Tag Archives: They Might Be Giants

Halt and Catch Fire Reaction, “So It Goes,” “Signal to Noise,” and “Miscellaneous”: Live Through This

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

Halt and Catch Fire is an interesting way to take the temperature of our current television climate. It is a very, very good show, with all of the hallmarks of a prestige cable drama, and yet it’s nobody’s favorite. Still, we’ve been covering Halt and Catch Fire since the first season, and Marisa has always found something about it that spoke to her personally, so she decided (a little late) to write about the individual episodes as it heads into its final stretch, starting with a quick catch-up of the season so far.

So, how did we get here? The conventional wisdom is that the show got better once it stopped being a Mad Men ripoff and found its own footing. That opinion says more about the watcher than the show itself. To me, it never really bore more than a surface-level resemblance to Mad Men. Sure, it was a period drama in a business setting, and maybe Joe got a slice of the backstory pie that was out of proportion to how much his character warrants. (Joe is the way he is because of…daddy issues? Snooze.) But Joe was never really a Don Draper, because Don Draper is widely recognized as a remarkable talent in the advertising world at the start of Mad Men, and Joe can rarely catch a break. He’s not an anti-hero in the he can’t accomplish anything major, good or bad.

Neither can the rest of them, even though all of the ingredients are there for them to achieve greatness. Together, they have the vision (Joe), programming talent (Cameron), engineering and hardware know-how (Gordon), and business sense/capital (Donna) to really launch a successful tech company—and they often have the right, world-changing idea at the right time. The show keeps bringing them to the precipice of runaway success. And yet, while they’ve managed in three seasons to amass some individual accomplishments, their volatile interpersonal dynamic keeps them from getting to that next level, because they need to work together to get there. And they can’t. But they know that, if they were able to somehow work on a project together and pull it off, the benefits would be immeasurable. But, again, they can’t. But they’re still drawn to each other, until they blow each other up again, retreat to their separate corners, and start the cycle anew. That push/pull dynamic, which has been there since the first season, is the whole reason for Halt and Catch Fire’s existence, and separates it from Mad Men, where Don was affected by the other characters, but not entirely dependent on them.

Continue reading Halt and Catch Fire Reaction, “So It Goes,” “Signal to Noise,” and “Miscellaneous”: Live Through This

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (JUNE EDITION)

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

They Might Be Giants is playing a show on the last Sunday of every month of 2015 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and Jesse have been going to these shows and reporting on each one. Here is the sixth installment of our TMBG musical biography, which was a kids show. We usually don’t go to the kids’ shows, but the fact that Marisa is pregnant a) means that they’re trying to pack in every live concert they can before the baby makes them cut back on these kinds of outings, and b) makes them look like they’re less likely to be kidnappers.

Kid shows are a whole different jam. They’re more chaotic than punk shows, with an audience that truly does not give a fuck about how attendees are supposed to behave at a concert. If they’re bored, they will let you know about it. Here, the babies react to the TMBG set.

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 6/26/15

  Continue reading THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (JUNE EDITION)

They Might Be Giants: Biography and Bibliography in Brooklyn (May Edition)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

They Might Be Giants is playing a show on the last Sunday of (almost) every month of 2015 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and I have been attending them, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the fifth installment of our TMBG musical biography, arriving more than a little late.

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 5/31/15

1. Climbing the Walls
This was a show spotlighting TMBG’s 2007 album The Else, an interesting conceit because their album-spotlight shows tend to revolve around the first three releases: the Pink Album, Lincoln, and Flood. There have been occasional Apollo 18 and Factory Showroom shows in the last decade, but none that I’ve been to, and anyway, that still doesn’t include any of their post-90s albums. In a recent SPIN piece I’ve already read several times (and no one is more surprised than I am to read that clause), Linnell mentions that he really likes The Else and how that record “in particular made [him] very concerned and worried subsequently about trying to match the quality of that recording,” especially interesting to me because it seemed like, at the time, the sparer and weirder Join Us was talked up as a corrective to the heavier, more rock-and-roll vibe of The Else, and a lot of TMBG fans (who do sometimes fetishize the band’s weirdness, experimental work, and/or lack of guitar solos) seemed to agree. So I’m pleased that the band was interested enough in revisiting a relatively recent album to plan a show around it. A song like “Climbing the Walls” probably won’t make many best-of-TMBG lists but, like a lot of these songs, it is a perfect example of what it sounds like to listen to They Might Be Giants.
Continue reading They Might Be Giants: Biography and Bibliography in Brooklyn (May Edition)

They Might Be Giants: Bibliography and Biography in Brooklyn (April Edition)

Jeremy

Jeremy

Jeremy's headshot looks better than the rest of ours because he is the type of talent that warrants a professional headshot. You can see and/or hear him do improv on the regular in New York City, and on some of the commercials that play in your web browser, but only the good ones.
Jeremy

They Might Be Giants is playing a show on the last Sunday of every month of 2015 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the four installment of our TMBG musical biography, arriving just before the May show, where the band will play all or most songs from their 2007 The Else. For the April show, which spotlighted the band’s new record Glean, comedian, actor, writer, and SportsAlcohol.com contributor Jeremy Bent of Brooklyn takes up the TMBG-notation pen.

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 4/26/15

1. Can’t Keep Johnny Down
Great kick-off. “Can’t Keep Johnny Down” feels like it’s part of the “Modern TMBG Era” Canon. I’ve heard it frequently at shows over the last few years, and I’m never sad to hear it. It’s got that classic TMBG DNA of irresistible melody and weird lyrical content.
Continue reading They Might Be Giants: Bibliography and Biography in Brooklyn (April Edition)

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (March Edition)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

They Might Be Giants is playing a show on the last Sunday of every month of 2015 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the third installment of our TMBG musical biography, arriving just after the next show. We’ve been busy.

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 3/29/15

1. Dead
This show is a They Might Be Giants Flood show. I do not, even as a TMBG obsessive, disdain Flood, their most popular album. I find, in fact, that a lot of TMBG obsessives seem to love Flood just as not as, if not more than, their less popular albums. I can’t front; it was the first TMBG album I heard. I bought a used copy on cassette at a record store that is so far away from still existing, I could not even tell you. It was called Probe and a fair amount of their stock at the time was cassettes — used cassettes and also some bootlegs. I went to Probe because I was going to London with my family and I wanted to buy a new (used) tape for my Walkman to listen to on the flight. The vague idea was to get something British, but Flood was there and I’d heard about TMBG from Tiny Toons and, I think, my friend Jeff, so I got that instead. I still remember listening to Flood in several different airports on that trip. “Dead” is on the first side which, I recall from back in 1996, is generally better than the second side, but more in the sense that it has more of the immediately catchy stuff. It was still early enough in my TMBG fanhood that I very much looked forward to hearing “Particle Man” on every go-round of the tape. But I didn’t use fast-forward to go through the other songs. – JH
Continue reading THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (March Edition)

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (FEBRUARY EDITION)

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

They Might Be Giants is going to play a show on the last Sunday of every month at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Jesse and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the second installment of our TMBG musical biography.

[Marisa’s Note: Jesse was away for the February show. He left it up to me to cover it. That’s why you didn’t get a report until the eve of the March show. I am the worst.]

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 2/22/15

The theme of this show was They Might Be Giants, the self-titled “pink album,” so there are lots of oldies here. My date for the evening was the always-up-for-a-TMBG-show Rayme. (The Instagram photos of the show are hers,) Off we go.

Continue reading THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (FEBRUARY EDITION)

They Might Be Giants: Bibliography and Biography in Brooklyn (January Edition)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

I have been going to see They Might Be Giants in concert for almost twenty years. 2014 was the first year since I started seeing them (in 1996) that I did not catch their live show, mostly because they did just a handful of one-off shows. Through 2014, I had seen They Might Be Giants forty-six times. That number is about to shoot further up, as the band is putting out a wealth of new material this year, mounting a full tour, and also keeping a standing engagement to play a show on the last Sunday of every month at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far (though I’ll have to miss the February edition), and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the first installment of our TMBG musical biography.
Continue reading They Might Be Giants: Bibliography and Biography in Brooklyn (January Edition)

Observations at a Neutral Milk Hotel show

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

I had the pleasure of seeing Neutral Milk Hotel perform at Brewery Ommegang this weekend. I actually don’t have much to say about NMH’s actual performance besides that it was great. If you were ever on the fence about seeing them live because they are a reunion act now, my recommendation would be to go. They played every song that you would want them to with a verve of a much younger act. I had one criticism though: it was kind of messed up that George R.R. Martin was playing with them. I know Mr. Martin has been very defensive about how he spends his time while his fans wait for him to finish A Song Of Fire And Ice, but touring with a band just seems to be flaunting it. The show is going to catch up!

GRRM NMH
This was taken from at a different show, but I think the joke still works. source

All this being said, there were a lot of things I noticed that had nothing to do with the band I went to see. Growing old is a terrible thing. Going to concerts in my mid-30’s not only highlights how old I feel, but how much concert-going has changed since I started seeing shows as a kid.

Continue reading Observations at a Neutral Milk Hotel show

Ejected from the Planet of the Apes

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Rob and I were ejected from the Planet of the Apes (the movie, not the planet) in 2001. We got a chat going to explain what happened.

ROB
When was the last time we IM’d each other?

JESSE
Probably sometime after we saw Planet of the Apes 2001 but also way before Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out in 2011.

ROB
Only a decade between the two? It felt like a lifetime

JESSE
Right? A lot of these franchises get rebooted or whatever way too fast, but we straight up got into long-term relationships and got married in the lapse between Apes movies.

ROB
Sabrina and I had been dating a few months. But I don’t know if she had yet to meet my parents when we first attempted to see the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes.

JESSE
I had met Marisa the spring before at school and we were chatting online a lot that summer. In fact I think her friends went to go see it the same night that we tried and I’m sure I emailed or IMed her about our misadventure.

ROB
Oh you guys were totes in touch, but you hadn’t sealed the deal yet

MARISA
So this is a Google Hangout?

ROB
I don’t know if this counts as a real Google hangout because it’s text only Google hangouts are an insidious plot to get unsuspecting people to sign up for Google+

JESSE
First: background by way of what I’ve been listening to on a loop for the past 24 hours and am listening to RIGHT NOW: I got my cassette-to-computer device working and ripped the audio of Planet of the Tapes, the mix tape I made for the drive to Crossgates Mall to see Planet of the Apes (2001). At least the intro will be available as a download with the transcript of this conversation.

ROB
Ugh, I prepped for this by listening to the Apes jams bonus tracks on Severe Tire Damage. I learned nothing.

JESSE
But SO DID I, because those bonus tracks are all over the mix! Weirdly, though I had only seen the 1968 original at the time, the two best They Might Be Giants improv’d Apes songs are in fact my two favorite Planet of the Apes sequels: Escape from the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

ROB
“This Ape’s For You” isn’t one of your favorite Apes movies?

JESSE
OK, so to fill in, Rob and I and our buddies did this thing where we made 30-minute tapes for the drive to Saratoga to Crossgates Mall outside of Albany, for the movies we were particularly psyched about.

ROB
Our buddies was usually Jesse, Me, Chris, Jeff, and whatever girl had yet to realize we weren’t that charming.

JESSE
I was trying to remember what the other mixtape-worthy movies of summer 2001 were, and I’m pretty sure it was just Moulin Rouge! and A.I.… which is actually pretty spot-on. But in retrospect, it’s weird that Apes was the only really big blockbuster type thing that got the tape treatment that summer. Which actually makes sense because summer ’01 was a bunch of really uninspired sequels and also Michael Bay’s interpretation of Pearl Harbor.

ROB
It ended up being low key as it was me, you, Chris, and Ofy. But the ape tape is important to the story.
Continue reading Ejected from the Planet of the Apes

They Might Be The Dismemberment Plan

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

They Might Be Giants & The Dismemberment Plan

Before I even heard “Waiting,” the first new recording by The Dismemberment Plan in over a decade, I was reminded of They Might Be Giants. That was because of The Plan’s initial distribution method for the song; in order to hear it, you needed call a phone number and listen to it as a voicemail greeting. For over twenty years, TMBG ran their own Dial-A-Song service, which did the same exact thing. Once I heard “Waiting” in higher fidelity, the comparisons continued.

The keyboards beep and boop like a cartoon robot. The beat is bouncy, with a mix of live and synthesized instrumentation. The beginning and end contain unothodox samples. The lyrics are clever rhymes taking a different look at the ordinary. All of these things in “Waiting” reminded me of They Might Be Giants, and I’m not the only one. In this interview with Dismemberment Plan frontman Travis Morrison, Dan Weiss describes Uncanney Valley, their forthcoming reunion album as “a dozen They Might Be Giants-esque pop songs.” This excites me for a few reasons.

As they get older, The Dismemberment Plan are getting away from Pixies-like dynamic explosions, shouting, and clever but bitter lyrics that initially drew me to them in college. That doesn’t mean that they’ve slowed down, but focused on other strengths. Foremost among these is a sense of exploration and experimentation. I don’t think there’s a better model for longevity in music through trying different things than They Might Be Giants.

The older I get, the more I find my musical tastes solidifying in a way I swore they never would. I’m more interested in listening to bands I already like as opposed to discovering new sounds. Favorite bands that are always trying to change and push their boundaries is an effective, comforting way to push back against the atrophy.