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Though it’s sad that major labels no longer have the patience to actively develop deserving artists, they at least know who’s good and seem willing to allow musicians with something interesting to say to say it. How else do you explain the career of the Flaming Lips?

Spawned in Oklahoma City in 1983 by Wayne and Mark Coyne, the band has gone through a fair number of stylistic changes over the years without abandoning its peculiar sense of the absurd, a sense that imbues not only its diffuse psychedelic songs but its entire musical personality. The fact that Warner signed them at the start of the ’90s when they showed no commercial potential whatsoever is, in a way, the most interesting thing about them.

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