Cymbals Eat Guitars : Pretty Years

I can remember hearing “…And The Hazy Sea” for the first time back in 2009 and being completely floored. Cymbals Eat Guitars had created this musical world that11183_JKT encapsulated all those wonderful elements that made the early 90s indie rock movement so magical. Bombastic guitars, quiet moments, tinkling keyboards, wobbly vocals that go from fragile to explosive at the drop of a hat; these are the things that lived within that six-minute introduction to the 4-piece New Jersey crew known as Cymbals Eat Guitars. Fronted by guitarist and lead vocalist Joseph D’Agostino, CEG wore their influences on their raggedy shirtsleeves, but never seemed to content to be just a Pavement cover band. For being a 20-year old, he had a ton of heart and knew how to build an epic tune around his strengths. From that point on, the band would lose members and rebuild with others through the course of two more albums, but the constant was always D’Agostino. 2011s Lenses Alien felt more thought out and concise(albeit a bit cold at times), while 2014s LOSE saw a band shifting to include some brighter inspirations to give the album a poppier feel. It was an album that had it been released in the 90s would’ve seen at least a couple charting tracks, but since we live in the times we do LOSE was just another great album that would sit in obscurity and never get the populist attention it so deserved.

Joseph D’Agostino and Cymbals Eat Guitars have returned with their most pared down, pop-centric, and engaging album yet called Pretty Years. Produced by John Congleton, the album feels vibrant, present, and in-the-moment. It pushes air through the speakers into your ears with force and conviction. It’s not a heavy trip, but it makes good use of every last second of its run time.

“Finally” bursts out of the gate with all the conviction of a kid determined to take over the world with nothing more than his will and pounding heart. D’Agostino sounds like a guy who has found that balance between hazy, stoned digressions and concise pop songcraft. “Have A Heart” flutters by like a warm summer day. It’s a shot of jangly pop guitar that begs for rolled down windows as you sing along to “I’m so out of sync/you’re so out of sync with me” as the guy in the car next to you stares like you’re insane. “Wish” makes me think of the Boss. Electric piano, saxophone, and super tight rhythm section brings to mind New Jersey turnpikes and stadium singalongs. It’s a total rock and soul jam. Vocally though, D’Agostino seems to be channeling This Year’s Model-era Costello which seems to fit perfectly here. Then we come to “Close”, which is this alien creature of a song. It seems to have come from out of the ether. It’s like The Motels, The Feelies, and ancient Yo La Tengo intertwined with something not of this earth. It’s an incredible song and one that haunts my ears long after its done. “Dancing Days” is haunting and epic in its 5-minute runtime. Cymbals Eat Guitars have mastered the epic track to the point where it no longer needs to be 6 or 7 minutes long. The guitars are bright and ethereal, with some stomp box effects that turn their Jazzmasters into science fiction projects. “4th Of July, Philadelphia(Sandy)” crackles and distorts like a soul on the verge of explosion. This sounds like old Cymbals Eat Guitars jamming with new Cymbals Eat Guitars. It’s a buzzing, kinetic track. “Beam” is a shot of punk rock spittle. Everything feels like its in the red, needle bobbing far to the right. It’s explosive and ready to take you out back to go a couple of rounds. “Mallwalking” is a heavy track. D’Agostino sings “Back in ’99/After Columbine/I had the strangest dream/Liquid angels swam thru the halls of/Waretown Elementary”. It’s a song about reflection and sad reminiscing, another New Jersey attribute(see Springsteen, Real Estate, Titus Andronicus.) “Well” and “Shrine” continue this incredible streak, with the former feeling like a lost Hooters track that was covered by Straitjacket Fits, while the latter dissipates into a spectral ball of light, courtesy of guitars, reverb, and more reverb.

Pretty Years is the culmination of years worth of writing, honing, and D’Agostino and crew figuring out who the hell they are. They’ve figured it out, as Pretty Years proves that beautifully.

8.5 out of 10

 

 

Atticus Ross/Leopold Ross/Bobby Krlic : Almost Holy S/T

Almost Holy is a documentary directed by Steve Hoover, and it’s about Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a rogue man of the cloth that works and lives out of Mariupol, Ukraine. In his city there was a massive influx of homeless, drug-addicted children and “Pastor Crocodile”, as Mokhnenko likes to call himself, felt it was his duty to help rehabilitate this kids any way he could. That means sometimes forcibly removing these kids from the streets in order to help them, and inevitably save their life. It’s a fine line, and an ambiguous one, but despite what  you may feel about his motives Mokhnenko is doing what he feels is right. The soundtrack was written and created by brothers Atticus and Leopold Ross, as well as Bobby Krlic, aka The Haxan Cloak. It’s as harrowing an experience as the film itself, but just as engaging and stands on its own as a great electronic record.

If you’re familiar with Ross’ work with Trent Reznor on David Fincher’s last few films then you will feel right at home on album opener “One Block Further” as it would feel very much at home on any of the Reznor/Ross film soundtracks. It has a more percussive feel in terms of drum programming, but the Ross brothers do a fine job of creating mood, drama, and with an 80s electronic flair. “Punching Bag” feels more sparse and gritty, with metallic whooshes and reverb-drenched guitar float above the proceedings as a jaunty rhythm appears out of the ether. Bobby Krlic’s contributions on this S/T are darker, hazier, and really more enthralling. If you’re familiar with his work as The Haxan Cloak then you know what to expect here. If you’re not then you need to get a copy of Excavation, listen to it in a dark room with headphones and get back to me. Krlic’s work is harrowing, heavy, and nightmare fuel in the best way possible. “Intervention” feels like a gothic sound ritual, and only goes to add a deeper sense of dread that is already invoked by the sad reality of these kids in Almost Holy. “Pharmacies” has a distant dread in it. It’s as if darkness is filling the peripheral as daylight screams its final charge. I don’t know how Krlic has gotten away with not working in film up to this point, but he needs to keep moving in this direction as it’s his cup of tea, to say the least.

I think at times the soundtrack may add a bit more melodrama than there needs to be in this film. With the subject matter at hand, not much is needed musically to drive home the intensity and urgency of this real life story. A simple piano score with an occasional string accompaniment or synth blurbs here and there would’ve worked well. As it is, though, Ross, Ross, and Krlic don’t disappoint even if the dramatic bar is raised as each song moves along.

“Mokhnenko” by the brothers Ross has a John Carpenter feel to it, while “Distance” howls and hisses mechanically like a shattered spirit in duress. “Graves” contains a sample of Pastor Crocodile himself, talking about the death of a kid and not being able to give him a proper burial as his body is missing. Krlic’s “Coursing” moves along like an electronic fog, it’s mist made up of circuits and warm tubes, while “The End” is as foreboding as anything on this album. It shows just how good Bobby Krlic can be at what he does, and why he needs to do more in the cinematic world.

A documentary like Almost Holy pretty much speaks for itself. As intense as the film is, an equally intense film score could be overkill. At times the “less is more” adage might’ve been the way to go with this film, but since instead the filmmakers went with the brothers Ross and Bobby Krlic then we might as well just enjoy it. As a film score this record works fine, but as a standalone electronic LP it works even better. The Ross’ do good here, but Bobby Krlic absolutely shines.

8.1 out of 10

 

D Ferren : Something Like Forever

D Ferren is the quintessential singer/songwriter. He makes gritty tunes that aren’t quite country and aren’t quite folk, but very much rock and roll. He adds bits ofpng familiarity; the organ-fueled white soul of Whiskeytown here, and the guitar crunch of early Wilco there. But even with those inspirations present, Ferren’s musical world is a unique one filled with hazier sounds that echo more art rock than Gram Parsons. His last album, the excellent For Glare & Gun, was a mixture of dusty melodies, ambitious arrangements, and a carefree juke joint rock and roll abandon. Ferren’s new album, the equally excellent Something Like Forever, feels like a looser affair, though just as ambitious in its intents. Nine tracks of big guitars, soaring harmonies, and D Ferren sounding like a guy loving what he’s doing.

“Some highways they head west on a greyhound dirty road, and I took with me the one thing that I owned”, Ferren sings on the boisterous and raucous organ-fueled album opener “Goodbye Rain”. It has the spirit of Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” with the looser vibes of Wilco’s “Monday”. It’s a fun road song and a great opener. “Spoonful of Sugar” has more of a late night vibe. Sultry rhythms, tasteful electric guitar, and backing vocals by the always great Andrea Atwood gives the song an almost jazzy feel. “Lost” opens with the line “I wish you were on a plane falling from the sky, I wish you would’ve let me pass you by“, with Ferren admitting later on “I was trying to love you, but I got lost along the way“, as the song soars like a cross between Matthew Sweet and The Palace At 4am-era Jay Bennett with buzzing synths and Orange Opera’s Kevin Hambrick on background vox. Another sweeping mix of roots-y rock and bits of Big Star’s power pop. “Cards On The Table” has a mournful feel with some great Leslie speaker-affected guitar. A very big and dramatic track that never lets up. “The Highway Is Abandoned” is a road song, all that’s needed is some open road and the windows rolled down. “I Lie A Little Bit” sounds like a declaration. It buzzes and whizzes ominously with synthesizers, cello, and Ferren dropping lines like “I lie a little bit to you, but it don’t take me where I want to go.” It’s a ghostly track that lingers in the air like the night’s last cigarette.

Ferren enlisted the help of some of the most talented folks in the Fort Wayne music scene to help out on Something Like Forever. As well as the aforementioned Andrea Atwood and Kevin Hambrick, Mark Hutchins, Jeffrey James Alan, Tim Mangus, and Jim Barlow also helped out in the studio. As with For Glare & Gun, Something Like Forever was produced by Jason Davis and recorded at his Off The Cuff Sound. Davis also pulled multi-instrumentalist duties throughout the album.

As title track “Something Like Forever” closes out D Ferren’s newest record, you get the feeling that this album was a labor of love. It hits highs and at times lingers in the depths of existential crisis, but it never loses sight of serving the song. That final track fades with an almost “Hey Jude”-like jubilation. A fitting ending to a hell of a musical journey.

8.2 out of 10

 

 

Preoccupations : Preoccupations

Preoccupations is the band formerly known as Viet Cong. Viet Cong was a band that put out one of my favorite albums of 2015. Preoccupations is a band that may havejag290-preoccupations-fc-1400 put out one of my favorite albums of 2016. Not only for the fact that their self-titled album is a beautifully dark concoction of post-punk abyss and bits of light shining through the grainy muck and mire, but for the fact that these four Canadian musicians persevered through a year of calamities, broken bones, desolate gigs, and ultimately a band name controversy that ended up seeing the band disappear for a few months as Viet Cong and reemerge as Preoccupations. This record is a testament to the frustration, broken relationships, loneliness, defeat, and desolation of a year of general misfortune and finding a beauty in it all.

There’s an industrial graininess to Preoccupation’s music. It sounds as if it came off an assembly line in some long dead factory located in an overgrown lot awaiting demolition. When you first hear album opener “Anxiety” that grey and soot-filled landscape of Eraserhead comes to mind. Singer/bassist Matt Flegel’s voice sounds like a cross between Peter Murphy and Neil Diamond. This is the guy that covered the former’s “Dark Entries” a couple years ago, but could pull off “Forever In Blue Jeans” like a champ. With “Monotony” that gravelly voice only solidifies the Diamond mannerisms, but only if the Jazz Singer would be down with Wire’s 154. The 11-minute “Memory” floats along on something that resembles a good vibe, or at least a smile as you sink into the ether. There’s some great guest vocals by fellow Canadian and Handsome Furs/Divine Fits singer Dan Boeckner. The track goes from driving force to melting into the abyss. It’s a mesmerizing listen.

I think what I find so amazing about this record and band is their ability to go so dark in mood, yet still put this sheen of optimistic light throughout the gloom. There are truly harrowing moments on this album, but there are also some nearly new wave-ish sounds happening here. “Degraded” rises through the speakers in a sheet of white noise and feedback before morphing into one of the most “pop” moments we’ve heard from these guys. There’s also more emphasis on rhythm this time around, as Flegel and drummer Michael Wallace lock in for some serious groove throughout the record. Guitarists Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen use their 6-strings just as much for creating swaths of noise and mood as they do for creating melody. They seem to be painting abstract over the skeletal grooves. “Forbidden” is dark and foreboding, while “Stimulation” sounds like The Police circa 1979 colliding with Rush circa 1984. A propulsive beat is painted in jangle guitar and Matt Flegel’s urgent vocals. “Fever” is a synth-heavy closer that has a doomed calm to it. “You’re not scared, carry your fever away from here” Matt Flegel sings as hazy synths consume everything till silence.

Preoccupations sounds like a band more comfortable as a band, but not necessarily content. There’s still plenty of push and pull on this record. There’s tension and skepticism about where we’re all going as humanity seems to continue to rot from the inside out. Despite what may sound like a downer of an album, Preoccupations self-titled is as engaging as it is harrowing. There’s beauty in the shadows and darkness, as Preoccupations point out one song at a time.

8. 4 out of 10

 

 

 

Purling Hiss : High Bias

Purling Hiss are a band that can’t really be labeled. As soon as you think you know who they are the sound changes. Mike Polizze and his Purling Hiss project began aspurlingan experimental outlet for him to record his white noise and fuzz-drenched solo songs, but it turned into more than that. Comparisons to Dinosaur Jr and fIREHOSE weren’t unfounded, but pigeonholing the Philly native as an 80s and 90s indie rock revivalist wasn’t what Polizze had in mind. With 2013s Water On Mars, Purling Hiss blew the speakers with album opener “Lolita”, a frontal lobe-melting scorcher that sounded like Nirvana’s In Utero re-imagined as a scuzz rock masterpiece. From there though, the album skated from sound to sound. In 2014 Polizze followed up Water On Mars with the folksy Weirdon. If you thought you had Purling Hiss pegged, you were dead wrong, and Mike Polizze was happy to point that out song after song.

Well Purling Hiss are back with High Bias, probably their most consistent record to date. It’s a punky, power chord-fueled affair that balances between unabashed, upbeat rock and roll and late-70s hardcore punk workouts that while differ in attitude, always seem to follow the same rock and roll spirit.

“Fever” is a balls out rock and roll barn burner and a hell of an opening salvo. It’s as if T.Rex and the Ramones mind melded somewhere between “Jeepster” and “Judy Is A Punk”. No saccharine or sentiment, just sweat and buzzing amps. “3000 AD” sounds like a lost Cult track with bits of Screaming Trees thrown in for good measure, while “Notion Sickness” has a Dead Kennedys vibe in both the punk rock squall and Polizze’ Jello Biafra-affected vocals. “Follow You Around” is an all-out early 90s indie rock tune, complete with Lemonheads-like vocals and a Dino Jr lean in the guitar jangle.

Mike Polizze makes no qualms about his love of those early 90s indie rock inspirations and you can certainly hear ’em in his tunes. But he’s also enough of an individual and musical voice that he doesn’t need to recreate Lollapalooza ’93 on every song. Case in point, “Teddy’s Servo Motors”. It’s a nearly 7-minute post-punk banger that has as much in common with Polvo as it does METZ. This is what makes Purling Hiss such an exciting band and what makes Mike Polizze an engaging songwriter, singer, and guitarist. I think Polizze could shred on every song if he wanted to, but instead he pushes his guitar prowess into repetition and monster riffs. “Get Your Way” sounds like Jesus and Mary Chain covering the Beach Boys’ “Do It Again”, while “Pulsations” is another post-punk staccato attack. “Everybody In The USA” is an 11-minute psychedelic trip that goes from Mudhoney’s “Mudslide” to Dead Kennedys’ “California Uber Alles” and back again. It may run a few minutes too long, but Purling Hiss don’t really care. And in the end, neither should I.

Purling Hiss’ High Bias shows Mike Polizze in a fuzzed-out rock and roll mood with little letting up throughout the album’s 9-ear shattering tracks. Amidst a sea of faux rock and roll bands and over-produced, plastic artists it’s refreshing to have a new Purling Hiss record. Something that has feeling. Something that feels alive with blemishes, scars, faults, and jagged edges that’ll cut you if you’re not careful. Makes me want to sew some patches on my jean jacket, put on some hi-tops, and turn my amp up to 11 in the garage.

High Bias is out 10/14/16 via Drag City.

8.0 out of 10

Conrad Schnitzler/Schneider TM : Con-struct

Conrad Schnitzler was a German experimental music pioneer. He founded Berlin’s legendary Zodiak Free Arts Lab, a subculture club, in 1967/68. He was also a member of Tangerine Dream, showing up on their debut record Electronic Meditation. He left Tangerine Dream and then formed Kluster with Roedelius and Moebius. Schnitzler recorded three albums with Kluster then ventured off to explore music on his own.

In 2011 Conrad Schnitzler died of stomach cancer, but he left behind a massive collection of music for the world. One of those was a series called Con-struct. Here’s what the Con-struct series entailed: Conrad Schnitzler liked to embark on daily excursions through the sonic diversity of his synthesizers. Finding exceptional sounds with great regularity, he preserved them for use in combination with each other in subsequent live performances. He thus amassed a vast sound archive of his discoveries over time. When Jens Strüver, the producer of the Con-Struct series, was granted access to this audio library at the outset of the 2010 decade, he came up with the idea of con-structing new compositions, not remixes, from the archived material. On completion of the first Con-Struct album, he decided to develop the concept into a series, with different electronic musicians invited into Schnitzler’s unique world of sound.

Recently Schneider TM, an electronic musician and former member of noise rock/pop bands Locust Fudge and Hip Young Things, was invited to rework some of Schnitzler’s Con-struct works, the results are on this new album Conrad Schnitzler/Schneider TM : Con-struct. It’s a dizzying mix of industrial noise with an organic feel, like an industrial album made with the sounds of blood flow and beating hearts.

Schneider TM, aka Dirk Dresselhaus, approached this project as if he was working with Schnitzler side by side in the studio. He would play Conrad’s sound files as if he was creating them live on his modular system and then run those files through his own system, manipulating them live in the studio. What you hear is essentially a posthumous collaboration between two generations of electronic sound pioneers. All you hear are Schnitzler’s musical thoughts and creations, though they’re being manipulated and reimagined through Dresselhaus’ world of musical boxes, circuits, and gadgets.

Tracks like “Doozer”, “Dabb”, and “Wollwachsalkohol” have the sound of some industrial soundtrack. There’s an organic quality to these pieces that could pass for wisps of air passing through nostrils only multiplied and layered, or a steady heartbeat being manipulated through modular technology to the point of becoming more of an idea than an actual entity. “Parabelflug” has a playful rhythmic quality to it. It pops and crackles before what sounds like blood flow through a vein joins the percussive feel. This track really harkens back to those first couple Kluster records, with a more modern electronic vibe. There’s a 23-minute finisher called “Wurmloch” that sounds like falling through space on a morphine drip. You slowly melt into the atmosphere as this piece inches by minute after minute.

Con-struct is a perfect way to remember a man of Conrad Schnitzler’s importance in the world experimental and avante garde electronic music. Schneider TM has done his name and work justice with reinterpretations and sonic “coloring in” if you will, of Schnitzler’s musical visions. This is a vast and dense journey, well worth taking if you think you’re up to it.

The album will be available 11/18/16.

7.8 out of 10

Last Night I Dreamt I Saw The Flaming Lips In Fort Wayne, Indiana

What a strange dream.

Last night I dreamt I saw the Flaming Lips at Headwaters Park in Fort Wayne, IN. What a bizarre thing to dream, right? But man, I’m telling you it was so realistic. The sights, the sounds, the smells…I even clearly remember the name, “Middle Waves”. That was the name of the music festival where the Lips were headlining.

The dream started with my wife and I leaving the kids at home armed with phone numbers and a couple frozen pizzas with directions not to burn the house down. We made it to Fort Wayne a little after 5pm and found an incredibly close spot to park, right next to Headwaters Park. We only had to pay $5 to park, too(so yeah, this was obviously a dream.)

Our first stop was the St. Josephs Stage to see local Fort Wayne band The Orange Opera. Kevin Hambrick and company killed it, blowing the sweaty crown away with his mix of solo John Lennon and mid-70s power pop. The Orange Opera are a Fort Wayne music institution and they plowed the sweaty Middle Waves crowd down with their musical prowess(at least, in my dream they did.)

After the Orange Opera we quickly made our way to the Maumee Stage(in the dream there were three stages, The St. Mary’s Stage, The Maumee Stage, and The St. Josephs Stage, all of which had bands playing throughout the day.) Fort Wayne’s Heaven’s Gateway Drugs had just begun their set. They mine some pretty heady psych sounds, complete with a tambourine-playing shaman and reverb-drenched guitar. Live, HGD are a much heavier and headier band with the rhythm section of Brandon Lee Zolman and James Francis Wadsworth laying some serious grooves down for guitarist Derek Mauger to lose himself in. They plowed through some of their new album Rubber Nun, as well as some classic HGD tunes. There was a nice crowd for the set, with everyone ranging from teens to old people like me.

After HGD, the wife and I were ready to eat so we headed to a place called The Village. Cool area where there were local food vendors and Lagunita’s Brewing was serving up IPAs(the details in this dream were amazing, right?) While in The Village I ran into R. Mike Horan, a legendary figure in the local music scene. In real life we’ve communicated through social media, and he was even there for my band’s first and last live gig at Wooden Nickel Music back in 2010, but never an actual conversation with the man. It was nice to shake his hand see him face to face, even if it was just a dream.

After a pulled pork sandwich and being swarmed by bees the wife and I caught local band Void Reunion. A great band that’s made up of some truly amazing local band alumni. Their sound is a mix of dreamy pop and jangly guitar. Imagine This Will Destroy You being heavily influenced by REMs Murmur and you might have a little idea of the sounds these guys are cooking up. The local Fort Wayne bands were all class acts. They all sounded like they should’ve been playing the big stage(regardless if this was a dream or not.)

After Void Reunion ended their set the wife and I headed to the main stage and saw the band Tanlines. A Brooklyn electronic synth dance/pop band that I quite enjoyed. I’m a sucker for the electronic synth thing, and these guys did it very well. The band was just two guys, one handled the synth/percussion end while the other guy played guitar and sang. Pretty catchy tunes that didn’t require much of the audience other than to just lose yourself in the music. I must add, that apparently in the dream it must’ve rained pretty hard earlier in the day as the field was still pretty wet with lots of hay spread out throughout the grounds to help soak up some puddles.

I’m telling you, this was one detailed dream.

One of the highlights of this lucid dream was to see DC rapper/producer Oddisee. I’ve only recently in the last few years found a love for hip hop, and Oddisee is one of the artists that’s made an impact on me(his newest instrumental album Odd Man Out is pretty great.) Oddisee, and his DJ Unknown started their set a little early and jumped right in after finishing their soundcheck. His lyrics are of the socially conscious variety, which I dig. He interacted with the slowly growing crowd and even kept it cool after a beach ball had been knocked up on the stage twice( he kept it the second time and gave it to Unknown as a gift.) It was a great set and made me all the more a fan of the man.

So finally the moment came. The Lips were on stage doing soundcheck. When we saw them back in 2011 in Chicago(not a dream, btw) they came out on stage and were part of the crew, setting up their own instruments and in this bizarrely realistic dream it was no different. Wayne Coyne walked around the stage checking props and cables with his crotch covered with colored balls, while a caped Steve Drozd tinkered and toyed with his keyboard corner and played his guitar along to Pavement’s “Summer Babe” as it played through the loudspeakers(the music playing through the loudspeakers while they set up was an early 90s indie fan’s wet dream, btw…Built To Spill, Sebadoh, Pavement, as well as T. Rex and Gang of Four hit our ears as we patiently waited.)

The crowd slowly grew as my wife and I stood amongst young and old, drunk and stoned, dazed and confused, waiting for the Oklahoma psych freak heroes to take the stage. Then, the moment arrived. To my great surprise, Drozd started the show on the drums as the band opened with a glorious rendition of “Race For The Prize”. Coyne conducted the band as they brought the song in with a slow burn before the song exploded with confetti cannons and hand held confetti guns. There were two guys behind the wife and I completely tripping balls. I mean, one of them was laughing maniacally as the giant blow up creatures came out onto the stage. I heard one of them yell loudly to the other “I need some more motherfucking mushrooms, man!” No sir, I don’t think you do. “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part. 1” came up and at the “karate chop” part Wayne stopped the band and told the crowd that part was our moment to shine. It was our moment to be a part of the experience. “Once more, with feeling” was the vibe I was getting from Wayne, and the crowd ate it up. They also ate up the massive balloon sign Wayne presented to us that stood nearly 15 feet high that said “Fuck Yeah Middle Waves”. Coyne flung the balloon out into the crowd and it made the rounds as the crowd pushed it and flung it across the field.

Other songs that made an appearance were “What Is The Light”, “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate”, and “Waitin’ For A Superman” off of The Soft Bulletin and a killer version of “The W.A.N.D.” off of At War With The Mystics. There were others, but the dream gets a little hazy. Last thing I remember is the Lips covering “Space Oddity”, with Wayne taking the bubble for a ride out into the crowd. His mic stopped working, but Drozd kept the vocals going. The wife and I made our way to the car as exhaustion set in, as well as a mild contact high.

It was a surreal feeling seeing one of my musical heroes The Flaming Lips on a stage in a park a mere 45 minutes from my house. It’s too bad the Middle Waves Festival was only a dream. It was indeed a glorious, sweaty, ear-numbing dream. Too bad none of it was real.

Or was it?

Orange Opera
Orange Opera
Void Reunion
Void Reunion
Flaming Lips
Flaming Lips
Flaming Lips "Fuck Yeah Middle Waves" balloon
Flaming Lips “Fuck Yeah Fort Wayne” balloon
Flaming Lips
Flaming Lips
Oldies but goodies
Oldies but goodies