Feliz Cinco de Mayo mis amigos! I think that’s correct Spanish. It’s been several years since I’ve had to use it, but today seems like an appropriate day to dust it off. I hope you enjoyed a margarita and your favorite Mexican dish in celebration of the holiday. Speaking of ethnicities, have you heard about this racism controversy involving The Flaming Lips? I know with rancher Cliven Bundy and Clippers owner Donald Sterling there’s been a lot of issues surrounding racism lately, so it’s kind of easy to see how this one may have gotten swept under the rug. Granted, this also isn’t as juicy of a story. The plot is as follows. Back in March, Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock left the band. No reason was given for his exit at the time. Now Scurlock has started to speak up, and blames an argument with band frontman Wayne Coyne as the reason he was “fired” from the band. It stems from an incident in early March, where Christina Fallin, the daughter of Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, posted a photo on Instagram in which she was wearing a Native American headdress. It was basically a promotional stunt for her band Pink Pony (aka Chrome Pony), and after it generated a lot of controversy, she apologized about the photo. Apparently Christina Fallin also imitated a Native American war dance during her band’s show at the Norman Music Festival, which caused additional problems and resulted in another apology. What this boils down to is that Coyne jumped to the defense of (his friend) Fallin, while Scurlock called her out and was angry about her misappropriation of Native American culture. Well, when I say “called her out” I mean he made some angry comments about it on social media both directly to her and at others as well. Scurlock says he doesn’t regret what he did, but does feel one or two things he posted may have gone a little too far, and removed them shortly after posting them. But Fallin saw some of the posts, got upset and told Coyne about it. This turned into some angry text message exchanges between the two Flaming Lips members, and it’s something that Scurlock assumed would blow over as Coyne apparently can be a real hothead from time to time. Well, after their initial argument, they had band practice together the next day and things seemed to be largely back to normal until later that night when Coyne sent more angry texts and suggested potentially firing Scurlock from the band. He would follow through on that threat a few hours later. So what does all of this tell us? Well, like most bands, The Flaming Lips are not immune to arguments and differences of opinions between members. Per Scurlock’s account of events, Coyne is painted as angry, abusive, and flippant when it comes to Native American culture. Well, perhaps he’s not flippant about it, but is certainly willing to defend the controversial and racist actions of his friends. How accurate is all of this? Coyne has done very little to defend himself, outside of posting some quotes about eliminating hate from your life and embracing love. Considering all of the strange stunts that Coyne has put together under the Lips name over the last few years, including gummy and chocolate creations that include music on USB sticks buried within, working with pop stars like Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus on psychedelic songs and projects, crafting nudity filled NSFW videos and playing one extended 24 hour jam session, there seems to be a grand attention-seeking element to it all. In some sense it reeks of desperation, even as it can also be regarded as somewhat cool. And while Coyne projects himself as this cool, laid back guy on stage and via social media, there’s also some obvious indications that much of it is an act designed to sell product. As a Flaming Lips fan, I’ve been somewhat ambivalent about the band these last few years, and assuming what Scurlock says is true it lessens my enthusiasm even more. If you’d like to read Scurlock’s lengthy, full statement on the matter, all of the gory details can be found here. Now let’s try to bring some levity back to today with some free music to download and stream. Don’t miss mp3s in this set from Armand Margjeka, The Glorious, Mr. Flash, The River MOnks and Twin Berlin. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Baths, Beta Frontiers, Iggy Pop & Nick Cave (ft. Thurston Moore) and Young Widows.
Twin Berlin – Buzzkill
Baths – Fade White
Beta Frontiers – So Cold (ft. Carmen Elle)
Iggy Pop & Nick Cave (ft. Thurston Moore) – Nobody’s City
Liars – Pro Anti Anti (Factory Floor (GG:NV) Remix)
Small Black – Lines of Latitude (Dave Harrington Remix)
Young Widows – The Money