BLACK LIPS – Still The Greatest Band

Black Lips – the mere mention of those two words has gotten KIDS LIKE YOU AND ME excited, stoked, etc. Whatever you wanna call it – our fandom has been anything but passive. We created this very website dedicated to passionate rock ‘n roll music because of BLACK LIPS. We are the dudes that have Google’d and YouTube’d the shit out of the band over the past 9 years (which is really only about half of their existence [formed in 1999]), traveled a handful of times to New York to catch them, and played Mr. Driver on the jukebox at an Irish dive downtown.

Now we can go on and on about why Ain’t Comin’ Back should be as regular a staple in the set as O Katrina, why we obsess about the Gaye Blades and why no one is going to touch the Old King Cole Younger solo album with a ten foot pole.

Plain and simple we are the Black Lips ultimate fans. Now, that’s not to say we take everything they have ever done and just gush and bow down to it. Underneath the Rainbow is pretty much just an average album and hey, I heard they’ve got a new one out. Their discography from the very first cuts through Arabia Mountain stands on its own for pushing ‘garage’ into noisier and more experimental directions. Where other bands play it safe or just plain fuzzy, the Lips always seem to have a genuine sense of humor and an amateur vibe of not caring. This is the kind of stuff that got me to pick up the guitar, drums, and sing, and not worry about doing it ‘right’.

My 13th time seeing the Lips last night at Brighton Music Hall reminded just how giddy I am thinking about and living the experience. This is just FUN. For most bands a short set is decent, but with the Lips I just want it to never end. And life goes on, too. The members have changed so probably certain songs will never be played again and what not. But at the heart of it is a band that still has heart and puts on the best time for those that care.

Review: Black Lips – “Underneath The Rainbow”

Release: 3/2014

Black Lips, my friends, the godfathers of this website, the band that started it all for us. And for thousands of others that have partaken in the pleasure of the Black Lips experience over the course of the last fifteen years. That’s no easy feat for any band; though there have been many a stimulating garage/punk band in rock ‘n roll’s history, Black Lips have gone from DIY Atlanta naughty boys to Vice’s most prized musical possession. And this wasn’t over night. They toured the world relentlessly for years, maybe a couple times over, before getting any ‘legitimate’ attention from the press. Once that came, some of their old time fanatics abandoned their former favorite sons on the basis of their new found hip major label, but in came so many more others, who like us, never heard or seen anyone like ’em.  Call that musical naivety, if you will, but hey, ya gotta start somewhere. That brings us to Underneath The Rainbow or not really.

I’ll call this their eighth album – for those unfamiliar with these guys, I’ll recap real quick: ’03, ’04, ’05, one album per year, each one funner than the previous. Then came the ultimate live/studio LP (they fooled us for years, maybe never fooled Jay Reatard, though) Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo. That was ’07. Later that year came their Vice debut, Good Bad Not Evil, an introduction for the masses. Their gunky, excitable style still very much in tact, they popped out 200 Million Thousand in 2009. Two years later they got Mark Ronson to work with them in the studio and eat some raw meat. That was 2011’s Arabia Mountain. We really enjoy that one like the rest before it. Stained and pristine. Black Lips just doing their thing as they’ve always done.

Sure, it’s a little early to be writing about a Black Lips album before it’s released. This ain’t nothin new for nuts like us that make the trip to NY to see these guys every time Boston’s not on the itinerary. For the best live band in the world – there I said it and I’m not alone in my view – a blase record is not gonna stop us from appreciating these dudes. Underneath The Rainbow is quite Black Lips. No one’s going to be confusing the voices of Cole, Jared, Joe, and Ian for anyone else. The instrumentation is trademark BL as well: distorted, fuzzy, dying guitars, big bass sound some of the time, Joe’s drumming. You know. As I listen over and over again to this new batch of songs, I find myself searching for something that the Lips have previously always stuffed deep into my ear drums. Maybe I have always taken for granted the immediacy of Black Lips songwriting. For the first time I feel almost as if a decent number of ’em were crafted while the band was on a creative vacation.

“Waiting” is just like Arabia‘s “The Lie,” with its skeleton guitar lead, “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” is a genericy synthesis of the bells and whistles of Side B of that same album. Then there’s “Do the Vibrate” and “Dog Years,” that revisit some of the band’s rougher/punk inclinations, yet just don’t have that ole rawness that might freak out some arena attendin’ Black Keys fans. The bluesier, southern rock that the Lips have spoken of as inspiration for this record shows through most notably on the fine first taster “Boys in the Wood” and album opener “Drive By Buddy”. Both tunes have really catchy choruses, not sounding rushed or put together in any noticeable way. My jam for this record is “Funny,” the Mr. Driver of 20-14. Cole’s always had a crazy way about him, the way he sings, plays guitar, acts, etc. I’ve met him a few times now, he’s the man…a catalyst that gets the juices flowing in the dullest of spirits. So ya, “Funny” is exactly that – eccentric, a “banger for the club” as Ian might say, with some real real lines, maybe the most accessible song on the album in its irreverence i.e. COME SUCK SOME MILK FROM MY TITTIES.

Where do I go from here? I love Black Lips and you know it, I’m not counting this album out just yet. I’m still longing for a propa “Italian Sexual Frustation” in a post “Hippys” society. But hey it’s only March 3rd and all them Spin / Pitchfork ‘writers’ are gonna miss the mark in some way shape or form. Go see Lips and buy all their records, ya nerds! I don’t know what I’m talking about either, ask me more soon. Or I’ll just tell ya right here on Kids Like You and Me. Bad Kids.

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BL Website: http://black-lips.com/
Stream of Underneath The Rainbowhttp://noisey.vice.com/blog/stream-the-first-black-lips-lp-in-three-years-two-weeks-before-release

Black Lips’ New Album: Underneath the Rainbow! / “Boys in the Wood”

black lips rs
Photo by Mick Rock from Rolling Stone

Damn, it isn’t every day that you hear your favorite band is releasing a new album! Our favorite dudes Black Lips are releasing a new country/southern rock droolin’ LP on March 18th entitled Underneath the Rainbow. Oh and if you haven’t heard (where the fuck have you been?) Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney produced some of the thang. Check out the track list below:

1. “Drive By Buddy”
2. “Smiling”
3. “Make You Mine”
4. “Funny”
5. “Dorner Party”
6. “Justice After All”
7. “Boys in the Wood”
8. “Waiting”
9. “Do the Vibrate”
10. “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”
11. “Dandelion Dust”
12. “Dog Years”

Now, we just need to get Cole, Jared, Joe, and Ian to come back to Boston!

Things I’m Excited For In 2013

Atlantic Thrills LP?! – YA! Rhode Island’s premier punk slimers have already recorded an outstanding batch of songs and have showcased several new ones over the past year. An LP is on the horizon, no doubt; I can only imagine dropping the needle on such 12 inches of greatness. As everyone knows, this band is a monster live. But imagine rocking out to the Dutroncy “On My Mind,” the shouts of OOOHHH OOHHHH and stunning guitars in “Light Shines,” AND the best of all worlds, the one and only “Acid Rain”. All on one LP!

The Return of Black Lips to Boston – Nothing has been announced yet regarding this, but it seems inevitable. It has been over a year and a half since they played here (and several other cities in the US that they regularly swung by)…far too long for rabid fans like us. Pretty much all of their shows that I’ve been to rank really high up in the ‘best live experience’ category so yeah, I’m not nuts, they are incredible.

Seeing The Fagettes As The Fagettes – It’s kind of sad that a night like this has not come sooner. I’ve seen The Fagettes as Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, but now its time for the real deal. And with a new lineup and sound that’s better than ever (the words of Ryan Fagette), I can’t wait for this!

Fat Creeps Split 12″ On Feeding Tube – Seeing as they released the best EP I heard in 2012 and were among the most entertaining live bands that I saw, there should be no surprises regarding my excitement about this. “Daydreaming,” released via music video earlier this month, is the Creeps hardest hitting tune to date. I wonder if the other tunes on this upcoming 12″ will be faster like that or more of a variety like the EP. Whatever way, I have a feeling this will be awesome.

The Growlers @ Middle East Upstairs/New Album – The Growlers stood out more than a lot of bands do when I got the chance to hear them for the first time, a little more than three years ago. At that time, they had released their mega Are You In Or Out?, which is loaded top to bottom with their reverby take on psychedelic rock and roll. I was like damn, I’ve got to see these guys live. And waddaya know – February 2010 @ TTs – they came through on their big ole school bus. I remember that show quite well, for there were more band members than people in attendance. It was a snowy Tuesday night. Nevertheless, it was really fun. I eagerly await their MidEast Upstairs show and their new album due out in a few weeks!

Better Than Something: Jay Reatard Package – It was unfortunately just announced that this was being delayed until February 2013. I’m pumped to watch the film again, but what I’m even more psyched on is the LP and the booklet.

The King Khan & BBQ Show – It is a great thing to see Mark Sultan and King Khan back together playing as The King Khan & BBQ Show. Whether 2013 brings new material, more touring, or what have you, it is simply nice to see them back together in one of my long-time favorite bands.

The Migs – This is another sort of general one, but The Migs are one of the funnest bands I’ve seen and heard. It goes without saying that they will be playing some amazing gigs this upcoming year and their ultra strong recorded output keeps growing and growing. I don’t know what to look specifically forward to, greatness itself, OK!

New Nobunny LP On Goner – ‘Course there’s not much info available regarding this, but the fact that this is a thing is beyond awesome.

The Orwells Touring – I imagine they’ll be coming here! As far as new bands doing the garage/punk thing nationally, The Orwells deserve the wave of attention they’ve been getting. They are real good.

My Top 5 LPs Released In 2012


1. The Barbaras – 2006-2008 – The Barbaras exist in my music collection as a very revered band. I had been playing their fuzzy, sunshiny 7″ since October 2010. They were gone, of course, by then, off doing things like being in Magic Kids and Wavves. Then the news of this came along. About two years later I was able to hear some clearer renditions of tracks from that 7″ and even better…twelve new songs. The new ones (and the old ones) simply put are some of my favorite tracks ever. I can’t really even delve into specific favorites, because they all such hard hitters. Some are kind of wimpy (“Bluebirds”, “Only One”), while others (“Devour the Jungle Deer,” “Grief Touches Everyone”) are barn-burners from 0:00 ’til the last note. The Barbaras nailed the ‘pop’ part of garage pop in a way that is truly unlike any of the bands the Barbaras would eventually join. These are songs you listen to daily, that capture your attention from the very second they begin. There was something real special about this group from Memphis. They paid as much of a debt to their contemporaries like producer Jay Reatard while maintaining a keen appreciation for both the obscure and popular golden melodies of the ’50s and ’60s. I haven’t heard a modern band perfectly nail that down like the Barbaras. This is a record that I doubt will reach #1 status beyond us… the fanatics that run this website. That’s a shame, though, because a complete and thoughtful listen (yes, just one) makes a grand impact.


2. Ty Segall/White Fence – Hair – This is another record that I’m as excited to talk about now as I was when I first heard it many months ago. I think those early listening sessions included a good amount of bewilderment. Ty Segall and White Fence. One record. Two fantastic garage/psych songwriters coming together. I didn’t know much about White Fence back then and frankly I still do not really. Tim Presley can jam. Hair isn’t really a traditional “record” because – yes – it is brief (8 songs) and the songs range from extremely well done jams (“I Am Not A Game”, “Scissor People”) to the more straightforward (“Easy Ryder,” “Crybaby”)…thanks Ty! I remember hearing “Scissor People” maybe the second or third time and really starting to “get” it. The riffs. The shuffling of sounds. Damn, I thought. Rumors have it that there will be more from the Ty Segall/White Fence collaboration. That’s awesome, because they got it right the first time.


3. Black Lips Live @ Third Man – Black Lips do many things well. Their entire discography is filled to the brim with killer track after killer track, killer album after killer album, killer single after killer single. Yeah, they are the best band. Them doing a follow-up live record after the outrageously special Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo might only seem natural given their talent in front of crowds. Of course, this is a fantastic record. This one was without question recorded at Third Man (ya, you know what I’m talking about) and the dudes have the stage banter to prove it. They mix the real old with the real new and throw in some material from in between. While this doesn’t flow as nicely as Los, it sure as hell proves why Black Lips have had IT for more than a decade. Keep it simple stupid and let the rock and roll do the talking. Listening to  “Fad” and “Modern Art” in the same set is something that  I had long wanted (and luckily got to experience), but now with this LP – that can happen any time. Good stuff. Thanks Black Lips.


4. Ty Segall – Twins – Surprise, surprise! Twins is crazy good. Ty’s been on a tear since Melted, at least in the sense that people from semi-mainstream media outlets are in on the awesomeness as much as we little dudes have been in for a much longer time. But a great songwriter is a great songwriter and Ty’s been there for some time now. This one sounds better than all of ’em. While Melted absolutely shredded and was extremely catchy at the same time, this one furthers Segall’s sonic exploration and crunches everything together oh so nicely. Up until now, we never really got the “You’re The Doctor” side of Ty, at least not this great. The straight fuzz package in “Ghost” is like what “Melted” accomplishes but without the wait. Pure immediacy. For long time listeners, Twins satisfies, and for newcomers, it surely must have you wondering you’ve been missing out on. It’s all right.


5. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse – I know, I’m obsessed with this dude’s music. With a musician like Ty, you can go from listening to Lemons to Slaughterhouse and just nod in appreciation at how much more he has added to his arsenal. He had been doing the straight up old time rock and roll thing for a while, but with each release leading up to this, it seems as though he kept adding more and more weapons. For Slaughterhouse, Ty and band blasted full into heavier territory, leaving behind the two minute song for lengthy fuzzed out solos and pounding rhythms. The result is a wild success. While the Hair collaboration was a short and sweet affair through-and-through, Slaughterhouse is likewise full o’ goodies, but it beats out that album by containing Ty’s best song yet, “Wave Goodbye.” If the chorus doesn’t do it for you (why wouldn’t it?), there’s the “oooh-ooooh-oooh” part and duh…that solo. There aren’t any duds on this one and if the faster and more sinister stuff is more up your alley, I could easily understand why you’d rank this higher.

Honorable Mention


The Hussy – Weed Seizure – The Hussy have been impressing me with their studio output for a good while now and you guessed it – Weed Seizure is the pinnacle of their greatness so far. What the Hussy does so well is very much like what the bands above do so well: present you with a real strong melody and never have you looking back. The Hussy take their love of the beloved Jay Reatard and Segall, but cut out the loose ends and recorded some mighty quick numbers that definitely stack right up to the aforementioned. The whole album is unforgettable and sticky: the interestingly titled back-to-back  tunes “FUDje” and “SFB” are highlights, right up there with opener “Undefined” and the primal “Dog Said Yeah”. The Hussy have been on a roll, touring relentlessly and releasing a whole lot of quality material…the prospects are looking great for ’em and all the best. They are a lesser known band that you oughta know…now!

LP Review: Black Lips Live @ Third Man


Band: Black Lips
Release: 2012
Label: Third Man Records

[A Side]
1. “Family Tree” (Arabia Mountain)
2. “Stuck In My Mind” (7″)
3. “O Katrina” (Good Bad Not Evil)
4. “Make It” (7″)
5. “Lock and Key” (Good Bad Not Evil)
6. “Modern Art” (Arabia Mountain)

[B Side]
1. “I Saw A Ghost (Lean) (Good Bad Not Evil)
2. “You Must Be A Witch” (Cover)
3. “Fad” (Black Lips!)
4. “Dumpster Dive” (Arabia Mountain)
5. “Drugs” (200 Million Thousand)
6. “I Got A Knife” (Black Lips!)
7. “Bow Down and Die” (Almighty Defenders)

Comments: Here we are at last, another Black Lips live album! Fear not all ye doubters, this one is the real deal! There are no promotional clips that try to sync audio with visuals, but rest assured – this event was recorded live to tape at Third Man Studios on a nice June 11th 2012 evening. So if you can insinuate what I am alluding to, good for you. For others, the Black Lips tried their hand at a live album a half decade back. The result was Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo, a helluva record that really brings to life some of the best cuts on Let It Bloom and We Did Not all while maintaining the live energy of one of the best, if not THEE best rock and roll bands the 21st century has been blessed with. Well, live wasn’t live, at least by the traditional definition; a show did occur in Tijuana, some sounds from the show were captured and can be heard (you can’t fake a Mariachi band, can ya?), but a good deal was the result of some ole fashion studio trickery. This according to Cole Alexander himself. Either way, I argue it does not matter one bit. That album is my favorite.

Onto Live @ Thirdman. First things first, the record sounds GREAT. It doesn’t pretend to be a by-the-books Black Lips experience, but it does do a naturally amazing job at becoming one. The stage banter is priceless and genuine – Ian mentions Coors Light and after parties, Cole is random (“fuck me slowly”, “there’s nothing to fear from reading a book!”), and Jared warns against the consumption of fried foods.

The choice of tracks is interesting and fairly sensible, if not down right surprising in some spots. The Lips steer clear of their In The Red material, opting for a barrage of cuts ranging from their very early stuff (“Stuck In My Mind,” “Fad,” I Got A Knife”) to some Good Bad Not Evil staples (“O Katrina,” “I Saw A Ghost”), an inkling of 200 Million Thousand (“Drugs”), and finally some Arabia Mountain classics. For fans of all ages and time periods, Live @ Thirdman showcases in one sitting more of the complexities behind the band’s songwriting. If ya haven’t noticed, the Lips aren’t all about sweeping mosh inciting garage punk. This is where the principal contrast with Los Valientes is at. The Black Lips early stuff sounds just as good now as it did ten years ago and I’d like to say that’s a testament to their aptitude at crafting a keen dirty melody. A tune like “I Saw A Ghost (Lean)” is probably one of the band’s most spirited attempts at going beyond the traditional BL framework and extending it into a three plus minute jam of epic proportions.

The Lips aren’t afraid to reveal their roots, either. They throw in a cover of The Lollipop Shoppe’s “You Must Be A Witch,” famously released on the Pebbles garage/psych compilation of ’60s rarities. I absolutely love the inclusion of “Fad,” which has probably been performed by the band live less than a dozen times in the past few years. One of those times was April 2011 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island at the request of me to Jared. Cole dedicates “Dumpster Diving” to the gospel/country duo of Bill Anderson and Brenda Lee. Another surprise is “I Got A Knife,” which embodies the multiple vocal simplicity that dominated those old recordings (“we wrote this before we knew what a guitar solo was”). Finally, the band ends with a cover of their own song as Almighty Defenders – “Bow Down and Die”. This track has been a closing staple in their live performances for a couple of years now. A great sing-a-long to end things as only Black Lips know best.

Live @ Third Man is a record to put on when you want to sit down and appreciate a genius band. Whereas Los Valientes has you front and center in the pit, Live @ Third Man places you back stage behind the band. You aren’t being continuously thrown around. You are admiring and dancing at your own rate. Pick this essential up!