Music Routes Blog

Styx To Flaming Lips (SMLP #7: Vaguely Pirate Edition)

17 October 2009

Today's $1 purchase from the second-hand shop and the start of this week's route: Styx, Pieces Of Eight.

Mostly, I bought it because there are moai on the cover and a song entitled "Aku-Aku", thematically connecting it to Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman from last week's listening party.  But the title of the album itself is sort of pirate-themed and I'm going to the Treasure Island Music Festival this weekend to see The Flaming Lips. Of course, the name Treasure Island is sort of pirate-themed too.

So the other end of this week's route will be the Embryonic, the new Flaming Lips record.

The route starts with "Renegade" from Pieces Of Eight.  During the listening party, Humuhumu noted that the verse of "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor bears a striking resemblance to the verse of the other big hit from the record, "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)". I bring this up only because this route starts with "Renegade", but I don't have much to say about it.

"Renegade" was written and sung by Tommy Shaw. When Warren Zevon was terminally ill and recording his last album, Tommy Shaw joined him to sing background vocals and play 12-string guitar on "Knockin' On Heaven's Door".

Much earlier in Zevon's career, he wrote "Tenderness On The Block" with Jackson Browne.  Jackson Browne produced and sang background vocals on the track which appears on Zevon's Excitable Boy album. Whoever is responsible for keeping this track off the Internet is doing a bang-up job. Even Rhapsody, whose site indicates they have the full track available for legal streaming, only has a 30 second sample. Fortunately, Excitable Boy is an excellent record well worth paying for.

Jackson Browne plays guitar on the 2007 Rilo Kiley song "The Angels Hung Around". The video below has terrible sound quality, so if you like it, here's one more to go buy.

Rilo Kiley was one of many indie luminaries who performed on "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en", a parody of charity singles and, yet, an actual charity single itself. (Proceeds went to UNICEF.)

Other people on that track include Beck, members of Arcade Fire, and Karen O of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which brings us to The Flaming Lips and Embryonic.

Karen O performed on three tracks from the new Flaming Lips record. Here she is with them on "Gemini Syringes".