Don't Let's Stop
October 20, 2014 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Why is the world in love again?
Why are we marching hand in hand?
Why are the ocean levels rising up?
It's a brand new record
for nineteen-ninety,
They Might Be Giants' brand new album:
FLOOD (43m)
Or, if you'd rather meet James Ensor, there's John Henry (57m)! For something Fingertippy, there's Apollo 18 (43m)! More recent: Nanobots (45m) - Join Us (47m) - The Else (38m) (Official links from the band's YouTube channel! Oh, and they also have a podcast.)

Over on Metafilter Music, some ambitious Person Men are are working on covering every song on Flood. Done so far: cortex covers Istanbul Not Constantinople - uncleozzy covers Minimum Wage - the_bone covers Letterbox

Here's more! Most of these are official, but a handful aren't: 1985 Demo Tape - Fingertips, from Apollo 18. (Previously: Fingertips with Star Wars clips!)

Here's a hodge-podge of additional songs, this is by no means everything by the band on YouTube though....
Don't Let's Start - Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head - Number Three - Ana Ng - Pencil Rain - Mister Me - Cowtown - The Statue Got Me High - Doctor Worm - Purple Toupee - Tippecanoe and Tyler Too - Electric Car - Tesla

TMBG covers Tubthumping - NPR Tiny Desk Concert - What's in John Flansburg's Bag at Amoeba Records? - And the band at their silliest: Turtle Songs of North America

For kids:
Tiny Toons' video of Particle Man - Number 2 and E Eats Everything - ZYX - Can You Find Them? - LMNO - Alphabet of Nations (Expanded)

Oh no! There are so many awesome songs I think they freaked out the Heavy....
posted by JHarris (48 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 


Also timely, considering TMBG recently announced the return of Dial-a-Song.
posted by dortmunder at 3:16 PM on October 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Don't neglect the amazing State Songs (spotify playlist) (1999) by John Linnell, which is better than all but a handful of TMBG albums. "I'm not gonna say they're great, I ain't gonna say they ain't."
posted by escabeche at 3:19 PM on October 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


To leave a more substantial comment:

The video for Ana Ng changed my life as a kid. I saw that one afternoon on MTV around 1989 and stopped dead in my tracks. Who were these two nerdy guys with short hair and what were they doing? They sounded like no other band at the time. As soon as I was able, I tracked down a copy of Lincoln (at a Wal-Mart no less) and it was one of my most cherished possessions for years and years. I consider everything TMBG did from their first album through Apollo 18 to be an unbroken string of genius, where they didn't make a bad song. John Henry was good, not great, and a lot of what came afterward was disappointing. They still come out with a gem every so often, though, and I will always love them.
posted by dortmunder at 3:38 PM on October 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


Oh man. Let me take this opportunity to second the State Songs recommendation. It is such a beautifully lyrical, gloriously demented album. It's been 15 years since I first heard it - oh dear god, I think I pinched it from Napster! - but I remember its lyrics to this day.

The designers of the Arkansas
Were inspired to choose a form that was
The exact dimensions and the shape
Of the state whose name she bore


Thank-you, MetaFilter, for the fifteen-year reminder. I will go now to iTunes, buy this album, and issue a quiet apology, and a thanks.
posted by bicyclefish at 3:41 PM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


TMBG is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

I saw them a zillion years ago at Toad's Place in New Haven, ti was just the two of them and their backing tape and their fezzes. Years later I took my 13-year-old daughter to a TMBG show for her first concert, and when her little brother was 13 I took him. What a wonderful band, and a great post.
posted by LarryC at 3:44 PM on October 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


At around age 14, I found TMBG. Before that, I thought I was just the kind of person who didn't like music.
posted by GrumpyDan at 4:17 PM on October 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Lincoln is one of those records that I've never stopped listening to. It's a perfect thing.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:28 PM on October 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


I might have been in line with them at a coffee shop in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, but it might have just been two other guys. I guess I'll never know.
posted by snofoam at 4:38 PM on October 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


They might be They Might Be Giants is my favorite possible celebrity sighting.
posted by snofoam at 4:41 PM on October 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


<3
posted by saulgoodman at 4:49 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


An error: the podcast link actually seems to be a generic band news feed. That link should probably be removed, or ideally fixed, but I had trouble finding a good link.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 PM on October 20, 2014


Rediscovering them via the kids music has been just a delight in about seven different ways. Not only just the music and awesome lyrics as always, but too thinking of them as dads, writing this for their kids, and sharing it with my kid, using these as keys to further learning and understanding about the world... and fun... just STILL awesome goodness for ... well, us. Got to see them a few years ago too (an actual date night, had to). They were great and I still wear my TMBG hoodie most happily.
posted by emmet at 5:48 PM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I got to interview TMBG once for my university newspaper, and after laying out in great detail my earnest theory that Fingertips was in fact the artistic and brilliant chronicling of a human's life (what's the first human contact that brings you into this world? Fingertips. What closes your eyes when you die? Fingertips. What must the harsh light of the operating room feel like after the darkness of the womb? Why, everything catching on fire. What's the last thing that happens when the soul departs? You walk. Along darkened corridors.)

John and John congratulated me on the attempt, then told me I was wrong. They seemed weary. It took me a few more years to understand how weary they must have been, and why.
posted by Shepherd at 5:50 PM on October 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


Oh, and how could we have missed the seriously delightful weirdness of TMBG having written the new Mickey Mouse show theme song?
posted by emmet at 5:53 PM on October 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


A year and a half ago, when I was trying to put together a blogsite about cartoons called Tooned.in (previously on MetaFilter Projects, currently mostly in broken format), TMBG had just released "Icky" with a cartoony video, and I made a lengthy post that linked to every animated music video the band had done (including songs on cartoon shows - except for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme that emmet linked - too recent). I spent a little while rebuilding that post right now, so I hope you enjoy "THEY MIGHT BE HUMAN CARTOONS"
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:59 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don't forget the Hot Dog Dance!
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:14 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Trousellbarf!
posted by erniepan at 6:57 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


For those who prefer a more academic approach to Flood.
posted by vverse23 at 7:22 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, a few years ago I did short stories based on all the Fingertips. I'm... not sure if that's something that SHOULD have been done, but it is something that has been done.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 7:22 PM on October 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hadn't TMBG done the theme song for Carmen Sandeigo as well? Anyway, one of my favorite covers is Craig Ferguson and company, especially the guy my husband calls "the little monkey"...
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:22 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Podcast 6A begins with a song that has become one of my major "waking up in the mornings" anthems, We Live In A Dump.

I cannot express how much I love this song. Also, Richards on Richards hits me in a way I can't quite articulate.

I am not the biggest on purely breezy whimsical pop these days, but when I need an upliftin' happy fix, they are my go-to band, and their catalogue is an extensive anthology of brilliant ideas. Ugh also Museum of Idiots. Everything they do is so good
posted by rorgy at 7:41 PM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, you guys keep reminding me of things I would have added to the post if I had thought of them. I made it on kind of a whim -- I saw on Facebook that all of John Henry was on YouTube, and I thought huh, how long has that been up, then I noticed it had an absurdly low view count, and ah, it was posted just today! And so was Flood! Hey wow! I had to tell someone. From there, it kind of snowballed.
posted by JHarris at 7:57 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hadn't TMBG done the theme song for Carmen Sandeigo as well?

The theme to Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? was by Rockapella, who also performed live within the episodes. The only connection to the franchise I'm aware of is that TMBG's cover of "Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)" was included on a tie-in album for the show.
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:05 PM on October 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


The gameshow version of Carmen Sandiego remains the best iteration of that property, I think.

Here's the original demo version of the Hot Dog song.
posted by JHarris at 8:13 PM on October 20, 2014


Insect Hospital has some more Fingertips-like groove going on.
posted by JHarris at 8:23 PM on October 20, 2014


Oh my bad about Carmen Sandiego, but in my defense, I loved Rockapella too :) They covered that great jamboree song about zombies dancing back to back belly to belly and not giving a damn cuz they're stone dead already. Anyway.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:35 PM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


They got the craziest things in that paper!

(For those who don't have one of the B-sides collections--this is a message someone accidentally left on the Dial-A-Song machine.)
posted by equalpants at 8:38 PM on October 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


TMBG songs stretch reality in just the right way to make my brain fit in the world a whole lot better.
posted by buzzv at 8:38 PM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Years ago, my husband saw TMBG in Ithaca (between the two of us, we've seen them at least a dozen times, and they were our daughter's first show). The older woman next to him proudly mentioned that her son was in the band. "Oh? Who's your son?" "John," the woman answered with a smile. This story never fails to crack me up.
posted by Ruki at 8:52 PM on October 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


They might be They Might Be Giants is my favorite possible celebrity sighting.

Well, you really need to know what you're looking for. I mean, they might be They Might Be Giants, or they might be rain. They might be heat. They might be frying up a stalk of wheat.
posted by maryr at 9:00 PM on October 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Don't forget their many collaborations with the Brothers Chaps, especially my favorite, Experimental Film.

(Why in the hell is Homestarrunner.com blocked at work?)
posted by themanwho at 10:24 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lincoln is one of those records that I've never stopped listening to. It's a perfect thing.

Yeah one thing I learned from the Flood MeFiMusic challenge is that one person's generational touchstone is another person's disappointing followup to Lincoln.
posted by fleacircus at 11:19 PM on October 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


When I saw TMBG, it was just the Johns. And an enormous metronome perched atop a Roman column. I'm not sure if it was one of the best shows I've seen, but it was definitely one of the most memorable.
posted by readyfreddy at 2:06 AM on October 21, 2014


S/T album > all albums ever
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:30 AM on October 21, 2014


Don't Let's Start/Puppethead/Everything Right/The Day/ Following An Angel ... They are literally better than Bob Dylan.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:31 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


They Might Be Giants - Lincoln was one of the first cassettes I owned, along with... let's see, Bon Jovi, Poison, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. I still can't remember what possessed me to buy it. On a cul de sac where everyone else was listening to New Kids On The Block, I remember wondering, how did I end up with the weirdest music ever? Decades later, it's still such a solid listen.
posted by slidell at 2:32 AM on October 21, 2014


Ah, the other notable TMBG moment in my life was about five years later, in high school. I'd somehow stumbled on Miscellaneous T and listened to it on play-repeat all night while finishing a paper. (...Rock-and-rollin' [rock-and-rollin'] till the break of dawn.)
posted by slidell at 2:49 AM on October 21, 2014


That Dial-A-Song thing really was ahead of its (Internet) time. Kind of like Bill Murray firing his agent for a 1-800 number.
posted by C.A.S. at 3:17 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to pull out the link to Turtle Songs of North America, which is one of my favorite pieces of band ephemera, because there's so little actually musical about it. I first heard it in the podcast. It's just silly fun. Also, Linnell gets the tone of the narrator down so perfectly.
posted by JHarris at 6:37 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


They Might Be Giants covers "Chumbawamba" on A.V. Club's Undercover.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:56 AM on October 21, 2014


The "Spin the Dial" feature of many live shows is also great as well. They bring up a radio and randomly run through the local stations, trying to find a song. Once they find one, they play it for a few moments, the band joins in and plays along, and the radio is turned down and they create a new song on the spot.

Spin the Country Dial

Best of Spin the Dial
posted by chambers at 11:42 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Minimum Wage" kept me sane at too many shitty jobs. (Yes, I know it's not on Flood.)
posted by entropicamericana at 2:16 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


“Minimum Wage” is on Flood!
posted by mbrubeck at 3:48 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Heeyah!
posted by Skwirl at 3:56 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


*hums for like another 40 seconds*
posted by maryr at 4:41 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Weird, I thought it was on Miscellaneous T for some reason. IThis is no way because I only had a dub of these two albums on a C90 back in 1991, because that would be wrong.)
posted by entropicamericana at 7:13 PM on October 21, 2014


S/T album > all albums ever

This collection fits that bill better. Best of both/all worlds
posted by eyeballkid at 1:13 AM on October 23, 2014


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