Sunday, July 31, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 258

Today's song is...

Seven Days Of The Week (I Never Go To Work)

The musician's anthem. Oh how I wish it were mine. Wonderful horns. Handclaps. Handclaps are an instant way to get me to like a song, I have discovered. I enjoy the unusually deep vocal that suddenly swings into falsetto at the end. I like the call and repeat thing the vocal and the trumpet have going.

The song immediately makes me think of discussions of the laziest member of They Might Be Giants. And Flans trying to shove the words "guitar" and "saxophone" in syllables meant for "trumpet."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Misadventures In Amish Country

July 28, 2011 - Chameleon Club - Lancaster, PA

This show will henseforth be known as the Lancaster Disaster. Not through any fault of the band. They were great as always, but we had such a horrendous time getting to the show resulting in a very unfortunate position at the back of the venue that it was hard to really appreciate the concert to its fullest extent. Turns out I am apparently now spoiled to the point where I just don't enjoy a show as much if I'm not in front. That probably makes me a horribly entitled sounding individual, but it is the truth.

We left our house at 9:30 for what should have been a 6 hour drive to Lancaster. We were traveling via Newark to pick-up Rebecca. Original ETA 1:30. But we hit traffic at the exact same spot on 95 S that we got stuck in getting to the Apple Store last week. Except this time we actually needed to stay on 95 instead of getting off at the first exit. So we sat, and sat and sat some more in the traffic. We crept slowly toward the GW Bridge watching our arrival time get further and further in the future. 2 and a half hours later we finally got free of the traffic and arrived in Newark. This put our arrival time in Lancaster about 6:40, well after the advertised 6:00 doors.

And then we hit more traffic on Rt 78 and absolutely crawled down Rt 222 in PA eventually bringing the arrival time back to 7:37. For a show we had intended to be at by 4. We weren't even sure what time the show actually started and pretty much until we walked in we were afraid we were going to miss the beginning. Apparently when I said last week that the Apple Store was my most stressful pre-concert experience, the universe took that as a challenge and was determined to top in.

We walked into the venue about 10 minutes before the band hit the stage. I will be eternally grateful that the band didn't start the show until 8:00 despite the early doors. It was the only thing that saved us. We were at the back of the main floor and chose a spot off to the right, with an almost semi-descent view and slightly away from the noise of the bar. Over the course of the evening we were able to move closer as people left, for which I was also grateful because the crowd at the back of the room was roudy, loud and mostly abnoxious.

(Note: This recap is probably gonna be pretty whiny sounding . I apologize in advance.)

They started the show with Puppet Head. For the first couple of songs I actually had a pretty decent view of Marty over the keyboard which doesn't seem to happen that often at a rock show. It went away though as we shifted further right to avoid a tall guy.

Flans thanked their crew for working all day to fit their stuff on the stage. He said they should call this show the Too Much Shit To Fit Show.

They started talking about the new album and how they were going to be playing a bunch of new songs from it. Linnell announced that the next song would be a world wide premiere. Flans said he would be standing on stage reading their rave reviews while they sang the song. Linnell chimed in that the review was just the lyrics to the song and said what an unusual way that was to write a review. Then Flans piped back in with, "These are the best lyrics I've ever read off of a piece of paper!"

"Oddly enough this is going to be the best we ever perform this song. It doesn't usually work out that way," Linnell joked. And then they started When Will You Die. Which is my favorite song on the new album and one of the ones I was most looking forward to hearing. It was slower than it is on the album (it kind of has to be since the recording was so sped up.) And it was amazing to hear it for the first time. But I have to admit I was disappointed not to be able to be up front to properly rock out to it and the sound mix back where we were was really not great. I couldn't hear Dan's guitar and it was the instrument covering for the lack of horn players so it left some blank space in the song as far as I heard it. The vocals were excellent though and the self referencial verse quite as adorable as I was hoping. (For anyone wondering, the first "Dan" is Dan and the second is Danny, who made a quite adorable face at his name.)

Marty started up Clap Your Hands and this time it wasn't a fake out, they actually played it. Flans did a funny routine before the song proper started where he had the lighting guy turn more and more of the spot lights on Marty until every light on stage was pointed at him while he jammed.

They went through Birdhouse and Twisting. Pretty much from that point of the show forward I couldn't hear any of the between song banter at all because the people around me were talking so loudly through everything. In particular, there was a guy off to my left who was yelling his conversations at a decible that prevented me from focusing on anything else. Not sure why he even bothered to pay for a ticket if he was going to pay such little attention to the show.

TMBG 7/28/11 #1

Several comments were made about the air conditioning on stage, or the lack there of. The poor guys were sweltering hot. They didn't make it five songs in before the sweat stains started spreading across shirts and Dan kept repeatedly having to towel off his hands between songs. It wasn't as bad in the audience but it was certainly hot and got hotter the closer we moved to the front.

During Never Knew Love Flans screwed up the verses. He sang the first line of the first one right but then sang the entire rest of the second one. So on the second verse he sang the first one instead.

They moved into the Avatar segment with Flans somewhat unsuccessfully trying to get us to do Sea of Hands at first. His second attempt went better and he made some jokes about all the beautiful faces in the audience. But then he declared he couldn't see any beautiful faces and had the lighting guy turn all the lights on us.

I actually couldn't hear another word the Avatars said because the abnoxious guy next to me picked that moment to have his loudest conversation yet. Gary said they were having a conversation about the fact that Blue Avatar was visible on the screen twice because you could see his image on the screen again in the camera in addition to the puppet. Apparently this reminded them of The Blair Witch Project but they couldn't think of the name of the movie. I'm not sure exactly how this went since I couldn't hear it.

Then the Avatars premiered Spoiler Alert which was hard to hear but sounded pretty great. Flans was standing behind the camera operating the puppet with one hand and holding a flashlight with the other pointed at a lyrics sheet. That amused me quite a bit.

They just did the one song with the Avatars and then went back to regularly scheduled programming. Which, in this case, was Alphabet of Nations. They went to announce the name of the song and instead of saying it, just started the beginning of the song.

There appeared to be some brief confusion between Linnell and Dan at the start of the next song over what they were playing and who was playing the keyboard. But it was Doctor Worm so Linnell went for the accordion.

Flans made an exaggerated point of introducing Dan on the keyboard before the start of one of the songs and Dan looked a little embarrassed.

They took up positions for Cloisonne with some requisite jokes about the bass clarinet. Flans make an exaggerated point of introducing Danny at the keyboard this time and he took a bow with a little flourish. The song sounded just as wonderfully bizarre as it has at all the performances so far. This time Linnell got into the outro with the clarinet with some improv that sounded a bit like a dying goose. It was wonderful.

Next, Memo to Human Resources. Then Danny started making these immitation drum roll gestures at Marty and Marty started up the beginning of We're the Replacements. Woot! My curse is broken! For the last year or so they have played this song at every show I wasn't at but never the ones I was. But no more! (I have heard it before but I don't remember it.) Linnell mixed up the words a little bit but it was wonderful none the less.

Flans announced that the next song was a drinking song which of course meant Drink! There were scattered people around the room doing the "drink, drink" call backs. It was nice to see that there were a few people in the rowdy crowd who actually cared.

TMBG 7/28/11 #2

They started She's An Angel with a suitably trippy electronic beginning. I think that might be the first time I have seen the Song of the Day has been performed on its day which was kind of cool.

Flans made some sort of joke before We Live In A Dump that I have forgotten but it was amusing as I recall.

Flans talked about the children's music and teased that they were going to perform a medley of them. But they just did Meet the Elements.

They did Withered Hope, much to my delight and Linnell messed it up quite hilariously in the second verse. He sang the first line wrong then sang the second line wrong and just gave up singing and just shook his head. Then he tried to come back in singing the final line of the verse but he did it at the wrong time. Which he realized and said, "And again" before singing the same line again at the right time. It was amusing. As was the little dance he did away from the keyboard.

Damn Good Times featured a pretty phenomenal Dan Miller solo. He was rocking back and forth while playing and you could see the sweat flying off his face. I felt bad for him but it looked pretty epicly rock n' roll. Flans actually inserted the band intros into the song before the solo. He had us scream for Marty, then did a terribly amusing intro for Danny.

Flans: "His name is Danny Weinkauf and he's come from New York City to hear you say Danny Weinkauf. When I say Danny, you say Danny Weinkauf. Danny!"

Crowd: "Danny Weinkauf!"

Flans: "Thank you!"

They closed out the main set with Johnny and I was kind of shocked the set was done already as it had only been an hour. While they were gone some asshole jumped up from the audience to rip the setlist off of Linnell's keyboard and nearly knocked the entire thing over. I couldn't see that clearly from where I was but it looked like the audience had to catch the keyboard and the mic stand before it toppled into them. We didn't see what happened next but heard from friends up front that the jerk was kicked out. Good thing!

TMBG 7/28/11 #3

Victor and Scott spent a couple of minutes resetting the keyboard and mic and getting a new setlist. And finally the guys returned to the stage. I was a little worried they wouldn't come back after the incident, but Flans was able to joke about it. "We'd like to thank our lawyers. And the guy who jumped up on stage. We may not be in New York but we are from New York."

The played The Guitar and Istanbul. Flans basically let the audience sing most of his part in The Guitar. He was singing, but about 4 feet away from the mic and just let the crowd do all the work. And it sounded amazing as everyone just carried the song. He came back in to do his last chorus. For the last little bass riff in the song Danny played it while hopping around the stage spinning in repeated circles. Ridiculous and awesome.

Dan did a great intro to Istanbul but didn't go all out with the crazy speed guitar at the end. I was wondering if it was because he was having trouble with his fingers slipping off the strings from all the sweat. They did a sort of "fake" fake ending where they played like they were going to do the fake end but ended up just finishing.

I wondered if they would come back for a second encore at all because they all looked so miserably hot but they did and played You Probably Get That A Lot. Linnell seems to be taking advantage of this song to make really amusing and adorable facial expressions.

Then Flans announced something about a minute and twenty five second song and I thought they were going to play Judy again but he totally faked me out. He said something about playing the first half of the song entirely for us the audience but that then they would have to think only of themselves because that was the only way to perform a blazing guitar solo. And it turned out he had been talking about Fingertips. And it did in fact feature a blazing guitar solo.

They left again and I really, really didn't thing they be back. They turned out all the lights on stage and I thought, it was so hot, they were totally done. But the crowd was still pounding and hollering and much to my surprise they actually did return to play Whistling in the Dark in complete darkness.

The audience tried to demand a fourth encore but Backstage started up over the loud speaker and I knew they were done. We went up to the front to say hi to my friends up there but too late to get a setlist. Marty came out and slid his sticks out across the stage for whom ever could grab them. One one my friends snagged one of them and had him sign it. I rather prefer my personally hand delivered ones :-)

And with that we headed back to New Jersey. 10 hours in the car for an hour and a half show. I'll never say it wasn't worth it but it was not the best experience I've ever had. And we got stuck in more traffic on the way back to Rebecca's house. It was just a cursed travel day. Show number 70 was certainly an adventure.

EDIT: In my haste to get this recap posted, I realized I have forgotten to include a whole bunch of stuff. Rather than try to go back and insert it at the proper points I'm just going to add it all here.

At the start of Cloisonné, when Flans introduced Danny at the keyboard, he joked that they were like Genesis, every member of the band plays keyboard. Then he compared them to the Outlaws. "They have three guitar players, we have three keyboard players."

At the end of Spoiler Alert, the Avatars screamed and the blue one yelled, "This is real! This isn't a movie."

Towards the end of the show, there was someone in the crowd that kept yelling a request (I couldn't hear what it was.) Linnell commended the person for their approach of addressing the request to a specific member of the band. He was speculating that the person thought if they could get one member of the band to start the song the rest of the band would follow. "Hey, could you ask your friends up there to play this song?" (Or something like that.)

Before When Will You Die, Linnell asked everybody how it was going and got a lot of "wooo"s from the crowd. Then he asked everyone on stage how it was going and Danny went "woooo."

Linnell joked later on that the crowd was just going to "wooo" at everything they said, after they did so at something totally random. Then later he said "Fuck yeah" about something which got a big "wooo" and he thought it was pretty funny that "fuck yeah" got the biggest "wooo" of all.

That's all I remember at the moment. I'll add more if I think of it.

Song of The Day - Day 257

Today's song is...

Where Do They Make Balloons?

It was edged out of my Top 10 in my last Top 25 list re-write but it still makes Top 15. I adore this song. Words are not going to be able to accurately describe how much I love this song. (Spoiler alert: my next planned tattoo is based on this song if that is any indication.) There is something about this song that captures beauty and happiness and the pure joy of a small child with a bright, shiny balloon.

I couldn't honestly say if my fondness for Danny plays into my love of this song, or if it was the other way around, and my love of this song played into my fondness for Danny. The two are rather linked together. But for an admitted non-singer, I have always been especially drawn to his vocals on this track, more so even than either of his others. Here they really shine. My only regret is that he no longer plays acoustic guitar when he does it at shows as it did the first couple of times I saw it. Because that was a beautiful thing.

I have a bootleg of a show from 2003 with one of the very earliest performances of this song, where Danny tells this fantastic story about this song coming to him in a dream. The best line of which is this one. "I know what you guys are thinking. You're thinking, "This guy's like Paul McCartney. He's dreaming songs." Only Paul McCartney dreamed songs like Yesterday and all I dreamed was the chorus of this song." Don't knock it, Danny. It's a good question. Where DO they make balloons? Incidentally, I also have a performance from earlier the same day where he forgets the lyrics and subs in "I forgot the words and I'm not wearing any pants" to the tune of the song. That one always makes me giggle.

And finally, one of my very favorite lyrics (and I can attest to this as a I saw a turkey doing the moonwalk on the side of the road on the way back from Toronto. )

"Turkeys aren't from Turkey. They can't fly but they can dance."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 256

Today's song is...

I Can Add

This song is flat out adorable. It actually almost made it onto my list of favorite Flansburgh songs mostly on the virtue of the adorableness of the spoken part at the end. And listening to it again, I am realizing that it has fantastic instrumentation that I never even noticed that much. The guitar is fantastic; it's got great drums; there is accordion I never noticed, and toy piano even! Go listen to it again, just for the instrumentation, if you haven't before. You will be amazed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 255

Today's song is...

She's An Angel

In my personal opinion, this is the most romantic song in the TMBG catalog. And it is a really, truly beautiful song. The sort of rolling melody. That pounding bass synth. The slidey guitar. The way Linnell's voice echos in the verses. Accordion and that classic drum machine. If one was to have a conversation about the brilliance of Linnell's song writing and did not include mention of this song they would be missing a key factor in their argument.

I love the live arrangements of this that begin with a minute of random noise and no one knows what they are playing. And then it turns into one of the most beautiful songs. Perfection.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 254

Today's song is...

Retirement Village People

As this entry is so late (blame the wiki crash preventing me from doing the selection) it is somewhat fortuitous that it is a song from a commercial that I have neither seen nor heard. Saves me time writing a long entry under the wire.

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 7/27/11

This is one captured on the road to Toronto by the Ferreteers!!

Please send submissions to

Memo To Marty Beller: Do The Things I Gotta Do

July 21, 2011 - Apple Store - Boston, MA

The disadvantage of going to a show so close to home is that you can't kill all the time during the day getting to the show. We sat around antsy and bored all afternoon waiting for a reasonable time to drive into Boston. Conversation topics ranged from Flansburgh's cats, to recapping the previous night's show, to a discussion of how I was envious of all the folks I know who have been given Marty's drum sticks after a show.

When we finally drove into the city we hit only a very small patch of traffic and I rerouted us the other way into Boston to avoid it. Compared to the NYC travel experience this was a breeze. We parked under the Commons and walked to the Apple Store. It was only about a mile but it was so blazing hot it felt like four and all three of us, Megan, Gary and myself, we sticky and dripping by the time we entered the cool serenity of the Apple Store. We had to ride an elevator to the basement to find the restroom and back up again to re-enter the store. Weird.

There was a bit of confusion over where to line-up for the show. The performance was on the third floor which was closed off while they set up. We hung out on the first floor for a little while. Megan even asked an employee where they were lining up but the guy had no idea. Eventually another employee identified our wristbands and pointed out they they were lining up on the second floor. It was a good thing too because there were already five or so people in the line ahead of us and it rapidly grew behind us until it wrapped all the way around the central spiral stairs and then started again on the first floor.

This show started an hour later than the NYC one and we spent a lot more time in line. But we got to hear the soundcheck as a result which is always fun. There was a period of random noise punctuated by Marty smashing cymbals and toms. Then they blasted into Johnny quite loudly and suddenly. We got some little samples of Cloisonné. Then the guys pretty much made Megan's century by starting up Puppet Head. That's her song she'd never heard live that she'd been waiting for forever. I don't think I've ever seen anyone quite so excited about those opening drum beats.

Soundcheck over, the guys dispersed and we got to peer down at them on the first floor as they headed out for food or whatever if was they were after. We were hoping that meant we would be let upstairs to the stage soon but we were still there when the guys came back in later. In the end we were only allowed to ascend the stairs about 20 minutes before the show began.

We were expecting a set-up similar to SoHo with rows of chairs in front of the stage, but boy were we wrong. When we finally got to go up, the first 10 of us in line were ushered into a small roped off area immediately in front of the stage where we stretched from one end to the other with our toes under the stage curtain and our knees at stage level. We got spots on the far left side. I've been in the front row plenty of times before but I have never been quite this close to the stage. It was unnerving. The stage was so low to the ground that it felt like we were practically standing on top of it. I actually had to take off my purse and tuck it under the stage because it kept getting caught on the back of what I originally took to be Dan's mic stand.

Some of the remainder of the crowd pushed in behind us, some clumped up on the right side of the stage and others spread back across the room and around the sides of the stairs. While the SoHo set-up had a very comfortable, cozy feel. This was like the world's most intimate, intense rock show. And the stage was in front of the wall of windows that made up the front of the store as well a a giant lit up Apple logo which made for some dramatic back lighting.

TMBG 7/21/11 #2

Scott came out to lay out setlists that were pretty easily visible. My companions were determined not to look but I had no such qualms. That is until Scott taped one to the floor about a foot in front of us. Then we couldn't have not looked at it if we had wanted to. It was unavoidable.

TMBG 7/21/11 #3

An Apple Store employee came out to introduce the band, promising the show would be beginning momentarily. And in fact, when I turned around, I could see the guys hanging out by the elevator in the back waiting for their cue. And moments later they took the stage. I had a brief shock when I realized the mic stand two inches in front of me, that I had assumed was Dan's was in fact the one for Linnell's accordion. Because the first thing he did was pick up the accordion and walk over to that mic stand. I was actually a little relieved when he picked it up and moved it further back because it was intimidatingly close.

TMBG 7/21/11 #5

And of course, just for Megan, they opened with Puppet Head. I've seen it a couple of times  but it's always super exciting for me to be there when someone finally gets to hear "that" song. Meg is gonna have to find something else to look forward to at shows now that she's experienced the one/two punch of meeting Dan Miller and hearing Puppet Head live. Two life goals checked off the list in two days is a pretty neat trick. Glad I was there to witness the magic.

The funniest part of this particular version of Puppet Head was the bridge when Flans declared, "Memo to Marty Beller, do the things I gotta do. Touch the puppet head." It was just kind of random and perfect.

They mentioned something about having a new album and the new songs and a guy in the audience (who happened to be dressed in a banana costume) held up his vinyl copy of Join Us. Flans got really excited because he hadn't seen the vinyl yet and asked to look at it. So it was passed to the stage and both he and Linnell stood their pouring over it with Danny peering over Linnell's shoulder. They were like little kids with a new toy. Flans told the banana guy, "This is the Apple Store. Don't you know you need to check your vinyl at the door?" Then he joked that he was keeping his vinyl. (But he did give it back.)

They played Never Knew Love. I continue to be amused (and probably will for quite a while yet) by the faces Linnell makes while singing the back-up. It's like he has to achieve a certain face for the notes to come out properly. I was also fascinated watching Marty constantly flipping his drums sticks over, because he had these sticks with the fans on one end and sticks on the other that he was just whipping around in his hands as the song switched from chorus to verse.

TMBG 7/21/11 #8

Then followed what may be the single best performance of Fingertips ever. Flansburgh did the extended Everything Is Catching On Fire again with extra ad-libbed "catching on fire"s at the end. Dan came down to the mic to do Fingertips and it wasn't turned on. He started to sing the first word, realized the mic wasn't on, then held up a finger to hold on a second. Then he moved to Flans' mic and did it there instead. It was adorable. Then he went to leave but Flans wouldn't let him. Flans put an arm around him and held him pinned at the mic while he sang I Hear the Wind Blow. Then he turned his head and whispered "Hello, hello, I'm the one who loves you so" into Dan's ear. Dan was trying so hard not to completely crack-up. It was beautiful.

TMBG 7/21/11 #10

Then they got to Mysterious Whisper and Flans commanded us to put our hands in the air and sway. Dan put his hands up and then started goading Danny into putting his hands up. But he was still playing and kept shaking his head. But Dan just kept mouthing, "put your hands up" and Danny responded by adding more and more notes into what he was playing to indicate that he was using his hands. That too was beautiful and hilarious. Then they played a blazing I Walk Along Darkened Corridors with Linnell belting out the words at the top of his lungs and Dan soaring on an epic guitar solo. And Flans stood with his back to the audience egging Marty on so that he kept playing harder and faster until the song finally ended with a cymbal smash so hard the entire cymbal on it's stand leaped a full inch forward on the stage.

The Johns talked about the contest winning video for Johnny before the song. (Dan clapped politely at the back of the stage when it was first mentioned.) Linnell said that once you saw it you couldn't unsee it. And Flansburgh said "at least not until Apple launches the iTime Machine." "Or the iForget," chimed in Linnell. I kind of hope they someday play the song with the video playing in the background.

TMBG 7/21/11 #40

They followed with Twisting, Ana Ng and Memo to Human Resources. There may have been some other banter in this section but I've forgotten it if there was. I'll stick in some stuff that I'm not sure exactly when it happened. There was a song that Flans made a joke at the end of, wondering which member of the band had had the last note. Linnell responded by playing one more note on the keyboard and Marty followed it up with a little drum bump which had Flans declaring Marty the winner. There was also a song where Flans picked up his coffee cup and was waving it around while he sang, never quite having enough time between lines to drink from it. When he screamed in Twisting he turned and screamed directly at me, like he was really hoping I would take a picture (I don't think I did though). Many of the guys did some really goofy posing for the array of cameras in the front row. There was a guy off to my right whose pictures I would really love to see because Flans, Linnell and Danny were all having fun making faces for him.

TMBG 7/21/11 #11

Linnell moved back over to the mic in front of me to do Alphabet of Nations. Only this time he didn't move it back. He was standing as close in front of me as the people in the audience were behind me and I had to crane my neck up to look at him. If you were every wondering how close is intimidatingly close to John Linnell, it is this close. And I wanted to take some pictures of him because of course he was making great Alphabet faces but he was just so close it was awkward. When I finally ended up taking one, I had to lean back into Gary just to get his head in frame. And then I looked over and Danny was just shaking his head at me. Not sure if it was the awkwardness of my photography or if I just looked that stunned at my proximity to Linnell (it might have been both).

TMBG 7/21/11 #22

Flans made some announcements about upcoming shows. He started saying that the Brooklyn show was Saturday, July 29th. Then he second guessed himself and asked if it was Friday or Saturday. A bunch of people including Dan all said Friday. "Friday. Still the 29th, just one day earlier." He made some kind of joke about hitchhiking to the show if you left now. Then he mentioned that they were coming back to play at Berklee in October. And he was teasing that some people on the stage had matriculated from Berklee. "Matriculated...I think that means you spilled something on yourself." This got a good laugh from both of the Dans (the Berklee grads). Then both he and Linnell started making these plays on words with musical terms. Not sure quite how it started. I think maybe Flans was teasing Dan about something. I don't remember most of them which is sad because they were all hilarious. The audience started supplying some for them to riff off of. I think Dan tossed one in too. But the only one I remember is someone saying "suspended fourths" and Flans turning it into "suspended disbelief." "We could do these all day."

They did You Probably Get That A Lot with Linnell still towering over me and making ridiculously awesome faces that I couldn't photograph because I was too self conscious. The most nerve-wracking moment though, was when he paused and looked down just before singing the last line, and fixed me with the most intense stare, I probably should have been reduced to a pile of ash on the floor. And then he just went back and finished the song while I attempted to get my heart going again.

They all shifted positions around for Cloisonné. Danny briefly didn't realize what they were playing and forgot to put his bass down. Flans asked one of the fans to turn off the electric fan that was next to the keyboard because it was going to mess up the mic for the bass clarinet. Then followed some truly amusing dialogue from Flans and Linnell.

Flans: "Are you OK there, John?"

Linnell: "Yes."

Flans: "Do you need to hear it in the monitor?"

Linnell: "No. I don't want to hear it."

Flans: "It's not going to get any better if you can't hear it."

Then Flans said something about Linnell being in denial about playing the clarinet. But he did just fine. The song still sounded amazing the second go round. And they did this cute thing afterward (which they did at least once at each show) where they all looked at each other when they were done and kind of shrugged and nodded as if to say "That was pretty good right?"

TMBG 7/21/11 #31

They played the deeply familiar Birdhouse. Then Marty absolutely exploded into Judy. It was so loud you would never ever believe he was only playing a four piece kit. Flans started to sing and the vocal was just completely washed out by the drums. Danny looked at Marty and Marty just kind of shrugged. I was glad I got to watch him play it this time since I couldn't see him in NYC and I was focused on Linnell anyway. It was truly impressive. Flans messed up the words again but in a different spot.

TMBG 7/21/11 #36

Afterward, Linnell asked Flans if he had been the one that had messed it up. Flans said yes. Linnell couldn't tell if he was being serious or not and Flans said he was but he hadn't wanted to make a big deal out of it. Then Flans started joking that it was going to be a long car ride home and stood on stage with his arms crossed making an angry face, imitating their faces as they sat in the car furious with each other. We laughed a lot.

They did a traditional Graveyard where we whooped for Dan, chanted for Danny and screamed our heads off for Marty. I can only imagine how this whole show must have sounded to people shopping in the Apple Store downstairs and suddenly 100 people started to scream at the top of their lungs. Note to self: don't forget to breath while screaming, as I briefly made myself lightheaded.

TMBG 7/21/11 #43

Flans thanked us all for coming and said something about going to hang out with his mom. I believe this was his was of making an excuse for not doing an encore. His mom was apparently in the audience, though I didn't see her this time. Then they closed out the show with The Mesopotamians and filed off the stage waving, and back to the elevator escape route.

Then followed the most wonderful, disorienting thing for me. I bent down to pick-up my purse and Gary reached over me to get the setlist off the stage that was taped in front of us. Out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was someone jumping onto the stage on my right but I couldn't turn to see who or what it was, stuck as I was on the floor (turned out some girl climbed on stage to retrieve setlists from the back...bad form!). And I finally stood up again to realize that (least from my perspective) out of nowhere Marty had reappeared on stage and was currently walking towards me holding out his drum sticks. He bent down and put them in my hand and I'm pretty sure I was staring at them like I didn't know where they had come from. He said, "Thank you for the birthday message you wrote. It really touched me." All I could manage to say was "Thank you." And I realized later I should have said "You're welcome." Then he stood up and started to walk away and I just stared at him dumbfounded as my mind briefly scrambled to decide if I should try to ask him to sign my CD I had in my hand or the sticks themselves, but in the end I just stared as he walked away. I was absolutely and totally shocked.

The entire event is in my mind in tunnel vision. I barely remember seeing Marty, only hearing him. And the inner dialogue in my head while it was happening probably resulted in some really amusing expressions on my face. At first my brain was scrambling trying to even find context and even figure out what he was referring to. The first thing that jumped to my mind was the birthday message Danny had written for me and I was super confused. Then I remembered that I had wished him Happy Birthday on Facebook and was trying to remember if I had said anything especially touching. Then I had a whole debate with myself over whether "Thank you" was an appropriate thing to have said at all. Somewhere in there I remembered that we had just been talking earlier in the day about how I wanted drum sticks and now I was holding them. And then, FINALLY, it occurred to me that I had actually tagged Marty on Facebook when I had posted the blog entry I wrote for his birthday and that that was actually what he had been referring to. Which led to even more stunned shock as I tried to remember what I had written and wrap my brain around the fact that he had actually read it.

I have had some cool encounters with the guys before shows and after shows before, but I think I can honestly say this one was the most meaningful to date.

We spent a few minutes just standing around examining the sticks. One of them is completely shredded on the top and even has red paint marks on it (which is interesting as Marty was not playing a red drum that night). The other looks virtually untouched on top but has score marks all over the back as if he was using it upside down on something. Then I frantically text messaged some of our absent friends while we walked back to the garage. I say walked, though I think in my memory I was floating. This was a show for the history books and the two days together made all the travel hassle worth it times ten. Can't wait to do it all again next week. And a most sincere thank you to Marty for making me the happiest fangirl on the planet.

TMBG 7/21/11 #52

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 253

Today's song is...

Taste The Fame

Flans does a remarkably good job singing this song it the voice of a nerdy, high school age camp counselor, I always thought. It doesn't sound that great but it's enthusiastic, just like it's supposed to sound. And the whole episode is just funny. Also, for really simplistic looking animation, they did a great job capturing the look of the Johns.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bring On The Bass Clarinet

July 20, 2011 - Apple Store SoHo - New York, NY

I honestly can't remember the last time (if there even was one) I experienced so much stress leading up to a TMBG show. The ridiculous hassle of having to acquire wristbands for the Apple Store shows in two different cities, the days before the shows was just about enough to drive me mad. We went from maybe having to drive to NYC two days in a row, to not having to, to having to again and actually changing around work schedules to accommodate the extra trip. And then ultimately didn't have to go in twice, thanks to the enormous generosity of a few friends and their extended families (Thanks once again, J&R and Gabby and company). There were brief moments of panic on Tuesday morning as I started receiving text updates from the wristband-acquiring friends about how they were putting the bands on people, thus making them non-transferable, only to once again have those fears laid to rest when it turned out they were able to slide them right off.

And all that stress continued right into Wednesday. Megan joined us early Wednesday morning to head into Boston to grab wristband set number two. It's a good thing these did not need to be transfered as neither Megan or Gary could have gotten theirs off. We briefly contemplated the possibility that we probably could have gotten into the NYC show all along with our Boston bands, as they were almost the same color, but we chose not to risk it. Then it was off to New Haven to pick up Kathy. Except I had a complete brain cramp while driving, forgot what road I was on and took a turn that ended up taking us a good 40 minutes out of our way. That was travel issue number one.

On to New Haven, plus one Kathy and a stop for lunch, we cruised towards NYC until we hit dead stand still traffic at the junction of 95 S and 295. The GPS claimed we were 20 minutes away from the Apple Store and yet it took us 45 minutes to creep a quarter mile past the junction and finally escape over the Triborough Bridge. Such was our elation when we finally broke free of the traffic, that we cued up Celebration on my brand spankin' new Join Us CD and blasted it loudly as we shot down I-278. That was travel issue number two.

Finally, in SoHo, mere blocks from our destination we were trapped at one intersection after another of gridlocked taxi cabs, blocking intersections, cutting us off and preventing turns. And our search for parking was slow and chewed up even more time. When we finally power walked down the side walk through sweltering heat towards the Apple Store (having survived travel issue number three), we were an hour and 15 minutes later than the GPS had originally indicated our arrival and a good two hours later than I had intended. All of our friends preceded us, a line had already started forming and we missed the open-to-the-rest-of-the-store soundcheck entirely. But you know, it all seemed pretty insignificant when I walked out from a desperately required trip to the bathroom (which was awkwardly located right next to the stage) and spied Linnell in the wings on the other side. That kind of just made everything OK.

The upside of arriving so late was not having to wait in line very long before we were allowed into the theater area. And it really was just an "area". At the top of the stairs to the second floor were five or six rows of chairs facing a little stage with a video screen behind it. All around the stairwell, customers tested out iPads and contemplated laying down a month's salary for a new MacBook, while we filed in prepared to enjoy a rock concert. It was a little incongruous. Our crew for this show was actually so large that John, Rebecca, Heather, Jim, TDK, Paul, Q, Megan, Gabby, Kathy, Gary and I virtually took over the first two rows. There were four seats reserved for press in the front row, directly in front of me, which were left empty so I actually had a virtually perfect view. The press never showed and eventually some fans seated further back moved up into the chairs about halfway through the show but so much of the set had already happened by that point it really didn't matter.

Lots of pre-show band member sightings before this show. I also spent the entire pre-concert time with a very intimidating picture of Linnell staring at me disapprovingly from the video screen. It was kind of a relief when it switched over to the Join Us cover when the show started. We received stickers with the Join Us cover art from an Apple Store employee as we were seated and quickly noticed that one of these same stickers was plastered on the front of the kick drum on the tiny, suitable-for-in-stores drum kit.

TMBG 7/20/11 #1

TMBG 7/20/11 #2

When the band finally took the stage, about an hour after we sat down, it was to some pretty raucous applause and cheers from the crowd, but I am pretty sure there was at least a portion of that crowd that was whooping specifically for the bass clarinet that Linnell walked in carrying. We had been promised the first live rendition of Cloisonné after all and it seemed we were not to be disappointed.

Flans had some initial trouble with his guitar and told Linnell to tell us a story. Linnell welcomed us to the most comfortable gig in NYC. For them. Flans offered us all use of the band's 10% Apple product discount they got while performing in the store so we could save $50 on our new "thermosy" style computers.

Flans made some jokes about the wristband process, asking us if we had all been security checked and essentially calling it out for being the annoying pain in the butt that it was. "It wasn't our idea. We were getting drinks at the genius bar." Linnell joked that the wristbands were for if you weren't drinking.  Flans: "We were using that smokable beer."

TMBG 7/20/11 #4

Linnell announced that they had a new album to many whoops from the audience. "It's been a long time coming and it'll be a long time before it goes." Flans asked us to hold our applause until the middle of the first song. Linnell commented that we wouldn't no when that was because we didn't know how long the song was but he said they would telegraph it to us and Flans said they'd just stop a few times.

They started with Never Knew Love. Linnell seemed to drag out the introduction a little bit, looking like he was about to come in then backing off and waiting another measure. I had noticed from the video of this song's premiere in London, that he had botched the backing vocal during Flansburgh's part a bit. He didn't exactly botch it here but they way he performs it is a little funny. Or, apparently, a lot funny if you are Dan Miller, since he cracked up as soon as Linnell started doing it. Linnell kind of tilts his head down and sings away from the mic with this kind of strained face. And I noticed that, at least when he's doing it live, he's not just singing "Ahhhhhhhh" as I thought but "loooooooooove".

TMBG 7/20/11 #5

They went straight into Fingertips. Flans dragged out the end of Everything Is Catching On Fire. Dan leaned in to do Fingertips and Flans wasn't done and added on a couple of extra "catching on fire"s at the end while Dan waited with a bemused look on his face. Flans ended up screaming the end of Wreck My Car and then had to clear his throat. During Heart Attack, Flans removed his glasses and did the "If I die before we freak" bit. Dan kind of went insane on the solo in Darkened Corridors, really dragging it out the last note. Then eventually he signaled Marty that he was in fact done. Prompting Flans to say that Dan was "telegraphing the most low key signals in the history of They Might Be Giants." Flans also said Dan was playing hippie guitar, which I assume was at least partially a reference to his rainbow striped Zoot Suit guitar.

TMBG 7/20/11 #7

Flans joked that they were doing a Thursday night show vibe and were going to have to tone it down. He said he was experiencing an uptown Apple Store lack of oxygen particles. "Have you guys been up there? Everything's kind of sticking to the ... It's like being on Mars." Then holding out his hands with an imaginary device in them: "Does this thing work with Yahoo? Cause I have Yahoo. This thing works with Yahoo right? This works with Yahoo....cause...." All of this in a kind of stoner accent. It might not telegraph well in text but it was actually hilarious.

Flans said that Paul Sahre is currently constructing a live size version of the pink hearse from the album cover. He said they don't know what they are going to do with it afterward and that they would be at the Genius Bar afterward asking some big questions. He suspected it would involve a trailer. I really hope this is true and that he wasn't joking because I would really like to see it. Secretly, I really hope that is what my $100 of IFC money went to pay for.

Flans introduced Johnny, calling it the "big single" off the album as said it would mean a lot to them if we bought it on iTunes. Linnell mentioned the contest winning video. Flans chimed in "speaking of smokable beer." "Once you have seen it you can't unsee it." He also made another joke about oxygen particles. Flans also asked if everything sounded ok. "Does it sound like we are singing right now?"

During this time Danny had been singling to the crew about getting something to raise his amp off the ground. They appeared with a trunk and proceeded to prop the amp on top of the trunk, wrapping a towel around one wheel to prevent it from rolling. Danny tested out the sound with something that sounded an awful lot like the Pink Panther theme. Flans eventually noticed this commotion and asked what they were doing. He expressed concern that the amp might roll off the trunk and suggested they tip it on it's side. Danny just locked the wheels though. Flans joked, "We've gone 450 days with no industrial accidents."

TMBG 7/20/11 #23

Linnell goofed the intro to Johnny a tiny bit on the keyboard but I was pretty impressed he managed it as well as he did. Flans played the accordion solo on the guitar.

TMBG 7/20/11 #8

They went straight into Twisting. Flans really screamed pretty intensely. Dan made one of his best ever faces. And they went straight from that into Ana Ng. Linnell did a rather techo sounding beginning on the keyboard which he brought back occasionally throughout the song. Linnell referred to it as a "very special Ana Ng." He asked if everything sounded ok too, commenting on some crazy reverb he was hearing on his voice that was blowing his mind. Flans said, "That's the sound of professional audio, John." Linnell chimed in, "Pro audio" and said they would be doing a presentation with powerpoint on the screen immediately after the show. Flans told us to hang on to our wristbands for that.

TMBG 7/20/11 #14

Flans also commented that he thought they should bring the fans to Boston. Linnell clarified that he meant the electric fans, but Flans thought it would be a good idea to bring some fans (the people sort) too. He warned us that it was a "two-day gauntlet" to get into the Boston show, one say for each wrist. Linnell added in a retina scan. I'm glad they admitted what a pain in the butt the wristband thing was because it really caused me more stress than I could really handle. I was tempted to hold up both my arms to show off the fact that I already had been double wristbanded but I wasn't sure anyone would see or get it.

The did Memo to Human Resources next. I discovered at the show that while I seem to be officially unsick of The Mesopotamians, I am still sick of this one (sorry, Meg).

TMBG 7/20/11 #11

Flans asked if the air conditioning could be turned on but Linnell joked that the controls were in Coopertino and an email would have to be sent and they would respond 3 hours later. Professor Linnell informed us that Borders controls all their air conditioning from Ann Arbor which they had learned the hard way. (I can tell you the other chain does this now as well). Flans joked about what a great business model that was. "First of all...books." Ouch, Flans. Ouch.

TMBG 7/20/11 #15

Flans did the intro to Alphabet of Nations in a really humorous voice. Dan had fun playing around with the keyboard part a bit. At one point he jazzed it up a little and Danny started laughing at him and dancing a little jig to the tune. I completely cracked up and looked around to see who else had noticed and NO ONE HAD. Except Kathy, thank goodness. Because that is just the kind of hilarious thing I would end up seeing that no one else would and there would be no one to back me up. But hopefully Kathy will, in this case, support me in the hilarity factor, cause, damn, that was funny.

TMBG 7/20/11 #17

Flans started practicing his back up part to You Probably Get That A Lot before they started singing. Linnell teased him saying there shouldn't be a seg. That they should do a cocktail hour. Flans said he was ready. Marty counted off the song and Dan started to play the opening notes backwards. He stopped and said, "I'm not." We all laughed. Gotta say, Dan got in some good quotes at this show. They did manage to start the song right on the second try. Linnell made some some really adorable faces while he was singing, kind of looking off to the side. And he did the "ly" right at the end which he hadn't quite done in London which I was super excited about as that is my favorite part.

On into Doctor Worm. Flans ended his back up part with "Doctor Worm, ya'll." I laughed again. Lots of stuff made me laugh at this show.

TMBG 7/20/11 #22

Flans started riffing on the phone hacking scandal in the UK, but I was far too distracted by what was going on center stage to pay attention. Because Linnell had picked up the bass clarinet which was exciting enough on it's own. Until Danny put down the bass and starting testing out the keyboard. Holy crap, says my brain. This is going to be AMAZING. And they did the first ever performance of Cloisonné with Linnell on bass clarinet and Danny on keyboard and Flans and Dan replicating the sax parts on guitar. And Flans did the raindrop voice perfectly. He messed up a lyric somehow, inserting the word "prideswax". But it didn't matter because it was incredible. And the outro sounded like nothing else ever. It was one of those things that a recording could never fully capture the awesomeness off, but there is one if you want to try and see if it successfully blows your mind. And when they finished Linnell said that they would be announcing the winner of the song after the show. Flans gave credit to the bass clarinet, "all the way from the basement."

TMBG 7/20/11 #29

TMBG 7/20/11 #28

Flans asked what they were playing next and Linnell said they had some song they were deeply familiar with and would be looking anywhere but at their hands. Flans interrupted to announce the Williamsburg show and talk about the openers. He told the parents to earmuff the kids, then said that Eugene Mirman has said "who the fuck wants to see comedy when there's 10,000 people." So there were going to be Jumbotons with Mirman's face on them. Linnell decreed that this would be 10 times funnier. I immediately wanted to quote the Jumbotron munny video. Flans said the show happens at night and that we were all going to go out "wilding" afterward. I look forward to this Flans.

And then they played Birdhouse, the song Linnell once declared they could still play even after someone cut off their heads. Definitely one they are "deeply familiar with."

Flans leaned over and told Marty to play the beginning to Clap Your Hands. Flans introduced the shortest song in the entire show at 1:26 and told us all to stand up while they performed it. Then he introduced Marty and Marty......started to play Judy Is Your Viet Nam. FAKE OUT. (Except not really for me because the 1:26 comment was a total tip off to me.) But he successfully faked out everyone else. I was super impressed at how Marty managed to make his four piece drum kit sound like a full blown rock set-up, but I wasn't truly paying attention to him. I was preparing myself to focus all my attention on Linnell to figure out what the heck the words to the backing vocal in the song were. They are, in case you were wondering, "Boughs of holly, multiplying. Christmastime is here." I was so excited about figuring this out (and texting Q down the row) that I forgot to watch the rest of the song. I was grinning stupidly while we moved to retake our seats and Danny looked at me and grinned back because I think I looked stupid happy. Except he probably thought I was excited about the song and not just that I had successfully lip read John Linnell. (P.S. The song was awesome.)

Flans commented that it was nice to see so many people singing along considering the album had been out a day. Linnell said it had been on Bit Torrent for weeks. Flans talked about how weird it was that at first it looked like the album had leaked to Bit Torrent and they were all mad thinking "which one of our friends did this to us." But it turned out to be a fake. Except he couldn't come up with the word fake or scam and called in a "spoof." Then he was impressed that their fans were so dedicated that they were protecting them with the fake downloaded. Until he realized that it was just a way to steal email addresses from Russia. "The whole thing was a hall of mirrors."

Linnell said the next song was about the Mesopotamians but it wasn't the one we were thinking of. "it's off the new album. Disappointing follow-up song." Flans chimed in, "It's called The Mesopotamians Got Married." But it was of course the regular one. Which it turns out I have actually missed. Woot.

Flans did an Elvis style "Thank you very much" and they left the stage briefly. Then just the band returned. Marty sat down on his stool with his chin propped on his drum sticks in a pose quite reminiscent of The Thinker, as he settled in to watch Dan doing a truly impressive Istanbul introduction. Danny eventually joined him. The Johns could be seen watching from the wings and I swear Flans was either changing his shirt or putting it back on after having removed an undershirt or something. Eventually the Johns joined them on stage and Flans had some trouble retrieving his guitar from behind Dan because Dan was too busy rocking.

Flans thanked us all for coming and thanked the Apple Store. He had us chant "Apple, Apple" briefly. "It could have been a Microsoft World." He mentioned the Brooklyn show again and warned us against bringing back packs. Then he introduced the band including "Dan Miller on the Mad Men IBM selectric guitar." All of this while the band riffed on the last bit of intro before the lyrics to Istanbul. Which they finally sang. And they did the fake backwards singing at the end which was just great and hilarious and perfect. They did the fake ending and Flans made us all stand up again. The band rocked out. Flans said we were the best audience a band could ever have. I hope he wasn't entirely just saying that.

Most of the people who had snuck into the press seats in front of us got all the setlists, but Megan did manage to acquire something super cool. It was labeled This Might Be A Stage Plot and was a little map of the way the stage is usually set up (though not tonight), with little pictures of the amps and drums and platforms. It was both adorable and informative.

We gathered with out massive group at the back of the group, chatting and socializing since we hadn't all been together in the rows to chat. Most of the members of the band were out and about signing things or saying hi to people and even though I had my new Join Us CD with me that I wanted signed, I felt funny about bothering them. I'm not sure why. Maybe just because so many other people were. Maybe because some of them were with their families. I don't know.

But when Dan Miller turned up signing for a few people over by the restroom, Megan asked if we should go see him and I said yes. Because Dan Miller has always been the elusive one for me so it seemed like a good opportunity to take advantage of. And plus, Megan has really been wanting to meet Dan. So we went over and waited our turn and me being a dork and never quite knowing what to say, I just held out my CD to him and said "Please." He commented that he hadn't actually seen the CD liner notes yet and asked if he could look at them. I said of course. He believe he said they looked pretty cool. He asked where I wanted him to sign and I said wherever he wanted. And he signed, "Thanks! Dan Miller." And I stepped aside for Megan. And this is the best part.

Megan hands him her Stage Plot and says "This is really exciting for me because you are the only member of the band I haven't met." And Dan is like, WELL THEN. And he shoved the thing and the marker under his arm, stuck out his hand for a hand shake and said "I'm Dan." Which was pretty much the best thing ever and has become THE quote of the entire show. Then he started talking about the stage plot and how it was ill advised and they had taken all the time to find the pictures on the internet and the thing was completely inaccurate. And he signed it with the D of his name circling Guitar World.

Meanwhile, I had looked back and realized that most of the rest of our friends had followed us and made a sizable little line behind us. I sais, "I'm sorry we kind of travel in a pack" and Dan looked up and realized all the people were there for the first time and looked a little started. He signed some stuff for the rest of our group but seemed super concerned that he was using my Sharpie. It seemed like he kept trying to give it back. I think maybe he thought I was waiting for it and not that I was also waiting for all of this large group of people that I was with. And besides, it was the Sharpie that I've now loaned to all the boys. The one that Marty flung at me at Town Hall. So I was actually stupidly excited that it got used by yet another member of the band.

We regrouped at the back of the room again and spotted Danny walking towards the stairs. There was this horrible, hilarious moment where our entire group took one surging step towards him and he looked at us with a smile of absolute terror, waved and fled down the stairs. We all laughed pretty hard at what a terrifying sight we must have been to a band member that was just trying to escape and go home.

And finally, Flans came out and got stopped by a few fans. He seemed resigned to getting stopped and even put all his stuff down to sign and pose for pictures. So we piled into line and delayed his escape even longer. Gabby got her Flexi signed. Flans seemed very excited to see it. Megan got her stage plot done. And I handed him my CD only to have him do the exact same thing as Dan. He said he hadn't seen it and asked if he could look at it. "Of course," I said again. He said he hadn't gotten a chance to see what kind of typos or errors were in the liner notes yet. Heather pointed out that Jim's name is in the digital notes twice. Flans seemed confused by this at first. I don't think he realized she was talking about one of us. I think he thought she was referring to some member of the band or crew. But he figured it out after we pointed at Jim and asked how the names had ended up organized. Heather confirmed that they were alphabetical and I chimed in, "by first name." "Well, that's friendly," he said. Rebecca came up to get her TMBG maternity shirt signed and Flans was super impressed. She told him she was carrying for someone else but had five of her own at home and I think she blew his mind. He had the most terrified/amazed look on his face and said, "Good luck with that." And he drew his traditional signature with the little face in it, also wearing a top hat. It was pretty adorable.

And finally we all left the Apple Store folks in peace. We had a mighty adventure driving Gabby home to NJ thanks to my psychotic GPS. Mention the name Streetballs to anyone who was in the car and watch them collapse in hilarity. We reached New Haven to drop Kathy off about midnight and finally arrived home again at about 2:30am. And then got up the next morning to do it all again, though decidedly closer to home.

There are a few more pictures from the show on Flickr as well as ones from Kathy, Megan and Gabby floating around (and Rebecca if your are on Facebook.) This was a truly incredible show, but I have to say as unbelievable as it was, I think Boston topped it. Hopefully, I'll have that recap done tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.

Song of The Day - Day 252

Today's song is...


I must admit that I have never gotten into Homestar Runner and have never actually seen any of it that does not involve TMBG. But I also have to say the Puppet Jams are pretty darn funny, this tiny little song included.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 251

Today's song is...

How Many Planets?

"And a bunch of other stuff" is one of my favorite lines from Here Comes Science. I really enjoy the variety of vocal effects in this song. The way "Neptune" sounds as if it is being sung under water. And the whole song is a short little rocker. This is also one of my favorite HCS videos. I love the little poster of the Johns in the bedroom. But what I love most of all about this song is the way Linnell pronounces Uranus. It cracks me up every single time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 250

Today's song is...

Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes

Hey, there, drum machine. That's a mighty fine drum track you've got there. Rock on. This is a song that I simply enjoy without thinking about it too deeply. It is a fun song. I am amused by the screaming at the end. I regularly forget that I have actually seen it live twice. I think somewhere in my head I get it confused with Wearing A Raincoat (which I have not seen). But I shouldn't, because this is a better song.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 249

Today's song is...

Minimum Wage

A few things about this song:

1. I believe this song holds special meaning for anyone who has actually worked for minimum wage and tried to survive (and I have.)

2. Because I spent such a long time listening to the Dial A Song collection in my early fandom, I perpetually expect this song to lead in to Man, It's So Loud In Here. Even when I hear it live, so I am constantly just a little disappointed.

3. At the Life Is Good Festival last year, one of the acts before TMBG was the Big Apple Circus and they had a cowboy who did nifty tricks with a whip. I really thought the band missed a giant opportunity by not inviting the guy out to solo with them on this song.

4. This song is awesome.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Song Of The Day - Day 248

Today's song is...


I know people who adore this song and it's not a State Song I have ever given a lot of thought to. That will probably make me unpopular in certain company. It's a nice arrangement and the vocal tone is cool. I think I would need to explore the song some more before I could say anything more definitive about it.

Song Of The Day - Day 247

In all the travel and excitement yesterday I never got around to posting the Song of the Day, so this is actually the one from Wednesday. It is...

On The Drag

This was one of the songs on the mix CD my boyfriend gave me long before we were dating. There were a couple of TMBG songs on it and they were really my first introduction to the band, years before I started listening to them. For a while I didn't even know the song was a TMBG song. And as a result of that complete disassociation from the rest of the catalog I am still surprised every time I hear it that it IS a TMBG song. I just can't make it blend back in with the rest of their material. All of my association with it is to that mix CD.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 7/20/11

This is just one of the fantastic batch of entries I got last week after my call of desperation. I am set for a month! This one is from John and Finn.

Please send submissions to

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 246

Today's song is...


In honor of the celebration of the release of Join Us of course! This is my second favorite track on the album (I already told you about the first one). I'll save my complete thoughts on it for my album review, but I love the lyrics and the celebratory theme. I have this whole theory about how Celebration the song relates to "celebration" the thing they yell when they screw up and want to start over. I deeply, deeply love the arrangement particularly the bass and the drums. Oh god, the drums. The "fill for Phil" at the end kills me. KILLS ME. I love the analogy between the audience and a Bosch painting. Because, have you ever seen a Bosch painting? They are full of completely weird, f'd up things. And that is exactly us, the audience. "A little bit better and ready for some Celebration. Some time to get louder and not by yourself." This rock and roll girl is insanely happy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

And The Winner Is.....

Ok, I guess it's not very surprising or exciting that Birdhouse In Your Soul took home the prize in this tense, month-long battle of songs. But I find it reassuring in some way. It is, after all, a really excellent song.

This game wraps up just as IFC members and digital downloaders are digging in to Join Us and CD purchasers are enjoying their last few hours of anticipation. For myself, I don't think I've ever looked forward to an album more than this one. And I was a bit worried that no album could possibly live up to my anticipation. I am so very, very pleased to have been wrong. I love this album more than I ever thought possible.

You can expect a full album review from me within the next few days as well as an explosion of show write-ups in the next two weeks. In the meantime, due to the need for an emergency trip to NYC tomorrow for wristband acquisition I am sorry to say that I can't appear in our chat group tomorrow night after all. But I shall be on AIM from now until I need to sleep if anyone wants to come squee with me about Join Us. My user name is bluecanary0221. Come find me!

Also, I am starting a small project, the exact nature of which remains unclear at the moment but I need your help. I wish to collect pictures of people holding their copies of Join Us. Be it your CD, your vinyl or just your iPod with the album cover art displayed. Excited happy faces with that day-glo pink hearse. Be creative or just smile with your album. I'm gonna put them all together and make something which I will eventually share with you all. Send pictures along to me at and thank you in advance for indulging me.

Song of The Day - Day 245

Today's song is...

Life 360 Theme

Oh dear. Two days in a row of songs I've never heard. The randomizer is creating a bad trend. Stop that, randomizer!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 244

Today's song is...

Lunch Is Over

Ooops, a Dunkin Donuts ad I've never heard. It's been a while since I had one of these I've never heard. There aren't even any lyrics for this on the wiki but I suspect the song is probably about coffee getting you through the rest of your work day when your lunch break is over. Perhaps we should all try to make up the lyrics ourselves.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Final

#1: Birdhouse In Your Soul


#2: Ana Ng

Vote Now!

Song of The Day - Day 243

Today's song is...


The birthday song for the 21st century. The concept behind this song is ridiculously simple and yet still really clever. Leave it to TMBG to remind us that we are getting older every second, even while listening to a song about getting older every second. And usually getting pummeled with confetti. I personally prefer the Long Tall Weekend version of the song to the Mink Car version because it is more reminiscent of the way they play it live. And I always enjoy watching them play it live with their guitars propped up in the air and the mallets whamming on the drum. To this day the most epic performance I've seen remains the January of '09 Lupos show largely due to almost supernatural hang time of the confetti. There are so many good videos of this song too, so convenient for Facebook birthday posts. Take your pick!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 242

Today's song is...

The Cap'm

Oooooo, hello, really awesome bass part. Great guitar part. Handclaps! Stylophone! Just a well put together song in general. Really strong, almost aggressive Linnell vocal. For some reason, the "My hat looks good on me" verse (can you really call that a verse?) has always amused me greatly. That is a highly quoted line in my household. Just a very good song, in general.

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Semifinals - Set 1 Winner

I am sure that not a single person is in the least surprised by this, but our first contestant in the final round is...

Birdhouse in Your Soul.

I know. Total shock. You still have 24 hours to vote on the other contestant. Right now, Ana Ng is ahead but it's not too late for Don't Let's Start to stage a comeback. There are a fair number of folks who haven't voted yet. And I believe either song could give Birdhouse a run for its money in the final.

That last poll will go up tomorrow and run through 6:00pm on Monday. At which point we shall have our winner! After a month of waiting, anticipating and making difficult decisions about songs, Join Us is only 4 days away. Can you believe it?!

Tuesday night at 9:00pm we will be holding a special Join Us chat in the Cabbagetown chat room. We can all join together and squee about favorite songs and best lyrics and share general jubilation. Stop by, even if you've never been to our chat group before. Everyone is welcome. Join us!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 241

Today's song is...

Never Knew Love

This is my second favorite of the Join Us preview songs, after Johnny. I was disappointed to find that so many others didn't care for it. It was Linnell's vocal that struck me initially. There is something about the tone he sings in that I really love. I also enjoy the electronic backdrop that his portion of the song is set to. At first I couldn't really make heads or tails of the lyrics in Flansburgh's half of the song and how they fit together with Linnell's half, but I think I get it now. The song has kind of this "love is amazing but it's also really frickin' hard" vibe to it. Have to say I totally agree with that. Some other things I really enjoy about this song. The backing vocals. The bass part on Flansburgh's verses. The kind of bell-sounding tone in Linnell's choruses. And the drums throughout the entire song, but particularly in Flansburgh's parts.

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Semifinals - Set 2

#3: Don't Let's Start


#4: Ana Ng

Vote Now!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 7/13/11

Easy one today!

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Semifinals - Set 1

#1: Museum Of Idiots


#2: Birdhouse In Your Soul

Vote Now!

Song of The Day - Day 240

Today's song is...

Here Comes Science

Yay! A 16 second introduction song that does not appear at the intro of the CD. Huh? It has always confused me why this does not start HCS like the similar title tracks on ABCs and 123s. I can't really complain because I love Science is Real as an opener, but it still strikes me as odd to have this at the end. It makes more sense on the DVD where it opens and closes. I seem to recall having lots of confusion as to how to list the CD and DVD versions on the wiki when this was first coming out, that being my first adventure with wiki-ing new material. That was probably just me though. All this aside though, I love the little "ooooeeeee" at the end of the track.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 239

Today's song is...

Empty Bottle Collector

This is some lovely horn work. And nice drums too. I'm afraid I don't have much more than that to say about it. Good, solid instrumental.

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Quarterfinals - Set 4

#7: Don't Let's Start


#8: Doctor Worm

Vote Now!

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Quarterfinals - Set 3

#5: Ana Ng


#6: Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head

Vote Now!

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Round 4 - Set 7-8 Winners

The final contestants for the Quarterfinals! Voting will begin in about 5 minutes!

Don't Let's Start

Doctor Worm

Semi-finals start tomorrow!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Round 4 - Set 5-6 Winners

Here are the next two combatants in the Quarterfinals. The final Round 4 sets close at noon tomorrow and the last 2 Quarterfinal polls will be posted immediately after those results are determined. These turn arounds are getting fast, so don't daudle making your decision or you will miss your chance.

Ana Ng

Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head

Semifinals start on Wednesday! Only 8 more days until Join Us! Yay!

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Quarterfinals - Set 2

#3: Birdhouse In Your Soul


#4: They'll Need A Crane

Vote Now!

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Quarterfinals - Set 1

#1: Purple Toupee


#2: Museum Of Idiots

Vote Now!

Song of The Day - Day 238

Today's song is...

Phone Calls From The Dead

I think for the purposes of this feature, this should just refer to the song that introduces the PCFTD segment since the segment is not actually a song. And that song is an entertaining enough little dirge. But it can not really be separated from the segment. Which is one of the most entertaining and ridiculous special features the band has ever introduced into their shows. I think part of what made it so funny was the amount of time it left Linnell alone on the stage to ad lib. Sure Flans could drive the conversation once he got on the "phone" but it was still Linnell on the stage facing the crowd. The other thing that made it work so well was that it gave the guys an opportunity to really play off each other's insanity. It really was like a fantastic five minute comedy act.

I only got to see one Phone Call From The Dead myself. It was with Eleanor Roosevelt and I remember thinking at the time that it was really weird, because I did not know anything about the band yet at that point. But I wish now I could go back and watch it again because I think I would appreciate it a lot more. Because I've listened to quite a few versions of the segment on live show recordings now and some of them made me laugh so hard I hurt. That is some seriously high quality humor. And not a bad little introduction song either.

I'd Like This Song To Be Number One - Round 4 - Set 3-4 Winners

Here is the pairing for Set 2 of tomorrow's Quarterfinals.

Birdhouse In Your Soul

They'll Need A Crane

Start thinking about your votes. Polls go up in the morning!