Saturday, December 31, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 411

Today's song is...

What Are We Doing To Pigs

Believe it or not, this is one of the TMBG songs I was familiar with before I knew TMBG because I had seen the segment on The Daily Show. I remember being kind of shocked later to realize this this tiny bit of ridiculousness was them. But it must have made quite an impression on me because I still remembered it a couple years later when I found out they had written it. I think I must have seen it multiple times.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 410

Today's song is...

Courage The Cowardly Dog

I really enjoy this song. I never saw the TV show. I have no idea what it is about. But I really love the melody and the lyrical rhythm of the song. It is highly enjoyable.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 409

Today's song is...

Hell Hotel

How can you not love Hell Hotel? It's a little bit disco, a little bit weird and a lot John Flansburgh. It's also the standard joke in my circle whenever you are talking about songs that might be played live or included on something and need a completely ridiculous "that is so never going to happen" selection. I kind of feel like even if you aren't that fond of the song, you have you have to have a soft spot for it because, come on, it's Hell Hotel!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 408

Today's song is...


I had completely forgotten about the existence of this song. Though it has potential to get annoying after repeated listenings, there is something about it I quite enjoy. I think it is the contrast of the sparse but interesting musical arrangement with the manipulated vocal. Plus when playing it in my iTunes library with the songs in alphabetical order it plays into Flansburgh singing Kumbaya live with an audience which is just funny.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 407

Today's song is...

Radio They Might Be Giants 2

Bass, cymbals, feather. "Feather." Hehehe.

Song of the Day - Day 406

Totally forgot yesterday's song. Don't even have a good excuse. So here is is.

Today's song is...

Indiana Wants Me

I can barely make this sound like Flansburgh in my head. I think, if I didn't know he was singing, I would not recognize him at all. Also the song reminds me quite a bit of Message To You by the BeeGees.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 405

Today's song is...

Santa Claus

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Santa brings you a twangy guitar and lots of TMBG merch and not nothin', nothin', nothin' :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 404

Today's song is...

All Alone

I am entertainment by the voice Linnell uses in this song. Initially I feel bad for the poor little germ all alone in outer space but by the end of the song it seems the little guys has developed sinister undertones and I don't feel so bad for him any more. Also, I love the story about Linnell writing it between lunch and dinner because because it is exactly the sort of song I would expect him to be able to write between meals.

Friday, December 23, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 12/23/11

This holiday edition of TAPOM is a couple of days late but I hope you'll forgive this poor retail employee who has literally been running around like the proverbial chicken with no head.

Please send submissions to

Song of the Day - Day 403

Today's song is...

Fake Believe

Admittedly, I prefer the other Fake Believe song but this one is nice too. It saddens me to think how many kids (and adult for that matter) listening to this song probably do not get the Little Lord Fauntleroy reference and perhaps never will. But I will ignore that feeling and yodel like a cowhand instead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 402

Today's song is...

Narrow Your Eyes

One of my favorite Flansburgh songs. This one is beautiful and wrenching. There are a lot of Flans' lyrics I don't get or that just don't grab me and then sometimes he gets them so right it's scary. I don't know how many times I listened to this song without really hearing it before it suddenly hit me one day how gut-wrenchingly honest it is. In my mind this is the Flansburgh mate to They'll Need A Crane. With a great bass line and accordion part and some nice tambourine tossed in too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 401

Today's song is...

America's Most Wanted Theme

Oh, the mysterious America's Most Wanted Theme. Is it Rockfish (in which case I just broke my own rule of using different names for the same song as two different SOTDs)? Or some other tune entirely? We may never know.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 400

Today's song is...

I Can Hear You

This was an early favorite of mine. The cleverness of the lyrics about all these places where it is hard to hear someone recorded on a format that is itself not the clearest, just knocked me over in my early TMBG listening days. I distinctly remember asking Gary if he thought they would play this when we saw the Factory Showroom show at Mohegan Sun and neither of us were sure. And they did and I was happy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 399

Today's song is...

200 SBemails

As I believe I have said a number of times, I have never gotten into Homestar Runner making this song and the other TMBG contributions my only experiences with it. So the significance is rather lost on me. But I like the rather over dramatic bombastic quality of the song.

Song of the Day - Day 398

Today's song is...

Don't Spare The Rock

It has been a while since I heard this one but I remember liking it. And I have definitely enjoyed the radio show it goes with the times I have caught it. Good stuff.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 397

Today's song is...

Robert Lowell

I had forgotten all about this one. It needs more of my attention. I like it. There is some really interesting stuff going on musically. And I'm kind of surprised I like it as I am often turned off by some of the more electronic sounding stuff that is going on here, but apparently not in this case. Intriguing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 396

Today's song is...


I gotta admit, I am not one of those people who finds clowns creepy and this song still makes me shudder when I hear it. I find it has more to do with the voice Flans is singing in and the general tone of the song than the subject matter. Though I will agree that nude clowns do not belong in a song for children. But I really like the percussion. Like, a lot. Which makes it unfortunate that I find the song creepy or I might listen to it more.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 395

Today's song is...

Los Angeles

My very favorite venue song. Of all of them, this is the one that sounds the most complete and like it could stand on its own and make sense outside of the venue songs project. I love the fake British accent Linnell uses and I am a big fan of the guitar riff. And the video is pretty cute too. This is also probably the venue song I have seen live second most often, though never in it's original venue which is sad. Maybe someday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 394

Today's song is...

The Second Longest Night

I think, technically, this song doesn't qualify for SOTD based on my own criteria but it's my blog and I can allow any song I want. And this one is just fun so it got a pass. The lyrics seem well made for a song to be sung by John Linnell even though they were not actually intended for anyone in particular. And there is something about the way the primary and backing vocals on the chorus go together that appeals to me.

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 12/14/11

Today's photo is courtesy of my Playmobil advent calendar :-)

Please send submissions to

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 393

Today's song is...

Pirate Girls Nine

I'll let you in on a little secret. There is something about this song that creeps me out a tiny bit. I think maybe it's the part about all the little girls sharing an earring and stinking but I am not sure. But I don't quite have the same warm fuzzy cute feelings about it that I do with most of the kids songs. Despite it being about pirates and pirates being really cool. But I sure do love counting along with Linnell and Dan. "One-Two-Three-Four-Five-Six-Seven-Eight-Nine!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 392

Today's song is...


A song I have never examined too closely, but MAN, those are some odd non-sensical lyrics. I am sure if I spent some more time with them I might be able to make some sense of them but just glancing at them now they look like a bunch of pretty unconnected sentences. I think I always get distracted by the melody and don't really worry too much about what the lyrics are. Perhaps I'll stick with that.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 391

Today's song is...

Nice Is Good, Mean Is Bad

I think of this one as "the Barney song". Just because it reminds me of one (which I think it is supposed to). But it actually makes me laugh whereas Barney songs do not. But I believe that has a lot more to do with the fact that Flansburgh is singing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 390

Today's song is...

Purple Toupee

I am honestly shocked I haven't done this one yet but the list says no. For the longest time, I considered this the last of the "big" songs I hadn't heard live. Not sure why I considered this to be a "big" one. It's a fun, great song but it really stands out more because of how long it took to hear it at a show. And the horror filled experience of finally hearing it when our friend Stacy wasn't there and it's her favorite song that she had been waiting for since she got into the band. Still scarred by that one. Good thing they played it again so we could all properly appreciate it. I've always enjoyed the twisted history and word play present in the song. Just a good, fun song.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 389

Today's song is...

Savoy Truffle

Will I be lynched if I tell you guys I like this version better than the original? Something about Linnell's voice on this track just makes me go "mmmmhmmmmm."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 388

Today's song is...


I miss the days when podcasts had their own theme songs. Actually I just miss podcasts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 387

Today's song is...

What He Said There

Another Partly Cloudy Patriot song about which I have nothing to say. Probably about time I listened to that whole book again.

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 12/7/11

Hey, look I finally got another submission and TAPOM is back!! This one is from CapitalQ and made me giggle aloud. Thanks Q!

Please send submissions to (Pretty please :-))

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 386

Today's song is...

I'll Sink Manhattan

Unlike so many TMBG songs which feature downer lyrics set to peppy melodies, I find this song just to be a downer. Sad lyrics set to a sad tempo. I suppose there is a level of dark humor to it but it's not one I chose to listen to a whole ton. But there is a certain brilliance to the lyrics I have to admit.

Song of the Day - Day 385

Today's song is...

The Lady and the Tiger

I think it says something about how incredibly strong an album Join Us is, that I love this song, I mean really LOVE this song, and yet it doesn't quite even crack my Top 5 songs on the album (though numbers 5-7 fluctuate a lot). There are two things that really stand out to me about it. First is the lyrics. So many good lines. "Point taken cat, I can well see that." That one is my personal favorite but I also like, "Felines and dames in flames will hardly serve your aims. Do you surmise it's wise, to have laser beams emitting from your eyes?" and "But in my dreams it seems, my eyes are always shooting laser beams." Just the way the words rhyme and flow together is incredibly pleasing. And the other thing that stands out is the horn arrangement which is just phenomenal. And of course the drums are pretty kickin' too. Actually, the whole song is just kick-ass in general :-)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Danny!!

The bass, the bass, the bass is Danny Weinkauf! And today is our favorite bass player's birthday, so please join me in wishing him a totally rockin' birthday and another fantastic year ahead. Whisper it like you're screaming!

I've been struggling all day to come up with a way to put into words the sentiment I'd like to express. But I've come to the conclusion that nothing I could write would be as meaningful as the simple birthday greeting that Danny left me on my birthday was to me. In the words of one of my dear friends, Danny is "everything that is great about rock and roll and none of the stupid parts". He is talented, generous, caring, funny and a really damn nice guy. He truly is the best.

So I'll just say thank you. Thanks, Danny, for being you. Thanks for sharing your enormous talent with the fans. Thanks for bringing such boundless energy, joy, and straight up rock n' roll to every performance. Thanks for the hundred little kindnesses I've seen you bestow upon delighted fans. Thanks for knocking people's socks off leaping off that drum riser. Thanks for every single one of those wicked bass solos and for making the bass line in Ana Ng something I look forward to in every show. Thank you for another memorable year of being a TMBG fan and the prospect of another fantastic year ahead. Thanks for always being enormously kind and endlessly tolerant of the crazy fangirl with the pigtails. And thank you for each and every one of those smiles aimed in my direction. It's a little thing, but it means the world to me. I sincerely hope you have the very best birthday a body could ask for.

And don't tell the other guys, but you'll always be my favorite ;-)

TMBG 6/11/11 #41

TMBG 7/21/11 #40

TMBG 7/30/11 #18

TMBG 9/8/11 #27

TMBG 9/11/11 #5

TMBG 9/13/11 #5

TMBG 9/14/11 #2

TMBG 9/27/11 #40

TMBG 9/28/11 #23

TMBG 10/1/11 #42

TMBG 10/29/11 #4

TMBG 10/30/11 #24

Happy Birthday, Danny! Rock on! Keep on reaching for new heights!

Song of the Day - Day 384

Today's song is...

Metal Detector

I used to be indifferent to this song, and then I heard Linnell talking about it on Studio 360. He was telling the story about how he got the idea from a book written by a somewhat delusional individual about treasure hunting in Casco Bay, which is near where I grew up. And all of a sudden everything clicked for me. And ever since, I have really loved this one. Sometimes just knowing the story behind a song makes all the difference for me.

I also really fell in love with the sonics of it. All those electronic noises, mixed with the heavy guitar, accordion, drums and bass. But what I really love is the version with the horns. That one just sounds so cool. And the one and only time I heard the song live, that was how I heard it. I wish it hadn't been so early in my fan-hood and I could remember it better, because I would have appreciated it so much more later on. This one is definitely high on my list of songs I've heard once that I would desperately like to hear again.

"Every seashell has a story to tell if you're listening." Great line. Really great line. And "discarded folderol" is a fantastic phrase. John Linnell really has a way with words (*stating the obvious*).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 383

Today's song is...

Olive, The Other Reindeer

Does it bother anyone else that the lyric say "and now this song must end" and then the song continues on for another minute? Otherwise it's a very cute song. I always liked the concept of the Olive book even though I never read it. I just liked the idea of the dog who wanted to be a reindeer. And here Linnell...excuse me, I meant Mr. Hart.... has written a sweet little song about it, set to an organ. With an electronic instrumental end. Ok, it's a little odd, I admit, but fun.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 382

Today's song is...

Different Town

I have a feeling this song would make more sense to me if I was at all familiar with the Homestar characters. The melody is chipper though.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 381

Today's song is...

You'll Miss Me

This used to be me second least favorite song. And then I gained a small amount of appreciation for my least favorite song and it rose in the ranks a little, leaving this poor song at the bottom. I feel bad for it. It's not a bad song. It's just too screamy. If it makes the song feel any better, I rather like the demo version. But I'm sure that doesn't make up for the album version being at the bottom of my list. Oh well. Can't please them all.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 380

Today's song is...

Mr. & Mrs. Nuclear

Another short and simply little ditty. The guitar (or is that a mandolin or something?) has a nice tone and there is something in the percussion I like. I wonder if I ever actually read the McSweeney's book while listening to this, if the song would make any sense?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 379

Today's song is...

25 O'Clock

I forgot until just now how much I enjoy this cover. It's a combination of loving the drum, bass and synthesizer parts. It just sounds so cool. They did such a good job with it. Granted, I'm not sure whether I have heard the original, but that's ok. I'll stick with this version. It suits me just fine.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 378

Today's song is...

Put Your Hand On The Computer

I am actually more familiar with this song as band introduction music from the half dozen or show live show recordings I have where it was used as such, but I enjoy the studio recording too. The instrumental bridge is really pretty and nice and features some lovely understated guitar work. And my favorite line of the song is when they just sing "whee." Makes me smile every time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 377

Today's song is...


I really like this venue song. It really captures The Who vibe and I am a bit of a Who fan. This is another of the ones I like better than a couple of the ones that got official videos and one of the reasons I am grateful the entire set got recorded and released into the world. I'm a little sad that it's one of the ones I have no chance of ever seeing recreated in its original venue, but I can't have everything. I'll just enjoy imagining the spinning disco ball instead :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 376

Today's song is...

One More Parade

I find this song an odd choice to cover. It's pretty much a downer and without the chipper melody I associate with TMBG downer tunes. But it sort of sounds like a parade which is appropriate and Linnell did a great job with the voice.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 375

Today's song is...

Mr. Xcitment 

Ok, NOT one of my favorite songs. I am not a rap music fan or a remix fan and this feels like a weird combination of both even though it isn't a remix of anything. But is do really enjoy the line about Flansy and the soda can because it's just weird and random and makes me laugh. And it's just one more example of the incredibly wide variety of songs this band produces.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 374

Today's song is...

Unrelated Thing

This is another song I always forget about except when I'm listening to it. If you asked me to name on the songs on John Henry I wouldn't remember this one. And conversely I probably never could have told you what album it was on without looking it up. But it's a perfectly good song. I appreciate the relatively simple arrangement with prominent guitar and bass. I think I find it forgettable because the lyrics don't stand out for me. But they do make me wonder if Linnell often encounters problems with people talking to him while he isn't paying attention because his mind has wandered off to write another song or think about mile markers on the highway or some other unrelated thing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 373

Today's song is...

Radio They Might Be Giants 3

There is nothing quite like heavy metal music in your TMBG adverts. I particularly like the "Huh!" at the end. Totally makes the song.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 372

Today's song is...

Dog Walker

This was the last song on Join Us to win me over. Most of the others I loved immediately or very soon afterward. This one had to grow on me. Because my initial reaction was just "WTF, Flans?" And I think I have a harder time enjoying songs when I just completely don't get them but they also seem like there is something going on. I can deal with not getting songs that I believe are total nonsense, but I hate feeling like I'm missing something. Well, I can't say I ever figured this one out but I just learned to accept it. And you know what finally won me over? The line "My mind is gonna wreck all y'all. All y'all." Because how can you not love a song with that line? Especially sung in that voice. So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Also, because it's me and it's Join Us and I can't not say it, the drums are pretty frickin' awesome.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 371

Today's song is...

Crushed By Dust

Wow, this song is creepy. Which is exactly what it is supposed to be. The voices are particularly effective on the creepy scale though the Flans voice almost tips over into silly. Actually, who am I kidding, the whole thing pretty much tips over into silly. But in a good way.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 370

Today's song is...

Renew My Subscription

Love this song. Especially that xylophone sound. I love the melody and the way the instruments blend. I love the tone of Linnell's voice. And "I wanna be a much better person, instead I worsen with every day" is one of my favorite lyrics. So many things about this song to love and I love them all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 369

Today's song is...

The Mesopotamians

A little while back, I wrote about Nine Bowls of Soup and how it was THE song that turned me into the TMBG fan I am today. But I probably never would have gotten there without this one either. In college, most of my friends were archeology majors and I took a few courses myself. So Sargon, the Mesopotamians king, came up an awful lot in our group conversations; a lot more than you might think. He was kind of a group joke. So this first time I heard this song (which was actually at it's live show premiere, though I didn't know that at the time), I was absolutely floored that the band had written a song that mentioned him. In a weird way, it seemed as though the song was written just for me. And for months afterward, as I was very, very slowly becoming interested in TMBG, I would ask to hear this song and bop around like a fool to it.

It's true that I eventually heard it so much live that I got a little sick of it, but I got over that in the eight month show hiatus in the spring and now I'm back to loving just as much as I ever did. This one holds a very special place in my heart.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 368

Today's song is...

I Found A New Friend Underneath My Pillow

This has got to be one of the shortest songs in the whole repertoire even of the Fingertips tracks. It is, after all, nothing more than the title. But I challenge you to say the name without applying the intonation used in the song. Not so easy is it?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 367

Today's song is...

Space Suit

What a nice instrumental. Lovely accordion and all those spacey sounds. But I absolutely can't listen to this song without being reminded of the pinpoint spot light of LPR pointed at the outstretched finger of Dan Miller as he prepared to man the Kaoss Pad for the night's second performance of this song. So much drama and anticipation and such a great performance of the song. That is one of my favorite live show memories for sure.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 366

Today's song is...

I'm All You Can Think About

Would everyone please join me in wishing the Song Of The Day feature a very happy first birthday!! Twas exactly a year ago that I was trying to figure out what to do with the blog while the band was on tour hiatus and I got the idea to feature a different random song every day. I think it has worked out pretty well all things considered. And I figure there are still enough songs left for me to get probably another year out of it, though I may eventually need to adjust the selection process to make things a little faster.

Anyway, for today's song I thought about hand selecting something but I also wanted to see what the randomizer turned up on its own. And I didn't think it's selection was half bad so I went with it. I find this song amusing and an excellent example of Linnellian word play. And all set to incredibly strong instrumentation and melody, especially considering it's just a B-side (or what I think of as a B-side anyway, it being a song from an EP). And I figure for all of us band obsessed, TMBG junkies, the song is rather appropriate (if exaggerated). So here's to another year of being obsessed with a pretty great band. I'm glad we're all in it together.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 365

Today's song is...

A Self Called Nowhere

I love the juxtaposition in this song, from the quiet beginning with the guitar, to the explosion of music with horns and drums and then back again. The bombastic horns are one of the things I love best about John Henry and I don't think they are exhibited on any other song on the album quite so well as this one. I also love the way Linnell sings the song, particularly the chorus because I can so easily picture him belting out the words. There is a fantastic bass part layered under all those horns and other instruments that particularly shines through on the last instrumental section. And I am really fond of the distortion effect on the cymbals that washes over everything at the end. Suffice it to say, I love this song a lot.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 364

Today's song is...

Yeah, The Deranged Millionaire

In lieu of my thoughts, I am just going to share this video because it is really damn funny.

THAT IS ALL from John Hodgman      

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 363

Today's song is...

Don't Let's Start

I am kind of shocked I got all the way to 363 before this song came up, especially considering how many of the big songs came up very early on in the process. Needless to say, this is one of my favorites and pretty much always has been. It contains some of my very favorite lyrics set to a hoppin', catchy tune. And for some reason I have always adored the chorus: "D, work destruction, O - ver an overture, N, do I need apostrophe, T, need this torture." It's simply brilliant. Even just the rhythm of it is perfect.

The video for this song is also tied for my favorite video with the Crane one. It's just so much fun watching the Johns run around spastically on a map of New York.

And one of my favorite favorite things I'd watching this song live, because it is performed with so much energy. Flans and Danny just tend to go nuts on the bouncy and the enthusiastic guitar string plucking. I can still vividly picture this being performed at the soaked show in Brooklyn earlier this year, with Linnell belting his soul into the mic, Flans windmilling his arm around his guitar, Marty whamming on the drums with all his might and Danny spinning in circles while he bounced up and down like a kangaroo. So much love, guys. SO MUCH LOVE.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 362

Today's song is...

Mrs. Cinderella

Another little lost Dial-A-Song gem that I had never even heard or heard of until a few minutes ago. And it's a nice little tune. Rather early Flans vibe, simple arrangement, interesting lyrics. Songs like this are the reason I've never just gone through and listened to my whole DAS recordings folder because I like discovering new things like this even after I feel like I've heard everything there is to hear.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 361

Today's song is...

E Eats Everything

I am not an enormous fan of this song. It's in the genre of "shouty Flans songs" and I tend not to care so much for that genre. I do fine the lyrics amusing, especially the part where you think he's gonna say Coke and says soda instead. But As, I always say, I can never truly dislike a TMBG song, some are just resting at the bottom of the pile.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 360

Today's song is...

Instrumental (Name Unknown)

Normally, this is the sort of song I would skip over when it came up in my random page search because there isn't enough info about it and it seems a little sketchy. But as it happens I have this unnamed instrumental so I can confirm its existence despite its lack of title. It really reminds me of circus music. Makes me think of people balanced on balls on the backs of elephants juggling knives or something. Good use of horns. It really makes me wonder what the story behind the song is and why it never turned into anything given that it sounds pretty put together. Or maybe it did turn into something and we just haven't matched it up yet. Who knows?!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 359

Today's song is...

AKA Driver

This is one of my favorite Flansburgh songs. I had it ranked #12 on my list of Flans songs though that needs to be completely reworked to include Join Us. This is a song I enjoy as a whole package. Great melody, strong, full instrumentation and interesting lyrics. This is also pretty high on my list of songs I'd love to hear live someday. So you know, if anyone out there with any influence is listening.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 358

Today's song is...

Toddler Hiway

Poor Toddler Hiway. It always seems to be the song no one loves but me. And I really like it. It's cute because it conjures images of tons of little kids riding around a Toys R Us parking lot on Big Wheels. But I have to admit, I never realized until just this minute when I looked at the lyrics that the line was "Take your Close'N'Play" and not "Take your clothes and play." Boy do I feel dumb.

Song of the Day - Day 357

This is actually yesterday's song. The wiki wouldn't load in the morning for me to pick a song and then I never got back to my computer the rest of the day.

So yesterday's song is...

Money For Dope

This incredibly random list of items is fascinating and so Linnellian. This is like the definition of Linnellian. This is one of my favorites of the new songs on ARNATQ. I'm glad it made it into the world. I understand what Flans was saying about this not making it onto Join Us because they already had a list song on Join Us and really, You Don't Like Me, is the stronger song but I am still really glad we got to hear this one too. I really love the idea of Linnell sitting around picking out all these items just for their lyrical flow and interestingness.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 356

Today's song is...

Guitar Was The Case

This is one of my favorite Mono Puff songs because the dueling guitar riffs are so cool with a really solid rhythm line behind them. This kind of reminds me of a classic rock instrumental like Wipeout or Tequila or something like that. And I like it because it's Flans showing off his actual rock guitar prowess. Even now, the tune is stuck in my head, right where a good melody should be.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 355

Today's song is...


The harmonies in this are so tenuous that I have several recordings where it is so off key as to be painful to listen to. But the studio version sounds cool.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 354

Today's song is...

Somebody Took My Eyeball

Sometimes Linnell is just silly. And sometimes it gets recorded and shared with the world. Isn't that awesome?!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 353

Today's song is...

I Got My T-Shirt Back

"Play the bongos." I told you guys my thing about bongos right? About my minor obsession with bongos in TMBG songs? Especially those played by Marty? Right then... Then you have a sense of my feelings for this song :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 352

Today's song is...

The Spine Surfs Alone

This song rocks and rocks hard. Just listen to that music and Flans' hard rock voice. Listen to the way Dan makes that guitar wail and Danny has the bass pounding. Now that's rock 'n' roll!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 351

Today's song is...

Another First Kiss

I know a lot of TMBG fans that really dislike this song and I've never gotten that, because it's a beautiful song. When I first played TMBG for my mom, this was the only song she really liked. I like some of the lyrics in the original First Kiss (which I had stuck in my head the other day) but I am so glad they manifested into this slower, prettier version. TMBG have virtually no love songs in their repertoire, but the few they do have I really like. "But we've run out of things to say and we'll be happy anyway" is a terribly romantic lyric. I don't need the romance from this band. There are plenty of other band's I can listen to for love songs. But it's so nice that they have just a few. Because sometimes you just need a love song from your favorite band.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 350

Today's song is...


I LOVE this video. This is quite possibly my favorite video from HCS. That little bug in the top hat is my favorite. And the line "Photosynthesis does not involve a camera or a synthesizer, although that's interesting too" is one of my all time favs. It's clever and funny and too many syllables crammed into not enough space. And I really love the rhythm track of the song, especially during the outro. Sooo good.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 349

Today's song is...

Poison Flowers

I am not sure what this reminds me of, but it reminds me of something. Something that is not Mono Puff. This is one of the songs where Mono Puff really doesn't sound like TMBG at all, and let's face it, a lot of the Mono Puff tracks have a definite TMBG flavor. But I really like this one, because it's different. And I especially like the piano jam at the end. Good song.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 348

Today's song is...

My Name Is Kingof Socks

I have such vivid memories of doing the lyrics for this one for the wiki, with my ear pressed to the computer speaker as I listened to the premiere on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. I really love the arrangement of this one. Fantastic drums and percussion and keyboard. The music is so rich. And then those cute, silly lyrics. And I also really like the effect on Flans' voice. A+.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 347

Today's song is...

I'm Def

This is one of my go-to examples of a WTF song. I think this is another example of Flans just playing around with sonics and the audience reaping the very odd rewards. And I love that stuff like this gets released. With so many bands, goof-around tracks like this would never see the light of day. And we get bunches of them. Yay, for us!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 346

Today's song is...

Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

Oh, the dissonance! This track is amusing but sometimes the dissonance gets to me. But I love the lyric about "ape town." It makes me giggle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 345

Today's song is...

If I Wasn't Shy

I really like the introductory riff in this song. I could kind of take or leave the rest of it, but I do like that riff. It also has a pretty nice bass part. And the lyric "I'd ask you if you don't mind, to kiss you a hundred times" is really beautiful. Sad and romantic at the same time. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 344

Today's song is...

Number Three

I really appreciate the humor of this song being the third song on the album. It is little things like this that make me love these guys. This is a song I love as a whole package. Clever lyrics, clever concept, great guitar and sax and drum machine. This is what I think of as a quintessential TMBG song.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 343

Today's song is...


Never one of my particular favorite venue songs. It's entertaining enough but there are others that didn't make the recorded-in-a-studio-with-an-official-video cut that I like better. I do like how the "e" stands out at the end when they are spelling "garage." It makes it sound sort of like an afterthought, like, "oh yeah, there's an "e" on this word."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 342

Today's song is...

Untitled Remix

Oh Gloria, even sillier when set to music.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 341

Today's song is...

Go for G

I really love the piano part in this song. Like, really, really love it. And also the drums in the bridge. But my very favorite thing about the whole song is the way Flans says "gyroscopes." Because a) what little kid knows what a gyroscope is? And b) the word is too long to fit properly into that spot in the song and he crams it in there anyway and it makes me giggle every single time.

At my very first show, there was a dad with a little boy in front of me and the dad kept trying to get his son to shout out a request for this song the entire show. It was obviously the child's favorite but he was too shy to make the request. Which is probably just as well considering the song has never been in their live repertoire, but I remember thinking it was really cute at the time.

They Might Be Giants After Dark

September 28, 2011 - The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC

Oh dear. I managed to get so behind on show recaps I couldn't catch up. Heading into the last week of the tour with Chicago incomplete was my undoing. But the good news is, I only have to pull this one and Richmond out of my memory then I have audio aids for the remainders so the last three I can produce them pretty quickly.

Once again managed not to be floated away by the French Broad River and were not detoured by rock slides on the road from Nashville this year either. That was a major plus. We arrived in Asheville hours too early due to required hotel check out in Nashville so we spent quite a while wandering around town. It's a pretty little town and very artsy. Lots of little craft shops, art galleries, organic restaurants and food stores. There was an outdoor co-op right by the venue and even a store that sold seasoned olive oils and vinegars (they do tastings if you are ever in the area).

A few hours before doors we wandered back to The Orange Peel to see if there was a line yet. There wasn't so we decided to wander a little more, but I wanted something out of our car first. I didn't want to walk down the side of the venue to the lot because the tour bus was parked there so were went the long way around. But when we went to wander off in the other direction we came out at the corner of the cross street right as Linnell, Flans and Marty were unpacking an SUV coming back from their local radio appearance. We stood awkwardly on the corner waiting for the light to turn while they trooped up the street into the venue, which was exactly what I had been trying to avoid by not walking next to the bus. Whoops. This seemed to be a recurring incident at this venue. As we were coming back again later, I stopped to point out a mysterious Rubbermaid container that had been left next to the bus, and of course Flans walked out the door of the bus right when I was pointing it out to Gary. And then Gary ended up returning from a trip to the public restroom right as the entire band was coming out of the building from soundcheck and had to cross the street to get back up to the line to avoid having to walk through them. Awkward.

I joined the line behind a small group of fans which included one of my readers, Kholdstare. Hi!! I always enjoy the lines more when I get to meet cool new people and compare band experiences and this was definitely one of those lines. And in this line in particular, I got to talk to talk to more people than I ordinarily would as I was starting a super secret project, in earnest. I started in Chicago, but I didn't get very far. But serious progress was made in Asheville. Actually, the project isn't a secret anymore now that it is in the past tense. I had bought this ridiculously large fold-out card birthday card for Dan Miller, (whose birthday was the upcoming Monday) with the intention of getting as many people in line over the course of the week to sign it as I could. I didn't get very far in Chicago because we got there so late, but in Asheville I ferried that thing as far back as the line went at the time, and as a result, got to talk, however briefly, with a whole slew of other fans. It was surprisingly fun given my tendency towards shyness when it comes to starting conversations with people. (I'm fine when someone else starts the conversation, but wracked with nerves when it comes to opening a dialogue. In Nashville, I was so nervous about talking to people I never even pulled the card out.) But people were really nice and wrote some lovely things in the card.

We got to hear most of the soundcheck through the walls. They ran through the obligatory Asheville venue song so I got to enjoy Linnell saying "orange" a few extra times which is always a delight. The other songs they tested weren't anything unique, just several of the Join Us tracks. What was slightly more exciting/distressing for me was the Jonathan Coulton soundcheck. He and the band started running through Glasses, which is my favorite song on the new album. Actually, it's probably my favorite Jonathan Coulton song period and I had not yet heard it performed live (except on YouTube). But I was horribly conflicted because one of the things I really love about it (besides the fact that I find it to be a deeply romantic song) is Marty's drumming on the track, and nothing against Christian, but I really wanted to see Marty play it. So I was excited and disappointed all at the same time. It was sort of like being given a chocolate cake that was missing the frosting. Still good, but not the same.

Eight o'clock finally rolled around (late doors tonight) and we flooded into the Orange Peel. We picked a spot just left of center by the stage, probably the most front and forward we were this whole leg of the tour. They had guard rails set up that kept us a few feet back from the stage to create a photographer's alley along the stage front. The rails were attached to a base that meant the whole front row was raised ever so slightly above those behind them, which must have been a little annoying for the short folks in the crowd. I chatted for a while with the fans to my left (I'm terribly sorry, I've forgotten your names, but hi!) about past shows and such. I didn't put it together until after the fact, but I was in line with these same people in Richmond last year. I learned from them that the enormous helicopter blade fan on the ceiling of the Orange Peel that I remembered so vividly from last year, is actually made by a company called Big Ass Fans which amuses me to no end. I am easily amused.

JoCo went straight to the band set tonight. We were standing right in front of Brandon and while Jonathan was introducing and starting Code Monkey, Brandon looked out at me and mouthed "You again?!" And I nodded and shrugged like "yes, it's me... again." And then he ran out to the the front of the stage and leaned out over the photographer's alley holding out his hand to shake mine in greeting. And I was so surprised, I still had my phone in my hand from noting down the first song on the setlist and reached out the wrong hand to shake so I had to do the awkward backwards hand squeeze. Gotta admit, I was completely tickled :-)

JoCo's setlist looked something like this: Code Monkey, Sticking It To Myself, Big Bad World One, Glasses, Je Suis Rick Springfield, Shop Vac, Still Alive, Sucker Punch, I Feel Fantastic.

He had some issues with Big Bad World One. First he had to start over because he screwed up the verses. Then something happened to his guitar in the second round. I didn't actually see what happened but all the sound cut out. It looked like the chord might have gotten caught on Christian's drum kit and pulled out of the amp maybe? They all laughed pretty hard and JoCo made some jokes about being a professional. They restarted again but not all the way from the beginning.

They did in fact do Glasses and it was great but still not the same and I'd still like to see Marty do it.

I'd decided I missed the Shop Vac clapping and after pointing this out to Gary he suggested that I could just do it myself and others would probably follow. Except I couldn't find the right beat for it. I guess I was feeling rhythmically challenged. But we did successfully get it going in a portion of the crowd the next night.

And that was about it for the notable JoCo stuff. Fun set. Oh wait, there was some amusing banter with an audience member about JoCo's G string. He was having trouble tuning it and someone in the crowd made the obvious undergarment G-string connection. I don't recall the specifics but it was very humorous.

In the break, I became very concerned that the techs had once again forgotten to plug in the sustain pedal on the keyboard. I kept trying to catch one of their eyes to point this out but was never successful and I was not in a position to help fix the problem this time due to the photographer's alley. But the funny thing was, after being so concerned about it, I totally missed when Linnell must have ended up plugging it in himself. Because it was still unplugged when the show started and when they went to do Cloisonné, I looked to see if it still needed to be plugged in and it didn't. Which just goes to show that the beginning of the show was so good it distracted me from worrying about it.

The TMBG setlist: Asheville - Johnny - Dump - Canajoharie - Judy - Particle Man - James Ensor - Los Angeles - Turn Around - Celebration - Birdhouse - Clap Your Hands - Withered Hope - Battle for the Planet of the Apes - Cloisonne - Spoiler Alert - Older - Don't Let's Start - Racist Friend - Alphabet of Nations - Pine Box - Ana Ng - When Will You Die - Mesopotamians  Encore - Careful What You Pack - Band Intros - Istanbul  Encore 2 - Lie Still - Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes

TMBG opened immediately with Asheville. I continue to be impressed that Linnell plays keyboard and accordion on this song, so that he plays keys while still holding the accordion. Awkward but so cool.

Flans commented that this was the first time on the tour they had played after 10:00pm. "They Might Be Giants P.M. - slower and more seductive." Then both he and Linnell went on this ongoing riff pretending the show was a late night radio program on NPR. They were using fussy "NPR accents" and making cracks about pledge breaks and such. After the next song Flans made another "station announcement." "They Might Be Giants after dark. And up next a recording of Fresh Air with Terry Gross." They joked they were going to do the entire show in the fake accents. There were a whole bunch more great lines involved in this schtick that I've forgotten, and for a while I thought they really were going to use the accent the whole show because they kept it up for quite a while.

I seem to recall Flans having some sort of very humorous existential type intro to We Live In A Dump, but I've forgotten the specifics. Flans made a comment about feeling very chatty so I am sure there was a ton more banter than I am going to remember. He messed up the lyrics of Meet James Ensor and had to restart and I know his explanation of why he messed up was funny but I don't remember it at all. He and Linnell made some jokes about the fake accents used for Hollywood and talked about the Venue Songs DVD and how unsuccessful it was, so they were playing songs from it to try to promote it.

Flans held another Celebration dance contest with vinyl as the prizes. He had four albums, one of which was an Andy Griffith record that he said he had brought just to show us. He later realized he had only brought 4 and conceded that he would part with Andy Griffith for some really good dancing but he never did end up giving it away. I don't remember what the other non-Join Us album was but the third was the double album by Todd Rundgren, Something/Anything? Flans and Linnell made a lot of wise cracks about this one, including saying that the entire thing had been recorded in Todd's living room. (I believe this was a reference to the picture inside the gatefold.)

I'm trying to remember if this was one of the nights that Flans forgot to hand out the albums until about four songs later. I think maybe he gave out one or two immediately after Celebration but held onto the Rundgren and Griffiths albums until later because he hadn't see anyone go all out with the dancing yet. Yes, I think that was definitely it, now that I think about it, because he ended up giving the Rundgren to some guy in the back later, whom Flans said had been loosing his shit all night. And then he made some jokes about whether or not Ecstasy was still a thing people did.

Flans has acquired a new toy for the Battle for the Planet of the Apes: a large flashlight to use to divide the crowd. (He has also started referring to this portion of the evening as Ape Club.)  The flashlight has the words "people" and "apes" written on it with arrows pointing in the appropriate directions for the two teams and an ape face drawn on it. When he first held it up to indicate what it was for and divide the room though, he was holding it so we could see the writing which meant the arrows were pointed the wrong way for the teams. So he had to correct that so people didn't get confused. Then he used the beam to make a division in the crowd, teasing several people about not getting out of the way and shining the light in their faces. He did a decent job explaining the rules but he must not have been super clear because Danny kept having to cue our side to start chanting again. Flans also goofed somewhat hilariously when he was introducing which band members were on which team, and called Marty, Dan. Actually it was a little unclear if Flans was accidentally calling Marty, Dan, or just forgetting that Dan wasn't there and introducing him as if he was, but I really think he was calling Marty the wrong name. Either way, Marty just shook his head at him, either in a "that is so not my name" or a "no, he's not here." And Flans apologized and had to back track to correct himself. I found the whole thing pretty entertaining.

We were on the "people" side and our band reps really rocked out pretty hard on our behalf. This time, when Danny went to play the drums on the second round, instead of just beating on one, he took a stick in each hand, spread out behind Marty and smacked on the toms on either side of Marty, while Marty played the snare and kick. It was kind of a sight. And despite that wild performance, if memory serves, the apes still won this time. Flans said the apes could not be denied. Danny led us is a "people" chant of protest, but it was a lost cause. Flans encouraged the two teams to intermingle once more, but as has been happening all tour, cries of "apes, apes, apes" and "people, people" broken out sporadically for the rest of the show so the battle never really died.

Before Cloissoné, Flans said made a comment about how he had been wandering around Asheville all day and said that he was growing out his beard in tribute to the town (an obvious reference to the staggering number of hippies in town). Linnell said that he was going to grow a beard like that guy in Tintin with the huge long beard that forks at the bottom who is always a background character but never gets a name. He was illustrating this with his hands while he was talking and Flans and Danny were kind of looking at him like he was nuts because they had no idea what he was talking about. Then Linnell added that Danny was going to have a mustache that went like this, and he drew a large "W" shape from his nose in the air, like Kaiser Wilhelm. This made Danny crack up pretty hard, and the audience too for that matter.

Flans introduced Danny on the keyboard and had us start chanting his name. Danny started conducting us first making us all go louder and then silencing us. Then Flans introduced Linnell on the bass clarinet and had us start chanting "bass clarinet" (a much more challenging thing to chant, I gotta say.) Danny continued conducting our volume and we passed a very silly 30 seconds chanting for a reed instrument before the song.

Gary commented after this show that he wished I had recorded this Avatars segment instead of the one in Nashville and I have to agree because it was side-splittingly funny and I only remember parts of it. I know they continued their Epic Fail Baloney sandwiches routine, singing the jingle and talking about them having the finest 5 day old baloney and stale bread. One of my favorite parts of the jingle is that they never use the same year for the "in your face since..." line two shows in a row. It's always different. Blue made some joke about LSD and then said "Dad, tell me again about the 60s." And then had a great line about if you could remember, you weren't there.  They did another little routine talking about TMBG and how mean they were and how they made them live in a suitcase. The really funny part I remember from this was when they said they were going to be doing a They Might Be Giants song and they hoped it wasn't one the band was planning to include in their set tonight. And then Blue started adlibbing some lyrics to Birdhouse but they were all wrong and hysterical. And then he said he was kidding and it was actually a different TMBG song and then started doing the same thing with Turn Around. I was laughing so hard by that point I could barely hear him.

Gary and I have both racked our brains but neither of us can remember if in was in Asheville or Richmond that Green went off on this bizarre riff while talking about how mean TMBG was. He was saying how horrible they were, except he said he liked "the little guy." Then he started going on and on about the "atomic little guy" in the band and how he was all right and he liked him. And he was cracking all the rest of the band up because no one had a clue who or what he was talking about. I sort of feel like that whole bit was in Richmond, but perhaps someone else who was at either show can confirm or deny that.

While they were playing the opening to Older, Flans and Danny did this thing where they started with their guitars raised in the air and then slowly lowered them, until they were both crouched on the floor with their instruments tipped down nearly to the ground by the time they finished the intro.

I have no memory of when Flans pulled out the giant Join Us poster but I know he did. He used a lot of the same jokes related to the poster all week, telling people how great it would look on the side of their barn. I don't remember when in the week it was, but he also started suggesting it as an excellent way to hide a missile silo at some point. This night he handed the poster to a girl in the front row, but told her the deal was she had to look up from her phone the whole rest of the show. I'm pretty sure she had actually been holding a camera and taking videos, but maybe she had a phone too. Turns out she was a friend of my friend Kathy. I don't know if she held up her end of the deal, but she got a free poster :-)

At some point in the evening, Flans also started a discussion about what the locals call The Orange Peel. The consensus seemed to be that they call it The Peel but Flans was joking about calling it "the O.P. - Original Peel."

When Will You Die was notable for featuring something so sad my heart broke a little. I'm not sure if he did it in Nashville too, (if he did I didn't hear him), but Linnell changed the words of the song and sang "Over there, that's Dan and there's Marty on the drums to complete the band." I missed Dan a whole awful lot at the three shows we saw without him, but never more than that moment right there. I think I would rather they hadn't play the song, because that was just awful.

When they came back for encores Flans decided he was going to give nicknames to everyone in the crowd. He dubbed this tall thin guy Tadpole. Then there was another name in the middle. Then he singled Gary out as "the guy in the glasses and Jonathan Coulton T-shirt" and dubbed him Totes, because he "was down with the slang." Then he said he needed to make a note to come up with more ideas for nicknames. He pretended to be writing notes to himself on an imaginary phone. "Tadpole, *missing name*, Totes, come up with more ideas." He was using this goofy, out of the corner of his mouth voice while he did it too.

They did the alternate band intros again, making more truly terrible noises. Then Flans said he thought the band needed more rehearsal because they sounded awful. So he made another note. "Tadpole, Totes, band needs more rehearsal."

When the guys came back to do Lie Still, Little Bottle in the second encore, Danny came out with them and was hanging out at the back of the stage for the first minute or so. But then he eventually came out and picked up his bass and started playing along which was kind of cool. And finally, they closed out the whole show with Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes again.

Both Marty and Danny came out after the show to sign stuff for people. I had a rather amusing moment with Marty while I was still waiting for my setlist, when he came out to stand in front of a sizable crowd on the right side of the stage to hand out his drum head, and he looked over at me and gave me this "Who should we give it to?" look. I made a little show of peering into the crowd for a worthy candidate but he managed to pick someone on his own.

I finally, after carrying it around with me since July, managed to get Danny to sign my copy of Join Us. It ended up being a bit awkward, because he seemed to think he had already signed one for me and I was confused and said something a little stupid as usual. But he did tell me that Dan might be back the next day (I didn't ask, he volunteered this information) which was a huge relief.

And off we went into the wilds of North Carolina, in the dark, to find the friend's house where we were staying the night. This week of the tour, every show was better than the last. So there are four stellar shows yet to recap in the next week. Everybody keep their fingers crossed that I can get them all done. And I'll tell you now. If the Asheville show had the saddest thing I've seen, the Richmond show had the most beautiful, so I'm looking really looking forward to doing that recap.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 340

Today's song is...

The World Before Later On

So weird thing... I just went to listen to this song again, and I must not have ever listened to it anywhere but  my car where the acoustics aren't great because I never noticed that spacey sound at the very beginning before. This is another of those songs that I enjoy while listening to and then never think about when I'm not. It's so subtle, it doesn't stand out in my brain much. But I like it when it's occupying my attention.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 339

Today's song is...

Spin the Dial

I had a pretty good debate with myself over whether this counted as a song. It isn't really one song but many. I'd classify it more as a show feature. And historically, I have not been including any unreleased covers that were performed in Spin the Dial and Stump the Band segments (I don't consider the Stumpboxes to count as releases.) But I decided to include the feature as a whole, just so I can say how thoroughly enjoyable it is and how sad I am that they stopped doing it before I started going to shows. Because the Spin the Dial segments in some of the live show recordings I have are some of the funniest parts of the whole show. I never ceases to amaze me how fast the band can pick-up on a song and start running with it. I have at least two recordings where Flans shuts them down after they start to play a song because he is unwilling to do it himself. In a rather odd way, this segment really highlights the enormously talented backing band the Johns have surrounded themselves with. As well as Flansburgh's talent for instant lyric creation. I think my favorite StD I've heard is a toss up between a performance of Tainted Love that ends up being reprised later in the middle of another song, and a rendition of You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling that features Linnell on enthusiastic backing vocals.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 10/19/11

Debatable whether a video game screen shot counts but I'm going with this one Gary found. It might be a little tricky. I'll give you a hint if nobody can sort it out.

Please send submissions to

Song of the Day - Day 338

Today's song is...

Welcome 2 Hell

I don't know what the people in that Home Movies episode had a problem with. I think the harmonies on this song sound pretty good by the end. OK, maybe the costumes could use some work...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 337

Today's song is...

Preamble: Fernando Wood

In my opinion, this song is an indicator of two things. One, if you have just put in House of Mayors to listen to for the first time, this is your first clue that you are have just started listening to a very odd collection of music indeed. And two, that John Linnell is ever so slightly nuts. But neither thing should be much of a surprise if you have spent any time with TMBG at all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 336

Today's song is...

Dan vs Cog

Man, this just makes me laugh. I love that Linnell takes the side of the robot, because of course he would. "John, whose side are you on?" Hehehehe. I also enjoy Flans' line "He plays with so much emotion," after Dan has sat through the whole thing without cracking a smile at all. Yup, this is funny stuff. And that's still a pretty cool robot even if it is no match for Dan Hickey.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 335

Today's song is...

My Brother the Ape

This is another song I really enjoy musically. I really like the rhythm and melody of it and the heavily synthesized sounds throughout. The lyrics are fun and both nonsense and make complete sense at the same time. And I adore the dancing anteater in the video. He's my favorite part :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 334

Today's song is...


As a parody of the CHiPs theme song (or at least I assume it is meant to be), this works pretty well. It sounds a bit more like video game music than a late 70s TV show theme, but it's got that prominent bass line and the "cheese" factor down cold.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 333

Today's song is...

Nine Bowls Of Soup

This is the song. I mean, THE song. This is the song that turned me into the passionate, obsessive TMBG fan you see before you see today. I was just starting to get interested in the band when 123s came out and Gary and I were listening to it for the first time in the car while I was bringing him to work one day. He left the CD playing when he got out, so I was listening alone by the time this song came on the first time. And, BAM. Like a brick to the head. The deadpan humor of it appealed to me immediately. I would later come to appreciate the harpsichord and drums and the completely lovely bass line, but initially it was the humorous repartee between an ichthyosaur and a little orange bird as they argued about soup that wrapped itself around my heartstrings and gave an all mighty tug.

The video only tied those strings tighter. I adore Pascal Campion's art to the extent that that little orange bird is now permanently inked onto my shoulder. Years and countless viewings later, I still collapse with giggles every time I watch the way the little bird nods his whole body when the ichthyosaur asks "If I tell you what these are for, then will you stop bothering me?"

The song isn't over the top. It's a matter of fact tale of an ichthyosaur with some mysterious bowls of soup. But I love that the biggest question is WHY he has the soup. Not why he is walking with soup balanced on a rake on his head, or why he is flying an airplane or why he is taking a snake for a walk. Just why does he have all that soup?!! Yes, it's cute and yes, it's a kids' song, but at the heart of it is everything I love about Linnell's songwriting and everything that makes up the spirit of They Might Be Giants. When it comes right down to it, this song changed my life. And when I think about every show I've seen, every blog post I've written, every album I've purchased, every song fallen in love with and every friend I've made and the fact that I owe it all to a song about an aquatic dinosaur with a questionable quantity of soup, I just tilt my head back and laugh. Could life be any more perfect?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 332

Today's song is...

Heart of the Band

Look at the randomizer being all timely again. Cause did you guys see the awesome T-shirt that I just got that Megan and Gabby made for me?

Look at the totally adorable T-shirt my awesome friends @four... on Twitpic

In case you can't tell, it says "Heart of the Band" on the drum. Because the drummer IS the heart of the band. I am really fond of this song. I have this thing for bongos and songs where Marty plays the bongos in particular. And this is one of the best.

P.S. If you haven't seen the episode of Higglytown Heroes that features this song, you should find it and watch it because it's really cute and the Johns do their own voices.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 10/12/11

Today's entry is a submission from TDK (and Paul!), taken outside the Berklee show in Boston a few weeks ago. Enjoy and don't forget to stop by cabbagetown on AIM at 8!

Please send submissions to

Song of the Day - Day 331

Today's song is...

It's Getting Late

I wish this one were more than a 16 second song because I like it and I would like to listen to more of it. That is all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 330

Today's song is...


This seems like fitting song for They Day (and it was random, even!) It may not be a common one, but I feel like it is rather quintessentially TMBG. I hope you are all showing your band pride today with marked up foreheads, band T-shirts or just by blasting this song or any other from your car window. Spread the word!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 329

Today's song is...

True and Amazing

I was about to say "oh, good, another song I've never heard before." And then I realized I have it in my magical file of miscellaneous stuff. And it's a lot more rocking with more electric guitar than I was expecting from a theme song. Cool.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 328

Today's song is....

Dollar For Dollar

I've always been a little perplexed at how this song, out of all the McSweeney's tracks, ended up on They Got Lost. I mean it's a perfectly good song and the vocal effect is kind of interesting, but it's so short. What was it about this one that they particularly liked so much that they chose it for that album? Then again there is some odd stuff on that collection period, so I guess it fits right in.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 327

Today's song is...

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Leave it to Linnell to invent a metal songs about the Planet of the Apes. Good one, Linnell.

Friday, October 7, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 10/7/11

I completely failed to get this up on Wednesday but I didn't want to skip it entirely. So here is a delayed TAPOM for you.

Please send submissions to

Song of the Day - Day 326

Today's song is...

Ring Ring

I believe this is my personal favorite of the ring tones, because I like the little improvised sounding tune that plays with the "ring, ring" lyrics. And there is something amusing about a ring tone that says "ring, ring."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 325

Today's song is...


The time travel concept in this song is rather mind boggling. Guy travels further and further into the future only to discover he is mysteriously living forever so he goes back and kills future self in 2082. But future self obviously knew something he didn't but it was too late and he wont know what it was until 2082 when past self comes to kill him. Creepy.

I have to say, I am rather proud of the fact that I figured out that this was the song on which Marty was drumming on an acoustic guitar. Go me. Marty himself said I have good ears. Or maybe I am just a tad obsessed with the drums on this album. Maybe. Either way, very cool rhythm track. Tis my favorite part of the song.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 324

Today's song is...

Here Come The 123s

Though largely the same song, I enjoy this one more than Here Come the ABCs and I'm not sure why. Maybe just because it's a nine second bumper to my favorite kids' album. One, Two Three!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 323

Today's song is...

O Tannenbaum

Seasonally inappropriate but whatever. It's a cool version. Pretty sure the German is kind of butchered but it still sounds nice. I like that JD actually got to play on this one so there is at least one recording of him drumming for posterity. And the wiki doesn't say so, but aren't there two saxophones featured, implying that both Linnell and Kurt are playing? Or am I hearing things? Also, this song always reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Dan Miller!!

Flansy may have declared September 15th Dan Miller Day, but we all know that today is the REAL Dan Miller Day as we celebrate the birthday of the unknowable guitar god.

The world is a brighter, louder and much more rockin' place when Dan is around. Master of the silly faces, lightning fast fingers that never leave his hands, consummate showman, and owner of the most beautiful laugh gifted to a human, Dan truly is a rock 'n' roll deity traveling among us mere mortals. Best wishes to him for a birthday as epic as one of his Istanbul intros. Now, for god sakes, get the man some cake!!

If you would please all join me in the traditional chant:


TMBG 9/11/11 #44

TMBG 9/13/11 #33

TMBG 9/15/11 #11

TMBG 9/15/11 #42

TMBG 9/29/11 #23

TMBG 9/29/11 #24

TMBG 10/1/11 #12

TMBG 10/1/11 #18


Song of the Day - Day 322

Today's song is...

Stomp Box

It was a log time before I ever looked up what the lyrics to this song were and realized how terribly dark they are. A little too dark for me I'm afraid. This has never been one of my favorites. But like all TMBG songs, I still find redeeming qualities even in the ones I don't love. In this case it's the bridge because I do rather enjoy the instrumentation on the song especially in that section. Good horns.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 321

Today's song is...

Hearing Aid

This one just sounds cool. So many different things going on. This seems like the perfect example of Flansburgh's fascination with sonics and just putting a bunch of stuff together to interesting instead of beautiful or even always especially melodic. And it's fun live with Curt on trumpet.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 320

Today's song is...

Rat Patrol

This is a track that I love the music way more than the lyrics. Ooo, that music is good. Damn. Have you guys heard the DAS version with Flans singing? Totally disorienting. So glad they fleshed that one out.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Country Music Hall Of Pants

September 27, 2011 - Cannery Ballroom - Nashville, TN

My goodness, Tennessee is a long state. Drove through 3 states in 25 minutes in the morning and drove across Tennessee for four hours in the afternoon just to get to Nashville which is only somewhere in the middle. Thanks to swift travel and dropping back an hour to Central time, we got to the Cannery Ballroom too early, before the parking was even open. I accidentally drove the wrong way around the lot to get back to the street, right past the tour bus, of course right when Anna, the merch girl was coming out the door. Oops. So we paid far too much to park elsewhere and wandered around the area for an hour or so. Counted at least 4 cake bakeries in the square mile radius around the venue, several within the same block. That's a lot of cake.

When we did get in line we were clustered on the stairs to the venue behind a few other people. The band was doing soundcheck. We heard When Will You Die as we walked up the drive, which was exciting as they haven't done it yet without Dan. Then, as we enjoyed the music through an open door, they started checking Canajoharie. Yay!! Oh how I have missed you Canajoharie. I guess they remembered it was another one they knew how to play without Dan. The door was shut after that so we didn't got to hear whatever else they did.

JoCo and company drove up in their van and wandered around trying to figure out where to load in. Turned out they needed to load in right through the front door right past all of us. Awkward. So we watched as Jonathan, Brandon, Christian and Scarface hauled boxes, guitars, drums and other sundry equipment into the venue, then try to figure out where to park their van.

The fact that the front door was the only way in and out of the venue with access to the parking lot meant that TMBG had to exit right past us after sound check to get back to their bus. I was sitting on the stairs and discovered this fact when Linnell and Danny walked right past me down the stairs. I don't think they noticed me though which was good as it would have been awkward. I wasn't quite so inconspicuous with Marty as I happened to look around right as he was coming out the door and he waved at me. Flansburgh shot down the ramp on the side of the stairs on his cell phone and Scott walked by having a conversation about laundry on his cell phone. (This was the point at which I confirmed that Dan was in fact still absent.)

Shortly after, Scott re-entered the venue carrying a large neon yellow laundry bag. I believe he bumped another fan with it as he passed as I heard him apologize to someone. For some reason, I find the idea of Scott doing the band's laundry really amusing.

The next hour or so were passed mostly in boredom. I did chat briefly with the folks next to me who were all college students who had driven in for the show.

This venue was a very unusual shape. The room was huge but there was a long bar that was essentially next to the stage (on the other side of a passageway) so it was sort of like having the stage on the end of the long wall of a rectagular room. There was a lot of the room that looked diagonally down at the stage and a good portion of the room where the stage wasn't visible at all. And the stage itself was tiny compared to the size of the room. But very deep. There was a ramp leading up the length of the stage at the back that lead from the backstage area, but was in front of the video screen. It was a rather unique set-up.

We were on the right side which afforded a really clear view of the whole stage since, sadly, Dan wasn't there to block any of it. The people on my left all seemed to be nice pleasant fans but there were some obnoxious drunks off to our right. I will never understand why people insist on getting wasted at a concert. They won't remember any of it later.

JoCo started with Mr. Fancy Pants again. It was going great until the last verse when he hit a wrong button and the rhythms went all haywire. He ended up singing the end of the verse to the sample that plays at the beginning of the song. Afterward he said that sometimes the buttons do not do what he tells they to. Someone in the crowd yelled "Yes, they do!" He laughed pretty hard and the person yelled, "Don't blame the buttons!"

The rest of his set was Artificial Heart, Shop Vac, Nememes, Sticking It To Myself, Still Alive, Code Monkey, Je Suis Rick Springfield and I Feel Fantastic.

He made the joke about Artificial Heart being a clever marketing ploy to remember the name of his album again. He also said that he was not sure he had met his nemesis yet but there sure were a lot people he hated so it was hard to tell. He joked about playing the French national anthem when he said he was going to sing a song in French. And he's got Christian starting up I Feel Fantastic while he does thank yous at the end so he can segue straight into the song.

Somewhere in this set I caught Brandon's attention and he was smiling at me singing along with whatever song they were playing. This isn't terribly pertinent now, but will become more so in the Asheville recap.

The TMBG set was a tiny bit late getting started. Maybe the laundry wasn't done. Their set looked like this:

Dead - Johnny - We Live In A Dump - Canajoharie - Judy - Particle Man - James Ensor - Los Angeles - Turn Around - Celebration - Birdhouse - Clap Your Hands - Withered Hope - Battle for the Planet of the Apes - Cloisonne - Crazy Train - Spoiler Alert - Crazy Train - Older - Don't Let's Start - Racist Friend - Alphabet of Nations - Pine Box - Ana Ng - When Will You Die - Mesopotamians. Encore - Careful What You Pack - Band Intros - Instanbul Encore 2 - Lie Still - Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes

Flans greeted everyone and said hello to the people at the back of the room by the brick wall. He teased them about wishing they had arrived sooner. He made a joke about rock music not being sucessful in Nashville that I don't quite recall.

They played Canajoharie completely without fanfare as if this hadn't been the first time they'd played it since the album came out. FYI: It's still amazing.

After Judy, Flans gave Marty a very funny shout out. "Marty Beller, on the drums, ladies and gentlemen. Why is he hitting those drums so hard? What did the drums ever do to him? Except provide a comfortable living for him and his family." At which Marty gave this very funny shrug like "well yes, that is true."

A really drunk guy off on our left kept yelling "I love you John" after each song and Flans eventually said, "We love you too." There was a brief interchange between them. I think Flans was mocking the guy for being so drunk. Then the guy yelled something else unintelligible and Linnell said "I didn't get that part."

I know there was some humorous back and forth between the Johns about the fake accents used on Los Angeles but the specifics of it are gone (this is what happens when I get behind on recaps and have multiple shows rattling around in my head.)

Flans had two records for the Celebration dance contest. One was the signed Join Us, the other was a copy of Bryan Ferry's solo album. Flans made some funny comments about the Bryan Ferry record, then told Linnell to tell a story while he got a drink. Linnell said it was weird that the Bryan Ferry album was all covers because he was a brilliant song writer but when he went to record his own album he didn't record his own songs. He also said something about thinking he had produced it himself. He commented that he couldn't read the back of the record because he didn't have his glasses and Danny insisted on picking up the record and finding the spot on the back that said that yes, Bryan had produced it himself with another guy, even though Linnell had moved on to another train of thought.

They awarded Bryan Ferry to someone off on the left and Flans asked where the couple was that had been doing all the syncronized dance moves to give them Join Us. Linnell said the best thing about them was that after each move they stopped and looked at the band like, "did you see that one?" Linnell said, "The answer is yes. Yes, we did see that."

Flans used a beam in the middle of the room as the division point between the people and the apes. He made the crowd split so there was an aisle down the center and teased some people for jumping sides. He gave out instructions and we waged war. People won. Typical. Danny has kept up his habit of joining Marty on the drums for one round which is pretty entertaining.

Flans said they had been in town for a couple of days and had gotten to visit The Country Music Hall of Pants. He was laughing about how many pairs of pants were on display in the Hall of Fame.

I videoed the Avatar segment from this show, primarily because I wanted to document Danny's keyboard version of Spoiler Alert and epic bass Crazy Train cover since they are limited time offerings. I'll add in the video when I get back.

The Avatars made more whispered comments about They Might Be Giants being mean but they apparently love Jonathan Coulton. They thanked their corporate sponsor Epic Fail Baloney Sandwiches again and performed their jingleh "Epic Fail Baloney Sandwiches - putting baloney in your face since 1946." This time Marty got out his bell on a rope and was clanging it everytime they said the name of the sponsor. The Avatars said they got paid every time the bell rang.

They did Spoiler Alert and then as they wrapped the segment with Crazy Train, Flans attempted to stick the William Allen White head on a stick that he has been calling Ryan Adams into the camera (he did this in Chicago too but I don't think I remembered to mention it.) But the video feed had been turned off so his yelled "Ryan Adams!" had no context. Then he yelled "Who cut the video feed?"

Marty really made Linnell laugh with one of his drum beats in Older but I wasn't clear what had been quite so funny about it.

I was attempting to take a picture of Flans wailing on his guitar either during Older or Don't Let's Start, I'm not sure which, and he stepped out and pretty much shoved it in my camera lens to improve the shot. It came out rather cool but I couldn't get his whole head in frame anymore.

Flans commented after Alphabet of Nations that they frequently hear a little cheering after mentioning a country in the song. For example, he said, he had heard one person cheer after Canada, indicating that had one Canadians in the audience. But this time he said there had been an unusually large response for Zimbabwe from the left side of the room.

Flans said that people seem to like When Will You Die just from the title without even hearing the song. The song just isn't the same without Dan.

When Marty left the drum riser before the encore he flipped his drum sticks in the air back over his head. They landed on the riser but when he came back he had to go hunting for them because he had no idea where they had landed.

Some awful drunk people flooded our corner during the encore break, including a guy who pushed his way to the front with a camera saying, "I'm sorry. I'm an asshole," as he did it. Charming.

As he tuned for Careful What You Pack, Flans said the ratio of people to lead guitarists in Nashville was 1-1 and he was just trying to do his part to keep that ratio in tact.

Flans did the Alternate Band Intros again with the cacophony of awful noises. I love the way he keeps saying "On the guitar, it's me!" as he rubs his guitar against the mic stand.

Flans told everyone to visit Anna at the merch stand, which he could see all the way on the other side of the venue from the oddly positioned stage. He said she had a new robotic credit card machine ready to make your old broken credit card work again. He also thanked the Cannery Ballroom for opening up the laundromat.

As the Johns and Marty were finishing Lie Still, Little Bottle Danny appeared at the bottom of the ramp at the back of the stage, beer in hand, to rejoin them. But instead of just walking up the ramp he shuffled his way up a couple inches at a time with each foot like a penguin, in time with the music. It looked ridiculous and I laughed myself silly.

Flans made a comment after Lie Still that they liked to keep things fresh and moving forward so they were going to play a song from their first album. And they played Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes, which was exciting as I had seen it on the St. Louis set but haven't heard it in a couple of years.

At the end of the song, as the guys all left the stage, Danny made Marty go down the ramp ahead of him so he could go last and then did his penguin walk all the way back down to the bottom. It had the effect of looking like someone miming walking down stairs behind a couch or counter, but with an actual incline. Totally silly and adorable and I loved him for it.

Victor came out to do setlists and gave a couple to some guys on my left. Then he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a folded one and held it out to me like contrabandn with this half glance at me that said "I know you are gonna like this, but I'm not gonna smile or anything so I don't tip you off." And sure enough, he'd tucked the St. Louis set in behind the Nashville one for me. Have I mentioned he is the best? Cause he totally is.

I know I've forgotten some stuff from this one but I think I got all the best bits in. It was a hoot. Not sure when I'll get Asheville and Richmond done. I'm so backed up now, the tour might be over before I get to them. But I'll get there eventually rest assured.