FEW bands of recent times have blazed such a delightfully eccentric and seemingly haphazard trail across the musical landscape as The Flaming Lips.Hailing from Oklahoma, where their beautifully cosmic tale of mortality Do You Realize? is the official rock song of the state, the group began its life as a weird blend of grunge and psychedelia - a sound best explified by the title of their compilation album Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid or their own suggestion that they're "The Beach Boys meets The Butthole Surfers".In their progression toward space-pop cult heroes, they've had an accidental hit song, won three Grammy Awards and enjoyed released albums that have had critics tripping over themselves to praise.To celebrate the release of new album Embryonic, Musicology this week highlights the five bizarrest things to come out of the weird and wonderful world of The Flaming Lips.Christmas On MarsFILMED in singer Wayne Coyne's backyard and around Oklahoma, this lo-fi movie tells the story of a stressed-out colony of astronauts living on the red planet as their first Christmas comes around. The band laboured over this trippy cross between David Lynch's Eraserhead and John Carpenter's Dark Star for eight years and finally released it last year for a few select cinema screenings. The DVD comes with a suitably celestial soundtrack made up that's suitably ominous and filled with the outer-space sounds that have peppered their albums. While the performances aren't great, the sheer ambition and experimental low-budget vibe make it worth checking out.ZaireekaIT'S hard to find anything truly new in music these days, but The Flaming Lips did something completely different and unheard of with Zaireeka. The album consists of four CDs which are meant to be played simultaneously on four different CD players, which means that you can achieve different sonic outcomes through disc selection, speaker placement and player quality. While many described the idea as ludricrous, fans and some critics praised the results for its sense of adventure, unique experience and for making a truly interactive album. Record label Warners only agreed to fund the project if the band produced a "normal" album at the same time, which proved to be their spectacular breakthrough The Soft Bulletin.Their live showFOR many people, seeing The Flaming Lips live is the closest they'll ever come to having a religious experience. The show is somewhere between the Mad Hatter's tea party, a '60s still happening and a mind-blowing rock concert all in one. There's people dancing in giant animal suits, trippy background films, bags and bags of confetti, fake blood, bright lights, a wall of uplifting sound, and Coyne often surfs the crowd in a giant bubble, making it one of the most amazing visual and musical events going around. Rock mag Q listed them as one of the 50 bands to see before you die.TitlesHERE'S a selection of some of their most out-there song and record titles - Maximum Dream For Evil Knievel, Redneck School Of Technology, In A Priest Driven Ambulance, Five Stop Mother Superior Rain, Talkin' 'Bout The Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues, Due To High Expectations... The Flaming Lips Are Providing Needles For Your Balloons, Pilot Can At The Queer Of God, Oh My Pregnant Head (Labia In The Sunlight), Clouds Taste Metallic, Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World, They Punctured My Yolk, Riding to Work in the Year 2025 (Your Invisible Now), The Train Runs Over The Camel But Is Derailed By The Gnat, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell, Free Radicals (A Hallucination of the Christmas Skeleton Pleading with a Suicide Bomber)... and that's just a taste.The parking lot & boombox experimentsPRIOR to recording Zaireeka, the band experimented with going beyond the realms of standard stereo playback with the parking lot experiments. Thirty cars were assembled in an underground carpark and each car was given a unique cassette, each to be played simultaneously, having been individually recorded by the band over the previous months. The audience was encouraged to move around the parked cars, effectively hearing 60 channels of music that changed depending on where they stood. The band followed this up with the boombox experiments, in which they toured symphony halls and asked 50 punters to sit in the orchestra pit. Each was given a tape deck and a cassette, all of which were again to played at the same time while the band members "conducted" the boombox volumes like a real orchestra.