All-Time Best Band: Flaming Lips All-Time Best Solo Artist: Woody Guthrie Best New Band: Evangelicals
Dorky Vince Gill may have a street in Oklahoma City named after him, but so does Wayne Coyne. At the dedication of Flaming Lips Alley, Coyne led the city fathers in a parade that included, according to one newspaper, “a handful of Santa Claus–clad revelers” and “what appeared to be a gigantic caterpillar.” A quarter-century after debuting as standard-issue acid-rock loonies (early song title: “Jesus Shootin’ Heroin”), the Lips have experimented with almost as many inceptions as illicit substances: alt-rock novelty act (“She Don’t Use Jelly”), avant-garde performance artists (remember the parking-lot boom-box experiments?), stadium-rocking psych-pop messiahs, commercial shills (for Mitsubishi, Dell, and SpongeBob, to name a few) . . . and Yoshimi hasn’t even made it to Broadway yet! | The working man — or, at the very least, the “working man” as folk-music trope — had no better friend than Woody Guthrie, whose hundreds of ballads were periodically overshadowed by his legacy as an activist. That’s all changed, however, thanks to a posthumous career as a lyricist for Wilco and Dropkick Murphys. | On The Evening Descends, latter-day Okie psych fiends Evangelicals produce everything you’d want out of a new record emanating from the Lips’ home state: singer busting a gloriously uneven falsetto, guitars pancaked through murderous stereo pans, songs trailing off into twinkling nods of abstraction before clawing their way back to a voluptuous chorus. Count us among the converted.