February 29, 2008

"The Secret Life of Six" leaps onto Family Podcast

It's a leap day, but that doesn't mean They Might Be Giants are going to skip this week's Family Podcast. Proving that improvisation can beat written dialogue any day, the puppet Johns start the podcast scriptless and it shows to be hilarious anyway. "The Secret Life of Six" is this week's video from the Here Come the 123s set. Its stop-motion animation and cuddly characters were created by Hine Mizushima, who also created the video for The Else's "With the Dark."

Instead of a second video from Here Come the ABCs, the Johns themselves sing "Fibber Island" from their first kids' album, No! Then, closing the podcast, Flansburgh and Linnell sing goodbye to the tune of the venue song "Glasgow," aka "T-H-E-G-A-R-A-G-E." The podcasts aren't getting played out by any means yet, so let's hope the fun continues for a good while longer.

February 28, 2008

Many interviews for many shows

I've got a slew of interviews for you today, but first I'll start by mentioning that a new TMBG newsletter was sent out recently. Starting with a very persuasive argument to get tickets to their upcoming shows, the e-mail reiterates many of the points relayed by their various blogs.

Starting with past shows, Linnell and Flansburgh were interviewed by MSG, NY prior to their show at the Beacon Theatre earlier this month. (Footage of the concert has appeared on YouTube.) It's a good video interview that gives some background on the band's origins and Flans says what he really thinks of the fans.

Playing in Bloomington, IN tonight, TMBG speaks to The Bloomington Scene in a timely interview wherein they tell the site why they like playing in college towns. The site also has a nice interview with They Might Be Giants opening act Oppenheimer.

Moving on to Saturday, They Might Be Giants will be playing in Omaha, NE at Slowdown in a sold out show. The Omaha World-Herald asks Flansburgh some questions and he notes that they'll be "working on the next album momentarily."

A They Might Be Giants concert is the end cap of the True/False film fest closing on Sunday and in the spirit of the fest, the Columbia Daily Tribune's Arts & Entertainment blog asks John and John some true/false questions. In addition, Vox gets Flans to tell them why it's good to have a large pool of songs to choose from and gets some good trivia out of him in six sidebar questions.

Furthermore, True/False sponsor BXR, a radio station local to the film fest, will apparently be joined by TMBG before the concert on Sunday between 3:30 and 4:30pm. If you don't get the station locally, you can listen live online.

February 27, 2008

2/23/08 Borders clips on YouTube

They Might Be Giants are starting up their spring tour today, but over the weekend they played a free children's show at Borders. The ten song set included several songs from the new album Here Come the 123s and multiple audience members have posted video of the show onto YouTube. There are two videos of John, John, and Marty setting up and practicing "Apartment Four" and "Flying V" during the soundcheck and user JasonDTube has the entire, 40 minute show recorded in five parts.

Soundcheck: (1 | 2)

Clips from the show:
Entire show: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

February 26, 2008

Magazine mentions and book reading

The TMBG MySpace blog has updated with a posting telling us They Might Be Giants are on the cover of the latest issue of Electronic Musician. Inside the mag is an interview with the group about the making of The Else and the requisite discussion of electronic music-making. (You may remember that a bonus article has already appeared online.) The post also notes that Here Come the 123s was given an 'A' by Entertainment Weekly.

The theymightbegiants.com blog also points this out in addition to showing that Here Come the 123s and Here Come the ABCs are both in Amazon's top five children's albums, with 123s at number one.

Lastly for today, see what book John Flansburgh has been reading in a recent article on the NY Daily News.

February 22, 2008

"Pirate Girls Nine" loots Family Podcast

The latest Friday Night Family Podcast has seen the light of day. This week, "Pirate Girls Nine" is the video of choice from Here Come the 123s. A fun song that showcases the many voices of John Flansburgh, "Pirate Girls Nine" is similar to "With the Dark" in that respect. The Johns even dress in pirate garb for the occasion with patches on their eyes and hooks on their hands. The second song is "Z Y X" from their first DVD set, Here Come the ABCs. At the end of the podcast, the Pirate Johns get rowdy, as pirates are wont to do, and end up barking the goodbye song like dogs as the segment devolves into madness.

They Might Be Giants fans get a nod in an article on Vindy.com today. Talking to John Linnell about the upcoming Cleveland, OH concert that kicks off the spring tour, Linnell remarks on the benefits of fans compiling setlists, saying:
"That’s one great thing about having insane, obsessive, compulsive fans, we always do different stuff whenever we come back to a place."

Via Newsarama, you may remember that TMBG collaborator Tony Millionaire created an animated pilot of his strip Maakies, trying to get it made into a television show. Well, as Fantagraphics Books (Millionaire's publisher) points out, it seems that this is going to happen. Remember that TMBG play the theme song for the show, so everyone will get to hear them on TV even more often.

February 21, 2008

Newsletter prepares for shows

A new TMBG newsletter has been sent out in preparation of their upcoming tour. If you live in the NYC area, make sure to head on over to Borders on Saturday for a free in-store show with the Johns and Marty playing songs from Here Come the 123s. After the set, they'll be signing anything you've got. If you know anyone with young kids, invite them too; it's free!

Then, on Wednesday, They Might Be Giants will start their "Standing in the Dark" spring rock tour, as the newsletter puts it. There are a couple of upcoming interviews taking place in various cities along the tour, so stay online to check them out. You should also stay subscribed to their Family Podcast as its pirate episode is coming tomorrow.

February 20, 2008

Spring tour starting next week

They Might Be Giants have put out a new MySpace message recently, noting that they begin their spring tour in earnest next week. While they'll likely be promoting The Else throughout the tour, they'll no doubt be playing some songs from Here Come the 123s as well. This will be the first time we hear any of these songs live, so if you get a chance to see them in concert, you may hear a debut.

The TMBG LiveJournal community has settled on their favorite They Might Be Giants album with a rough battle between Flood and Lincoln. Lincoln ended up victorious and took the prize. JJRRutgers keeps the debates going though, with a new tournament to find their favorite They Might Be Giants opening act. With 50 different acts to choose from, this selection covers a wide range of TMBG history. Go vote and help your favorite act win!

February 15, 2008

"Number Two" pairs with "E Eats Everything"

The They Might Be Giants Friday Night Family Podcast has updated its feed with a new episode. This week it's "Number Two," as foretold by the latest newsletter. Starring Robin Goldwasser's puppets, the video illustrates the bond of friendship. And the song, written (and possibly sung?) by Danny Weinkauf, is one of my newest favorites from Here Come the 123s.

The Johns continue to one up themselves, giving hilarious performances as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. John Linnell's speech as Washington is so hampered by his wooden teeth it's unintelligible. The second video, from Here Come the ABCs, is "E Eats Everything." As the puppets sing goodbye we can only wait another week to see what is in store for us on the next video podcast.

In the TMBG LJ community, the second tournament is coming to a close. The finals in the "favorite album" tournament is down to Lincoln and Flood. Go vote and help your favorite album win!

February 14, 2008

New newsletter, article, and videos

A new TMBG newsletter has been sent out to those subscribed to their Free MP3 Club. The e-mail informs us that the song for tomorrow's Family Podcast will be Here Come the 123s' "Number Two" followed by "E Eats Everything" from Here Come the ABCs.

An interview with They Might Be Giants will be appearing in next month's issue of Electronic Musician, but a bonus article has already appeared on their website. The article lists ten pieces of gear that TMBG use when they play. Among the items are a tape recorder--so Flans doesn't forget good ideas for songs--and a Stylophone, which they mention came with a record of Rolf "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" Harris praising the instrument. (You can listen to what is likely the same record in a two-part video on YouTube.)

Lastly, a couple of concert videos were uploaded to YouTube recently. Three 30-second clips of "James K. Polk" in Philadelphia, PA from 2005 (parts 1, 2, 3) and a performance of "Violin" at Leeds, UK from 2004. The uploader of that last video, astralbee, also has some amazing videos of TMBG from the early 90s including Flans on dual trumpets and the Johns on MTV Europe.

February 13, 2008

New and upcoming interviews

An excellent interview with John Flansburgh is up on kids' music blog Zooglobble. All about Here Come the 123s, the site asks how the video creators were found, the influence of Sesame Street, and what music Flans listened to when he was a kid, among other questions. One of the more interesting parts of the interview has Flans inform us of some of the restrictions they'd faced in getting their Disney projects out and how they worked around them.

The fine folks at Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child have informed us that they will be interviewing They Might Be Giants at the upcoming Portsmouth, NH show on March 29. They interviewed TMBG last year as well and you can still hear that interview and see photos from it on their website.

February 12, 2008

Presidential podcast coming Friday

Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday and Friday next week will be George Washington's. But neither take place on Presidents' Day. The holiday is next Monday and celebrates the birthdays of these two presidents. They Might Be Giants are getting in on the celebrating in character, as pointed out by their blog, on family podcast number two after the release of Here Come the 123s.

An article on TMBG by Billboard has been reprinted by Reuters online. The article tells of their success in children's music and gives some info on how they got started in the kids market. Linnell mentions that it took a while to get No! released (as told in a recent interview), eventually putting it out under their own imprint, Idlewild.

Finally, the TMBG website and MySpace blog make note of a special Student ID Appreciation Show taking place in Atlanta, GA on March 15. Bring your student ID and get five dollars off of the normal ticket price! Note that this is for the later, 6:30 show and not the earlier 3 o'clock show for kids and families.

February 8, 2008

Interviews, shows, and video games

A nice interview with the recently popular John Linnell has appeared on Babble, a parenting website. The interview covers "babies, bad shows and Brooklyn" and has some really interesting and funny quotes from John. Here, he give us an idea of how long their first kid's album was in progress:
"He [his son, Henry] heard No! before it came out, and by the time it came out he was intimately familiar with it — which is funny. We actually recorded it before he was born, but it took that long for the record to be released."

A while back TMBG announced they would be appearing in an expansion pack for The Sims video game, re-recording "Take Out the Trash" in the gibberish language of the characters. A little more information has been released on the game, which is titled The Sims 2: FreeTime and to be released February 26, and a full track listing has appeared for it's soundtrack. They Might Be Giants also mentioned that they'd recorded a new version of "The Sims 2 Theme," originally composed by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, with their regular horn section of Dan, Stan, and Kurt. You can hear the original version online and get an idea of how it will sound.

A new newsletter has been sent out and Flans reveals he's currently in France. The mailing also reminds of some radio shows, such as their appearance on WXPN's "World Café," which is now archived on the show's website. There, you can listen to the half hour with They Might Be Giants as they are interviewed and play several songs live. The newsletter also, along with a MySpace blog posting, gives notice to their fans in Omaha, NE of a free screening of Gigantic at The Waiting Room Lounge.

Finally, via leolapyre on the TMBG LJ group, They Might Be Giants will be performing their first of many in-stores at Borders on February 23, promoting Here Come the 123s.

Family Podcast continues with "Figure Eight"

They Might Be Giants' Family Podcast returns, even after Here Come the 123s has been released, to entertain us on this Friday; and entertain it does. As theymightbegiants.com pointed out yesterday, John Linnell plays the part of The Hippie Man and John Flansburgh sings his best as The Queen of England in an episode for Valentine's Day.

The featured music video this week is "Figure Eight," animated by the Brothers Chaps from Homestar Runner. They also animated the video for "Experimental Film" from The Spine which apparently made it onto MTV2 at the time. The video is fun and colorful and depicts it's concepts well, showing the number eight in many forms and in many places. Of course, the song is great too with some interesting ways to think about how to describe the shape of an eight.

The second music video is "L M N O" from Here Come the ABCs. After the two videos, the puppet Johns change it up and sing a different song to end the podcast. But the usual goodbye song can be heard briefly as the episode comes to a close.

February 6, 2008

Miller demoing, fans voting

Just some fun links for today. A bunch of videos have shown up on YouTube of Dan Miller demoing a bunch of Electro-Harmonix guitar effects boxes. With nearly 20 videos, you could spend a bit of time watching these clips and check out Miller's guitar stylings. There are also several audio demos on the Electro-Harmonix site to be found if you look around some of the various product pages.

The TMBG LiveJournal community is at it again with another tournament. The last one, to find their favorite They Might Be Giants song, finished off with "Birdhouse in Your Soul" defeating "Don't Let's Start" in the finals. This time around, it's an album tournament. Voting has already begun, so make your voice heard.

February 5, 2008

Newsletter notifies of World Café performance

The expected newsletter announcing the most recent podcast has been sent out. In it we get another update from the Flansblog 9000, giving his thoughts on the recent, sold-out show at the Beacon, Podcast32A, and that Marty Beller will be sitting out the first leg of the tour to spend time with his newborn son, Noah.

In addition to the usual reminders, the newsletter gives a heads up on an appearance by They Might Be Giants on WXPN's "World Café" on Saturday, February 8 from 2pm until 4pm. That's two hours of TMBG goodness that you can listen to live from their website. If you miss the show, it will be rebroadcast and archived on the site. TMBG has had a concert there before and if you can't wait a couple of days to hear them, you can still listen to the archive of that show on the NPR website and check out pictures from the show on flickr.

New podcast released alongside Here Come the 123s

Hooray! Let's celebrate the release of Here Come the 123s with the announcement of two new shows on April 20 at 1 o'clock and 4 o'clock at The Town Hall in New York.

Here Come the 123s is They Might Be Giants' second (and in my opinion, much more solid) children's CD/DVD set and you can own it today! No CD- or DVD-only versions this time around; any way you buy the physical media, you get both. You can purchase it online directly from the band through the They Might Be Giants Merch Store, order the Amazon version with bonus tracks, or even download it on iTunes and listen right away.

Hot off the presses is the amazing Podcast 32A with over twenty minutes of live tracks, new songs, and very old demos. The songs include "Birdhouse in Your Soul," "Hell Hotel," "Now That I Have Everything," and other fantastic tunes that you may or may not have ever heard before. Subscribe to their web or iTunes feed to hear the podcasts before anyone else, and check out This Might Be a Wiki for more info on this episode.

Stay tuned in to the Family Podcast as well, because I hear that Friday's episode will show its hippie love for Valentine's Day. The music video? Well, it's a lion!

February 4, 2008

Interview and 123s goodies

It's the day before the release of Here Come the 123s so I've got a few links for that. But first, an interview linked from the TMBG MySpace blog over the weekend. Stay Thirsty Media talked with John Linnell on a range of topics including the how they got started recording children's music, having artistic freedom, and their perceived educational nature.

The Disney artist page for They Might Be Giants has several wallpapers and AIM icons from Here Come the 123s as well as from Here Come the ABCs. It includes images of characters from "The Secret Life of Six" and "Zeroes," which the red owl on the cover is from, among others. You can also watch the video for "Zeroes" and a shortened version of the "One Everything" video if you are still looking for more from the DVD before it comes out.

In the Biography section, a press release is reprinted from TMBG's marketing people. The piece has three parts: the standard press release section, an interview with Flansburgh and Linnell in which they discuss Sesame Street and Dr. Suess, and a list of all of the songs on 123s with the Johns giving a short sentence or two about the song or video for it. It's an interesting read and I like this quote in particular about the creators beind the music videos:
"'They're not amateur,' Flansburgh says, 'but they represent an exploding creativity somewhere beyond routine movie studios or video production companies. These are people, I believe, who twenty years ago would have been making low-budget rock videos.'"

That seems like just the kind of thing They Might Be Giants would support, and the quality of the videos shows that this is a fine group of people they're working with. This is that last extra nudge to pick up the album tomorrow or order it online.

2/2/08 Beacon clips on YouTube

They Might Be Giants played their first show of the new year over the weekend at the Beacon Theatre. Starting out 2008 with a bang, they played two sets, one of which included a horn section. This show featured the live premiere of "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal," also performed with horns.

Clips from the show:

February 1, 2008

"One Dozen Monkeys" climbs onto Family Podcast

The They Might Be Giants Friday Night Family Podcast has received a new video from the upcoming Here Come the 123s. This week we are treated to the video for "One Dozen Monkeys." The video looks great and the song, sung by Hannah Levine, sounds swell as well. Hannah also sings "Zeroes" which is currently featured on TMBG's MySpace player.

The puppet Johns just can't be stopped, as shown in the intro to the video. Right from the top, John and John rap and beatbox in excitement. We learn that Linnell's favorite animal is the groundhog--according to his cue card--and Flansburgh's is fittingly the monkey. After the main video we get to see "Flying V" from the Here Come the ABCs DVD. At the end of the podcast John and John sing their goodbye song as always. This time they throw some beatboxing into the mix.

Could Here Come the 123s break into the Billboard Top 10? This is the question kids music blog Zooglobble posits. Apparently, albums in the charts have been seeing smaller numbers the past few weeks and TMBG's Here Come the ABCs sold like hotcakes when it debuted. Look over their other chart placings and tune in next week to find out.