It seems appropriate that on the weekend Game of Thrones wraps, the Flaming Lips unveil King’s Mouth: Music and Songs — whose “All For the Life of the City” is premiering exclusively below.
The Oklahoma art rock band’s latest set — limited to 4,000 gold vinyl copies for Record Store Day before a wide release during July — has its own epic tale. ‘King’s Mouth’ is the title of an art installation the Lips launched during 2015 at The Womb, the group’s headquarters in Oklahoma City. It’s morphed and grown into a large-scale head that visitors can open via a foam mouth, then experience a seven-minute LED light and visual show, and it’s since been shown at museums in Baltimore, Portland and Santa Fe.
The trio, of course, included music in the presentation, and frontman Wayne Coyne tells Billboard it was inevitable that it would grow to become a concept album — in this case, about a benevolent despot whose tragic death, while trying to save his subjects from a snow avalanche, was widely mourned and his head removed and preserved as a testament to their regard for him. “We started out with a half-hour’s worth of abstract musical, dynamic stuff, and that ended up being 10 minutes by the time we got to the first museum opening in Baltimore. Then everywhere we’d go people would think, ‘This is going to be an album…’ We didn’t plan it that way, but I think it became more and more apparent that it could be a record.”
King’s Mouth had to wait for a minute, however, as the Lips were busy working as Miley Cyrus’ Dead Petz, on its own Oczy Mlody album and some archival projects. But it stayed on Coyne and bandmates Michael Ivins and Steven Drozd’s radar, finally coming to fruition with an unexpected twist — narration from Mick Jones of the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite.