Monday, April 30, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 532

Today's song is...

North to Alaska

This was an odd one for me, because it was a song I was already familiar with before I ever got into TMBG, because the folk singer I followed for many years had covered it on one of his albums. It was an odd collision of worlds when I heard Linnell's rendition. And actually a little unsettling because I was so used to the other version that Linnell's version just sounded odd. But I've gotten used to it over time and actually kind of like it now.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 531

Today's song is...

I've Got A Fang

This song seriously gives me the creeps. The concept of a guy with a single fang just totally wigs me out. There is something about teeth in general that I find very unsettling so I guess this just plays right into that. It always makes me think a little of the comic strip cat Bucky in the Get Fuzzy strip, because of the protruding fang. But mostly I avoid listening to it (unless I am listening to the album because I don't believe in skipping tracks) because it makes me uncomfortable.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 530

Today's song is...


This was one of the DD ads that I had seen before I knew it was TMBG, and was totally shocked to find out about later. It is so bizarre to find that sort of connection to something I had seen so many times in an unrelated context. I always appreciated the fact that the kid in the ad played the oboe, because really, what kid decides to take up the oboe any more?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 529

Today's song is...

Dimension Six Rock

I feel like I have said this before, but the music from People Are Wrong always reminds me of Hair! and this is one of the tracks in which I most closely see the resemblance. Though I can also see some similarities to Rent in this track. And while I am repeating myself, I will express once again how sorry I am that I never got to see this musical.

Song of the Day - Day 528

Thursday's song was...

Hello Radio

A very nice little instrumental, though I always find myself slightly creeped out by the brief spoken part. I think it is the vocal effect that is applied that gives it that unsettling sound. But the tone on the keyboard part is cool and makes a nice pairing with the electronic effects.

Song of the Day - Day 527

Apologies for the total lack of SOTD posts this week. I have been away from my computer and thus didn't have access to the file I keep of what songs I have already used. And at 527 songs I no longer have the ability to guarantee to myself that I haven't used something the randomizer generates, without consulting that list. So I'm playing catch up for the next couple of posts.

Wednesday's song was...

Ten Mississippi

Not a very interesting song to listen to just as a song, but much more enjoyable when you add puppets. This is one of the Here Comes videos that I feel like would be perfectly suited to Sesame Street. Incidentally, has anyone ever bothered to time the song to see if Robin is singing in the correct one second intervals?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 526

Today's song is...

Mona Lisa

Goodness, this song is odd. But I really like that guitar (?? or is that some other stringed instrument) melody at the end. It has sort of a Spanish guitar flare that I appreciate. The vocals just kind of creep me out though.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 525

Today's song is...

Free Ride

This barely counts as a usable SOTD song by my standards. It has several factors working against it. First, it is a cover. Second it is a cover that has never been formally recorded. Third, in almost all cases it is played as an instrumental as intro and outdo music and only a fraction of the song is played. The whole reason I decided to include it at all has to do with quantity. The vast number of times I have seen this performed as intro music, far more so than any other piece of that nature, has earned it a spot as the SOTD. I wish I had a recording of that performance where there was an issue getting the puppets ready and the boys just had to keep playing and playing Free Ride, until Flans finally joked that they were going to have to perform the entire song. That would have been a good one to share today. Instead you can all just imagine it in your heads and sing "free riiiiiiide" at the right moment.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 524

Today's song is...

What Is Everyone Staring At?

While I strongly prefer this melody as it eventually found its home in Sleepwalkers, I also find this song interesting. The lyrics have the traditional downer feel of TMBG, and yet there is something not so TMBG about them too. I don't think the song would ever be a favorite as is, because it is a little too musically repetitive but I would have been interested to see what it became if it made it off DAS and into the world.

Song of the Day - Day 523

In the excitement of the show yesterday I forgot to post this. So yesterday's song was...

Diving Board

I find the subject of the song fascinating. The idea of the varied perspectives of the diving board and the pool as they view each other is just cool (in my opinion anyway). Totally Linnellian and a podcast fav of mine. I'm not as excited by the song musically but lyrically it is right up my alley.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 522

Today's song is...

Clean Bean

I can't decide if I think Camp Campingston would be the best place to go to camp or the creepiest. The concept of having the Johns as camp counselors is fantastic but I can't really get behind the concept of being dunked in a tub and scrubbed with brushes by my counselor. But it is a cartoon after all.

Song of the Day - Day 521

Today's song is...

Lie Still, Little Bottle

Yet another example of songs that made no impression on me in the recorded version, and made all sorts of impression live. Of course it helped that the first time I saw it live was the first and only time I saw it performed with The Stick, which is an experience one never forgets. I've seen it numbers times since, using several different gimmicks but none of them were as effective as The Stick.

For me the song is all about the rhythm. The lyrics are kind of irrelevant. It's the impact of just a sax (or some form of clarinet, which is almost always how I have seen it) and the rhythm. And going back to the recorded version, after seeing it live, I have more appreciation for that super sparse arrangement and how well it works for the song.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 520

Today's song is...

Outboard Part Of Man

This song sounds like a tongue twister. You can almost hear Flans tripping over words at the end of the verses. It is also one of those incredible oddities that you would never get from other bands. Not just that they wouldn't make it, because there are probably other bands who would, but that they wouldn't release it. I'm sure I've said it before but one of the (many) things I love about these guys is that they aren't shy about making anything and everything they produce available to fans, no matter how weird it is. The important thing is that THEY thought it sounded cool, not that we like it.

Song of the Day - Day 519

Today's song is...


Short, slightly techno feeling, and yet, I've always liked this one. I like the opening melody and there is something about the way it ends with just Flansburgh's falsetto climbing up the notes that is very arresting. There is also a very deep undertone in the song. Not sure if it's drums or bass or just an electronic noise, but it's easy to miss and yet adds a nice layer to the song.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 518

Today's song is...

Prisoners of Graphic Design

The line "crush that font" always makes me giggle. I am apparently amused by stupid little things. I think I would be fond of The Chopping Block just for their excellent taste in music, even if they didn't also make some really cool shirts. I have no idea why they didn't pick this one for their theme song though. I think it's great.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 517

Today's song is...

Countdown Intro

Sometimes I wish they still started the shows with entertaining intros like this. This is some funny stuff, though perhaps more suited to the slightly more performance art vibe of the band's earlier shows. But how awesome would it be to have the show start with say, the Avatars reciting a countdown like this on the big screen? Seems like a good idea to me.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 516

Today's song is...


Ok, this one creeps me out a little bit. Especially with the music at the beginning. And the voice sounds almost demonic. *shudder*

Friday, April 13, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 515

Today's song is...

Snail Shell

Yet another one that I went "Really? I haven't done this one yet?!" I don't spend a lot of thought on this song, but I really enjoy the music. This is a particularly good bass song and there are bits of all the other instrumental lines I love as well. There is a vibe present in a lot of the songs on John Henry that I can't quite pin point but I really enjoy, and it is definitely present here. I can't say the video for this song is one of my favorites but it has some entertainment value. This is also a fun song to hear live because Linnell usually makes some pretty entertaining faces while singing and I always enjoy watching Danny plow into that bass part in the bridge. Not one I hear often, but it did enjoy a good little run on the most recent tour.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 514

Today's song is...


I have never heard this one. It doesn't seem to be among my collection of DAS Jingles, and thus I have no idea if it should really count as a real song. But I am sure I have used lesser qualified things in the past, so here you go.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 513

Today's song is...

Tropical Lazor Beams

My personal favorite of the puppet jams. It's just silly. Isn't much more to my enjoyment than that. It is just really silly and I like it. That is all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 512

Today's song is...

Rabid Child

Most of the early Flansburgh songs are not among my favorites and this one is no exception. I've never been able to pinpoint exactly what it is about them that I can't get excited about. They just aren't as interesting to me as the early Linnell tracks or even later Flansburgh songs. I find I enjoy the music present in this song, but I find the tone of Flansburgh's vocal grating. Also, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Rabid Child was a girl.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 511

Today's song is...

Can You Find It?

Not gonna lie, this is among my favorite kids songs. In addition to having great music, I just love the concept. The idea of finding letter shapes in other shapes is a great exercise for kids (and adults for that matter). And it has always tickled me that "aforementioned" is used in a kids song, as if most children would have any clue what that word means. Way to go, Linnell. Make those kids think!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 510

Today's song is...

I Am A Robot

This cracks me up to no end. "Would you like to recite the alphabet with me?" That little girl sounds so skeptical. I find round two even more entertaining. I'm glad this one didn't make the CD because I think it would lose its humor for me if I heard it that often. But for how infrequently I actually watch the DVD I can still get a good chuckle out of this.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 509

Today's song is...

West Virginia

Why, hello favorite State Song! I am pretty convinced my love of this song stems from the first time I saw Linnell perform it. He just got so into it. It was captivating. That sounds corny but it's true. When he sang the last "sugar maple" line he tilted and popped his head in that totally Linnell way and I swear there were audible squeals and women swooning in the crowd. Not to mention the fact it is just a great song with intriguing lyrics and a very trippy sounding synthesizer effect. I'm not sure this is actually my favorite State Song musically (that honor may go to South Carolina) or even vocally (Montana wins that one), but for sentimental value this one can't be beat.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 508

Today's song is...

They Got Lost

Wow, two days in a row of songs I prefer in their live version! This one is a little different since what I prefer is the faster version that has often been played live and that isn't played all the time. I really enjoy the song because I find it really amusing but the recorded version is just TOO SLOW. The pace when it is sped up and made a little more rocking is so much more enjoyable. I've always appreciated how they were able to adapt this song over the years by substituting the names of the current band members into the lyrics. I think the song has, at one point or another, been played with practically every backing band member the band has had (Tony and JD being the exceptions I guess). And yet, it is one of the songs I have never seen live. Time to bring it back, boys!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 507

Today's song is...

Alphabet of Nations

I was genuinely shocked to realize I hadn't done this song yet. This is one of the few songs in the catalog where the live version is so vastly better than the recorded version, that I almost never listen to the version on the album. I feel like the album version isn't even the whole song. The lack of the bridge makes it end abruptly and it just sounds unfinished. And it just isn't the same without Linnell dragging out that long note on "Guatamalaaaaaaaaaaaa." Honestly, I think the bridge is my favorite part of the song. I will never get tired of watching Linnell spit out names of countries and wave his arms around in spastic motions. This is actually, probably among my favorite songs to watch live. Because it is visually entertaining as well as musically. Having both Johns freed from their instruments opens them up to so much silly behavior on stage. Also, I love the piano part on this song. It's just such a nice melody, punctuated by those strong chords.  I love watching Dan pound it out on the keyboard. I have occasionally winced watching Linnell attempt to fumble through it. I have so many good memories associated with this. Including the time I decided to take the "Name the countries in Alphabet of Nations" quiz on Sporkle and went in thinking I was going to rock it, until I figured out I needed to be able to spell Azerbaijan correctly in order to pass (and yes, I did just have to look it up.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 506

Today's song is...

Number Two

I have mixed feelings about this song. One the one hand, it's very sweet. I enjoy the music and particularly the lyrics. And the video is absolutely adorable. But I just don't care for the character voice it's performed in. I love Danny's normal singing voice and I think I would appreciate this song a lot more if it were present here. What I do appreciate though is the laugh at the very end. It's pure Danny, and I always enjoy hearing a little element of a performer's true self coming through in a song.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 505

Today's song is...

Letter Shapes

Pleasant little instrumental. I enjoy when Linnell includes bits of manipulated vocals in his songs, partly because it just amuses me and partly because it sounds interesting. Looking at the credits for this one on the wiki reminds me how terribly naive I was when I was making credit pages for the Here Comes albums. I don't even know if this was one of the ones I did, but I am pretty sure there are no guitars in this song and I'm betting that bass is a synth. Time for an update!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 504

Today's song is...

Operators are Standing By

For the longest time I did not know what a mobius strip was and I was so confused every time I listened to this song. Now I am not so confused and I just feel bad for the poor bored operators. Somehow I always picture the song being set around the 1960s with poofy hairdos and old rotary phones. I'm not exactly sure why. And I always assume the actress they are watching on TV is Uhura in Star Trek. Funny how the mind invents images of songs.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Song of the Day - Day 503

Today's song is...

She Thinks She's Edith Head

I have never liked this song. I don't know quite what it is about it, but it has always rubbed me the wrong way. For a long time I listed this as my least favorite TMBG song, but over time I have come to realize that isn't true. For one, I have found other songs I like less. And for another, I have gained a certain level of appreciation for this one thanks to a heart felt defense of it by one of my close friends. For the first time I really set aside my dislike and just listened to it, comparing both versions and discovering there were some likable aspects to the song. And it was also through this deeper listening that I finally paid attention to the spoken parts at the end, and for the first time realized that Dan Miller can be heard shouting "One more. One more. Go!" in the background. It survived in both versions of the song but is all the more amusing in the LTW version where he interrupts Flans. For that alone, there is a very small part of me that will always have a soft spot for the song. Or at least for the end of it anyway ;-)