They Might Be Giants
Every now and then a band comes along that so shakes the foundations of what you consider to be good, cool music that it takes a while for the realization to set in. Such was the case with They Might Be Giants.
Friend and former KiteSiteer, Michael Chapman, first turned me on to TMBG. Their first album (self-titled) was a 19-track cacophony of sounds, principally guided by accordian and guitar, with musical stylings that (de)ranged from the semi-folkish sounds of "Alienation's for the Rich" to the manically frantic songs "Don't Let's Start" and "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head." To someone hip-deep into Bowie, Yes, the jangily 80s guitar sounds of Marshall Crenshaw and Tommy Keene and 80s British New Wave, TMBG was harsh on the ears and wholly unexpected.
Still, there was something both gutsy and catchy about their music. It was so completely different from anything else I'd heard before but it was also intelligent, smart music with bizarre, offbeat lyrics that were both psychedellic in their stream-of-consciousness style and pretty danged amusing.
Within a few months I was happily singing along with the entire album. When the second album, "Lincoln", came out, I was right there ready and waiting.
When "Flood", their third album, came out, I was more than happy to do a display for them. This was a fairly early display, pretty tame and almost boring. There was only one poster and a series of record flats to work with, so I centered the poster, cut out multiples of the guy in the boat and spiraled them in two corners and then cut out the flower-like Flood logo and made a wave-like line across the whole thing.
And then I played the heck out of it at the store, much to the annoyance of many of my Top 40-loving co-workers.
So, what's not to love about They Might Be Giants? They have an amazing website, they give away free mp3 downloads of songs from time to time, their Dial-A-Song is now online, they've done "family-oriented" albums, kid's albums, their song "Boss of Me" is the theme song to Malcolm in the Middle and they're still putting out amazing, twisted music.
If you haven't heard them before, give them a listen.