Artist of the Week: Black Lips
Black Lips (1999) is an American punk-rock band from Atlanta, Georgia, currently formed by Cole Alexander (vocals, guitar), Jared Swilley (bass), Joe Bradley (drums) and Ian Saint Pé Brown (guitar).
In spite of a rather tragic start (lead guitarist and founding member Ben Eberbaugh died in a freak car accident a few days before the band released their first full-length album), the band quickly became a cult act in garage-punk underground due their rioting concerts and a quartet of records that any Southern Punk fan should have at home on their shelves: 2003’s Black Lips!, 2004’s We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow, 2005’s Let It Bloom and 2007’s live, debauched and mariachi-fuelled-classsic-extraordinaire Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo.
With 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil everything changed for the Black Lips: their songs started to appear on Hollywood movies, TV series, night shows and adds for international brands. This sudden success didn’t soften their sound though and 2009’s 200 Million Thousand and 2011’s Arabia Mountain are still powerful distillations of the groovy, fun and psychic sound of 60’s garage.
Black Lips’ seventh album and recently released Underneath the Rainbow is a definitive step towards a punchier and more accessible: though some might say that a big chunk of the band’s chaotic charisma seems to have been left on the studio, the truth is that their wild songs never sounded sharper thanks to the work of producers Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) and Dap-King’s Tommy Brenneck.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.