Thursday, June 20, 2013

transmissions from the satellite heart

The Flaming Lips changed their lineup and had their first taste of success with the chapped pop noise of this space rock vaseline communique.  After their major label debut 'Hit to Death in the Future Head', Nathan Roberts and Jonathan Donahue (to focus on Mercury Rev) left the band to be replaced by  Ronald Jones and Steven Drozd.  'Transmissions from the Satellite Heart' was produced by the Flaming Lips with Keith Cleversley and featured Wayne Coyne on guitar and vocals, Steven Drozd on drums and vocals, Michael Ivins on bass, and Ronald Jones on guitar.  

A year after its release, the album became a sensation when the single 'She Don't Use Jelly' was featured on 'Beavis and Butthead' on MTV.  Coyne recalls:      "When we recorded 'She Don’t Use Jelly', we knew we were making something special. Whatever the absurdness of it, you could understand that I’m talking about toast and Vaseline, and it had some kind of innocent little sexual thing that ran through the whole song. That was kind of cool for us because up until then all of our songs were so asexual. I think we felt that there was this sort of the Guns N’ Roses mentality to rock’n’roll, and we were something different. We really had a lot of area to explore that didn’t include a bunch of naked women – but here we felt like, 'Oh, what the fuck, let’s go for it.' When we would play it in front of a very hostile commercial audience that could not give a shit about us, they still responded to that song. People would come up later and say, 'I hated every song you did except when you sang about that Vaseline. I liked that one.'"

The buzz over the band led to other appearances on 'Beverly Hills, 90210'; 'the Late Show with David Letterman'; and 'Charmed'.   'Transmissions from the Satellite Heart' would eventually hit one hundred and eight on the US album chart and number one on the US top heatseekers chart.

"She Don't Use Jelly" became the band's biggest hit, going to number fifty-five on the US hot 100, twenty-five in Australia, and number nine on the US alternative chart.  Coyne says:    "We used to do these silly experiments: You drink out of a glass of water, then you spit into the water and drink it. There would be this disconnect of, 'Christ, I'm swallowing my own spit!' So I took that a little bit further. A lot of times people will use Vaseline on their lips because they don't have lip balm, but the idea of putting it on food and eating it repels them." 

"Turn It On"   4:39

"Be My Head"   3:15 

The Flaming Lips - Be My Head from matt wissing on Vimeo.

'Transmissions from the Satellite Heart' 
full album:

All songs written by The Flaming Lips except where noted.

1. "Turn It On"   4:39
2. "Pilot Can at the Queer of God"   4:16
3. "Oh My Pregnant Head (Labia in the Sunlight)"   4:06
4. "She Don't Use Jelly"   3:40
5. "Chewin the Apple of Your Eye"   3:52
6. "Superhumans"   3:13
7. "Be My Head"   3:15
8. "Moth in the Incubator"   4:12
9. "★★★★★★★ (Plastic Jesus)" (Ed Rush, George Cromarty) 2:18
10. "When Yer Twenty Two"   3:34
11. "Slow•Nerve•Action"   5:55

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