New Sounds: Black Lips rip it up on new album ‘Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?’

Atlanta garage punks Black Lips are back with a sonically intriguing record that is as creatively manic as it is fine-tuned. Their eighth full-length, Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?, out today via Vice, is a raw gem that pushes various boundaries to put forth a new artistic direction for the band.

Co-founders Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley joined up with guitarist Jack Hines, drummer Oakley Munson and saxophonist Zumi Rosow to create a jazzy and psychedelic album that travels through various dimensions. To add to the brilliance, Sean Lennon handled the production while his mother Yoko Ono served as a guest vocalist and Fat White Family’s Saul Adamczewski made some contributions. There’s also an evident abundance of fuzzy distortion.

Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? has an operatic structure that includes an overture, interludes, and a grand finale. While working on the album, Black Lips removed themselves from anything else that was going on in society in order to focus on the spirited feeling that made the band come together originally. The reigniting of that feeling created an album that’s both refreshing and timeless. Lennon’s production techniques provide a vintage aesthetic that lets the band’s harmonies and energy shine, and it shows how far Black Lips have come since performing in the sweaty basements of Georgia during the 2000s.

Over its 18 tracks, “Occidental Front” is a driving song with thunderous riffs and wild screams that has a chorus that hits like a ton of bricks; “Got Me Alone” adds jazzy elements with Rosow’s blaring saxophone; and with its twangy riffs and spacey rhythms, the band’s psychedelic side is shown in “In My Mind There’s A Dream.”

Black Lips will be making noise Monday (May 8) at Brighton Music Hall in Allston with New York City punks Surfbort. It’ll be a great opportunity to grab a physical copy of Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?, but until then, stream the album via Spotify and rock out.

Featured Black Lips photo by Ben Rayner.