>> Featured Artist: They Might Be Giants
I remember seeing this band for free back in 2002 and being impressed with what a fun show they had put on in the D.C. summer heat. Not that the fun part was surprising. Or that I was surprised with really liking the music. I guess it was just the kind of show that made everyone turn to their neighbor and smile and/or hug.
So now that we are reminded of TMBG three times a day during Malcolm in the Middle reruns, it's not so much a throwback to our middle-school days to get a hold of a new track. Since the dabbling in children's rock (a respectable field, I must admit), though, I've mostly lost track of interest in these guys.
So The Else, the band's latest LP, is a bit of an "Oh yeah!" surprise. I'll admit that not everything turns my crank the way a "Birdhouse in Your Soul" or "Dr. Worm" would. But "The Mesopotamians" certainly is a return to form - with the wordplay, syllable-loving and geographical/historical references that one comes to expect from the band that wrote "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "James K. Polk." And that says nothing for the nice vocal arrangements. I could easily see it being a fun song for those 7th graders to learn all the words to. Oh, the memories...
>> Album Lookout: The Con
I bought 2002's If It Was You five minutes into listening snippets of it at a French record store. I thought I had discovered something amazing - and European.
Turns out they were Canadians and already doing decently well. Still that album soundtracked my three months abroad more than any other. And now they have a warm place in my heart. But it's not just nostalgia that keeps me coming back to this band.
Even though their songs seem to be written in the voice of a 17-year-old girl, each one is frighteningly catchy. And in the midst of some sort of innocence is a dark streak that turns what would normally be bubble-gum pop to something a little more eerie (maybe chewing-tobacco-imitating-bubble-gum pop).
"Back in Your Head" is the pre-released track. In the best way possible, it doesn't seem like anything has really changed.
>> Reverting to: 1995
To be filed among the things that make me feel old is finding out that Garbage - the band, not the garbage - released a greatest hits album today.
I still remember being wowed when they opened for The Smashing Pumpkins (a band that should have released a greatest hits album last week) back in 1996 and telling people I had seen one of the best concerts ever.
Well, taking a look back brings back mostly nostalgia. It's amazing how you can almost hear the mid-1990s dripping off of these tracks. Take a look at the "Only Happy When It Rains" video. Perhaps you know it by its full title - ("Only Happy When It Rains (and When Objectified in Film)."