Glean, the seventeenth studio album from They Might Be Giants, somehow manages to be both innovative and familiar, like pulling on your favorite denim jacket and suddenly finding a secret treasure map in the pocket. Its fifteen tracks hold a number of surprises, but the songs never lose sight of what makes TMBG TMBG.
All but three of Glean’s tracks were culled from releases on the newly-revived Dial-A-Song, a project just a couple of years younger than TMBG itself which originally consisted of demos and musical miscellany being released via a simple answering machine. This year’s incarnation of Dial-A-Song has TMBG releasing a new song every single week for the entirety of 2015. Continue reading
I am willing to make this declaration about Nanobots, They Might Be Giants’ newly-released 16th album: It is the one of the absolute best things they have done in the last 18 years. As someone who builds my life around this band, even I admit that a fair amount of their output in recent years has been underwhelming. But Nanobots can take its place alongside some of their best work. Continue reading
I always thought the boxy guitar that John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants used in videos like “The Statue Got Me High” or “(She Was A) Hotel Detective” was super cool. Apparently so did Mike Buffington, as he built himself an exact replica. This is a short video documentary about the process, including showing it to Flans himself, who is suitably impressed. Seriously, it’s an awesome guitar.
I want to like this album more. This album makes me want to like it more. Join Us is an excitable album. It jumps up, bounces around the room, and says, “Hey! Look what I can do! I’m everything you could possibly want from a They Might Be Giants album!” It’s unmistakably They Might Be Giants, though with a bit more of an electronic edge, and a heavier sound. Join Us continues in the harder direction pioneered by The Else with heavy percussion and techno-influenced beats, all skewed through the trademark TMBG sensibility. The best tracks could just have easily fit on The Else as they could on Join Us, and maybe that’s why they stand out so much. The Else is one of my favorite TMBG albums, and if Join Us is anything, it’s the direct heir to the previous album and sound. Why then, does listening to it feel like such a slog?
After four solid years of waiting since their last “adult” (or, as I like to say, “real”) album, the more hardcore among the (notoriously rabid) They Might Be Giants fan community were so eager for anything from the band that even something less than stellar would likely have been lapped up with all the desperate eagerness of Oliver Twist begging for another helping of porridge, and (full disclosure), as one of the more infamously devoted among said community, I am undoubtedly particularly susceptible to this possibility. That being said, I believe I can safely say that the four advance tracks from this summer’s Join Us, released digitally this week, bode extremely well for the quality of that LP.
Hey, remember those Video 45s that Sony used to release in the early 80s? A VHS of about 3 or 4 music videos by an artist? Those were pretty cool; I almost wore out my Thomas Dolby and Blotto ones. So, for the holiday season, I put together a Kittysneezes Video 45! Except that it’s not put out by Sony and no VHS copies of it exist. Unless someone out there is bored enough to dump these to tape. In which case, more power to you, I suppose. Sure, the individual tracks have been issued over the past week and a half — but I didn’t reveal my master plan! Now, here is the Kittysneezes Video EP: he is really? bad at playing that song…
On this recording, Kittysneezes is:
Rev. Syung Myung Me: Vox, Guitar, Banjo, Keyboards, Drum Machine, Thingamagoop
A cover of the song “Spy” by They Might Be Giants, written by John Flansburgh & John Linnell, original from the album John Henry, one of my favorite They Might Be Giants albums.
Kittysneezes on this recording is (only):
Rev. Syung Myung Me: Vox, Roland SH-201, Alesis SR-16, thingamagoop.