The dB's is an influential power-pop band that has received critical acclaim since the release of its first album, Stands for Decibels, in 1981. The original lineup consisted of Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Gene Holder, and Will Rigby. All four hailed from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but the band formed in New York. After their second album, Repercussion (1982), Stamey left the band to pursue a solo career. The original lineup reunited in 2005.
The band's most notable connection to TMBG is a shout-out in "Twisting"; "She doesn't have to have her dB's records back now". Another '80s band, Young Fresh Fellows, is referenced later in the song. In a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, Flansburgh said:
This piece of farfisa [organ] rock is directly influenced by the bands it references. The Young Fresh Fellows from Seattle are a group whose happy, sad-sack sensibility we probably related to, and the dB's were one of the great under-recognized bands of the New York scene we started with, and their great song 'Amplifier' is a more melodramatic iteration of the same idea.
Stamey's group Alaska released an EP on the Hello CD Of The Month Club in May 1995. Alaska also included John Chumbris on bass and John Howie on drums. The EP was produced by Mitch Easter, who played with Stamey and Rigby in the band Sneakers in the late '70s.
Rigby released a self-titled EP on Hello in April 1996. Flansburgh mixed and played guitar on two songs.