It’s been an especially strange recent period for seminal psych rock outfit The Flaming Lips. In more than three and a half years since the group dropped their uncharacteristically dark and pessimistic last full-length, The Terror, the band have gone through lineup changes, continued a slew of re-releases and gimmicks, partnered up with a star-studded array of collaborators for a Beatles tribute, served as Miley Cyrus’s muse and backing band for her experimental Dead Petz album and tour, managed to flirt with some controversy, and, all the while, have continued to appear at festivals and tour intermittently, constantly evolving their trippy, surreal, uplifting, and unparalleled live show. While hardcore fans, ourselves included, are always eager to see what the unpredictable group will do next, certainly in the back of our mind, and, likely, moreso in the minds of more casual Lips fans, we’ve wondered when the band might return to the more pop-centric, song-focused approach of the late career renaissance started by 1999’s The Soft Bulletin, and continued on with 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and 2006’s At War with the Mystics. It seems that that might just be the group’s intention with newly-announced 15th LP Oczy Mlody, slated for release Jan. 13 via Warner Bros. First single “The Castle” sounds more akin to The Flaming Lips of a decade ago than anything they’ve put out recently, and even the visuals feel like a big of a return to form for the celebrated and eclectic band.
In celebration of their new LP, the Lips have also announced a string of spring tour dates, slated for clubs a bit smaller than your typical Flaming Lips show, which is great news for Nashville, since they’re set to play War Memorial Auditorium on March 29. This will be the band’s first proper Music City headliner in almost six years, and first time in Nashville since last year’s SoundHarvest Festival. Tickets go on sale Friday, Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. CDT, and we have no doubt they’ll go fast!