Posts tagged “They Might Be Giants”

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: Push Back the Hands

Yes, it’s They Might Be Giants again! This is a delightful, pixellated, time-travel romp that includes a cameo from one of The Mesopotamians!

Categories: Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: Dog

Categories: Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

“Of the Month” February 2018

Show of the Month:

Jean-Claude Van Johnson

Good lord, I was unprepared for how frikkin’ hilarious this show would be. The general premise is that Jean-Claude Van Damme is not only an actor, but is also a secret agent codenamed “Johnson” (hence the series’ name). The fact that the show frequently flies off the rails into surrealism and supernatural absurdity while still maintaining its veneer of “realistic and gritty” just adds to the hilarity. JCVD has comedic timing that is absolutely flawless. Who knew? Case in point: in the first episode he plays a secondary role as a minor, bumbling henchman (Filip) who resembles JCVD. Later in the series Filip returns, and is conscripted by the villains to impersonate JCVD. JCVD captures Filip and impersonates him in order to infiltrate the villain lair. So to watch JCVD act as “Johnson” doing an impression of a character that he plays is just an absolute delight. The frequent and blatant shout-outs to various JCVD movies are wonderful and bizarre. And then the climax of the final episode hinges on something from the first episode that I assumed was an hilarious throw-away joke. The whole series is brilliant. Part of me wishes it went on forever, and part of me is glad that there won’t be another season, because these six episodes form a wonderful whole that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Video Game of the Month:

Celeste

On the surface Celeste is one of those twitchy platformers in the vein of Super Meat Boy, where you die over and over again until you’re able to utilize the physics of the game to make just the exact right moves at the exact right timing to clear a room and progress. But in its heart Celeste is a very different beast. Rather than reveling in its cruelty and delighting in how frenetic and difficult its levels are, this game does two very important things. For one, it is very encouraging. On-screen messages when you startup praise you for dying so many times, because failure is the best way to learn. Also, its music is (usually) gentle and melodic, almost like music out of Breath of the Wild instead of screeching, heart-pounding music meant to drive up the tension. And two, Celeste slowly builds a wonderful story with compelling and funny characters. This results in an experience that seems more contemplative, almost meditative at times. While you die a couple dozen times in the span of a minute. I am encouraged to continue not only for the satisfaction of solving a physical puzzle, but also so that I am rewarded by getting to experience more of the gorgeous graphics and music and learn more of the story of Madeleine and her journey up a mountain and into her own psyche. This game is getting rave reviews, and I agree.

Album of the Month:

They Might Be Giants: I Like Fun

The 20th Studio album from TMBG! The first half of the album plays it kinda safe, with songs that are mostly in the TMBG-style of power-pop goodness. This is fine, because even at their worst, TMBG songs are better than about 90% of music out there. And these are far from TMBG’s worst songs. But once the 7th track hits (the title track, “I Like Fun”), TMBG busts out of their own weird comfort zone and back into their bizarre, experimental, and out-there offerings that are, again, better than about 90% of music out there. Here’s their latest video, for “The Greatest,” a minimalist almost-dirge sung in Flansburgh’s almost-falsetto. Also, it stars Nick Offerman!!!!

The album ends on a song (“Last Wave”) that has horrifying, depressing lyrics:

We die alone
We die afraid
We live in terror
We’re naked and alone
And the grave is the loneliest place

We die alone
We die afraid
We live in terror
We’re naked and alone
And the grave is the loneliest place

We die alone
We die afraid
Afraid to die
We’re naked and alone
Naked and alone

We die alone
We die afraid
We live in terror
We’re naked and alone
Naked and alone

…until you learn more about it and realize that it started as a bad lip-sync reading of Aerosmyth/Run DMC’s “Walk this Way” music video:

Now it seems more hilarious than ever, a massive in-joke for TMBG’s fans. I Like Fun isn’t their best album, but it is still great to have.

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: McCafferty’s Bib

Hey, did y’all know that They Might Be Giants has a brand-new studio album out? Well, it’s true! It’s called I Like Fun.

Here listen to this song from the album. It’s about McCafferty’s Bib. “What is McCafferty’s Bib?” you ask? Well, listen to this song, and you still will have absolutely no idea:

Ah, TMBG. Always reliable for absurd surrealism.

Categories: Music, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: Shape Shifters & Mind Readers

Freaky People, comin' to your neighborhood… Freaky People, never up to any good…

Freaky People, comin’ to your neighborhood… Freaky People, never up to any good…

I have two songs for your listening pleasure today. They’re thematically linked! First up is “Shape Shifter” by They Might Be Giants:

“Shape Shifter” is from They Might Be Giants’s most-recent full studio album from 2016, Phone Power:

Such a powerful phone.

Such a powerful phone.

“Shape Shifter” goes thematically well with another great song, “Mind Readers” by Electric NoNo:

“Mind Readers” is from Electric NoNo’s most-recent full studio album from 2014, The Zoo at Night. That’s way back when they were still calling themselves The Jesus Rehab!

There you have it. Two songs about weirdo freaks in your everyday life. Enjoy!

Categories: Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Friday, 1 May 2015

“Of the Month” May 2015

TV Show of the Month:
daredevil
Daredevil

Hot-damn, this is how you do Daredevil. This show is dark. Dark. Horrible things happen to good people. Routinely. The heroes are mostly powerless, and lose more than they win (for the most part). The villain is a complex, developed character. Lies, betrayals, good ol’ Catholic guilt, and bloody, bloody beatings. All the performances are just spot-on, especially Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin. He’s like a gigantic tea kettle that is constantly in danger of boiling over, but at the same time is genuinely shy and uncomfortable around other people, and especially in public. Even though at times it is a grueling experience, it is an amazing show.

Album of the Month:

They Might Be Giants: Glean

They Might Be Giants have a new non-children’s album! And it’s very strong. The worst songs on this album drop only to the level of “average TMBG songs,” which still put them light-years ahead of most any other songs in existence. And the best songs are absolutely stellar. My favorite is “End of the Rope,” which has a very cool, almost-spy vibe to it and a wonderful lyric cadence. Also fantastic are “Madam, I Challenge You to A Duel” and “Hate the Villanelle” (which is actually a 100% correct villanelle, a very strict poetic form). But really all 15 songs are good stuff.

Documentary of the Month:
atarigameoverxbox
Atari: Game Over

A fascinating urban legend among nerdy circles is the tragic tale of the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game for the Atari 2600. A huge bomb, it was critically and commercially panned, and Atari was stuck with warehouses full of unsold cartridges. Legend says they were unceremoniously buried in a landfill in New Mexico. The whole tale is symbolic of the home video game crash of the early 1980s, which wouldn’t be rescued until the NES hit the scene. This documentary is part historical—tracing the rise-and-fall of Atari and the 2600’s place in nerd history, as well as the personal history of the programmer who actually created the E.T. video game—and part mystery. Did this landfill event actually happen? Can it be found? There is a surprising amount of build-up and suspense!

Categories: Of the Month.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

“Of the Month” June 2014

I know, I know, it’s already the 10th of the month and I’m just NOW doing my “Of the Month” choices. Well, y’know, I’ve been busy with a baby. And Mario Kart. And seeing movies. Y’know. Anyhoo, here we go:

Album of the Month:
Dark Comedy by Open Mike Eagle Dark Comedy by Open Mike Eagle
This is another one of the reasons why my “Of the Month” choices are so late this month: I was waiting for this album to drop. This is a frikkin’ incredible album, a tour-de-force of Mike’s intellect and wit, with some of the best production and beats behind him of any of his albums. Nerd references abound, and the comedy forms like a doorway of accessibility that leads you down a rabbit hole to some legit darkness in the state of the world. I think maybe I’ll have to write a full article about this album (you know, in all of my spare time) to do it justice. Pretty durned spectacular.

Here’s one of my favorite tracks, featuring comedian Hannibal Buress:

Video Game of the Month:
Mario Kart 8 Mario Kart 8
It’s another Mario Kart. You do know that the Mario Kart series of games is my all-time favorite series of games, just barely beating out classic Mega Man and the Legend of Zelda games, right? Well, this one is no different. It’s got some added items and features, like the whole anti-gravity feature (that reminded me a bit of F-Zero X), and there are some interesting changes like the fact that you can’t “chamber” an item by holding it behind you and then pick up another item. Nope, you can only ever hold one item at a time (unless the item itself is multiple, like triple-shells). Also the coin system from the very first Mario Kart makes a fascinating return! But really the star of this Mario Kart is the gorgeous HD visuals. If you ever get the chance to watch someone else play (or watch a video of gameplay), just look at all the stuff going on in the backgrounds and on the periphery of the action. It’s just stunning.

And speaking of gameplay videos, this Mario Kart lets you upload highlight reels to YouTube. Uh-oh, you’re all in trouble now. Here’s me as Baby Rosalina kicking some ass:

Music Video of the Month:
Tesla by They Might be Giants Tesla by They Might be Giants
A rather gentle and unassuming song from TMBG about Tesla and his many contributions to the world has been taken by designer Paul Sahre (a frequent collaborator TMBG’s) and made not into just one video, but NINE videos. Sahre made 8 remixes of the song, then created a video for each of them plus the original song. They’re all strung together into over 20 minutes of glorious, hypnotic, funny, grainy, black-and-white goodness. Don’t believe me? Silly fools! Just watch for yourself:

Categories: Of the Month.