Observations: Flaming Lips keep it in the family with the man from uncle's band

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The Independent Culture

The Flaming Lips are keeping it in the family as they tour their latest album. In support are the previously unheralded Stardeath and White Dwarfs, though look closely and you will find uncanny similarities between the two bands. Their young singer's high-pitched, childlike quality owes much to Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and, indeed, shares his surname. For Dennis Coyne is none other than Wayne's nephew.

Inviting them on tour is not the only helping hand Wayne has given his relative: their big break was joining the Lips on a cover of Madonna's 'Borderline' for shared label Warner Bros' 50th anniversary. Wayne also devised the cover art for early indie releases and directed the video for recent download single "New Heat". Otherwise, Stardeath's retro mix of pastoral gentleness and cavernous guitars owes more to Pink Floyd than the veterans' mix of forward-thinking positivism and experimental rock. Still, both Oklahoma bands plough similar psychedelic furrows, so it is unsurprising the young pretenders have availed themselves of Lips producer Trent Bell.

Dennis, though, has had to pay his way to earn such good fortune. Having first seen the Lips live when he was nine months old, he went on to roadie for them and when he formed his band, Wayne recruited them to hump flight cases so they could learn the ropes. On music blog Everybody Taste, Dennis is blas about being linked so closely with his uncle: "I would be a fool to say they weren't an influence because I'm around them all the time I've grown up around them. But at the same time, I think we're around each other so much that we're all influenced by the same things."

Stardeath and White Dwarfs' album 'The Birth' is out now on Warner Bros. They play the Troxy, London, 10 and 11 November, with the Flaming Lips, then tour