The Tallywood Strings

The Tallywood Strings

The Tallywood Strings

The String Quartet Tribute to The Flaming Lips

Vitamin Records

I guess I lost track of the whole String Quartet tribute album thing because it seems like there are about seven million of them out now. I mean, holy harpsichords! There’s even one devoted to Clay Aiken! Thankfully, though, there’s The String Quartet Tribute to The Flaming Lips to kind of balance the scales.

(I say “kind of,” because I don’t know if those scales can ever be balanced!)

Some of the most innovative music over the past decade has been created by Wilco, Radiohead and the Lips. Up until a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have included the Flaming Lips in that group. I had previously dismissed them as those goofy “She Don’t Use Jelly” dudes that performed at the Peach Pit After Dark on 90210 many years ago. A friend of mine showed me the light with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and after that I gained a definite appreciation for them, even for their “Jelly” days.

Anyway, the String Quartet album is like Muzak gone right. The sonic template the Lips provide can be both daunting and inspiring at the same time, but the four-piece Tallywood Strings meet the challenge head-on and kick its ass.

What’s really cool about this album is the attention paid to the nuances of the original songs. For example, translating the little “Hey, hey!” in the background of the first minute of “Yoshimi” to string-form. And “Turn It On,” a ditty from the old days, is just as awesome as the original.

So, I guess I should pay more attention to what’s going on in String Quartet world, so I don’t let a Wilco one slip by me. It seems like they’re doing good things with the groups to which they devote albums.

Now, about that Clay Aiken record …

Vitamin Records:

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