The Flaming Lips were the latest act to appear on NPR Music‘s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert program. Luckily, the pysch-pop outfit was well-equipped with the band’s trademark plastic bubbles.
Last month, The Flaming Lips released their 16th studio album, American Head. According to frontman Wayne Coyne, the record features the Oklahoma-bred group exploring what it means to be an “American band” for the first time in their illustrious career. The first two songs featured in the band’s Tiny Desk performance, “Will You Return/When You Come Down” and “God And The Policeman”, appear on American Head.
Opening with the somber, eerie tune “Will You Return/When You Come Down”, this in-studio performance finds the aging experimental rockers in a contemplative state. Coyne even directly addresses the passage of time with the line, “Thinking back to those lost souls/And their ghosts/Floating around your bed/Hear it said/Now all your friends are dead.” Between songs, Coyne takes a moment to personally address Tiny Desk host Bob Boilen by stating categorically that The Flaming Lips followed the one rule of the program: you must have a desk. Though Coyne admits it’s technically a table, he has deemed the structure holding up Steven Drozd‘s keyboard to be a desk for all intents and purposes.
Next up comes “God And The Policeman”, another American Head song that will unfortunately remain all-too relevant for the foreseeable future as protests against police brutality continue to rage on across the country. Here, The Flaming Lips present more of the dour nature that, apparently, defines being an “American band” to them. In the three-slot of the four-song show, The Flaming Lips dig a bit deeper with “Be Free, A Way” off 2013′ The Terror. Despite the rollback in discography, the band still manages to maintain a melancholy mood throughout the performance.
Finally, The Flaming Lips’ Tiny Desk (Home) Concert comes to a close with “It’s Summertime” from the group’s 2002 mainstream breakthrough Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. With this last selection, the band offers a bit of levity tinged with their own dark sense of humor.
Watch The Flaming Lips perform for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.
The Flaming Lips – Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
[Video: NPR Music]