They Might Be Giants
Long Tall Weekend
They Might Be Giants are easily one of the most creative bands around. Don’t believe me? Give a listen to Long Tall Weekend , an album’s worth of odds and ends available exclusively in what the mainstream media likes to refer to as “the controversial MP3 format.” Now realize that this is entirely made up of either tracks that didn’t make it onto their last few studio albums or that they’re considering for their next CD! For most bands. that would mean a record full of “throwaway” material, but not TMBG! Long Tall Weekend shines, with an intriguing set of tunes that stand toe-to-toe with anything on their more traditional releases.
My favorite track is probably “She Thinks She’s Edith Head,” which takes the atmosphere of a Nancy Sinatra-type ’60s pop tune and twists it to its own demented purposes, with some great shouty vocals from John Flansburgh. Similarly, “Rat Patrol” could almost make it on late-’70s/early-’80s album rock radio, but underneath all those bombastic guitars, you can hear that undefinable, special something the Giants bring to all their material. “Dark and Metric” is another favorite, with a jazzy bass riff from associate Giant Graham Maby and appropriately surreal vocals from John Linnell. Meanwhile, “The Edison Museum” sounds like alternate music for Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride (fitting, since it’s about “the tallest, greatest, and most famous haunted mansion in New Jersey,” according to the lyrics). Other new gems include the bluegrass stomp of “Counterfeit Faker,” the strange a cappella ballad “On Earth My Nina,” the jumpy instrumental “Drinking,” and a sincere cover of Leslie Gore’s “Maybe I Know.”
As a long-time TMBG fanatic (in every sense of the word), it’s also nice to hear official releases of songs I’ve been enjoying on TMBG’s famous Dial-A-Song service (now also online at www.dial-a-song.com!) or via (ahem!) bootlegs, and to note the evolution of those songs. “Older” (available as a QuickTime video at www.tmbg.com) hasn’t changed — it’s still an infernally catchy song whose hook will creep into your head at the oddest times, but “Reprehensible” has mutated into a late-’40s big band number worthy of Glenn Miller. “They Got Lost” appears in a vastly slower take than the live version on Severe Tire Damage , making for a completely different feeling altogether, while the legendary “Token Back To Brooklyn” ( Factory Showroom ‘s hidden track) finally appears in a more accessible fashion.
All in all, Long Tall Weekend is worth the download time, even if you’re using an archaic 14.4 modem. You may want to go out and buy new speakers for your computer so you can appreciate the depth of these fantastic tracks. They Might Be Giants put their competition to shame once again!
Good Noise, , , ; http://www.goodnoise.com/