The Flaming Lips
“Silver Trembling Hands” & “Convinced of the Hex”
Warner Bros.

3.5 out of 5 stars

If robots could suffer from schizophrenia, they might sound like Wayne Coyne on “Convinced of the Hex,” one of two tracks from The Flaming Lips’ upcoming double LP Embryonic. But thanks to the underlying glitch-bleep approximations of Steven Drozd’s guitar, Coyne’s compulsive chant is disarmed into a hypnotic mantra.

Meanwhile, “Silver Trembling Hands” is less attitude and more atmosphere. It lifts off as a primal thump call to arms only to melt into a comforting shower of melody dancing on firework string bursts. The about-face it takes from sinister to soothing is a trick that only the Lips can pull off.

Yo La Tengo
“Periodically Double or Triple”

4 out of 5 stars

“Periodically Double or Triple” is a music-for-dummies guide to making rhythm guitar a lead instrument. Ira Kaplan’s spiky riffing sits way out in front where — together with a timeless electric organ kick — it makes Yo La Tengo’s newest cut a juicy slice of Memphis soul that relents only for a short bridge of circus swirl. A mindless strut that runs on swagger and groove, it’s “Green Onions” for indie rockers. If it were an instrumental, it would be even better.

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