"APOLLO 18 is more than a rocket to the moon. It's a trip through nature, evil, death, and delirium. They Might Be Giants' new album finds the band's acclaimed songwriting reaching a new peak. Soaring with a kaleidoscopic variety of songs and a bold full sound, APOLLO 18 is a sonic adventure that befits its title." That's how Elektra's press release heralded TMBG's fourth full length album and, hype aside, we're inclined to agree with them. If there are any of you out there who haven't yet heard APOLLO 18, get on down to your local CD and cassette store and get yourself a copy right away. Sadly, at least for those of us old enough to remember the heyday of the LP, APOLLO 18 is the first TMBG album not released on vinyl in the U.S.
OF COURSE, A NEW ALBUM MEANS NEW VIDEOS, TOO. The first video from APOLLO 18, "The Statue Got Me High", debuted on MTV's 120 Minutes in February. The video was shot in California and directed by long-time TMBG associate Adam Bernstein, who first worked with the Giants on their first video, "Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head", way back in 1986. Adam also directed the videos for "Don't Let's Start", "(She Was A) Hotel Detective", "Ana Ng", "They'll Need A Crane", and "Birdhouse In Your Soul." For the Giants' next video from APOLLO 18, the band decided to stick closer to home and to take a chance on an untried new director. The video for "The Guitar" was shot entirely in John and John's home neighbourhood of Williamsburgh in Brooklyn and directed by none other than John Flansburgh. For on-camera talent, director Flansburgh made use of many of the Giants' Williamsburgh friends and neighbours, as well as members of theTMBG road crew and the Hornblow management office staff. Amongst many others, singer Laura Cantrell, who sang the female lead vocal on "The Guitar", and remix-master Joshua Fried, whose talents are known to Giants aficionados from his remixes of "The World's Address" (on the MISCELLANEOUS T album) and "She's Actual Size" (on the "I Palindrome I" US CD single) appear. "The Guitar" video should already have debuted on MTV by the time you read this. As always, if you'd like to see it more often, it wouldn't hurt to devote all of your free time to continuously calling 1-800-DIAL-MTV (1-800-342-5688) and requesting it.
BROOKLYN'S AMBASSADORS OF LOVE ARE MUSICAL AMBASSADORS FOR INTERNATIONAL SPACE YEAR. For the three people out there who don't already know it (gasp!), 1992 has been officially proclaimed International Space Year, organised by NASA along with other national space agencies all around the world. The point of the year is to emphasise that space is the last international frontier and all nations of this earth should join together in peaceful space exploration—a message that John and John are only too happy to promote. Of course, they'd love to go to the moon themselves, but even though that might not happen—yet—they've dedicated their APOLLO 18 album and tour to ISY.
HOW MANY SONGS ARE THERE ON APOLLO 18 ANYWAY? Astute observers will note that while there are only 18 titles listed on the back of the jewel box, compact discs of APOLLO 18 contain 38 tracks. That's because APOLLO 18 is one of the first compact discs to take full advantage of the shuffle mode found on today's CD players. The song "Fingertips" is composed of a series of twenty-one separate refrains, each of which is a separate track on the CD, so when APOLLO 18 is played in shuffle mode the CD player mixes up the album's 17 full-length songs and the 21 mini-songs that make up "Fingertips" at random, producing an ever-changing musical collage. (Our apologies to folks outside North America—APOLLO 18 compact discs sold in the rest of the world don't have the extra tracks for "Fingertips" due to a mastering error. Elektra assures us that this will be corrected for the next pressing.)
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER...The telephone number listed for TMBG's world famous Dial-A-Song service in the liner notes for the first pressing of Apollo 18 is wrong, wrong, wrong. The correct number is still (718) 387-6962 and it's still just a regular call to Brooklyn.
HEY! WHO'S THAT PLAYING...WITH THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS? It's a band! That's right—the next time you see John and John on stage with accordion and guitar in hand, they will be accompanied not by backing tapes on their trusty eight-channel Otari reel-to-reel tape deck, but by actual human musicians. TMBG's expanding pop universe now includes Kurt Hoffman (The Ordinaires, Band of Weeds) on sax, clarinet and keyboards, Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, Bob Mould, The Mekons) on bass, and Jon Feinberg (just excellent) on drums. This will be TMBG's longest and largest tour ever and beginning this summer, they'll be spending the remainder of 1992 travelling around the world and bringing their "Don't Tread On The Cut-Up Snake World Tour" to a venue near you (see the other side of this newsletter for tour dates.) Be there. Aloha.
38 Tour dates listed, beginning on 6/16 and ending on 8/15.
The TMBG INFORMATION BULLETIN. Bo Orloff, Editor PO BOX 110553 Williamsburgh Station Brooklyn NY 11211-0003