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They Might Be Giants on New Album BOOK and Heading Back on Tour: “Rest Assured, There Will Be Accordion”

The LP and its accompanying coffee table book arrive November 12th

they might be giants interview
They Might Be Giants, photo by Shervin Lainez
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    Few indie rock bands can claim the sheer breadth, longevity, and sustained creative inspiration as They Might Be Giants, whose body of work spans nearly four decades, twenty-plus albums, and many hundreds of songs. John Flansburgh and John Linnell’s storied discography includes alt-rock hits (“Birdhouse in Your Soul”), college-rock classics (“Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head”), and the occasional TV theme (“Boss of Me”).

    Their new album BOOK (out Friday, November 12th) goes in another new direction: Its 15 tracks are available on their own, or accompanied by a large hardcover lyric book, featuring original art connected to the new batch of songs, as well as selected pieces from their last few releases.

    As always, the songs stand alone; this group is less ornate than some of the band’s past compositions, with a stripped-down sound that nonetheless conveys a wide range of feelings: Pulsing anxiety, wry humor, and relatable disorientation, among others.

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    Ahead of release week, Consequence spoke with Linnell about BOOK, the band’s creative process, mixing pop with experimentation, and getting back on the road.


    They Might Be Giants has engaged in a lot of different multimedia projects over the years — albums, music videos, dial-a-song, your smartphone app, the children’s videos and albums — and I read that BOOK started as an outgrowth of a coffee-table retrospective book someone had suggested. What made you guys decide to go in this printed-art-object direction at this point in your career?

    John Linnell: You know, this is always the lead question, and unfortunately, it wasn’t my idea. [Laughs] I can’t exactly articulate what was going on, but John Flansburgh — if I can be so presumptuous — I think that he felt like there’s a lot of things now that bands put out that feel so ephemeral, because it’s all online and there generally isn’t a physical object anymore. People don’t even buy CDs anymore, or vinyl — although vinyl has become sort of a niche thing, as well, and we have put out a lot of vinyl recently.

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    I think John felt like it’d be nice to have a physical object, and then he expanded on that idea and thought, “How about a big-ass book? A 12-inch-by-12-inch hardcover would be nice, so that there’s room in the package for vinyl if somebody wants that, or it could just have the CD, or you could just download the music, but the book itself is very much of a tangible, physical object that people would like to have.” And also that you can’t pirate quite as easily. I suppose you could print your own copy. That would be a way to get a free copy.

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