The Flaming Lips
The band is known for its catchy, dreamy guitar-led melodies, overlaid on signature complex and fast-paced drum beats and accompanied by idiosyncratic usage of samples. They are also known for their bizarre and frequently humorous song and album titles, perhaps the most infamous examples being Due to high expectations... The Flaming Lips are Providing Needles For Your Balloons.. (an EP) and Talkin' Bout The Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants To Live Forever) (a song from Hit To Death In The Future Head).
They languished in relative obscurity for long periods of their history, releasing their first four albums on a minor label (Restless Records) before being picked up by Warner Bros. in 1990. By 1994 they were gaining a respectable cult following and some college radio airplay. Following their experimental Zaireeka (1997), a four-CD album which is intended to be heard by playing all four CDs in four separate CD players simultaneously, the band conducted a series of "boombox experiments", where an orchestra comprising up to 40 volunteers with modified "boombox"-type tape players was "conducted" - directed to vary the volume, speed or tone of the tape they were playing (all of which were made by the band) - by the band's lead member, Wayne Coyne. Though their experimental endeavours received some press, their real breakthrough came with the massively acclaimed 1999 release, The Soft Bulletin. Marrying more traditional catchy melodies with languid synthetic strings, hypnotic, carefully manipulated beats, booming cymbals and oddball, philosophical lyrics (sung much more strongly than on earlier releases), the album was one of the underground hits of the year.
Several of the band's records are produced by unofficial fourth member Dave Fridmann of Mercury Rev, with whom the Flaming Lips are often compared. Also the LPs In A Priest Driven Ambulance and Hit To Death In The Future Head featured guitarist Jonathan Donahue, who would later go on to form and front for Mercury Rev. The bands current line-up consists of Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins, and Steven Drozd. The loss of their former guitarist Ronald Jones, after the album Clouds Taste Metallic, brought the band to its current state.