Mailing List Archive/2004-03-16

From This Might Be A Wiki


Flansburgh chats about a lot of things:


Yes. Yes. Yes!


The treble kickers at Barsuk Records have concocted some mad bundles to incentivize the early adapters of They Might Be Giant Indestructible Object EP (in better record stores and ITunes((!)) April 4th) Out of respect and admiration for the mom and pop retailers of the indie music industry, they are not able t o ship before the release date, but if you are not on the brick and mortar scene these pre-order bundles are a fantastic way to keep you happy and housebound and stylishly attired.

There is a special super-simple retro-style Indestructible Object shirt that will only be available for the next month or so from the Barsuk site, and this, along with the "Gigantic" DVD, is available in value-packed bundles.

Go to this link to get your pre-order in now for the EP Indestructible Object, or any of the great value-packed bundles:

ABOUT INDESTRUCTIBLE OBJECT! Let's tell you about the "Indestructible Object" EP itself- there are five new recordings. Two of them, "Memo to Human Resources" and "Au Contraire", are previews of tracks on the upcoming TMBG album release. The much beloved "Am I Awake" (heard in the opening of TLC's Resident Life) is finally given a proper release, and there are two tracks featuring the fantastic alt. brass combo They Might Be Giants Other Thing. "Caroline, No" is a cover the Beach Boys classic, and there is a new and startlingly reworked recording of "Ant" featuring the insane trumpet playing of Mark "Loveman" Pender from the Conan O'Brien show in a live sonic duel with Linnell playing the Kaoss Pad.

FLANSBURGH EXPLAINS! Flansburgh explains the title, and the beautiful cover that is and the beautiful cover that never was: "Hey everybody- this is a semi-rambling and unimportant story, but if you're interested I thought I'd tell you about it. And if you know any art history buffs or astronomers- please pass it on....

At the beginning of putting together the EP, I was curious about doing something with a found photo since we've made a lot of illustrated covers recently. I always really enjoyed the way the Flood photo worked (which I found quite at random on a contact sheet print in the Time Life archive crawling around looking through cardboard file boxes in the basement of that giant building- but that's another story). I was doing the 21st century equivalent for this project- going through the Corbis archive online which is filled with tons of unusual cultural ephemera.

I soon ran across these various photos of the artist Man Ray at You are probably aware of Man Ray's style as a photographer, if not his many interesting images- he made these very startling black and white photographs that were often solarized (exposing the film or print to small amounts of light and then freezing that process in development- I'm not sure of HIS process, but he was the guy who popularized this effect). He also was part of the early Dadaist movement, and created one of the movement's most memorable images in the sculpture known as "Indestructible Object." The thing is not quite a found object, but close. It is a wooden metronome with a photograph of an eyeball attached to where the slider on the metronome's arm would be. I always loved the direct simplicity of this highly loaded-up image, and its bridge between the Braque/Picasso cubist musical motifs and the kind of 50's melodramatic surreal Salvador Dali/ Twilight Zone creepiness.

ANYWAY, they got all these Man Ray photos and I'm searching around and I found this photo (go to BE021497 (RM) on the lower left of the page) . It seemed perfect to me-it shows an elderly and slightly fragile Man Ray, in a wheelchair no less, holding on to his historic "Indestructible Object". The multiple contrary motions of the photo with the sculpture and its place in art history were kind of blowing my mind. Beyond simply an old man in a wheelchair grasping anything with that boastful title being an odd contradiction, it was strange to see how perfectly untranscendent the actual sculpture looked in someone's hands- you usually only see it in a display case. It seemed much more dumpy and earthbound- just a metronome with a taped-on cut-out photo. Then it kind of all came home to me- the title Indestructible Object, which always was a bit of a mystery to me, (though I just filed it alongside all the other Dadaist enigma-driven titles) was really about how the actual idea of the piece worked-how the idea will just stick in your head forever whether you want it there or not. The way the photo illustrated his mortality made me realize the immortality of the work.

So I was really diggin' all of this- the photo, the title, the sculpture. I thought I was lucky too. The photo will be cheap since it's a photo in a stock house and it's a photo taken at a news event and copyright cleared by our excellent First Amendment. I confidently printed out the image and started pasting up my little mock-up of the EP cover. I was finally down to the afternoon I was doing the actual layout with the fine graphic designer Sam (the same fellah who did such a great job with Bed Bed Bed). I thought to gave Corbis a jingle to see how much it would actually cost. The dude at Corbis gave me the bad news straight out- the photo would cost a trillion dollars, and it's actually not "model" cleared (Man Ray as a model) so I would have to NEGOTIATE with the estate of Man Ray in France which would probably take forever and probably cost two trillion francs. I was seriously bummed, but we made a mad scramble. Sam has an extensive library of amazing graphic books from the excellent 20th century. We found some beautiful objects in a catalog from 1915 called "Standard Instruments of Precision" (which is a pretty good title itself). The object we appropriated for the cover is called a theodolite. It's a surveyor's instrument which is "a transit with a telescope attached." This device allows you to, say, track the passage of a celestial body over the meridian of place, or, if you're up for it, the passage of a smaller body such as Venus across the disc of a larger body such as the sun. All your home transit needs in one excellent object!

So we didn't get the killer photo, but we stuck to the original title. Doesn't make too much sense any more, but that's the way it goes. Sincerely-your rock pal- John F."


Everyone loves Homsar, Strong Bad and the whole HSR family! Now hear TMBG's song in this special flash animation +++++ It's officially secret and unannounced, but we thought YOU should know. TMBG full band performance secret show at SxSW in Austin Texas Friday, March 19th late (last event) at the Parish Club At the SXSW Barsuk Records Review

TMBG will be performing many new songs off the upcoming EP and album. +++++ Saturday, March 27th New Yorker Nights in Los Angeles

The New Yorker presents Susan Orlean and They Might Be Giants! TMBG and Susan will sit down to talk, then John and John will stand up to play some songs in this special evening of conversation and music to benefit Reading is Fundamental nights/events.cfm

The Silent Movie Theater, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, West Hollywood Tickets available online through, or by phone: call 1-866-468-3399 ++++++ In April TMBG perform in Los Angeles a special total rockathon with all the faves plus a very special Album 10 preview. And for all the fams, there is also a kids' show in the afternoon.

April 17 Royce Hall at UCLA Info UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310.825.2101

rock show

kids show