1 Nov 98



They Might be Giants: CD review, feature...

"Severe Tire Damage"

(Cooking Vinyl Cook CD 156)


cd cover

A collection of live tracks and new material from one of the most outrageously original bands around. This collection of gems includes their excellent new single 'Dr Worm' (the fact that this song is about a drum-playing worm, who is not a real doctor but is a real worm speaks volumes about this band) . Classic tracks like 'Birdhouse in your soul' and 'Istanbul (not Constantinople)' make you want to frenziedly dance in the streets like a demented dervish whilst 'Particle Man' and the wonderfully literal 'Why does the Sun Shine?' makes you wonder at the insane genius behind them. This music truly defies classification: rush out and buy anything you can lay your hands on by these guys!

P.S. Contains 7 hidden tracks , all about 'The Planet of the Apes'!!

- Siggsworthy Craggs

The lyrics on the 'Why does the Sun Shine' track cynically ignore the role of beryllium in the fusion process whereby helium is formed from hydrogen!

Anyway, this odd rock album needs several listens to be appreciated: I'm not sure yet whether I like the damned thing or not...

- Slutto


John Linnell and John Flansburgh met in Lincoln-Sudbury High School (Lincoln, MA) in the mid-1970's, the unofficial fan site at http://www.tmbg.org tells us.

Flansburgh had heard about Linnell's famed comic books and his love of avant-garde music such as Frank Zappa. Before long, the two were collaborating on minor experimental tape projects.

The Johns began recording shortly after moving to New York City in 1982. While at first the Johns recorded independently, they eventually played on each other's demos regularly.

They Might Be Giants' first official release was a one-sided 7-incher in 1985, with drum programming by Chris Butler. The tracks were "Everything Right is Wrong" and "You'll Miss Me", both of which resurfaced in drastically re-arranged versions on THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS and LINCOLN respectively. It was a limited edition - 1000 copies were released.

Their 23-song demo tape followed later that year, featuring demos of many songs from their debut album.


They Might Be Giants are an unconventional rock band hailing from Brooklyn, New York, says Michael Girone’s TMBG page at http://www-usacs.rutgers.edu/~mgirone/tmbgintro.html

Since the mid-80s, THEY (headed by John Flansburgh and John Linnell) have successfully gathered an ever growing following of devoted fans. With their Beatles-inspired wordplay and harmony mixed with their own brand of jump-up-and-down beats, TMBG is, hands down, one of the greatest rock bands around. Some of their most popular songs include (from 1990's Flood) ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ and ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul.’

Michael Girone continues: You hit play and sit back as the CD player cues up. Then, the music begins. ‘Is that an accordion?’ you ask yourself. ‘Is this an Italian folk song?’ But, the instrument is being squeezed in an abrupt, jerky motion: in-in-in, out, in-in, out, in-in, out, in, out. If this went on forever you could go mad. As the sequence begins again, a drummer pounds a complimentary beat in the background. But, what kind of song is this? As if in reply, a guitar begins to drive in unison with the accordion. You’ve never heard anything like this, but it somehow feels familiar. A drummer, a guitarist, an accordionist. Could this be rock ‘n roll? Then a vocalist steps to the microphone and begins to sing a visual exploration of the unperceivable . . . the ‘sumbliminal.’

Beyond this song, there’s many more journeys into imagination. Through vivid descriptions, you’re propelled into alien, yet remarkably tangible, worlds. You find yourself beside a plotting insane man in prison, a hapless dreamer in love, a self-important spy, and an impatient fast driver.

At first, you undoubtedly think these songs sound ridiculous and strange. But as you get to know them they begin to make sense. You start to relate to the misunderstood jailbird and the ‘Nyquil driver’-hating speedster. With ingenious lyrics and a unique twist of rock ‘n roll, it all comes together.

And, then, perhaps after experiencing this band a few more times, you finally get it. You begin to appreciate They Might Be Giants.


Okay, here are some other T.M.B.G. websites:

The Official They Might Be Giants Home Page is at http://www.tmbg.com

They Might Be Giants Unofficially http://www.tmbg.org

The TMBG newsgroup is at news:alt.music.tmbg

The Official MonoPuff Page with plenty of info on Flansy's ‘awesome side project’ is at http://www.monopuff.org