Progress Report

Progress Report: Black Lips

NAME: Black Lips
PROGRESS REPORT: Mastering their fifth studio LP, 200 Million Thousand, recorded at their new studio in Decatur, Georgia.

Black Lips have been on the grind, going to their office eight hours a day and finishing their new record under inspirational messages (“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”) they’ve hung on the walls. Maybe working 9-5 sounds stupid when you’re in a band, but there’s no denying the appeal of steady hours when your life is a chaos of shows and traveling. Black Lips drummer Joe Bradley says the change is nice. “We’ve never had a real practice space or any place really to keep our stuff. That’s part of the reason why we never practiced all that much,” he admits. He and his bandmates are in the mastering stages of their fifth studio LP 200 Million Thousand which they recorded at New Street Gallery, an art space the guys rented in August. Now that they’ve extended the lease, the space will become a home for the band and the Die Slaughterhaus label: “We’re either gonna call it Wack-A-Mole Studios or Die Slaughterhouse Studios or New Street Studios.”

According to Bradley, there’s no particular significance to the title 200 Million Thousand:

“Like 200 million thousand is how much our parents love us, or 200 million thousand is how many records we’re going to sell … 200 million thousand trees in the state of Oregon.” It could be the number of people the Black Lips hope to perform for. After all, they’ve spent a good deal of time since their last LP, 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil, playing festivals and touring from Australia and Europe to Brazil and Palestine. In January the guys are hoping to play Delhi and Mumbai with friends King Khan and BBQ Show.

That will maybe give them a week at home before a short European tour and the February 24 release of 200 Million Thousand, an album that’s taken the band longer than usual to record. Not only did the band work shorter, steadier days (instead of doing marathon 12 hour sessions between tours), but they’ve worked harder on production. Bradley says that makes their new LP more melodic than their last, yet they took steps to make sure it wasn’t over-produced. “We practiced [the album] five or six times and then we recorded it live, minus the vocals and overdubs,” he says. “The one good thing about that is that if you don’t play the song over and over again, you’re able to capture the energy that comes from playing together the first couple times.” The band was able to record 25 tracks, 14 of which made the last cut — some of tracks on the final album include “Big Black Baby Jesus Of Today,” “Drugs,” “Trapped In The Basement,” “Starting Over,” “Short Fuse,” and “Elijah.” Black Lips got King Khan and Bradford Cox to do some guest backing vocals (though Bradley isn’t sure the Cox track will make the LP). They’re also trying to get a member of two of Wu-Tang Clan on a track. “Maybe not for the album, but for a remix or something or an EP later on down the road,” says Bradley. “We’ll see. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Here’s “Starting Over”:

Black Lips – “Starting Over” (MP3)

200 Million Thousand is out 2/24. And then they tour:

02/26 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottle Tree
02/27 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
03/04 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
03/05 – Washington, D.C. @ Black Cat
03/06 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
03/07 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
03/09 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
03/10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
03/12 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
03/13 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
03/14 – Chicago, IL @ Logan Square
03/15 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
03/16 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
03/17 – Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room
03/18 – Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
03/20 – Austin, TX (SXSW)
03/21 – Austin, TX (SXSW)
03/23 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s
03/25 – Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder
03/26 – Tampa, FL @ Orpheum
03/27 – Miami, FL @ Churchill’s
03/28 – Gainesville, FL @ Common Grounds
03/29 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
03/30 – Orlando, FL @ The Social

If there’s a band you want Progress Report to drag out of the studio, or bed, for an update, shout out in the comments or e-mail [email protected].

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