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Spacelab Retrograde: Flaming Lips - Transmissions from the Satellite Heart

 

By: Corey Tate
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October 3, 2013

 

Transmissions from the Satellite Heart was released in 1993 and was The Flaming Lips' sixth album. Although the band had been around for 10 years before that, through countless quality releases, Transmissions was the first album that pushed them up to a national and international level after being a legendary underground phenomenon.


“She Don't Use Jelly” was the breakthrough single that pushed the band into the limelight. It was 1992, and Iraq was flouting UN inspectors before the Persian Gulf War, the Rodney King riots happened, Microsoft Windows hadn't even taken over the world yet and Miley Ray Cyrus had just been born. In that crazy year, The Flaming Lips had a turning point that separated them from their past and provided a roadmap to their future.


The idea that alternative music groups could pursue mainstream success was growing, breaking the previous taboo that said that alternative and punk bands had to to remain underground to maintain their street cred. After all, Sonic Youth had just signed to a major label with Geffen, and that was unheard of! Being an “alternative” band breaking into the “mainstream” while maintaining your credibility was the story of the day. It was a provocative an exciting edge to live on -- go too far in one direction and you get either no success or labeled as a sell out.


The album opener “Turn It On” is a rock-steady way to start an album, it builds in energy and momentum and got things moving along. “She Don't Use Jelly” was funny and interesting and made you wonder as you interpreted the lyrics "did he really say that?" “Moth In The Incubator” showed the band's (future) affinity for the psychedelic supernatural and became more intense as it progressed.


The band has been an awesome experimental spectacle through the years, from their famous boombox experiment to multi-disc audio experiments like Zaireeka to films. Transmissions from the Satellite Heart  was one of the first albums in that long road travelled.

 

Transmissions from the Satellite Heart Tracklist

"Turn It On" 0:00

"Pilot Can at the Queer of God" 4:39

"Oh, My Pregnant Head (Labia in the Sunlight)" 8:55

"She Don't Use Jelly" 13:00

"Chewin the Apple of Your Eye" 16:40

"Superhumans" 20:33

"Be My Head" 23:47

"Moth in the Incubator" 27:08

"Plastic Jesus" 31:18

"When Yer Twenty Two" 33:43

"Slow•Nerve•Action" 37:10

 

 

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Spacelab Retrograde: Flaming Lips - Transmissions from the Satellite Heart

 
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