In 2003, the world of punk was forever changed with the release of an LP by a new band called The Black Lips. The album was coincidentally enough called Black Lips! and the rest as they say, is history. The Black Lips’ debut LP compared to their newest effort, entitled Arabia Mountain, sound like two completely different bands. With age, their music became more linear, like there was more of a sense of purpose. With that being said, all of their albums are great in my opinion, and all worth a listen.
The Black Lips are a self-proclaimed “flower-punk” band. I’m not quite sure what that means. I don’t think anyone does, I don’t even think they do. All I know is that it’s a Frank Zappa song, but that’s not very relevant at this point. Formed in 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia, front-men Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley were kicked out of Columbine a year after the shootings for being a “Sub-culture danger”. Soon after they met Ben Eberbaugh, with whom they wrote and practiced all their music. Days before a tour, Eberbaugh was killed by a drunk driver, but the band still went on in his memory. From there, The Black Lips achieved true success with their 2007 hit album Good Bad Not Evil. 2009 brought 200 Million Thousand, and they’re now back in 2011.
The name of the new album is Arabia Mountain, and although The Black Lips have reached some kind of “mainstream” success, they refuse to lose their sound. That rough, raw sound that you usually only hear on a band’s live album recording. They’re still angry at the world, they still hate everyone, but at the same time, they’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and it really shows on the record. At 16 tracks, this is one of The Black Lips’ longest records, but with great production by Mark Ronson, catchy but still rough melodies, and good lyrical content, Arabia Mountain is never boring.
It’s true that you can start to hear the age and wisdom that The Black Lips have gained over the years, but as they’ve said before, “All we are are bad kids!”