Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Madness Round One - Set Sixteen

Photo #31 by TDK

Photo #32 by Blue Canary

TMBG 6/11/10 #58

Vote Now

April Madness Round One - Set Fifteen

Photo #29 by Megan

Charlotte - 3/11/10 7

Photo #30 by TDK

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Fourteen

Photo #27 by Blue Canary

6/12/09 #10

Photo #28 by Rebecca


Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Thirteen

Photo #25 by Megan

3/11/10 - 2

Photo #26 by Rebecca


Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Twelve

Photo #23 by Blue Canary

TMBG 6/12/10 #4

Photo #24 by Blue Canary

TMBG 9/24/10 #1

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Eleven

Photo #21 by Blue Canary

TMBG 9/12/10 #18

Photo #22 by Blue Canary

TMBG 3/7/10 #18

Vote Now

April Madness Round One - Set Ten

Photo #19 by Megan

Boston 28

Photo #20 by Blue Canary

5/30/09 #55

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Nine

Photo #17 by CapitalQ


Photo #18 by Kathy

TMBG @ Le Poisson Rouge 01.31.09

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Eight

Photo #15 by Megan

Pittsburgh #1

Photo #16 by Kathy

TMBG at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI 09.24.10

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Seven

Photo #13 by Megan

Town Hall 2

Photo #14 by Blue Canary

TMBG 6/11/10 #4

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Six

Photo #11 by Blue Canary

TMBG 3/7/10 #20

Photo #12 by Kathy

TMBG at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI 09.24.10

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Five

Photo #9 by CapitalQ


Photo #10 by Blue Canary

TMBG 6/12/10 #8

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Four

Photo #7 by TDK

Photo #8 by Blue Canary

TMBG 3/12/10 #8

Vote Now!

Song of the Day - Day 136

Today's song is...


The best part of having a giant folder of Dial-A-Song tracks that you haven't listened to is that every time one comes up for Song of the Day you can go check if it's in the folder, and if it is, you get a listen to a brand new to you TMBG song. Like this one! Which is kind of bizarre and eh, when it comes to lyrics but has music that sounds a little bit like a spy theme. And a lot of "this was recorded off of the actual telephone" crackle, which makes it authentic :-)

April Madness Round One - Set Three

Photo #5 by Kathy

TMBG - Boston 04.22.10

Photo #6 by CapitalQ


Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set Two

Photo #3 by Blue Canary

TMBG 9/12/10 #3

Photo #4 by TDK

Vote Now!

April Madness Round One - Set One

Photo #1 by TDK

Photo #2 by Blue Canary

TMBG 3/7/10 #2

Vote Now!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 3/30/11

First, a reminder. Today is the last day to make submissions for the April Madness photo showdown. I've only had submissions from 3 people, so I can DEFINITELY use some more :-)

Rather a loose interpretation of the lyric but......

Please send submissions to

Song Of The Day - Day 135

Today's song is...


I really thought I had already done this one, but the search thingie tells me no. I think it is because we were discussing it on the forum and I remember having the debate over whether the xylohoney type music is manufactured on a keyboard or played on an actually percussion-type instrument. And then, if so, who was playing said instrument? Does anyone know what that instrument would be called if it were in fact real and not manufactured on a keyboard? Cause xylophone is not the right one. What ever it is, it's beautiful.

This is one of my favorites of the children's songs. It is just a beautiful, beautiful song. If Bed Bed Bed is the bedtime song that wont put your kids to sleep, this is the one that will because it has that wonderful sleepy quality. There is also something quite haunting about it as well. This is one of a few songs where it is really striking how uniquely lovely Linnell's voice is. I love how it's a quiet little lullaby most of the way through and then crescendos on "we don't know what it is."

I have seen a few beautiful live performances of this one (I just keep using "beautiful" on this entry. It is the only appropriate word.) The rhythm created by the three guitar players is really captivating. It's something you just have to see/hear. And if you can take your eyes off Linnell long enough (which is really a challenge because he just sucks you in with his performance on this one every time), watch the way Dan Miller bobs his head while he plays because it's really entertaining.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the video of this song that appears on the ABCs DVD. Secret truth: I am probably more fond of the live action videos of the band on that DVD than I am of the majority of their rock videos. The Sleepwalkers video is so intimate in the way it is shot and performed, it's like getting a private performance in your living room with the guys all lounging on your floor. Linnell, in his stocking feet, Dan, the only one who looks like he isn't half asleep, rocking his head to the rhythm, Danny, yawning in the background. And that strange bit where Linnell mysteriously stops singing. I wish I could link it here for you all to watch but, it sadly has not been provided online for viewing. So instead, please enjoy Kathy's lovely video from LPR where the band put the audience on alert by opening with this little played song, signaling the start of one of the best setlists I have yet seen performed. This was the one and only LPR show where I was in the front row, tucked in by Dan's feet. To say it was an awe inspiring experience would be an understatement.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 134

Today's song is...

Dark and Metric

I can not believe I didn't put this on my list of awesome bass songs. Like seriously, how did I miss this? This song would probably be totally forgettable for me if it were not for the spectacular bass stylings of Mr. Graham Maby. Ok, I kind of like the slide guitar solo too. And the way Linnell sings the last "drowned" But mostly bass, bass, bass.

That is all.

Song of the Day - Day 133

Today's song is...

I Am A Paleontologist

(Not even gonna make excuses about this being late)

There are not enough words in the English language to describe my love for this song. I think I actually didn't even realize how very, very strongly I feel about this song until I went to write about it and found it an extremely daunting task. John was teasing me last night, that I could write an entire blog post just on how cute the little animated band members are in the video. And that is completely true. The faces they are making are laugh out loud funny. And don't even get me started on the dancing pachycephalosaurus. Too cute to be borne.

But let me see if I can try to explain this too you. This song made it's first appearance at a family show at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on March 28, 2009. I know, because I was there. I was standing at the back of a room leaning on a barrier surrounding a sea of parents and their children all sitting on the floor. The band came out and rocked through 813 Mile Car Trip. Then Flans demanded everyone stand up and suddenly I could barely see anything. And practically before I even knew what was happening Flans was announcing that Danny was about to sing us a brand new song called I Am A Paleontologist and they launched into it. And I was in love. Immediately, whole hearted in love with the song from the very first beats. I hadn't a clue what words Danny was singing but it didn't matter because the song ROCKED. Every child in the room was dancing, every parent's head was boppin'. And oh, whenever it got to the spoken word section with Flans singing "diggin', diggin', diggin', diggin" and Linnell riffin' on dinosaur names while making weird hand gestures (and I am only just now realizing, mispronouncing pachycephalosaurus), I just about died.

I remember this with the vivid clarity of events that made a profound impact, despite the fact that I only have one extremely blurry photograph documenting the event. And I remember virtually nothing of the rest of the show, so totally eclipsed was it by this song.

Imagine my delight upon getting home, when I realized some fine wikian had captured the entire thing on video. I spent hours and HOURS listening to this video over and over and over trying to decipher the lyrics. This was my first major, "figure out the lyrics from the live performance" experience, something I have had some practice with since then, but was new and thrilling at the time. It took two more videos from later performances before I finally made out the beginning of the second verse and was so triumphant I probably hollered "HERBIVORE" aloud in my apartment.

I loved seeing it performed across the summer as Flans repeatedly told the crowd to stand for their favorite song that they had never heard before, and I always wanted to shout "It really is my favorite song!" I felt like one of the cool kids being able to sing along to the song that wasn't even released yet. And oh, when it was released, I was so not disappointed. It was everything I wanted it to be and more, right down to the ridiculously adorable video.

I have watched this song travel from new song infancy to an explosion of popularity following the release of the album and somehow, I feel like I've been on a journey with it. It seems to sort of mirror my journey with this band. From it's first performance at a show when I was still wet behind the ears in the fandom, through the summer when it was becoming familiar to the hardcore fans just as I was starting to make some friends among them, to the fall when it debuted to the world on the album almost exactly the same time I started this blog. The spring where it had become a regular fixture the repertoire, just as I was finally finding my place in the fandom and finally into another fall where it's performance at a kid's show was as much a given as my face in the crowd.

I use the possessive a lot when talking about things that I love. I'm always confusing people by referring to TMBG as "my band" (and then they think I actually play in one). But I think, more than any other song in the catalog, this one feels like MY song. It's more than just the song itself. It's my experience with it that will always keep tucked in a very near and dear corner of my heart. And I continue to find new things to love about it. While just rewatching that first live performance, I realized that I have always been so focused on the humor of the spoken word section that I never noticed the beautiful bass solo Danny is doing behind it, which is particularly noticeable in that video. Now I can enjoy that too.

I started this story with a memory and I'll finish it with one two, full circle. At the second Morristown show in October, we had excellent seats that put us in the front with a great view but not so close as to feel self conscious at the kid's show. The crowd was on it's feet for this song and I was singing along and dancing (as least as much as I ever do). And taking pictures as usual. I had my camera up to snap a shot of Danny singing, glanced down to see how it had come out while still somewhat unconsciously singing and bopping my head, and looked back up and right into his eyes to find him just grinning at me. And for a few brief moments I felt the complete and utter joy of that awesome electric connection between music and artist and fan when it seems like the song is being sung just for you.

And it is for moments like that, ladies and gentlemen, that I will love this band until there in no longer breath in my body and follow them to the ends of the Earth (and Canada).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Join Us In Counting Down to Join Us (The Preview)

It is an exciting time in They Might Be Giants land. As of today, we are 29 days out from the release of the four song preview of Join Us. If you are anything like me, you have April 26th marked with big red letters on your calendar.

I wanted to do something here to count down to the preview and bandied about a few ideas. At first I was going to just post a run of my favorite concert pictures, as suggested by Megan, but then I thought of a way to make it much more interesting. So for the next 29 days we are entering April Madness, complete with elimination brackets and competition and sports analogies I barely understand!

Here's how this works. I am going to start with a pool of 32 live concert photos. I am going to pair them up at random in a series of brackets and post the photos here in those pairs. Then you, the people of Giant land, get to vote on which one is your favorite. The winners move onto the next series of brackets and the competition starts again until a final winner is chosen on the last day before the preview. You'll have a couple of days to vote on each set of brackets before the next batch is posted, so you'll have plenty of time to send all your friends to stuff the ballot box for your favorite.

I need everyone's help selecting the initial pool to get started though. I think my own 2000 some odd concert photos should be a large enough selection to pull from. However, if any of you have photos of your own that you are particularly proud of that you would like to throw into the mix, then please, feel free. What I'd like you all to do is take a stop by my Flickr page, pick out a few of your favorite shots and send me your selections at You can pick as many as you want. I'll narrow down the selections if necessary or add in some of my own choices if I need extras. No restrictions on your selections at all, just the ones you like the best. And if you'd like to include any of your own pictures, toss the links into the email as well. If you don't have time to wade through all those pictures, I'll also take requests too, either for a particular picture you've seen before by description, or just for a type of picture (Linnell making goofy arm pose, Dan's singing face, Flans wearing a cardigan, etc).

You have three days to send me your initial selections and then we shall get this rumble started!! And here's the real kicker. If this turns out to be as fun as I think it might, I'm going to do it again to countdown to the release of the actual album, except then I'm gonna do song brackets! Birdhouse versus Puppet Head in the ultimate battle. It's gonna be epic. This picture game is just a warm up ;-)

So remember, visit Flickr (I've made a big clickable link at the bottom to make it easy for you), send me your list of selections at (by Wednesday please) then come back and fight for your favorites. Join Us!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 132

Today's song is...


Needs more cowbell.

The Battle of the Bands songs are one of my favorite TMBG projects. It would have been so easy to just do a bunch of parodies of other styles of music and call it good. But in typical, TMBG style, they don't do anything halfway. They made a batch of full fledged songs outside their own genre that sound both completely apart from their own style and yet retain something uniquely TMBG. This is not by any means my favorite one of the batch but I can sure appreciate the funky guitar stylin. And Flansburgh has got his Frank Black impersonation nailed. And of course....the cowbell.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 131

Today's song is...


This is one of those songs that, in my opinion at least, has a great beginning and a great end and kind of a throw away middle. It's got that great opening riff and little is funnier than watching the Johns conduct the band at the end but much of what happens between those two points is rather forgettable. Live, the song is a great vehicle for Stan Harrison to show off his impressive chops. And like I said, the conducting portion is, in the few times I have seen it, one of the best pieces of improv the band has put together. The look on Flansburgh's face alone while conducting in Fairfield was worth the price of admission.

I used to complain to Gary all the time that this was the song he had seen the most often that I had never seen at all (I think he'd seen it five times). Then they started to play it at one of the spring of '09 LPR shows and he hit me on the shoulder. I looked at him blankly. He was like "Are you happy now, it's Spy?!" And I went "ooooooooohh". I hadn't even recognized it. And that is my terrible fan story for the day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 130

Today's song is...


Can I still claim I'm from a State Songs state if I don't live there any longer? Cause I feel like I should be able to. And I lived in Maine for the first 22 years of my life. It's not really a punch in the mouth unless you count the winters. It's a great state and a great song. I think my favorite part of the song is the big drum boom right before he says Maine every time. Excellent keyboard part as well and the drums in general. Just an all around great song.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Song Of The Day - Day 129

Today's song is...

Youth Culture Killed My Dog

I was just thinking the other day while listening to a different song, that I should make a list of songs that I just never think about. Ones that are all perfectly good songs that just never cross my mind except for maybe during the two minutes I am listening to them on a CD. This would be one of them. Perfectly decent song, I just never gave it much thought.

I heard it live, twice I think. The first time being at one of those shows that is kind of monumental in my mind as one of those HUGE shows that stand out from all the rest. I remember Gary was really excited about it. And I was..... okay with it I guess. Even then I just wasn't thinking about it. Which is probably really sad.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Song Of The Day - Day 128

Today's song is...


Listen to my favorite performance of today's song HERE!

One of my long time favorite TMBG songs, this is one of the earliest ones to grab me once I started listening to the Dial-A-Song collection non-stop in my car. I think it originally appealed to me as a life long animal lover and then later as a distinctly Linnellian song. The flow of the lyrics is simply brilliant. And the "raise a paw" line is just adorable.

I distinctly remember asking Gary the morning of the Mohegan Sun Apollo 18 show if he thought that they would play Mammal. I was so unfamiliar with the album at the time, I think it was the only thing I could distinctly remember being on it. And they did play it so I got my wish. But my favorite performance is the one linked above. It's from the Apollo 18 show at LPR. I think I've mentioned before, that I did not realize how amazing that show was at the time because of the obnoxious guy standing behind me in the audience and the terrible fan behavior I witnessed afterwards. But going back and listening to the recording, I was suddenly able to appreciate the spontaneous way in the which the audience provided all the backing vocals on the songs straight through the show, something I was not conscious of at all at the time. It makes such a strong connection between the band and the audience and gives the show a sort of intimate feel. You wouldn't know it from some of the people standing near me in line, but now I feel like the majority of the people in that crowd were the capital letter FANS.

I also remember another LPR show where Flans was introducing Why Does The Sun Really Shine? and someone in the audience shouted "Now fix Mammal!" I desperately wanted to shout "Don't you dare!" but did not yet have the confidence.

(P.S. I left the post-song chatter on that recording on purpose because there is a really funny Linnell quote in there.)

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 3/23/11

Simple but effective, I hope.


Please send submissions to

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Diabolical Choice

A day late, but I really didn't want to skip the entry again this week. This is inspired by a conversation Gabby and I were having the other night. 

You are going about your daily business when the Deranged Millionaire appears and presents you with a diabolical choice. He has the ability to whisk you back in time to attend an infinite number of TMBG duo shows. Just John and John and the drum machine and the silly carpet hats all the time. But the trade off (and this is the diabolical part) is that you can't go forward again. You have to give up the band. You can not go past 1992 and you give up any memory of any of the material past Apollo 18. What do you do?

Would you be willing to trade in the band for a chance to experience the duo? Consider carefully and explain why or why not (20 points):

It's an easy decision for me. No. Not for all the duo shows in the history of the world would I give up the band. I am far, far too fond of them and the music that has been produced with them. Yes, it would be cool to see one of the old show's but at the expense of the boys? Never. I think, for me, the decision is influenced strongly by when I became a fan and the order in which I heard the music. The band is all I have ever known, and I was seeing them live before I was listening to much of the music. And it was the later material I heard first and fell in love with before I heard the early stuff. I mean, I don't even own my own copy of The Pink Album. So no, I'm not trading in the band.

The much harder question for me would be the reverse. Would you give up all the duo stuff in order to keep the band? Now that would be a diabolical question. I'm not even sure I can answer that one. Yeash, I am getting a headache just thinking about it.

Song Of The Day - Day 127

Today's song is...

Now We Have To Go

Words can not express how much I enjoyed the Friday Night Video Podcasts or how sad I am that they stopped. Those puppets are the best. I can remember getting home from work on a Friday night all excited to sit down and watch them dress up as robots or pirates or whatever the theme of the week was. It was one of the few pieces of TMBG history that I got to experience in real time and wasn't completely late to the party (OK, I was a little late, I had to go back and find the early episodes).

Anyway, as such I have a deep fondness for this song. I love the back and forth between the two Johns as they sing the "What if I don't want to go?" "But you do." "Maybe so." And the humorous little do-do-do improvs that carried off over the credits. Occasionally, I find myself trying to picture the filming of these podcasts and just being really, really amused. Maybe someday, just once, they could sing this to close a show. Cause that would really make my day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Song Of The Day - Day 126

Today's song is...

Uke Down

Whoops, I was going to say this was another song I had never heard. But then I realized it was sitting in my file of yet-to-be-listened-to rare stuff. So now I have heard it. And I must say, I really enjoyed it. That is some nice ukulele playing. And a terribly catchy little tune. I am afraid this will now be stuck in my head all day. Also, it reminds me of video game music for some reason.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Song Of The Day - Day 125

Today's song is...


I want to love this song, I really do, but it is just so plodding that I get bored with it before it finishes. I like the story the song tells, I even like the music, if only it were played just a bit faster. This lies somewhere in the middle of my list if we were rating State Songs. One of my favorite things associated with it, I think I mentioned before in my State Songs post. It's this quote from the wiki: "However, none of these ships have been the same size or shape of Arkansas, as such a project would be extremely difficult to build, and probably wouldn't float." Kudos to whomever did that edit. That is exactly my kind of humor. Actually, the whole song is my kind of humor, if only it didn't put me to sleep.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Song Of The Day - Day 124

Today's song is...


This seems kind of wrong, considering the song hasn't even been released yet, and especially considering I really think the name of the song might turn out to be Three Might Be Duende. But it is what came up on the randomizer and the randomizer rules. At least it wasn't one of the new ones that no one has even heard yet.

This song will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first rock song I heard live pre-release. I may have given more attention to Canajoharie (and honestly I prefer that as a song) but the fact will always remain that this one came first, if only by about 10 minutes. And I am quite fond of it. I enjoy all the play on words that populate the lyrics and it's a real stumper when it comes to figuring out what the song is really about. Plus it really is a march as the song says and has quite a unique melody from any of the band's other work. I am really looking forward to hearing it in it's finished form. Its so much fun seeing a song come together!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 123

Today's song is...

Bed Bed Bed

This has been a week of really good songs (well, maybe except for Wednesday). I think the randomizer has been celebrating the fact that I've been on vacation. And today is no exception. It's the bedtime song that does not really prepare your child for bed because it's a little too energetic. At least the original version. But 100% of my fondness for this song comes from it's live performance.

I love all the sound effects Linnell creates on the keyboard, especially, for some reason, the toothbrushing sound. And if I love the sound effects, I adore all of Marty's noisemakers. Watching him cycle through horns and kazoos and cymbals and slide whistles is one of the highlights of any family show for me, culminating in him standing on his stool at the end for the world's smallest cymbal crash. (Incidentally, we never noticed until he started playing the clear drum kit and we could see his feet, how incredibly perilously he is balanced on that stool when he does that. Brave man.)

Then of course there is the requisite canon fire as Linnell cries "Goooooooooo" and you know how I love anything involving confetti. And the numerous times I have seen Flans steal Marty's horn to bring it out and honk it into the mic and then hang it on the end of his guitar. And my newest favorite, what Megan has dubbed Flans' drive-by solo, where he pauses in front of the keyboard to twang his guitar as Linnell sings "I practiced the guitar". There are just so many things to love about this song.

So, in honor of the last day of my vacation, I am having a contest! Your task is to find the best video of this song being performed live. It can be from any time, any venue, even radio or television appearances. It just has to be the most superior performance you can find. Post a link to the video in the comments and I'll pick a winner. The prize is a live show bootleg of your choice from my collection. Happy hunting!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 122

Today's song is...

Eight Hundred And Thirteen Mile Car Trip

This is the story of my life with this band. Actually 813 miles is on the conservative side in terms of number of miles I've driven to see a show by several hundred miles. This reminds me of the drive to Nashville last spring when we were in fact counting things on the side of the road as we drove, though they were cows and giant crosses rather than trees and pick-up trucks.

I'd also like to use this song as proof, to all those who bemoan the children's music, that the band does not skimp on the musicality just because they are writing for kids. This song rocks hard. I think I might need to go back and add it onto my list of favorite guitar songs. And it totally kicks ass live. I think this is the one we got to hear them soundcheck in Boston with no vocals and it even sounded amazing as an instrumental.

Plus it's got the video by the incredible Pascal Campion. This song just wins on so many levels.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 3/16/11

This is one I've been meaning to do for a while and the weather finally worked out.

Please send submissions to

Song of the Day - Day 121

Today's song is....

Indian Ocean

After a couple of rather verbose Song of the Day posts I only have three words to say about this one. What. The. Fuck.

(P.S. In a good way. Mostly)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 120

Today's song is...

Hovering Sombrero

A perfectly beautiful song in everyway. By any other artist this would be a mundane song encouraging someone to feel better about themselves and it would be sappy and none of us would listen to it. By John Linnell, it's about a piece of floating Mexican hat wear with low self esteem that needs to be reminded that it is remarkable. And it is profound and beautiful.

Hopefully no one takes this the wrong way, but one of the things I have always observed that many TMBG fans have in common is a tendency towards low self esteem and depression (myself included). It might just be because of the geek appeal, as those are common problems among the geek set due to social awkwardness, bullying and any number of other reasons, but I really believe there is something about the music that particularly appeals to people with these emotional issues. I think it's the happy but sad thing. The songs have these dark lyrics that these fans can really identify with emotionally but in this happy musical package that's like the songs are musically saying it's going to be OK even though you feel like this. And personally I think the best part is that the music brings these fans together so they know they aren't alone and creates an incredibly supportive environment for them to exist in (or at least that's been my experience with all of you).

I don't know that I explained my feelings on that well at all, but the point I was trying to get to is that I feel like this song is an ode to all of those fans. It's that reminder that there is something remarkable about every one of us and not to get burdoned down by the bad stuff. Basically, who hasn't felt like the hat being sung to by Linnell at one point or another.

And it is such a beautiful song. I said that already, I know. But I really mean it. There are dozens of songs I love but very few I would call truly beautiful. The melody, the guitar, the bass, the drums are all so wonderful and layered together so well. As you peel each back you discover another hiding underneath. And I'm not sure I've ever said this about a song before, but I really love the backing vocal on this track.

I also adore the QuickCam video for this song, with Linnell slowly spinning around the airport or where ever they are and all the guys just sitting there with their bags.I actually prefer that one to many of their professional music videos. It is simple and perfect for the song.

Join Us

I am short on time for Audience Participation this week so let's just talk about this new album news shall we?

First off:title. Join Us. I kind of love it. They have been saying all along that this album is kind of a "back to our roots" sort of record and that certainly seems to be backed up by today's early review of the preview tracks. They have always said that their only rule with their music was that they have to like it. They don't write to please anyone but themselves. I feel like the title is kind of inviting us to take them as they are and enjoy the ride.

Second: the new songs. I am intrigued. I really enjoy some of Flansburgh's relationship songs and don't care much for others so I am very curious to see where I fall on Never Knew Love. I'm also wondering if there is a twist in their somewhere since that sounds like an awfully traditional love song title for TMBG. Flans says it's optimistic. I wonder if maybe they have finally written something like a happy love song. The review certainly makes it sound that way.

Old Pine Box sounds like classic Giants. Death imagery right there in the title. And I like Flansburgh's comment that it is about a burnout but not sung by a burnout. That too sounds like classic Giants. Plus, handclaps, vocoder, how could they go wrong?

And Can't Keep Johnny Down, the song I can not keep the name of in my head. I think this may be the song Flans was talking about in that interview a couple of years ago when he said that Linnell had written a song that he really admired and Linnell was all surprised that Flans felt so strongly about it. Just the comments that Flans made about it in the Spinner interview, gave me that feeling. I'm pretty excited about this one honestly. I have an early feeling this is going to be my favorite.

Very curious to see what the fourth preview track is. Canajoharie? Duende? Something else entirely? Way to build anticipation guys. Tell us just enough but not everything.

I love the idea of the preview being included in the price of the album. Saves me from buying the thing an extra time, since you know I'm gonna need the download and Gary's gonna need the download and we are each going to need a CD and then we'll probably buy a signed one somewhere and then the vinyl and you see where I am going with this?

I don't yet know how I feel about the cover art. Weird. I need to see it bigger. Jury is still out on that one.

And in addition to all this album news there is the tidbit about a 6 country world tour which I am sure will make the international fans very happy and the 50 city US tour which makes me very happy. Now I am just waiting for my invitation to go with them as official photographer/merch girl/coffee runner (yes, I know, keep dreaming).

And finally, tucked into all this great news was the announcement that the new Jonathan Coulton album is called Artificial Heart. Which is the name of one of the songs on the new album; one of the few he has not yet performed. Sweet! Super excited for that too. This is going to be a great year. I can just feel it.

So what do you all think? Thoughts? Impressions? Things you hope they do or don't do? Let's get this discussion rolling!

P.S. Happy Birthday to John! Yay!

P.P.S. I have a shit load of, if I do say so myself, fantastic pictures of Marty (and JoCo and Chris) from PAX on Saturday that I will upload as soon as I get back from Florida.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 119

Today's song is...


For several years I listened to people complain that the version of this song released on the EP wasn't as good as the one the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers soundtrack without knowing what they were talking about. Then I finally heard that version, and wow, I totally know what all those people meant now.

Fantastic, super lively track. This definitely goes on my list of feel good TMBG tunes. And I LOVE the guitar part which I don't say very often. It's not usually the thing I notice. I also really like the rhythmic pattern of the lyrics. I do have to admit, with some shame though, that for some reason when this song starts on the CD player I always mistake it for Thunderbird for the first few bars, no matter how many times I hear it. Not exactly sure why I get the openings so confused. Don't tell anyone, OK?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 118

Today's song is...

Doctor Worm

For all the credit I give The Mesopotamians and Nine Bowls of Soup for being the songs that made fall in love with the band, this song is my oldest favorite. It's the only one I distinctly remember enjoying from that first in-store performance I saw TMBG play (not that I didn't enjoy the others, this just made more of an impact). I love the whimsy of the song. I like the idea of a worm playing the drums, especially since they don't have, you know, arms. It speaks to an incredible amount of optimism and spunk on the part of our favorite wormy narrator. And the melody is so god damn upbeat, you can not help but be cheered by this song.

This is also one of my favorite songs to hear live. I just never get tired of it and I think it's probably pretty high on the list of songs I've heard most frequently. I am still genuinely excited every time I hear those opening chords.

They do so many little things on stage with this song that I just adore that it becomes one long series of favorite moments. It's a great example of Dan's goofy singing faces and I, for some reason, find the cheesy horn synth he uses on the keyboard when they don't have a horn player quite endearing. Linnell's tendancy to preface the solo by subbing in Rabbi Flans. The poses Flans and Danny assume when playing said solo, guitars raised in the air. The pop of the confetti canon as it showers the crowd in rainbow hued paper. And of course Danny's traditional leap at the end, be it straight in the air or right off the horn riser, is one of my favorite parts of any show.

I have so many specific good memories of performances of Doctor Worm I could probably fill 10 entries with them. The ones that stand out the most for me right this second are the Accordion John and Dinosaur John intro from Morristown and Danny's rock god leap in our faces in Richmond but there are surely others.

This is one of a few songs (Birdhouse and The Guitar would be other examples) that truly embody what I love about TMBG shows and why I keep going back over and over again. Because someday somebody else will call him by his stage name and I want to be there to see it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Song Of The Day - Day 117

Today's song is...

Wicked Little Critta

I've always wondered if this song makes any sense to anyone who does not live in the Boston area. Because as a Bostoner, for the last 12 years, it's pretty spot on funny. Linnell's put on Boston accent is pretty perfect if a little exaggerated. And there is something about the backing track that I really like.

My favorite memory of this is the first time I heard it. It was at a college show at WPI, and they made some kind of joke about needing to play it because they were in Massachusetts. Linnell messed up the words at the end and skipped the "way to go" line. He obviously debated putting it back in out of order but decided that the next line, "I've got problems" pretty much explained everything.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 116

Today's song is...

C is for Conifers

This is an amusing if slightly dragging entry into the kids music field. But hey, it has a banjo! The line "pruned into that shape by someone" has always bugged me though. It just doesn't flow well. It breaks up the pseudo-rhyming pattern. At least in the previous verse house and about don't necessarily rhyme, but they kind of do and they sound similar enough that it works. Dog and someone just aren't even close and I find it jarring. I still like the song. It's just not super high on my list of favorites.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 115

Today's song is...

Love Is Eternity

Cue the chirping birds. This song is home to the lyric I find most profound in the catalog: "Remember love's a verb." I'm sure it's not an original idea but it is such a necessary and true sentiment. I feel like the songs pokes fun at itself being a sappy love song a little, what with the birds and the sing songy melody but as usual TMBG doesn't skimp on the musicality, even when writing a cute little song for a friend of a friend.

What I really want to know is what I have to do to get TMBG to write a song for my wedding? Because you know, it's not like I have fantasies about the band playing at my wedding or anything. No, not at all. But I would totally settle for a nice personalized song (wink, wink).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 3/9/11

Saved once again from having to make an entry myself by John and his creative genius.


Please send submissions to

Song of the Day - Day 114

Today's song is...


Does anyone else feel the need to yell "drink, drink" even when listening to this alone in your house or is that just me? I find my brain inserts it even if I don't say it out loud.

As drinking songs go this one really hits the mark. It's got the perfect melody for a bunch of drunk guys all with their arms around each others shoulders swaying back and forth as they slur through the words. The accordion really does wonders for providing that traditional drinking song feel.

These are some of my favorite Flansburghian lyrics. "You could be a float for the Fourth of July based on your theme of Wallflowers Grown Wild" might just be my all time favorite Flansburgh penned line but I wouldn't swear to it. I find when I really listen to the words the song is quite sad which I forget when I am shouting "drink, drink" in the crowd with my fist in the air and watching Flans wave his guitar around. I have some very good memories tied to live performances of this song. From being the only ones in the crowd shouting "drink" and leading those around us to follow suit, to a very humorous exchange in Chicago debating how to divide the crowd for the participation portion. My very earliest memory of it is from Portsmouth where the crowd was divided into floor and balcony for the shouting and the audience never quite did get the timing right.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 113

Today's song is...

Whence That Wince

So much alliteration. So many singing dead animals. So very odd. But it's nice to see Linnell take a turn at creating the weird music videos for a change.

Say Your Cup Of Tea Is A Wall Of Trombones

We've talked about favorite songs in multiple different ways before, but today I am taking a new approach. A much more specific approach. There are plenty of songs I love for the whole song, as a product of all of it's parts. But there are others I find I love especially for one specific instrument. You know those moments in your favorite songs when you are just waiting for a specific guitar riff or drum pattern and you can't help rocking out all by yourself when it starts playing? Yup, those are what I'm talking about.

So I have compiled for you a list of my favorite songs featuring each of TMBG's primary instruments. I went with four. You can do more or less as you see fit. I picked out guitar, keyboard, accordion, bass, drums, and a general category for hornish things. You can of course add others if you really feel like have a sax list or melodica list or whatever other instrument you see fit. Also, you can totally have the same song on more than one list. That is definitely allowed.

Guitar - This may have actually been the hardest of the lists to compile because, except for some specific intros and solos, I don't really have favorite guitar songs.

-Fibber Island - Acoustic guitar. So pretty. The intro is the best.

-Letterbox - The super fast strumming pattern is one my favorite things about this song.

-Sensurround - I can not help bopping my head to this guitar riff. Doing it right now.

-The Guitar - They don't call it that for nothing. That guitar riff is iconic.


-Flying V - Beautiful intro and it just continues right through the whole song.

- Alphabet of Nations - Again with the intro. What is it with the album and awesome keyboard intros?

-Meet the Elements - This may have very well make this list just from the last couple of bars.

-Withered Hope - I have talked ad nauseum about the piano riff from this song. It is my very favorite thing in all of the TMBG catalog. It fills me with joy and glee every time I hear it.

Bass - If the guitar list was the hardest to fill, this one is the hardest to cut short. So many good bass songs.

-Take Out The Trash - Do you like the fuzz bass? Do you love the fuzz bass? Are you ready for the fuzz bass? Why yes I am!

-The Guitar - This song is just favorable to anything with guitar in it's name.

-Museum of Idiots - Wasn't I just talking about the bass in this song? I was wasn't I.

-Till My Head Falls Off - Oh my god, best bass. And that solo. Yum.


-Drink! - The accordion really is the key to making this sound like a drinking song.

-Four of Two - I kind of picture the accordion here being performed by a street performer on the opposite corner from the guy waiting under the clock.

-The Famous Polka - Do I really need to explain this? Nope.

-Subliminal - The intro to this is maybe my second favorite thing after the Withered Hope riff.


-Cowtown - Clarinet for the win!

-The Guitar - (again) How many times have I said this song was meant to have horns? Because it needs the horns!

-Seven - Euphonium. Love that oompa oompa noise.

-Museum of Idiots - The only thing better than the bass in Museum of Idiots is the horns.

Drums - Here is the thing about the drums. I realized when I was compiling my list that all my favorite drum songs feature artificial drums and that just doesn't seem right. So I went hunting and found some tracks with live drums that I like too but now I have to make two separate lists.

Drum Machine/Loops

-Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head - I honestly believe this song would not be nearly as good with a different drum track.

-I'm Impressed - Killer rhythm track. Thank you Dust Brothers.

-Rhythm Section Want Ad - This would have been so lame with a crappy drum track.

-Birdhouse in Your Soul - It is the rhythm track in this song that starts you head banging in the beginning and keeps you hopping throughout. I love how it kind of rolls into each measure.


-Road Movie to Berlin - Those crashing cymbals. I love me some cymbals. Also, props to the tambourine.

-Meet James Ensor - Have you ever really listened to the drums on this song? Because I hadn't and I just realized they are excellent. Why did I never notice that before?

-The Cap'm - Just a good old classic rocking drum beat.

-Damn Good Times - When searching for the best drum songs, look for the ones where the drummer has been given a writing credit first. And there you shall find salvation.

I have a very strong feeling that while I was writing this I forgot about half the songs I wanted to include. I was going to do five in each category but then I couldn't come up with five in every category and I am sure I am missing some doozies and I will smack myself when you remind me of them. I am also looking forward to someone pointing out at least one excellent instrument part in a song that I have never noticed before.

You may also be thinking that I have made a terribly glaring omission given how often I profess my undying love and admiration of the bass line in Ana Ng. But the thing is, the one I love does not exist on the recording. There is a mere shell of it. It doesn't even exist in older live recordings with other bass players. The part I love is entirely a product of Danny's creation. He took it and made it his own and made it into something truly special. Same goes with the bass on Withered Hope. It's good on the recording. It is nothing to what it is live. Maybe one of these days I'll do an entry on songs that are better live. Or just on the evolution of live performances of songs. The history of Istanbul in 62 recordings. Another time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 112

Today's song is...


"Oranges, oranges, oranges and graphic design"

One of those silly short songs that I really love mostly because it's fun to sing along to. Oranges is a really fun word to say. Oranges, oranges, oranges. I also appreciate that really twangy guitar part.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 111

Today's song is...

Rest Awhile

"This next song is from our album The Spaghetti Incident." I have three versions of this song on my iPod and this is how one of them starts. This is an excellent song for instruments with strings. Hard rocking guitar and bass. And the drums aren't too shabby either.

For the longest time, every time I went to put a book away in the chess section I'd look for Ruy Lopez's book. It was actually there the first few times but then it went away and I haven't seen it again since.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 110

Today's song is...

No Plan B

I have had this song stuck in my head since I selected it yesterday. Specifically the terribly repetitive lyrics Flans wrote for the live performance. Gotta say, I like it better as an instrumental. Nice wah-wah horns.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 109

Today's song is...


I know just enough of Frank Black to know that this Mono Puff cover of his song still really sounds like Frank Black. Something about the guitar in particular. Which is more noticeable because usually I just think Mono Puff sounds like TMBG.

The last couple of days I've been wishing I had a little more control over the random song selector so that it wouldn't pick quite so many obscure tracks in a row. I guess that's why they call it random, though. Maybe tomorrow. (Eh, not really, having just picked out tomorrow's song. Oh well. But it is a good one.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 108

Today's song is...

The Everlasting Vibe

I thought I had all the People Are Wrong tracks. Apparently that is not the case as I don't have this one. Oops. It sounds interesting from the lyrics.

Edit: Gary just sent me this track from his mp3 files and I have definitely heard it before but I don't know where. I really like. It's got this great disco thing going. Really good stuff.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 107

Today's song is...

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes

Flans falsetto at it's best. Love the disco back beat. This is just goofy. I do wish they had completed the original version of the tune though. I liked where that one was going. Oh well.

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 3/2/11

I have gotten so spoiled. I haven't had to make one of these myself in months! Here's another one featuring my ugly kitchen.


Please send submissions to

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 106

Today's song is...


Yet another song I have never heard and have no access to. What an uninteresting Song of the Day for a day bearing such fantastic news. Yay, Toronto!! Who's with me?