Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
There are two well-placed nipples and skulls on the cover of the Black Lips' latest album, "Arabia Mountain." Go on and screw the reasons why they're there, but they are well-placed. They may have just come out of the thought, "We could use a few nipples and we should do something with this fake skull we bought." Most of what there is to love about the Black Lips comes from the Atlanta group's inability to be boring and instead, finding ways to mine what have to be endless nights of debauchery and depravity that are only over when one passes out or someone loses a tooth. Or, someone hooks up with someone they'll regret in the morning/afternoon or the bars close, or the cops come. One way or another, the four members of the band seem to find ways to get themselves into the kinds of dark circumstances that will lead to character-building experiences that make poetry happen. They find their ways into the gutter, where they stay for extended periods of time, taking in the smells and the sounds, the fellow gutter-dwellers and the tastes, finding that they get addicted easily. They're drawn to what can become of the nights that they taunt and the bodies that run on poisons and fumes. They wonder how they'll ever make it out of here alive. Then they make it out of there and the thoughts turn to the next adventure, as they become immune to what's come before. The next time, it will take three or four nipples and the same will go for the skulls.