Nell and The Flaming Lips Announce Nick Cave Cover Album, Share Video for “The Ship Song” Cover | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Flaming Lips Announce Nick Cave Covers Album with a 14-Year-Old Singer Named Nell

Where the Viaduct Looms Due Out November 26 via Bella Union; Watch Video for “The Ship Song” Cover

Nov 11, 2021
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The Flaming Lips have announced the release of a Nick Cave covers album, Where the Viaduct Looms, which will feature vocals from 14-year-old singer Nell Smith. It will be out on November 26 via Bella Union. A video for a cover of Cave’s 1990 “The Ship Song” has also just been shared. View it below, along with the album’s tracklist and cover art.

Smith first met frontman Wayne Coyne at a Flaming Lips concert in 2018, and the two stayed in touch as she began to learn guitar and write songs. In a press release, Coyne states: “It’s always great to meet excited, young creative people. With Nell, we could see she is on a journey and thought it would be fun to join her for a while and see if we could get things going. It was a great way to connect with her and help harness her cool attitude to making music.”

Initially planning to record with the band in Oklahoma in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans to a halt, with Coyne ultimately deciding that they should collaborate remotely. He suggested doing Nick Cave covers, as Smith wasn’t familiar with Cave and wouldn’t have any preconceived notions on how to perform his songs. Smith states: “I still can’t really believe it. It was a really steep learning curve, but Wayne was so encouraging when I was struggling with a few of the songs that I kept going. I hadn’t heard of Nick Cave, but Wayne suggested that we should start with an album of his cover versions, and then look at recording some of my own songs later. It was cool to listen and learn about Nick Cave and pick the songs we wanted to record.”

Late last year, they recorded a cover of Cave’s “Girl in Amber.” Awe-struck by the cover, Cave took to his website The Red Hand Files to write: “This version of ‘Girl in Amber’ is just lovely. I was going to say Nell Smith inhabits the song, but that’s wrong, rather she vacates the song, in a way that I could never do. I always found it difficult to step away from this particular song and sing it with its necessary remove, just got so twisted up in the words, I guess. Nell shows a remarkable understanding of the song, a sense of dispassion that is both beautiful and chilling. I just love it. I’m a fan.”

The Flaming Lips’ most recent studio album, American Head, came out last year via Warner, and was featured on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list. Back in June, the band released The Soft Bulletin Companion on vinyl for the first time for Record Store Day.

Listen to our recent podcast interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, along with our bonus episode which features more from the interview.

Where the Viaduct Looms Tracklist:

1. Girl In Amber
2. Weeping Song
3. Into My Arms
4. O Children
5. The Kindness Of Strangers
6. No More Shall We Part
7. Red Right Hand
8. The Ship Song
9. We Know Who You Are

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