Saturday, March 31, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 502

Today's song is...


I believe very strongly that this should have been the opening track on The Spine. It's nothing against Experimental Film. I love that song. But this should have been the opener. I have had actual arguments with people about this. My opinion is not shared by many it would seem. But I stand behind it. Also, this song is so inseparable from Memo To Human Resources that my brain starts singing the opening words of that song before this one is even done. They are like conjoined twins. They can be separated, but the separation isn't always advisable.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 501

Today's song is...

Mountain Flowers

You know, I had not actually looked at the lyrics to this song until just now. And I find upon reading them, that I like them more than I thought. This is another in the series of TMBG songs featuring a paranoid narrator making bizarre observations. Set to slightly unsettling music. Also, hello, unexpected drum solo. Your presence here is surprising but most welcome.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 500

Today's song is...

Till My Head Falls Off

I thought for quite a while this morning about what song should be Song of the Day number 500. It seemed like a pretty auspicious number and worthy of something great. I tried out the randomizer to see if it would be inspired and came up with something good for tomorrow but not 500th worthy. Then I started looking at the big "hits" to see if there were any I haven't covered yet, but everything I could think of has already been used. So then I thought, hey, this is my blog after all. I am going with the only one of my Top 5 songs that hasn't been used yet. I think it's worthy.

Sometimes I listen to this song and am just completely blown away. Between the guitar riff, the pounding keyboard, and the absolute best bass part in the catalog, my brain can barely comprehend how good this song is. All of the elements come together to form something very close to absolute perfection. The song is jam packed with little moments that give me chills. The entire first 10 seconds for one. The keyboard in the second verse. The bass solo in the bridge, followed by the guitar solo. The drums at the very end. Damn. SO good. And add in the fact that it's all layered with some of my favorite lyrics and you have near definitive proof of John Linnell's songwriting genius.

This song is number two on my list of songs I would like to hear live. And the kicker is I have actually heard it. But I have absolutely zero memory of it. They played it at the Factory Showroom show at Mohegan Sun in '08 and I just 100% do not remember it. I didn't know the song then and didn't care. And I want a re-do. I desperately want to see Dan rip into that guitar solo. I want to see how into that keyboard part Linnell gets while he's belting out those lyrics. I want to see Marty race through that drum rhythm at break-neck speeds. And more than anything else I want to hear Danny play that bass solo. Give me that and I will die a happy satisfied fangirl.

"And I'm not done, and I won't be till my head falls off. Though it may not be a long way off. I won't be done until my head falls off."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 499

Today's song is...

Share A Story

This little song isn't mind blowing or anything but I like the subject matter. I like that it covers all the different ways to share a story through words, pictures, music, etc and that is should be something shared by parents and kids. I just saw it described as a PSA which I guess it is, but it's certainly one I can get behind. And am I the only one who was trying to figure out which book the text that the characters in the video were dancing in front of comes from? (It's Alice in Wonderland in case anyone cares.)

Song of the Day - Day 498

Today's song is...

Aren't You The Guy Who Hit Me In The Eye?

Darn, I hate it when I forget to get the SOTD up before the day is over. But please accept this incredibly short song with a lovely sax part as a late offering with my apologies.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 497

Today's song is...

(She Was A) Hotel Detective In The Future

I find it so interesting that the three Hotel Detective songs share no similarities when it comes to musical style. The only thing connecting them is the subject. And I find this one interesting because I don't think there is a bit of music in the song that wasn't electronically created. Even the vocals have been manipulated. I suspect this was something Linnell put together entirely on his own and handed to Flansburgh when he asked if he had anything kicking around to use on the podcast. Or maybe not. It could also just as likely be something they cooked up together while they were messing around between takes on something else. Who knows. But it's fun and silly and I'm glad it exists.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 496

Today's song is...


Everybody sing with me now... "A leeeeeeeeeee-eeee-eeee-eeee-eeeg." I love this song. This is one of the most Linnellian of Linnell's songs. It makes no sense and yet makes perfect sense. And ooo, the music. Especially the beginning. Gives me goosebumps. A little bit intense rock, a little bit beautiful melody. The slightly disconcerting and gripping bridge with drums and accordion and just a few guitar twangs. And oh man, the backing vocals. Eeee, it just makes me all grinny and smiley and unable to use more descriptive words than "eee" and "ooo."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 495

Today's song is...

About Me

Someone I had never met once asked me if I listened to the silence at the end of this song every time I listened to it, as an introductory question about my fandom. I thought that was a unique way to start. The answer is no, not usually. But Severe Tire Damage is one of the most recent CDs I have acquired so prior to a few months ago I rarely listened to the song at all. Which is a shame as it is such a good horn/bass arrangement packed into a tiny little song. But the troublesome silence always prevented me from including it on any of my mixes that I listened to prior to acquiring physical albums. The sign also has the distinction of being the first TMBG song in my iTunes library and only the second period. I find it a good way to start things off.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 494

Today's song is...

Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Being a bit of a US History nerd, I love the fact that this is an actual campaign song. Tippecanoe and Tyler too is one of those catch phrases from history that stuck with me since high school (even though my history interest was more 20th century). And I really enjoy the music TMBG set it to, particularly the way the guitar twangs out at the end. It sounds modern and yet suitably old at the same time. It's a shame that the current presidential candidates don't have original songs written for their campaigns anymore. Now they just get in disputes over copyright infringement for using existing songs without paying royalties. My how the world has changed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 493

Today's song is...


I had never heard this track prior to about 30 seconds ago. This is the exact reason I keep a folder of random tracks that I purposefully don't listen to until they pop up as the SOTD, so I can be occasionally surprised by the existence of little gems like this one. There's not much too it, but what is there I like. Nice little drum track, slightly intriguing verse. And I find myself oddly fond of the "pop, pop, pop-a-shot" chorus. Glad this one has now been removed from obscurity in my music library.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 492

Today's song is...

The Car Crash

I have several recordings of this, but it makes it into SOTD by virtue of the recording featured on TMBG Unlimited. Which isn't even the best one I have in my opinion. The audience does not deliver an optimum performance. I wonder if the language barrier had any impact? But what I really like about it, it that it is Linnell instructing the audience on how to perform the crash. It is such a Flans thing to do and hearing Linnell give instructions is terribly endearing. And he is surprisingly unawkward in his delivery of the instructions as I would expect him to be. Regardless, I would like to move that this be the next audience participation activity they revive for shows.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 491

Today's song is...

Who's That Standing Out The Window

Ok, I feel dumb now. Until just this second reading the wiki page for this song, I thought this Fingertips segment was sung by Linnell. I guess I had just never bothered to look it up and it always sounded like Linnell to me so I just assumed. I hope in this case, what they say about assumptions isn't true.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 490

Today's song is...

Call Connected Through The NSA

This is one of those funny little songs that it is you think about it too closely hits a little uncomfortably close to the truth. Not sure I could ever actually have it as a ringtone. Though I do like that little ding-dong effect after the lyrics that kind of implies "hey, you, are you ever going to answer this phone?"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 489

Today's song is...

Too Cool Girls

This is one of my favorite, if not my very favorite, instrumentals. I love that big swing band sound. The song sounds like it would be enormously fun to swing dance to, if one knew how to swing dance. The horn part is fun and lively and I have a pretty vivid image in my mind of those guys playing the song, that involves lots of swaying and dancing while they play. And both the bass and the drum parts are fantastic and very different from what you hear in most TMBG songs. That is what I so enjoy about the Battle of the Bands songs; that chance to hear the band try out a style outside their normal comfort zone. The musicians are so talented, it's great fun hearing them play outside the confines of rock n' roll.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 488

Today's song is...


Awww, my very first venue song venue. Such fond memories. The Egg isn't just a venue, it's an experience. As you drive into Albany, you turn a corner and there in front of you, a space ship has landed in the middle of the city and been incorporated into the architecture. Or at least that is what it looks like. But don't get distracted and miss the entrance because you'll have to completely exit the city before you get another pass at it. Play your cards right and the bored attendants in the parking garage might mistake you for road crew and give you free parking passes. Your journey into The Egg begins in a spacious lobby, where an early arrival might grant you a glimpse of a whistling John Flansburgh in an orange pea coat carrying far too much gear. You ascend into the body in an elevator, much like I imagine the experience of riding up the launch tower to reach the space shuttle must be like. Except on this launch tower, if you get out at ground level, you might be confronted with Dan Miller talking on his cell phone by the door leading out into a courtyard of contemporary architecture and sculpture. If you venture out past the courtyard you will find that the city of Albany is completely deserted for a mile around on the weekend and a mere slice of pizza involves a strenuous uphill hike. And when you eventually return to continue your ascent into the futuristic orb, if you are really having a good day, the elevator door will mistakenly open a floor too early during your ascent, right onto the green room, where Ralph Carney will wave cheerfully at you as if nothing were amiss, and Danny Weinkauf will stare at you wide eyed with surprise and with a face full of Pad Thai, before the doors close on you once more and allow you to complete your journey. The lobby is a velvet lined, inward curving lounge that would not seem out of place in 1974. And all of this hides a stage with some of the most fantastic acoustics you'll find in the eastern United States.

And I really feel like the song somehow encompasses all of these features. Include the WTF factor that is ever present at The Egg. There is something utterly confusing about this venue which I feel Flansburgh captured flawlessly in the song. It isn't even my favorite venue song, but it has so much sentimental value, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 487

Today's song is...

John Lee Supertaster

I've never been a huge fan of this song. It's just a little too harsh on the musical front for my taste, though I do strongly appreciate Dan's demonstrated ability to shred. It's more the vocal harshness, the yelling tone, I can't get past. The concept of the supertaster is interesting enough I suppose. But it took me the longest time to understand the lyrics past the yelling tone. I will say though, I enjoy it a lot more live than on the recording. Mostly cause it's fun to watch Dan shred, IRL.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 486

Today's song is...

I'm Impressed

The only word I can ever come up with to describe this song is "crunchy" and it doesn't seem like a very musical adjective but that is how I hear it. I really enjoy this track as an opener because it sets the tone for the album and I think it flows beautifully into Take Out The Trash. For the first year or so I was hearing the band live I barely ever heard one song without the other and they are perpetually linked in my mind. This is a track that is much more about the music than the lyrics for me, though the sound and tone of the vocals are key to my enjoyment of the song.

I have to admit though, I find the music video for this song extremely disturbing. For the longest time I had never made it all the way to the end of the video because I got so turned off by the grinder in the arena. I remember being even more disturbed when I finally watched the whole thing, but I had obviously blocked it since I just watched it through again, and was once again surprised and appalled by the gruesomeness of the end. Though I gotta say, it is an oddly appropriate song for today, it being the Ides of March and all. As I find the end of the video very reminiscent of the betrayal of Caesar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 485

Today's song is...

Marty Beller Mask

This first time I heard this song I think I immediately cracked up. It is almost too humorously clever for its own good. The concept of Marty as Whitney Houston is both creepy and hilarious. And, in case you hadn't noticed, the drums on the song are pretty flipping' awesome, which is as it should be.

Through a strange twist of fate, I found myself at both the first and last performances of this song, on opposite ends of the country, in Minneapolis and Atlanta. Though I fully support the band's decision to retire it following Whitney's death, it is a shame to see such a great live piece halted in its prime. And as I stood in the Variety Playhouse on March 11th, with the news of Whitney Houston's death traveling like wildfire across the crowd, I found it both amusing and sad how many fans immediately drew the connection between Whitney and Marty and asked after his well being. But I have to say, I think the best text message I have ever received was the unsolicited one I got from backstage a few minutes later that read: "It's ok. No need to panic. I found Marty. He's OK." A joke, but also... oddly reassuring.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 484

Today's song is...

I Am A Human Head

I only just noticed the remark on the wiki that this was rejected for No! for being too creepy. No kidding! There is something exceptionally creepy about the entire concept of this song. I try not to think too hard about the sequence of events described because it is a little disturbing. But so very, very Linnellian. And that same quote is also correct that Dan Miller does turn in some very nice guitar work. Good job, Dan. The song is still super creepy though.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 483

Today's song is...

Don't Break The Heart

Flans' quote on the wiki is so accurate. This song sounds like it should be a cover of something from the 60s rather than something present day. This is another of my favorite Mono Puff tracks. I really like the sound of the mix. The bass part is really nice and the guitar solo is lovely. And I like the way they mixed the backing vocals with Flans' voice.

Song of the Day - Day 482

This is actually yesterday's song. I got so caught up loading pictures last night I forgot to post it.

Today's song is...

Gunnar and Matthew's Answering Machine Message

I have skipped this track as "not a real song" several times before. I'm exactly sure what made me decide to include in this time around. Perhaps because it is just unique enough a thing to separate itself from countless other DAS announcements. Perhaps because I was just tired of hitting the random button. We may never know.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 481

Today's song is...

Hot Dog!

If I hadn't already used it, I would have posted End Of The Tour for today since it would be highly appropriate, but as a second choice (and a randomly selected one at that), this isn't bad. It is the closing theme from the show after all and has the "So long for now" lyric, but it is much more upbeat and celebratory a song, which is much more the mood I would like to shoot for today.

I am secretly a huge fan of this song. I love the horn arrangement, and come one... the song has a kazoo. How can you not love a song with a kazoo? And I am also a major fan of the fact that Marty randomly gets to sing the bridge, which is just adorable. If I remember correctly, I included this on my list of Top 25 Flansburgh songs and rightfully so. I adore it. It makes me want to dance like a Disney cartoon. Which in all likelihood is what I will be doing at the show tonight :-)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 480

Today's song is...

Rocket Ship

Can I just say how glad I am that the chorus here was removed to be recycled in Spiraling Shape? It fits so much better and it's such a great melody. I enjoy the synthesized melody in the verses, but it seems a bit incongruous with the chorus. And I think the chorus is happier in SS (by which I mean the the melody enjoys being in that song more, not that the chorus has a happier mood). But I really appreciate the fact that both songs exist and are available allowing us to see the evolution of an idea and a melody across songs and lyrics. It's all part of the song writing process and ever so cool to think about.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 479

Today's song is...

Bright Idea

I made a most exciting discovery the other day. Turns out I have an entire folder of MITM incidental music on my computer that I was completely unaware of. Including this track, which sounds strongly like it is performed by a mariachi band. I approve!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 478

Today's song is...

Careful What You Pack

I checked this one about five times before I posted to make sure I hadn't used it already. But apparently I haven't. Knowing from the first time I heard it (which was the live version, rather than the album version) that it was an unused song from Coraline, I have never been able to separate the song from the Coraline story. It is a perfect song for the story. Perfect. The slightly creepy intro sets the perfect tone. I love how the choruses kind of burst out of the song, with the explosive drums and keyboard. And has anyone else ever noticed the phone ringing during the intro? Weird and yet kind of cool.

I've heard this one live a lot lately too. My favorite performance was in Richmond, the first show back with Dan Miller, after he was gone for a week. They were preparing to play the song, and Flans told Dan boastfully that he had learned his part on the song while he was gone. Dan gave him the go ahead to play it in his stead but Flans said no, he didn't want to step on Dan's feet. So they compromised and played the intro together, in beautiful harmony. It was my second favorite moment of the show.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 477

Today's song is...

How Can I Sing Like A Girl?

Admittedly, this was not a song I paid an awful lot of attention to before this most recent tour, when the Johns started performing it regularly. I also have to admit that while the duo performance with just accordion was exciting, sweet and pretty the first few times I heard it, it has gotten old surprisingly fast and I find myself longing for the fuller arrangement on the recording. I miss the wailing guitar solo and the boom boom bass drum and the synth choir. I tell you what though, after this ginormous show break that is fast approaching, I'll be more than ready to hear it in any form again. Oh, and I do love the bit where Flans declares "Rock me, John" and there is a beautiful accordion solo (live, obviously, not on the recording).

Monday, March 5, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 476

Today's song is...

The Mexican Drill

Maybe it's just me, but the lyric sounds more like "Don't try to find us with a Mexican Drill" than the "we're the Mexican Drill" listed on the wiki. But I don't know if those lyrics were ever printed anywhere are how accurate they might or might not be. I enjoy this song as an instrumental. The vocals I find rather creepy. And slightly grating. I don't particularly enjoy the sound of whispering. But the rhythm in the instrumental is great.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 475

Today's song is...


I was not an immediate fan of this song, though it has grown on me over time. But I felt a bit out of the loop when pretty much everyone I knew was over the moon about it when the preview tracks were released and I was just "ehh." It is certainly amusing. The raindrop and the Sleestaks keep things entertaining. The horn arrangement is definitely excellent and I enjoy all the various electronic drum sounds. But in the end I think it was seeing it live that finally sold me. The face that Flans makes when doing the raindrop voice is priceless and that first performance at the Apple Store when Linnell picked up the bass clarinet and Danny approached the keyboard I nearly fell out of my chair I was so excited. I have been continually impressed with how Marty manages to duplicate all the electronic drum sounds and rhythms on an actual drum kit (with a little electronic help). And the jam session at the end of the song between Flans, Dan and Linnell is a sight to see. And I've actually seen this song live more than any other Join Us track (32 times for those keeping count at home).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 474

Today's song is...

Now Is Strange

I always enjoy the songs that allow Dan to wail on his guitar like this. Everything from the drums right on up through the vocals is big and loud on this song and yet the lyrics still have a distinctly Linnellian flare to them. To be perfectly honest, I like this song better than at least a couple of the ones that ended up on The Spine. But that's what EPs are for, right?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 473

Today's song is...

Climbing The Walls

Up until about one minute ago, I was under the impression that I had heard all of The Else live except for Feign Amnesia which has never been played. But I just realized that I have somehow, all this time, never realized that I never heard Climbing The Walls either. What a depressing realization. (Ok, not depressing in the grand scheme of things but I do think it's sad.) This is now shooting onto my bucket list.

I quite enjoy the lyrics of this song. When I get really out of sorts, especially when I am headed to work in one of those moods, one of the lines my head tends to repeat is "It got so bad, I quit my job/ now I got a new job climbing the walls." And the following lyric is one of my all time favorites: "The deep end/ the deep end/ people talk a lot but they don't know/ they pretend/ they pretend/ they don't really know how deep it goes."

Musically, the song also has several of the elements that I really love about The Else in general. Really grungy sounding guitars and fuzz-tastic bass. Clear piano chords, horns and solid drums. And a very full arrangement with all those elements and then some layered together. And it does that thing where the last guitar/bass notes fade out at the end which I enjoy. And makes such a nice contrast with the quiet beginning of Careful What Your Pack which follows.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 472

Today's song is...


I don't remember what I listed as my actual top 5 favorite Venue Songs when I did that post and am too lazy to go back and look it up now, but off the cuff I would say this is my second favorite, behind only Los Angeles. I really love it musically, with the bass intro and those little bursts of guitar and drums and that nifty synthesizer bit. And the lyrics are really entertaining. The girl sounds cool. I mean, what girl with a monocle doesn't sound cool? Like the girl described in the first verse of Damn Good Times, I can see some of myself in this character which probably explains some of my affinity for the song. That and the fact that it's just a good song.