As neither a parent nor a little kid, I always feel as if I’m being a little unfair passing judgment on They Might Be Giants’ children’s albums. “How should I know if this is good or not? It’s not made for me! A seven-year-old could have an entirely different perspective than I do!” But as a TMBG superfan, I can’t just let new work by them go by unnoticed, whether I’m in the target audience or not. Continue reading
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
Joshua Fried is a composer known for doing innovative work that’s still very danceable. He’s also done remixes including songs by They Might Be Giants and Chaka Khan. In the 1980s, he was signed to Atlantic, which resulted in the 12” single “Jimmy Because (My Name Is)”. Fried often has a technical element to his work too, including tape machines and headphones. His current project is RADIO WONDERLAND, where Fried remixes live radio coming off a boombox using software he’s written plus the steering wheel of a Buick and drum pads made from shoes to control the samples. If you’d like to see him explain his setup and the RADIO WONDERLAND process, this is a fascinating 10 minute video. Joshua Fried is currently crowdfunding the debut RADIO WONDERLAND album — you can donate via his USA Projects page, and not only support a great artist, but get some cool stuff out of the deal yourself! Likewise, you can hear many examples of Fried’s work, RADIO WONDERLAND and not, via his Soundcloud.
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 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.
Cover of The Spine
2004 was an active year for They Might Be Giants; in April, they released the Indestructible Object EP as a teaser for their new full-length album The Spine, which came out 3 months later, along with a companion EP, The Spine Surfs Alone. (This isn’t even including the stuff they’ve been doing with Homestar Runner like the video for “Experimental Film”.)
Image via Wikipedia
Who don’t love Christmas? Most of us, but as Wonderlick said, it’s nice to pretend. Here’s another hypothetical mix CD, and it’s all Christmas Songs, since it’s getting to be that time of year again (unless you’re reading this later, like, in January. In which case, well, I guess it’s still getting to be that time of year again, just much, much more slowly.), and there’s a lot of awful Christmas records out, so perhaps there will be some on here that people can actually enjoy, huh? (Also: I think there should be a moratorium on Xmas Mix CDs with the Pogues‘ “Fairytale Of New York”, just because it’s basically the One Good Song Everyone Knows About Already. Though it is basically my favorite Xmas song ever.)
The title comes from a piece not actually on here: “Yulenet (Christmas Dragnet)” by Stan Freberg. Honestly that and his single “Green Chri$tma$” are both must-hear records, so you should seek them out right away. They’re both wonderful.
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
Kittysneezes on this recording is (only):
Rev. Syung Myung Me: Vox, Roland SH-201, Alesis SR-16, thingamagoop.