The scene: Fall 1999, Chapel Hill, NC. I am in the first semester of my freshman year at UNC – Chapel Hill and virtually friendless. A junior in the theatre department throws a Zaireeka party on the outskirts of the town. I take the bus over to his place and enter the party with high hopes of meeting some new friends, impressing some people (naively) with my knowledge of obscure bands from the 90′s, or simply just get my buzz on.
I get there just in time for the 4-count at the top of the records. (For those of you unfamiliar, Zaireeka is a four-disc Flaming Lips record that is played simultaneously on four different stereos.) I sat on a couch and listened, drank a beer, and didn’t really talk to anyone. While I wasn’t making a bunch of new friends, impressing anyone with stupid band trivia, or buzzing in the slightest, it didn’t matter. Something more important was happening to me. I was beginning to realize that I was experiencing a band that was changing the game. Noises that I couldn’t comprehend were coming out of those four stereos. I knew I had to put aside my Built To Spill for a while and buy some ‘Lips records. The next morning, I hit up Schoolkids Records on Franklin Street and bought The Soft Bulletin and haven’t tired of The Flaming Lips since.
Pitchfork awesomely put together an oral history, told by the band and producer Dave Fridmann, detailing the making of the record. I watched all 8 parts in one sitting. You probably will too. Oh, and Dave Fridmann: holler at AR if you ever want to collaborate. You too, Wayne and Steve!
#2 – Radiolab Podcasts
Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich are badasses. They are. They are the science nerds from high school that turned out way cooler than you. They have smart writers, producers, sound editors, friends, and listeners. Here is how they describe what they do on their site, radiolab.org.
“Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility.”
Every episode takes you further down the rabbit hole. They inspire thoughtful and brave conversations…
#3 – Dog or Wizard
When you need a break from all of those thoughtful and brave conversations.
Apollo Run lead singer John McGrew has been said to sound uncannily like Jeff Buckley with some Freddy Mercury-worthy grandstanding thrown in The band recently released the EP Here Be Dragons, Vol II and are finishing up their full-length Here Be Dragons, Vol III. They are using a PledgeMusic campaign to fund the album and giving away a free download of “These Kinds of Girls.” Visit the site to show them some love.