TMBG Unlimited - November

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TMBG Unlimited - November tmbg compilation cover
TMBG Unlimited - November
Collection by They Might Be Giants
First released November 15, 2001
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 11 Last tmbg compilation TMBG Unlimited - October
Label They Might Be Records Length 23:40 Next tmbg compilation TMBG Unlimited - December

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Tiny Doctors 1:04


2 The Bloodboat 2:47


3 Too Cool Girls
With Velcro Horns


4 Mystery Track 1:29


5 Particle Man (Demo) 1:59


6 Spy (Demo) 1:23


7 Fingertips (Live 2001) 5:54


8 The Car Crash
Live 1989


9 Drinkin' (Live Radio Broadcast 1993) 1:39


10 Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (Live 1990) 2:14


11 Mink Car (Live 2001) 2:24



Official description[edit]

Hello, subscribers, hello. John Linnell here to give you the rundown of this month's TMBG Unlimited selections. As you may know we've been traveling around the USA nonstop for the past two months, so curating and producing this series has been particularly challenging to us of late, but we emphatically thank you for your continued patronage and we hope that this latest edition was worth the wait.

Along with some fine live recordings, we have dug deep into the deep, deep heap of hitherto unauditioned recordings of demos going back as far as the mid-1980's, and god bless us to heaven if we haven't unearthed some interesting chestnuts. We have also included a special mystery track, which we will not discuss further to maintain its mystery status. After our big NYC show at Town Hall, we're heading over to the UK and Australia to round out this year's tour in support of "Mink Car," so check the tour dates on to find out if we'll be in your area.

1. "Tiny Doctors"

This song was written in amongst the songs that appeared on Flood and has never before appeared anywhere in any form. Recorded on-the-fly on a cassette which also included the original sketch for "Particle Man." Usually a song is recorded this way moments after being written, mainly so that we don't forget how it goes. The next step would have been to make the demo version with some kind of beefed up arrangement or production concept. Usually that second draft would show up on Dial-a-song, but in this case it never reached that stage.

2. "The Bloodboat"

The arrangement of this song is fussy enough to suggest that it was heading somewhere, but this demo seems to have hit a dead end and was never even featured on Dial-a-song. It recently emerged that the word "bloodboat" is some kind of 19th century slang term for a ship manned by tough sailors who like fighting, but as the song makes plain, that usage is not applied here.

3. "Too Cool Girls" w/ the Velcro Horns

This instrumental shows off the snazzy horn attack of the Velcro Horns, Jim O'Connor on trumpet and Dan Levine on the trombone. It also has Dan Hickey giving up a more than tasty morsel of his Gene Krupa-esk tom tom work. This original composition is part of our arsenal of instrumentals that we have been compiling over the last couple of years.

4. "Mystery Track"

5. "Particle Man" (demo)

The banjo was the only thing handy when this song was written, so the "memorandum" version was inadvertently folky. Some of the words and music weren't quite fixed yet, but the important thing was to get it down. We both had plenty of experiences with having song ideas we thought were keepers, only to draw a complete blank the next day after failing to write it down or record it. At which point we could only gesture impotently to indicate the magnitude of the "big one that got away."

6. Spy (demo)

Another song memorandum, this first recording of Spy is simply the naked flesh of the song which was eventually clothed in extremely elaborate vestments. Check out Mr. Flansburgh's haunted vocal.

7. "Fingertips" (Live 2001)

Coming out of a discussion that ended up as a challenge, we have finally master playing "Fingertips" live, and her is the exciting evidence to prove it. This recording was made at one of our long-time favorite venues- Pearl Street in Northampton, Mass.

8. "The Car Crash" (Live 1989)

This crash, recorded in Munich in 1989, is but one of many enacted by our audience in the late eighties. The purpose of the Car Crash was to keep the ball rolling in the event of equipment failure. Tape could be wound back on to spools, guitars could be tuned, accordion straps could be duct taped, all while the entertainment continued seamlessly.

9. "Drinkin'" (Live radio broadcast 1993)

In the summer of 1993 WFMU DJ Nick Hill decided to broadcast his usual "Music Faucet" program live from his own apartment in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn. By a pleasant coincidence, about half of the guests on his show were also living upstairs from him or somewhere nearby. Nick and most of the performers were out on Nick's deck, but microphones were also run up into Brian Dewan's studio and also into the bathroom Brian shared with Mr. Linnell, which is where John and John performed this instrumental. John F. played guitar next to the sink, and John L played bass saxophone within the reverberant bathtub.

10. "Istanbul (not Constantinople)" (Live 1990)

This was recorded live in Zurich at the Rote Fabrik in 1990. Before we had a band we used play this song at a very brisk tempo. At some point we started to stretch out the second "People just liked it" break in an ad hoc fashion. It eventually got longer and stranger with each performance, until eventually everybody's patience wore thin. Here it is at an agreeably earlier stage.

11. "Mink Car" (Live 2001)

Another audience favorite that has finally made it to the show. Again, recorded in Northampton.