Though not as well known as Bob Dylan or Tom Waits, John Hiatt has written and performed some of the best songs of the last few decades. His songs span the genres from alt. country to rock, to folk, to blues and R&B. He’s kind of one of those guys whose songs you recognize, but can’t think of the artist.

Here are a few essentials for the uninitiated:

Perfectly Good Guitar

Master of Disaster (the Dude’s personal favorite, though I think the album version is better)

Slow Turning


Have a Little Faith

Feels Like Rain

Tennessee Plates

Dust Down a Country Road

Watch the videos, listen to the songs elsewhere, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me. John Hiatt is one of the greatest American singer-songwriters ever.

If you’re into weird, eclectic music, then the Flaming Lips are your perfect musical companion.

From their biography on Rolling

Rock has produced few stranger or more daring bands in the last 20 years than Oklahoma City’s Flaming Lips, who embrace everything from merry prankster psychedelia to orchestral pop. At the outset, the Lips tried to bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap between Butthole Surfers-style dementia and bubblegum pop, with mixed results. Their early albums are jumbles of ideas, the weirdness genuine, the songs expansive and sometimes giddily incoherent. They’re as much a response to hardcore punk’s inflexible pithiness as to mainstream rock’s polish.

With In a Priest Driven Ambulance, a coherent vision starts to peek through the chaos. It comes courtesy of an irony-free cover of the standard “(What a) Wonderful World,” sung with wobbly conviction by Wayne Coyne. For all its disorienting ugliness and alienating strangeness, the world really is a wonderful place, the Lips insist — an unfashionable stance that the band would continue to explore with increasingly plangent results.



Lead singer Wayne Coyne goes crowd surfing in a big plastic ball

Lead singer Wayne Coyne goes crowd surfing in a big plastic ball




Another interesting article about them from Rolling Stone called “Okies From Outer Space“:

Wayne Coyne has not taken any drugs since his early twenties. This fact often comes as a shock to fans of his band, the Flaming Lips. The group has been making increasingly trippy and, to the surprise of even the band, increasingly popular psychedelic-rock albums since 1984, and its music, coupled with Coyne’s surreal cover paintings and bent lyrical aesthetic — song titles include “Jesus Shootin’ Heroin,” “My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion,” “Pilot Can at the Queer of God,” “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)” and, my personal favorite, “They Punctured My Yolk” — have led reasonable people to make certain assumptions.

If you haven’t heard them yet, check ’em out.