Video: My Top Halloween Horror Movies

October 25, 2017 Featured Comments (0) 224

Let’s take a little break from the horror that is American politics, in favor of another type of horror. It’s Halloween, and I’m here to help you find the perfect movie for your next graveyard smash. From John Carpenter’s 1982 THE THING (my all-time favorite) to more recent classics like IT FOLLOWS and THE BABADOOK, here are a few of my favorite horror movies of all time.

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TMBG Countdown #13: When Will You Die

April 18, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 278

First release: Join Us, 2011

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

Join Us was a pure pleasure for most TMBG fans for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was this gem. Reminiscent of the band’s earlier sound, the song may sound a little thin at first listen–a result of speeding up all the instruments beneath real-time vocals. The bass line is particularly challenging, and yet bassist Danny Weinkauf plays it live without significant slowing or modification.

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TMBG Countdown #14: Mammal

April 17, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 232

First release: Apollo 18, 1992

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

It must be impossible to count the number of They Might Be Giants fans who have benefitted on science exams from memorizing the lyrics to this song. In my case it was a 9th grade question about whether mammals had nucleated red blood cells.

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TMBG Countdown #15: Spider

April 16, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 220

First Release: Apollo 18, 1992

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

The Johns claim this song originated as an afternoon playing with a sampler, which can end in disaster for a lot of bands (case in point), but instead they got an early fan favorite that becomes especially interesting when performed live.

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TMBG Countdown #16: Cloisonne

April 15, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 225

First release: Join Us, 2011

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

Four words: John Linnell, bass clarinet.

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TMBG Countdown #17: Hotel Detective Suite

April 14, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 193

Releases:
They Might Be Giants (The Pink Album), 1986
Back to Skull (EP), 1994
Podcast 5A, 2006

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

OK, I’m definitely cheating a bit on this one, but I am firm in my conviction that these three songs are best taken as a single, duodecennially-revisited, work. The three are dramatically different in style and approach, but together form a sort of tryptic, representing the band’s career thus far.

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TMBG Countdown #18: Withered Hope

April 13, 2015 Pop Culture Comments (0) 240

First release: The Else, 2007

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

TMBG’s 2007 album The Else was a bit unusual for the band, due in large part to their collaboration with the Dust Brothers. The record gets mixed reviews from TMBG fans–partly, no doubt, because it is their first album to feature no accordion. I am overall a fan of The Else, and actually think it might be one of their more consistent and interesting albums–and “Withered Hope” is one of my favorite cuts.

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TMBG Countdown #19: I Should Be Allowed to Think

April 12, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 184

First release: John Henry, 1994

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

As we move into the teens in our countdown, we reach the first entry from my favorite TMBG album, John Henry. The album was the band’s first with a full band in place of a drum machine [Get it? John Henry??] and some fans hate it the way Bob Dylan fans sneer at his electric guitar. While I don’t have strong feelings about Dylan, however, I will fight to the death over John Henry–while the band may later have struggled to find their sound with a band, on this record they were exploring new possibilities with wildly creative arrangements.

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TMBG Countdown #20: Older

April 11, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 232

First Release: Long Tall Weekend (1999)

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

Older is anthemic. I can’t think of another TMBG song with as many studio variations. There’s the original, from the ambitious experiment in e-music Long Tall Weekend; the live version, played at nearly every show with an agonizing long pause (see the video below, in which the band brought that version to Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2001); the slightly slower and odder-sounding version (my personal favorite) released on  Mink Car in 2001; and the acoustic puppet version in the video atop this post, released as a Friday Night Family Podcast in 2008.

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TMBG Countdown #21: Robot Parade

April 10, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 241

First Release: TMBG Unlimited (2000)

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

Originally written for graphic design group The Chopping Block, and featuring lyrics (according to the band) that were “inappropriately anti-unicorn,” this song is really best appreciated in both of its two forms. There’s the softer version, found on the band’s first kids’ album, No!, and sometimes performed live; and then there’s metal-influenced the “adult version,” which one might call superior except that it relies, like an adorable set of salt and pepper shakers, on its counterpart.

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