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Flaming Lips, Laurie Anderson, and Supersuckers

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Imagene Peise / Flaming Lips
  • Imagene Peise / Flaming Lips

Imagene Peise / Flaming Lips

Atlas Eets Christmas

Warner Bros.

File next to: Olivia Tremor Control, Vince Guaraldi, Martin Denny

Let's get a few things out of the way right up front about this holiday-themed release. First there is no Imagene Peise; despite a convoluted backstory, "she" is really The Flaming Lips. But no, that's not quite accurate, either: This album — a reissue of a 2007 limited edition disc — in pretty much a Steven Drozd solo instrumental work, with a bit of vocal help here and there from Wayne Coyne. The recipe is three equal parts: first, take Drozd's lyrical piano readings of Christmas classics. Add a healthy dose of Flaming Lips sonic weirdness (Mellotron, sitars). Finally, spread a thick layer of vinyl crackle noise atop the entire affair. Fans of early '60s exotica, piano jazz-pop, and the Flips' psychedelic stew will love this, but those who only like one or two of those things might be left scratching their heads. — Bill Kopp

Laurie Anderson
  • Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson

Heart of a Dog


File next to: Amy X. Neuburg, Yoko Ono, Amy Kohn

Laurie Anderson fans are frustrated by the number of works — such as Moby Dick, Burning Leaves and Dirt Day — that she has never released on DVD or CD. Fortunately, she compiled many stories of the slow deaths of husband Lou Reed and dog Lolabelle, for an HBO film and soundtrack, her most powerful work since 1983's United States. Musical scores are secondary to 26 oral vignettes and a closing remake of Lou Reed's "Turning Time Around." Of course, Zen observations of passing ("the purpose of death is the release of love") are startling, but the most moving stories involve Laurie explaining how we lie to ourselves and others when recounting our lives, so that we can delete the scariest parts. Heart of a Dog is a perfect eulogy for Lou, for Lolabell, and maybe someday for Laurie herself. — Loring Wirbel

The Supersuckers
  • The Supersuckers

The Supersuckers

Holdin' the Bag

Acetate Records

File next to: Long Ryders, Jason & the Scorchers, Peter Case

If Michael Jackson could hubristically anoint himself King of Pop, it stands to reason that the Supersuckers should be allowed to crown themselves the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World. Though past efforts have found the rowdy trio cranking out hard rock, they're not a one-dimensional act. As the title track of Holdin' the Bag illustrates, they can turn out hard-bitten Americana-flavored rock that combines the best of singer/songwriting with the western end of C&W. There's a boot-scootin' ambience to the songs, but it's knowingly grounded in rock 'n' roll. And despite real life's intrusions — bassist/vocalist Eddie Spaghetti is in cancer treatment — the band's humor is always present; here's an example: "This beer would taste a whole lot better / if I didn't have to drink it with you." — Bill Kopp

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