concept (see the opener in "Blueberry Boat", Quay Cur, which has movement after movement - and part of it in an unrecognisable foriegn tongue - after movement of nautical goodness), and now so do the Lips.
I mentioned my Radiohead theory earlier. I theorize that the Flaming Lips and Radiohead - although on different planes (or even different dimensions) musically - have similar career paths. Clouds Taste Metallic is sort of like The Bends - the last proper guitar record. OK Computer is sort of like The Soft Bulletin - the first separture from the sound that made them famous. Kid A is like Yoshimi - I've never been able to get into either. Honestly, I've never even listened to Yoshimi in it's entirety, and it took me a couple years before I could listen to the whole of Kid A.
As a side note, the same person who inspired me to start this blog is the same person who exposed me to the Non-OK Computer part of the Radiohead catalog. I vaguely remember being 10 years old, in East West records in Orlando, where she at the time worked, and her suggesting to me that I listen to Kid A.
I'm stil not done with the Mix CD. I've just entered a mix trade on a message board I used to frequent many years back; maybe that will serve as the inspiration to finish it.