The Return of Dial-A-Song
January 6, 2015 12:48 PM   Subscribe

They Might Be Giants have just kicked off an effort to produce a song every week in 2015, and they're releasing the tunes via a revived Dial-A-Song line (MLYT).

You can reach the line by calling 844-387-6962, but you can also check out the songs on YouTube. And even though we're only one week in, there are already two bonus songs:

Got Getting Up So Down

I Wasn't Listening

Erase
posted by Ipsifendus (40 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
Speaking of creating songs, I really enjoyed this piece about making excuses.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:58 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


vibrates excitedly
posted by JHarris at 1:00 PM on January 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


They released this as a trial for it. Authenticity Trip. It gets stuck in my head very easily.
posted by JHarris at 1:02 PM on January 6, 2015


Free when you call from work!
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:07 PM on January 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Ah, I got interrupted halfway through "Erase" this morning. Thanks for the reminder to listen. It's a pretty great track.

Don't forget that you can support the band by subscribing to Dial-a-Song Direct.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:10 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mike Pesca did a podcast on this news just the other day: http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/gist/2014/12/they_might_be_giants_bring_dial_a_song_back_to_the_gist.html
As a Long Island teenager in the 1980s, Mike Pesca called an answering machine every week to hear a new They Might Be Giants song. Every Monday in 2015, he’ll premiere a new TMBG song before it gets released on the band’s revived Dial-a-Song line. Members John Flansburgh and John Linnell talk with Mike about the project, their career, and their plans for the new year.
He's pretty excited about it.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:11 PM on January 6, 2015


2015 is already better than 2014.
posted by Etrigan at 1:15 PM on January 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, I don't know. You must be thinking of some other band.
posted by jragon at 1:17 PM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


A song a week? Try an album a week, since mid-2013.
posted by effbot at 1:20 PM on January 6, 2015


EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
posted by corb at 1:37 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


For those not familiar with it, the original Dial-A-Song was an answering machine in New York in the 80s that played cassettes of TMBG demos to people that called up. As a teenager I once called it from my parents phone in the UK and recorded the result by holding the telephone earpiece to my cassette recorder. The song I recorded was called 'Half a Boy'. It was pretty good.

The answering machine they used in the 80s would actually accept messages. One of TMBG's B sides (Untitled) is a recording of a very confused lady who called the number circa 1987.
posted by memebake at 1:39 PM on January 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


387-6962 NARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Well I can't explain it, because I don't know what it is. Look in the paper, don't blame me if the guy's a nut.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:52 PM on January 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


Jens Lekman is also recording a song a week in 2015 and the first one is really good.
posted by saul wright at 2:11 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


They sound like all kinds of people, right?
posted by delicious-luncheon at 2:37 PM on January 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Steven Hyden wrote a good article about TMBG in general and this in particular.
posted by sauril at 2:52 PM on January 6, 2015


But how do they make money?
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:01 PM on January 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Intellectuals meet with other intellectuals. Speak another language.
posted by hwyengr at 3:26 PM on January 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


But that...it doesn't sound like no answering machine, right?
posted by anazgnos at 4:37 PM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


But how do they make money?
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:01 PM on January 6


VOLUME!!
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 5:24 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I took off the intellectuals. I put on There May Be Giants.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:42 PM on January 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Proposed IRL Meetup: La Mait... La Maisonette restaurant. I'll give you the price. Then I'll give you another number to call if you're interested.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:48 PM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


They have a $30 subscription thingy.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:04 PM on January 6, 2015


I'm sure I commented this here before, but one summer one time at a coffee shop by where I lived in Prospect Heights I was pretty sure that the two guys ahead of me in line may have been They Might Be Giants. But I just played it cool, so I will never be sure.
posted by snofoam at 6:07 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Srsly, got getting up so down is my favorite song today.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:08 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love Erase.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:02 PM on January 6, 2015


I sure do miss the random chaos of calling the old tape answering machine. I remember Flansburgh explaining once that the machine had a very peculiar functionality problem whereby they had to artificially generate the "end-of-recording" beep/tone to get the machine to hang up and disconnect the caller; on occasion, it just wouldn't work, and the tape would continue playing past the tone, revealing strange improvisational madness that went on for ages. I was never clear as to whether that was deliberate, or whether I was being accidentally let in on additional random demos that happened to exist on the same cassette. Towards the end of its life, the machine would often just freeze or choke up in mid-song, and I'd have to call back two or three times to hear the whole thing. I went off the trail with TMBG around the same time ('93? '94?), and never really recovered my fandom, but Dial-A-Song was a faithful companion in my early adolescence, and my poor mom had the exorbitant long-distance bills to prove it. So many family arguments traced back to the 718 area code...

Now I'm going to have to dig up all my old Dial-A-Song recordings and have a nostalgia-fest.
posted by mykescipark at 8:34 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Was Dial-a-Song just a TMBG thing? Growing up in Malaysia circa 1995-1996 my neighbors discovered a set of numbers that when rung played a pop song . There were about five numbers in total - one was MJ's Earth Song, another was Shaggy's Bombastic, I don't remember the rest. I still don't know what the deal is w the numbers.
posted by divabat at 8:43 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Learning about Dial-A-Song inspired my junior high self to build my first red box. Now I have overly fond memories about visiting that secluded bank of payphones on the bottom floor of the library after school.
posted by Avelwood at 11:20 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I remember Flansburgh explaining once that the machine had a very peculiar functionality problem whereby they had to artificially generate the "end-of-recording" beep/tone to get the machine to hang up and disconnect the caller...

They also had to make sure their songs didn't have any sustained notes that would accidentally trigger the end-of-recording before the song was over, which could be a particular challenge when Linnell broke out the accordion.

Then there was the time Flansburgh had Dial-A-Song T-shirts printed, and accidentally had them printed with his home phone number instead of DAS...
posted by Sunburnt at 11:22 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was listening to NO! with my two-month old baby last night, realizing that I can listen to TMBG again with the kids! Yay!
posted by alasdair at 2:55 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I seem to remember calling the original Dial-a-Song line and hearing the premiere of Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul. Am I imagining this?
posted by jonp72 at 10:23 AM on January 7, 2015


I seem to remember calling the original Dial-a-Song line and hearing the premiere of Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul. Am I imagining this?

I mean, you could be imagining it? But it did premiere on Dial-A-Song (as did most of their "singles"; if you have Miscellaneous T or the compilation "Then: The Earlier Years" you can hear some Dial-A-Song demo versions of songs from their first two albums), with a really cool version which has a different bridge and a couple extra verses. Sadly, the wiki doesn't tell me what year this would have been actually found on Dial-A-Song, and this is literally before my time (i.e., my birth). But if you remember the line "I'd like to cover the earth with a fresh-baked yummy dessert" then you heard the demo on Dial-A-Song.
posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 11:40 AM on January 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Aha, bootlegged here.
posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 11:41 AM on January 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I was listening to NO! with my two-month old baby last night, realizing that I can listen to TMBG again with the kids! Yay!

From some advertising they were doing in the last couple months for their subscription scheme, "Instant Fan Club," they're planning on new 2 albums in the next 12 months, including a kids' album, plus a CD compilation of the year's DAS stuff.

Unfortunately it's too late to subscribe to the IFC at this stage and get those things sent to you, possibly signed, so you'll have to purchase/obtain them in a more traditional fashion, such as taping them off the radio.

Henceforth I am honor-bound to deny all knowledge of any Instant Fan Club related to TMBG and refer you to jragon's comment above.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:08 PM on January 7, 2015


Man, I am loving "Erase".

LOVING.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:17 PM on January 7, 2015


divabat: any chance it was just people who put whole songs on as their answering machine messages? Feels like something we would have done as teens in the US.
posted by gusandrews at 9:39 PM on January 7, 2015


I only called Dial-A-Song once, and they played me a song which I've never heard again in my life. But I've never been able to get it out of my head!

It was musically strange, even for TMBG, and seemed to be happening in several time signatures at once. (I don't remember the lyrics all that well -- awesome analog phone sound quality -- but the word "Cinderella" appeared at the beginning of each verse.) Those guys were so talented, they could throw away earworms.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:26 PM on January 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Harvey Kilobit, could it have been Mrs. Cinderella? (TMBWiki) (Youtube)
posted by Sunburnt at 8:31 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


EEEEK! This is the very song I heard once and remembered forever. I don't know what it implies that it doesn't seem quite as strange now as it did then. I still can't figure out where the beat is, but it reminds me of a lot of jazz songs in that way. Thanks, Sunburnt!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:09 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Aw, the Dial-a-Song recording of "Self Called Nowhere" is on Youtube. I never thought I'd hear it again. That is just great. Great great great.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:21 PM on January 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


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