They Might Be Giants Direct From Brooklyn
Published Mar 01, 2003The duo of John Linnell and John Flansburgh, aka They Might Be Giants, are best known as pioneers of American DIY indie pop, releasing their self-titled debut back in 1986 and enabling the world to hear their music in a pre-internet era through their "Dial-A-Song" phone number. TMBG were actually successful at getting airplay for their videos on the young MTV network right from the beginning of their career. These videos showcased a geek-powered presence and a surreal sense of aesthetics that mirrored their quirky and exuberant songs. Early videos directed by long-time associate Adam Bernstein provide a genuine extension of TMBG's musical personality. Spastic dancing and absurdist imagery are integral parts of these non-literal visual interpretations, representing the pair's simple songcraft, artistic ingenuity and crazed humour. This collection of videos runs in reverse chronology back from 1998 to 1986, but over the 12-year journey into the past it is amazing to see how these clips all maintain the band's essential character. Some of their earliest videos are also some of their best, where budget constraints only serve to inspire the band's creativity. "Don't Lets Start" and "They'll Need A Crane" are examples of some of their simplest work, while the brilliant animation of J. Otto Seibold lights up "Instanbul (Not Constantinople)." As sharp contrast we have the inclusion of two videos featuring baby Looney Toons characters (aka Tiny Toons) created without any involvement from the Johns. They are interesting novelties at best. However, the added live performance of "Why Does The Sun Shine?," complete with onstage fire-breather, provides a great peek into the band's manic live shows. This package becomes indispensable for any TMBG fan with the addition of commentary by both of the Johns for each video. Extras: Commentary by the Johns, three previously unreleased bonus audio tracks from 2001's Mink Car album, four Quicktime home-made videos mostly from the Mink Car tour.