too much typing—since 2003


chasing a bee through a garden of eyes

I've been thinking about the curious parallelism of the careers of Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips (not to mention the personnel and production intersections). Both began by maniacally piling shards of sheet metal, broken glass, and as many guitars as possible into hugely precarious towers, then setting the whole thing on fire - and miraculously, interesting major labels in the process. Both then moved to a rather different approach, making castles using clouds and pillows as building materials, then wrapping the whole thing in gauze and whimsy. (Plus, both Jonathan Donahue and Wayne Coyne could get jobs as Neil Young impersonators...) In Mercury Rev's case, David Baker's departure no doubt had something to do with the change: his "dig all my cool musician friends" pseudo-solo album World, under the name Shady, seemed to take most of the more aggressive strangeness out of the band. (That's a fine, if hard to find, record, by the way.) And I like both bands' new approaches, although the Lips in particular (on Yoshimi) tend to wear thin a bit sooner than I'd like.

I'm hoping they occasionally want to set things on fire again.

No comments: