The Flaming Lips' Zaireeka Listening Party - The Echo - 1/31/13
Zaireeka Listening Party feat. Hott MT and Butcher Boy
Paul T. Bradley This is what people listening to a record in the dark looks like.
Better than... admitting you don't really understand
Way back in 1997, the Flaming Lips were just weirdos in a big sea of wannabe weirdos. Sure, they'd released a heavily-rotated off-kilter pop song "She Don't Use Jelly," but they were already veterans at that point and were never as success-driven as other emergent "alternative rock" bands at the time.
Instead of blowing that cash and good will on mindless indulgence, they made Zaireeka, a truly sonic mindfuck and a marked shift in funloving musical intelligence. You see, it's four CDs, and they all have to be listened to at the same time. And so, last night at the Echo, about 50 people stood around and did exactly that.
The event's organizer Krissy Barker was decked in a yellow raincoat -- a la what Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne wore at his first listening party. She had done her homework, see. Turns out it was Barker's sixth Zaireeka listening party -- but her first in LA.
"Wayne Coyne is my hero," she noted. "[The Echo] brought up extra speakers from downstairs, so now we've got each CD on a wall and each mix on a speaker. We've basically got octophonic sound."
Actually, there was live music first. Portland, Maine's Butcher Boy opened to about fifteen people at 9:15. They sounded like a Cap'n Jazz record on the wrong speed in a good way at some points, and then like Jeff Mangum's brilliant younger Appalachian cousins on the rest. It's fair to say they made an impression. If they're comfortable being called post-folk-punk jacked up on acid-laced corn liquor, we're happy to oblige them.
Ashleigh Allard, the lead singer of Hott MT, then emerged from a cocoon of sorts and cycled freaky pop tunes with an absurd tinge. Coyne would be proud. In fact, the band collaborated with him last summer after surprising him at his house for his birthday, even playing a top notch cover of the Lips' "What is the Light."
Paul T. Bradley This is what Hott MT looks like in low lighting
But jeez, let's get this thing started. At about 11:08, there was already a dude sitting square in the middle of the Echo floor -- ready to vibe the fuck out. For the next 20 minutes, Origami vinyl guru Emily Twombly slung some really bizarre acetate. She and her cohorts even slowed down "Cruella Deville" to the point of weirdo enjoy-ability.