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April 4, 2015 / bloggenstatt

F is for The Flaming Lips, Fucked Up and Franz Ferdinand. F is not for Fake Drugs.

F was a difficult letter. Culling the bast bands, whose names begin with F, was difficult and resulted in some painful omissions. I liked Father John Misty’s first album, and love his second album, but it’s too early to tell if he belongs in this hallowed pantheon. I love The Flying Burrito Brothers‘ psychedelic Americana which planted the seeds of Alt-Country, but they really only have one essential album. Frightened Rabbit have released a string of really good, but not great albums and just barely missed the cut. The Field Mice are an amazing twee band, but their best enjoyed in small doses. The Fresh and Onlys released one of my most compulsively listened to albums of the last decade, but failed to follow it up with anything spectacular.  I also love the weirdness Fuck Buttons and Fiery Furnaces bring to the table, but I don’t know that I’d call either band mandatory listening.

With that preamble out of the way, here are the highlights of my iTunes library’s F-section.

The Flaming Lips: These Oklahoma City weirdos have been making weird music for an improbably 32 years. In that time they’ve released bizarre psych-rock, cracked the Billboard Hot 100, recorded a song about the impermanence of life used in a Land Rover commercial, covered The Beatles and collaborated with Miley Cyrus. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and The Soft Bulletin are modern classics if not entirely representative of The Flaming Lips’ body of work.

Fucked Up: Fucked Up create thought-provoking music, which analyzes gender roles, organized religion and the depth of human emotion. Of course, the songs tend to include ferocious guitar, and the insightful lyrics are bellowed by a large, hairy perspiring man, who goes by the name Pink Eyes and almost never wears a shirt. Fucked Up are responsible for one of the greatest, unconventional and inventive rock operas ever, David Comes to Life, but every entry in their discography is worth a spin.

Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand’s eponymous debut album is rightly regarded as one of the best debut albums in recent rock history, but the rest of their albums are worth checking out too. Although they never matched the commercial success of “Take Me Out”, Franz Ferdinand released disc after disc of smart, hummable Art-Rock. Angular guitars and a dance beat permeate just about all the band’s work. In a more just world every consistently cheeky, debauched and quality album would have moved more units.

Fake Drugs: In all fairness, Fake Drugs isn’t awful, just not particularly great. Bland Synth-Pop that could play inoffensively in any retail looking to cultivate something approaching a cool image just doesn’t do it for me.

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