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Most Innovative Artist of 2011: The Flaming Lips

Big ups to Wayne Coyne and the gang, who took on approximately one project in every month of 2011 and somehow managed to pull it off. They're one of the greatest and weirdest psychedelic bands out there, and you've got to love 'em.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and recap why the band's latest year of interesting accomplishments was the best year ever for the Flaming Lips.

The started off 2011 by creating a version of Zaireeka that was adapted for smart phones, in which tracks have to be played simultaneously on multiple smart phones. In a similar fashion, they pumped out a new track entitled "Two Blobs Fucking," which requires 12 iPhones for it to be played. (We made a consolidated version available for everyone's listening pleasure here so you don't have to round up 11 friends just to hear the damn song.)

They released Heady Nuggs on Record Store Day, and collaborated on tracks with Neon Indian, Teddybears, Prefuse 73 and Lightning Bolt. Plus, they released this partially gross video.

The release of their notably awesome gummy skulls gained a lot of attention, and rightfully so. The Flaming Lips gave the world a series of new songs on USB drives that were buried inside of a seven-pound, life-size edible gummy skull, some of which even featured a marijuana-flavored gummy brain. On top of that, they released a gummy vagina and a bubble gum-flavored gummy fetus version of the same thing. Such are the awesome products and ideas that came about from presumably smoking an awful lot of wacky tobacky. Great or gross? You decide. If you can dig it, a gummy skull or fetus can be yours for $150. If a strobe light toy (appropriately called the Strobo Trip) is more your kind of thing, they made one of those this year too.

They got tapped to play mad music festivals and shared the stage with Weezer for two epic shows. Best of all, they played two shows in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where they performed The Soft Bulletin in its entirety the first night and their full length cover of Dark Side of the Moon the second night.

If you thought Pink Floyd's "Echoes" was long, then the Flaming Lips' six-hour song (yes, you read that right) will blow your mind...or maybe it will bore you to death. Either way, it's one for the books. Coyne and his boys took $100 donations for the Oklahoma Humane Society in exchange for having including your name in their six-hour song, "Found a Star on the Ground." Two other tracks were released around the same time as well, but collectively they're only 10 minutes long so what do they matter?

And if that wasn't enough to make you flip your lid, well BOOM! They released a 24-hour song too! If you've got an entire day to kill, check out the track "7 Skies H3" here.

As usual, the Flaming Lips will be doing their annual New Years Freakout, which will entail two shows this year (one on New Years Eve and one on New Years Day). Neon Indian and Phantogram will be performing, as will The Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band. If you can't get enough of the woman who ruined some of the best British music of the 1960s, you're in luck because the Lips recorded a new track with her, entitled "Atlas Eets Christmas."

If you're still not impressed, I give up, but I'm sure the Flaming Lips will never run out of new tricks to try and wow anyone and everyone that knows their name. If any local artist can top the year that the Flaming Lips have just had, get at me.

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Lenni Rosenblum