Tag Archives: Nanobots


They Might Be Giants Return to Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

November 1st, 2013

John Flansburgh (who recently spoke to Time Out New York about some of his favorite things) and John Linnell have been making music as They Might Be Giants since 1982. For a while it was just the two of them and a drum machine. They didn’t even have a full backing band for nearly a decade. But three decades is a long career, and over that time TMBG have been prolific: six live albums, eight compilations, 21 EPs and 16 LPs, including this year’s well-received Nanobots (stream it below), about which Paste says, “They Might Be Giants have consistently released material that is both new and original without turning into a machine churning out small caricatures of their songs, and on Nanobots they prove that 30 years later, they can still write infectiously catchy, quirky songs about combustible heads, nanobots and black ops that don’t feel contrived in the least.” Plus, They Might Be Giants (above, performing “Birdhouse in Your Soul”) don’t like to be pigeonholed, instead they cover a wide musical terrain, from alternative to children’s music to TV and movie soundtracks. But make no mistake, when they hit Terminal 5 tomorrow night, they’re coming to rock. And not only will it be the Brooklyn band’s “final U.S. performance for the foreseeable future,” but they’ll also take a look back by playing their first album in its entirety.


Brooklyn Originals

December 31st, 2012

They Might Be Giants – Music Hall of Williamsburg – December 30, 2012

They Might Be Giants are certifiable Brooklyn OGs, a fact most of last night’s crowd knew even before John Flansburgh mentioned he used to live on N. 5th St. back when Music Hall of Williamsburg was still called Northsix. It ran deeper still. Most in the audience possessed intimate, personal memories of the Reagan years, and most probably knew They Might Be Giants once ran a service called Dial-A-Song where fans, or anyone really, could call a local Brooklyn number and hear Flansburgh and John Linnell sing songs they had recorded on their answering machine. Further, for the They Might Be Giants completist, many of these fans certainly knew the hidden track on 1996’s Factory Showroom, “Token Back to Brooklyn,” could only be accessed by pressing the rewind button on your CD player during the album’s first song. A lot has changed in Brooklyn, but They Might Be Giants have remained largely the same: still weird, still deeply postmodern and still churning out genre-spanning pop by the fistful.

Over three nights at Music Hall of Williamsburg, TMBG are playing a different set of albums each night spanning the band’s 30-year career. Last night, the second, the audience was treated to music from Lincoln and Flood, two early records, as well as a few songs from their latest LP, Join Us, and the upcoming Nanobots, the latter of which, unsurprisingly, will feature 25 songs. The band played their eponymous song, “They Might Be Giants,” then playing other Flood material, “Letterbox” and “Someone Keeps Moving My Chair” before switching to Lincoln songs “Cowtown,” “Lie Still, Little Bottle” and “Pencil Rain.” Each featured the group’s signature pop hooks, the Johns looking a bit older but still switching from a range of instruments with deftness and ease.

The second half of the set contained the band’s bigger songs, “Ana Ng,” “Minimum Wage” and “Birdhouse in Your Soul.” They Might Be Giants closed with “Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal,” which joked openly about “pay-for-play” radio. It was a fitting end, even before the next two encores, a bit of commercial humor for a band that’s seen the borough make and break so many other bands since TMBG formed in 1982. It didn’t mean they were bitter—“Birdhouse in Your Soul” went to No. 3 on the U.S. Modern Rock chart in 1990—just old enough to see the horizon for what it is, a moving target. Appropriately, they closed the night with “The Mesopotamians,” a song about a fictional rock band that took the name of the long lost civilization and worried if anyone would remember or understand them, a bit like a band that might have been giants in a borough like Brooklyn. —Geoff Nelson

(They Might Be Giants play Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight.)