Oklahoma City's own fearless freaks The Flaming Lips have spent nearly three decades crafting everything from brash punk-rock to mind-melting psychedelia to experimental noise. While their latest album, The Terror, replaces The Lips' trademark acid-tinged optimism with droning synthesizers and devastating bleakness, lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd was eager to offer a musical antidote to his band's most recent crushing masterpiece. The Week recently caught up with Drozd on the phone to talk about musical memories from his childhood, tequila shots, and the embarrassment that comes with liking a Journey song. Below, six songs he recommends for a fun summer night:
1. Tame Impala, "Apocalypse Dreams"
"The sun is about to go down. It's about 8:30 and you just had your first cocktail. You've got your friends in the backyard; maybe you're swimming or something. If you put this song on, it can be like it's 1976 and you're a kid again. Tame Impala is one of my favorite bands on the planet right now."
2. Donna Summer, "On The Radio"
"Now I'm gonna back to my childhood, in the late '70s. There's a song by Donna Summer called 'On The Radio.' It's one of my favorite songs of all time, and it seems to fit in the mold of the summertime jam. Even though the sentiment is kind of depressing — it's a really sad song if you pay attention to the lyrics — it's got that disco beat, and great production."
3. Miles Davis, "Sivad"
"This song is a freakout; a total funk jam that makes you just want to get up and destroy something. It's just awesome. People talk about Saturday night jams, and this one is definitely way at the top of my list. It makes you want to take a couple shots of tequila and go speed around in a car — not that you should do that — but that's what it makes you feel like doing. It makes you feel like f---king something up."
4. Led Zeppelin, "The Song Remains The Same"
"I gotta throw a Led Zeppelin song in here — I just have to. This song is a good way to prime yourself to go out on a summer night. I have memories of my older brothers in one of their bedrooms; they'd have like eight of their stoner buddies over. They'd put that record on and be taking bong rips, drinking Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill, and getting ready for the night. I remember being in the room watching them getting ready to go out and thinking, man, I wish I could go out with them… but I was too little."
5. The Stooges, "Down on the Street"
"For many years — in my 20s especially — this song for me meant summertime, back porch: That's the first record you put on. Like, boom: Now we're gonna be rockin', you know? It's rock, but it's not. It's just more primal and basic than rock in some ways. Plus, it sounds really cool after a Led Zeppelin song, to have those two played against each other. It's one of my all-time favorite summertime jams."
6. Guilty pleasure pick: Journey, "Only the Young"
"I really can't defend this song. It's some really bad pop-cheese form the early '80s. But there's something about this song… it seems like, for a Journey song, it had a little more lyrical depth than most of their other songs. That's the only way I can defend it. I think it's great you can have The Stooges and Journey in the same playlist. It seems like a good idea to me."
The Terror is out now on Warner.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Samantha Rollins.)
Listen to The Flaming Lips' single, "Look...The Sun Is Rising" below:
More in this series...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Pope Francis' American problem
- 10 things you need to know today: December 20, 2014
Subscribe to the Week