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updated: 8/3/2011 10:00 AM

Black Lips find new sounds for latest record

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  • Like gritty, grimy rock 'n' roll? The Black Lips will deliver just that at Lollapalooza.

    Like gritty, grimy rock 'n' roll? The Black Lips will deliver just that at Lollapalooza.


If there's any band playing Lollapalooza that could benefit from hot, steamy weather, it's The Black Lips.

The much-buzzed-about Atlanta band delivers a wonderfully dirty brand of garage-punk -- songs that would pack even more punch in the heat of a sweaty evening.

"Well, let's hope it doesn't get too hot out there," singer-bassist Jared Swilley said with a laugh. "Those outdoor summer shows can be pretty brutal."

The Black Lips are playing behind "Arabia Mountain" (Vice), their sixth studio record. The famously raucous band raised some eyebrows when it announced that Mark Ronson, the English producer known for his work with Lily Allen and the late Amy Winehouse, would produce.

"I think some people wondered if this meant we were selling out or going Hollywood or whatever," Swilley said. "The truth is that we knew that Mark was comfortable using more traditional recording tools -- old mikes that give you a really warm sound, like the stuff from the '50s and '60s, which is the sound we wanted. He's also really good with song structures. We had a great experience with him."

"Arabia Mountain" delivers plenty of the straight-ahead rock the Lips have become known for, but it also reveals a band that can move easily (and convincingly) from one style to another.

The album opens with "Family Tree," an infectious, horn-infused rocker that recalls classic Kinks. On "Dumpster Diving," the band channels the country-rock of The Rolling Stones. "Don't Mess Up My Baby" features an irresistible rockabilly riff.

"Again, I think Mark was a good influence on us there, encouraging us to go for new sounds," Swilley said.

He added that "Arabia Mountain" featured some of the most collaborative songwriting the band has done.

"I liked how it went down this time," he said. "On our last record (2009's "200 Million Thousand"), we went through everything really fast and didn't really work together much on the songs. With this one, we took some more time, and really learned about some of these songs together in the studio. We're all very happy with the record."

The Black Lips take the Lollapalooza stage at 3 p.m. Saturday. It will be the band's second appearance at the festival.

"It's a great atmosphere, and we get to see a bunch of friends perform, so it's a good time," Swilley said. "Although playing in the afternoon isn't my favorite thing. Rock music should be played at night, you know? But we're looking forward to it."