Black Lips
200 Million Thousand
(Vice Records)

I didn't love Good Bad Not Evil. I mean, I didn't HATE it, but it was never on forever-rotation, like the other three Lips albums. Good Bad was sparkly and almost "sunny" in spots. This, paired with the neon army of American Apparel–wearing superfans that automatically accompanies bands on Vice, well, it had me kinda worried.

I fell in love with Black Lips years ago, in Atlanta, Georgia. I took Let It Bloom and We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow to my baby brother, who had just relocated there. He knew no one in ATL. He was poor and bored. I hoped to turn him on to Black Lips, so that he'd go see their hometown shows, have fun, make friends. We listened to both albums on a rickety patio that was barely attached to an abandoned, even rickety-er house that he was squatting in. The place was filthy—the yard a lushly overgrown green Georgian jungle with layer upon layer of weird bushes, wildflowers, and droopy cypresses. We listened to the albums on endless loop every night until sunset, when our jungle turned ominous and dark. The term "flower punk" suddenly made sense—a bright, pretty punk born in a dark swamp in the dirty South. Every song was fiercely alive and somehow inimitably timeless.

Good Bad Not Evil got scrubbed too clean. 200 Million Thousand is skuzzy, dark, and eccentric. It sounds like Black Lips have come home again. And even though the eerie track "Old Man" has been compared to the Velvet Underground, and lo-fi, surprise rap "Drop I Hold" to a Wu-Tang/13th Floor Elevators mashup, I think this album sounds ultimately and perfectly just like it should. It sounds exactly like Black Lips, and I love it. recommended