Saturday, December 31, 2011

TMBG Shirt #53: Nu Wave For The Nu Year

Happy New Year! My final shirt for 2011 is another of the latest offerings to appear on the TMBG Merch Store. It's a red and blue masterpiece called "Nu Wave" that exhibits the band name in a very unique way. Each letter is proceeded by a red line of varying thickness and direction which leads to the next one. It would actually take some time for a passer-by to interpret the garment by following the path.
The back reads, "SINCE 1982" in the same manner. Celebrate 2012, They Might Be Giants' thirtieth year of Installing and Servicing Music in style. Purchase Nu Wave on Blue for the Nu Year now!

MP3 of the Week:
Auld Lang Syne on NYE '98

Performed thirteen years ago at the now-closed Tramps in New York City, this traditional New Years Eve song was used to introduce the band. Happy New Year!!
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

TMBG Shirt #52: Happy Holidays

Check it out, people. It's a shirt for every week of the year. Fifty-two shirts and still going!

It's the TMBG holiday shirt. On the front are Flansburgh (left) and Linnell flanking a traditional Christmas tree, under which are two smallish gifts that are presumably from John to John and from John to John. The entire scene is depicted in a festive red and green.
TMBG joined Harry Shearer and Judith Owen's Holiday Sing-Along at The Canal Room in New York City on December 15, 2006. They performed "Santa's Beard" for the first time in about a decade.
The back of the shirt reads, "Happy Chanukah from They Might Be Giants".
What, no Kwanza?
Here's TMBG's Chanukah song, "Feast of Lights", the other holiday tune that They performed at the Sing-Along. It was the first time that it was ever performed in front of an audience, for which John Linnell tweaked the lyrics a bit.

MP3 of the Week:
Judy Is Your Viet Nam

Originally written as a Christmas song, this was performed at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on 7/30/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

TMBG Shirt #51: The Machine & The Squid

This shirt by Japanese artist and animator Hine Mizushima. It seems to depict some kind of bizarre telephone machine, complete with "TMBG" buttons and resident Giant squid. It conveys the message "Zei-Mai Daisakusen", or "Operation TMBG" for English speakers.
The back features the band name in large letters and the Giant squid, who appears to be turning off a light switch. Here's what Hine had to say about her creation on her blog"Perform your important mission for They Might Be Giants (hopefully after ordering and putting on the T shirt). Make sure it's not bugged by an enemy spy!" Purchase "Squid on Green" from the merch store. There's also a womans' version available.
As a parting bonus, here's Hine's stop-motion animated video for With the Dark, starring that lovable Giant squid.

MP3 of the Week:
Marty Beller Mask

Performed as a trio (John, John and Marty) at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre in New York City on 12/8/11.
Buy Album Raises New and Troubling Questions Now!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

TMBG Shirt #50: Team TMBG

Not to be confused with TMBG Street Team, this new addition to the Giant selection of shirts is number fifty. Representing our favorite Brooklyn "team", this 3/4-length sleeved shirt sports a section of the Brooklyn Bridge with a Giant baseball bat thrust through it.
The back of the shirt has the number 30, presumably for TMBG's thirty years in the business, making this an anniversary shirt. Buy "TMBG Baseball 3/4 Sleeve on White" from the merch store today and join the team!
There's also a new hoodie that reads "TMBG" in the traditional baseball style. With matching cap, which I passed on since I do not wear caps. When will you make me a bucket hat, Giants??

MP3 of the Week:
Pencil Rain

Performed as a trio (John, John and Marty) at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre in New York City on 12/8/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

TMBG Shirt #49: Installing and Servicing Melody

A fairly simple shirt this week, with the farmiliar TMBG logo surrounded by their slogan printed thrice: "Installing and Servicing Melody Since 1982."

MP3 of the Week:
Weep Day by Logan Whitehurst

I would like to put the usual live content on hold this week to honor a very special musician. Logan Whitehurst was not just an amazing talent, but an incredibly giving person. Anyone that counted him as a friend knows what I'm talking about. Logan died of brain cancer five years ago today, at age 29. He was taken from us far too soon, and I for one will never forget his amazing work and generous spirit. I highly recommend you checking out Logan's music, most of which is available for free download on the Logan Whitehurst Music Archive, including the above cover of TMBG's Weep Day. They Might Be Giants was Logan's favorite band, and it shows in his music. Sadly, I never had the chance to see him perform. His final album, "Very Tiny Songs" which is still available for sale consists of 81 short songs that were suggested by friends and fans of Logan. My song is the last on the album, because I submitted my idea two weeks late. He wrote and recorded the song anyway, and that's Logan for you. Please donate to the American Cancer Society in the memory of Logan Whitehurst.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

TMBG Shirt #48: Brainy Crow

Another work of Tony Millionaire, this shirt features Drinky Crow with his brain popping out. He's carrying his birdhouse and taking a ride on a turtle of some sort which is being stalked by land shark of some kind. In the distance, on the horizon are the mysterious words, "THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS".
A brightly colored Uncle Gabby is hanging out on the left sleeve.

MP3 of the Week:
No One Knows My Plan

Performed at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA on 10/1/11, featuring Curt Ramm on trumpet.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TMBG Shirt #47: Quadfest

This is a shirt that was worn by student security during the ninth annual Quadfest at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA on 4/28/01. TMBG holds the honor of playing the very first Quadfest back in 1993, and the annual WPI festival continues to this very day.
Yes, I really am security.
MP3 of the Week:
ALFabet of Nations

Listen to John Flansburgh tell a story about a monotonous job that he once held which explains the intentional misspelling of the above song title. Performed at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA on 9/9/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

TMBG Shirt #46: Mink Car

Here's another They Might Be Giants shirt that I don't wear much, simply because I'm not big on long sleeves. It's the Mink Car shirt, featuring art by The Chopping Block from the decade-old album of the same name. It includes handy directions for sandwich assemblage on the left sleeve.
The back is sparsely decorated, with a single Mink Car seat top and center aligned.

MP3 of the Week:
Ana Ng

Performed at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA on 10/1/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

TMBG Shirt #45: University of Delaware

Back in 1997, I attended a concert at the University of Delaware in Newark. I found this shirt commemorating the show on eBay years later. This is the show from which the official Severe Tire Damage recording of "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" was drawn.
The back of the shirt features the Why Does the Sun Shine? Happy Guy.

MP3 of the Week:
Snail Shell

Performed at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA on 10/1/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

TMBG Shirt #44: Endfest '93

Happy Halloween! It's a devil of a shirt this week.
TMBG appeared at the second annual Endfest at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Seattle, WA on August 7, 1993. The festival was apparently sold out, with other appearing acts including Gin Blossoms, Belly and Social Distortion. The back of the shirt ends with a "Legalize It!" message and a small marijuana leaf.
Here's the video for TMBG's new Halloween song, Marty Beller Mask from the brand new Album Raises New and Troubling Questions. Order now from the merch store. Happy Halloween!

MP3 of the Week:
Withered Hope

Performed at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA on 10/1/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

TMBG Shirt #43: Why Does the Sun Shine? Tour

Here's a shirt from the 1993 Why Does the Sun Shine? Tour. A TMBG road sign overlays Sol while containing and surrounded by the musical tools of the trade.

The back lists nineteen shows in twenty five days, arranged like the rays of our sun. It reads, "They Might Be Giants Why Does the Sun Shine? 9/93 Tour" even though the last couple of dates took place in October. My first show was in 1993, though in April and thus not part of this tour. The Earth is also present, though not to scale.

MP3 of the Week:
We're the Replacements

John Flansburgh brings up the subject of TMBG t-shirts. Performed at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA on 10/1/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

TMBG Shirt #42: Worker Johns

Making a rare long sleeve appearance are the Worker Johns. Another design by Mark Marek, who is of course responsible for the very first shirt in this series, "Hayseed Johns". 
The front of the shirt simply bears the standard lunch break gear of the factory worker: a metal lunchbox containing a sandwich and a doughnut with a steaming thermos of java.
On the back are John and John decked out in their worker greens in a brightly colored industrial setting. Flansburgh is sporting some stubble and a construction helmet. Linnell deftly carries his accordion with one arm while holding his own helmet and the aforementioned lunch pail with the other. Both appear winded and sweaty after a hard day's rocking at the record factory, pictured in the background. The life of a rock musician is indeed a hard one!

MP3 of the Week:
Los Angeles

This Venue Song was performed at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA on 10/1/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

TMBG Shirt #41: Ape Club

As you may know, They Might Be Giants have resurrected Battle For the Planet of the Apes after a eight year hiatus. It has been rebranded "Ape Club" and thrust upon the unsuspecting audience, which as always are divided directly in half and instructed to chant the words "PEOPLE!" and "APE!" with a raised fist as the band plays. John Flansburgh has taken it a step further by using a blinding flashlight (Flanslight?) to create an aisle of emptiness in the middle of the club. Check out the video below to (kind of) see what I mean.
A new 2011 tour shirt has been introduced to coincide with the Rise of Ape Club. It features a damned dirty yet colorful ape with clenched fist held aloft. "Monkey Tour on White" is available for purchase at the Merch Store, so go get it and Ape out!
On the back, a listing of the dates that comprise the first two legs, or first half of the tour. It began on September 8 in New Haven, CT and ends on November 26 in Washington, DC.
There is also a new Ape hoodie available. It has the ape on the back and the familiar "Road Crew" inscription and logo on the front in white with blue swirlys.
To finish off the Ape theme, here's the performance of Ape Club that I shot on September 30 at The TLA in Philadelphia, PA, which ends with an unprecedented result. Check it totally out!

MP3 of the Week:

"Spacey Intro Song"
TMBG opened in Boston with this. If you would like to feel as confused and surprised as we did at the show, I suggest that you press the play button without hovering over the above link, which will reveal what song was being played. Performed at the Berklee Performance Center on 10/1/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

TMBG Shirt #40: Bar/None Records

Here's a neat shirt from Bar/None, They Might Be Giants' first record label.
On the front, TMBG is listed with four other Bar/None bands.
On the back, the Bar/None logo.

MP3 of the Week:
Ana Ng

This popular Bar-None era song was performed at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, NH on 9/10/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

TMBG Shirt #39: Bird In Hand

This is a limited edition shirt that was available for purchase from the merch site only during the weekend of August 20, 2011. It features the hand of Join Us cover designer Paul Sahre gently grasping one of our fine feathered friends below the band name.
On the back, the hand has opened and birdie has flown the coop. Sorry, you can't get this shirt anymore but you can buy the brand new Ape themed tour shirt! I'll be purchasing it at my next show, #186 in Philadelphia this Friday. Look for it on this blog in the near future!
MP3 of the Week:
John Flansburgh's Shitty, Shitty Story

John told us this amusing anecdote at Mahaiwe* Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA on 9/9/11.
Buy Join Us Now!
*(pronouced "ma-HAY-way")

Saturday, September 17, 2011

TMBG Shirt #38: Sailor Shirt

Avast, me heartys! This Monday, September 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day (and CapitalQ's birthday) and we be celebratin' with this shirt that you could be wearin' to be sailin' the high seas. This epic garrrment by none other then swarrrthy arrrtist Tony Millionaire comes complete with whale-flanked pirate ship and colorful tattoo "sleeves". 
Shiver me timbers! It be available only in off-white with long sleeves. The back be harrrboring some kind of ocean liner piloted by scurvy dogs that do be trapped inside a glass bottle. Yarrr, this be garrrb fit for any swashbucklin' buccaneer worth his salt, and I will be keelhaulin' the first son of  a biscuit eater that utters otherwise! 
Ahoy! Thar be one of my favorite performances of Why Does the Sun Shine?!
We be leavin' you landlubbers with a bloody helpful instructional video brought to you by the scallywags at

MP3 of the Week:
Pirate Girls Nine

 By the powers! We be pressing on with our piratey theme. This musical numerical booty was performed on 2/23/08 at Borders in New York City.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

TMBG Shirt #37: Union County MusicFest '05

This week's blog entry comes to you from on the road; Paul and I are currently in Concord, New Hampshire for our third of four TMBG shows in four nights from September 8-11. Our TMBG weekend has been going pretty well so far. Anyway, here's a shirt from Union County MusicFest '05, which happened at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside, NJ on September 17, just over six years ago. Tomorrow is, of course the tenth anniversary of that dreadful day in history that changed our lives forever. While visiting Echo Lake Park we took a look at their respectful 9/11 memorial, which consists of two metal beams recovered from the wreckage, mounted upright to represent the fallen towers.
We saw Spiraling and The Smithereens open the show. I recall that it rained for a little while near the beginning of TMBG's set, but They pulled their gear back a little bit more under the stage awning and played though. There were a couple of annoying teenage girls that obviously came to the show for Joan Jett, but insisted on squeezing into the front row with us during They, and proceeded to talk to each other throughout the show. We went home and left them to it before headlining Jett took the stage. Good times!

MP3 of the Week:
 Birdhouse In Your Soul

 Performed at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA on 7/28/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

TMBG Shirt #36: Debut Album

The Rodney Alan Greenblat cover of They Might Be Giants' debut eponymous album has quite a lot going on. You can stare at it for hours at a time for years and still not fully comprehend everything that is happening. From the infinite parade led by the giant John-toting blue dog to the "Truth or Sandwiches" road sign, this is an album cover for the ages!
It's a shame that the back doesn't continue the cover art as the liner notes do.
Can't have everything..

MP3 of the Week:
Clap Your Hands

 Performed at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA on 7/28/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

TMBG Shirt #35: Dial-A-Song

This shirt by J. Otto Seibold sports a tree-dwelling, hat-wearing bird and a magically levitating cigar-smoking telephone. It's all an advertisement for the (now defunct) Dial-A-Song, what else?
The back has the band name surrounded  by several classic looking J. Otto characters.

MP3 of the Week:
 Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head

 They opened the show with this classic at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA on 7/28/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

TMBG Shirt #34: The Mesopotamians

It's The Mesopotamians: Sargon, Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal and Gilgamesh!
A closer look at this shirt reveals the aforementioned troglodytes hanging out on and around their name. The Merch Store currently only has the women's bright red version available.
 Some nice Mesopotamian Bobbleheads on the back.
Design by David Cowles, who also directed the video.

MP3 of the Week:
 She's An Angel

 Performed at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA on 7/28/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

TMBG Shirt #33: Indestructible Object

This Indestructible Object t-shirt is the natural complement to the EP of the same name. It features a modified version of the familiar logo, with TMBG above and IO below. By the way, I take a large but I also own this shirt in medium for when I want to feel extra indestructible.
The back has the band name superimposed over that of the EP, followed by their time-tested slogan: "Installing & Servicing Melody Since 1982". Buy "Indestructible Object on Blue" at the TMBG Merch store.

MP3 of the Week:
 When Will You Die

 This worldwide debut of this metarrific Join Us song is uncharacteristically the best that They'll ever play it. Performed at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA on 7/28/11.
You can also see my YouTube video of this.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

TMBG Shirt #32: US Presidents

Here's a shirt that commemorates The Chopping Block days of, when firing at a shooting gallery of icons would cause floating presidential heads to cough up links to different parts of the site. As on the front page, the front of the tee features Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and Howard Taft (from left), proclaiming the initials of their favorite band. I also have a light blue version of this shirt.
On the back, bonus POTUS Jimmy Carter hangs out, perhaps pondering why he didn't make the cut when the website was designed. His isolation has seemingly been made up for by having the shirt named after him. Buy "Carter on Green" or "Carter on Blue" from the merch store today, and get presidential!

MP3 of the Week:
 Cyclops Rock

 Performed at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on 7/30/11.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

TMBG Shirt #31: Join Us

As you may know, the new TMBG album, Join Us has been out for over a week. If you have not purchased it yet, what are you wating for?? Tonight is the record release party at the historic Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. It will be my 180th TMBG show. See you there!
Here's the official album cover shirt by graphic designer Paul Sahre, with the side and rear of the hot pink monster hearse on the front and back of the shirt, respectively. You can buy this shirt at the Merch Store, along with the Join Us digital download, CD, Vinyl record and even an oversized poster of the cover design. I got 'em all!
I also purchased this alternate version at the merch stand yesterday at the Williamsburg Waterfront. It has an enlarged truck on the front and the band name in large lowercase letters on the back.

MP3 of the Week:

 This Join Us song features John Linnell on bass clarinet and Danny Weinkauf on keyboard. Performed at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA on 7/28/11
Buy Join Us Now!