More kids' tunes on tap from They Might Be Giants

Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:50pm EDT
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By Monica Herrera

NEW YORK (Billboard) - On the heels of its best children's album Grammy win for "Here Come the 123's," alternative rock band They Might Be Giants is readying the release of another kid-centric set, "Here Comes Science." The New York-based group also is working on a new rock album that frontman John Flansburgh calls "less traditional."

The kids' album and an animated DVD will be released September 1 to Amazon and iTunes, and will be available elsewhere September 22, on the Idlewild/Disney Sound label.

"It's very much in the spirit of the band," Flansburgh told "The very pleasant side effects of doing kid stuff is that you can apply as much creative energy and just be as original as you want. Nobody's going to say, 'Well, that couldn't possibly work.' It's an open invitation to experimentation, and that is a great thing for us."

As evidenced by song titles like "Meet the Elements," "Photosynthesis," and "I Am a Paleontologist," "Here Comes Science" covers a wide spectrum of scientific subjects. Flansburgh and his bandmates -- co-founder John Linnell, Marty Beller, Dan Miller and Danny Weinkauf -- recruited Eric Siegel from New York Hall of Science, a children's museum in Queens, N.Y., to ensure that all the material was accurate. "We've never had to really fact-check anything before; it's not an impulse that I think anybody in a rock band meets with open arms," Flansburgh said.

As a result of this process, They Might Be Giants reworked one of its older songs, fan favorite "The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas."

"Eric looked at it and was like, 'Guys, this is just so wrong, I can't even explain,'" Flansburgh said. "So we actually constructed an answer song to ourselves called 'The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma.'"

Flansburgh also revealed that They Might Be Giants is working on a full-fledged rock album and eyeing a spring 2010 release. The band started recording in March and has finished eight tracks so far. "We were hitting it very hard like a month ago, and I think we'll reconvene in about a month and do the second half of it," he said.

At least two of the completed tracks are "very straightforward, pop-rock songs," but Flansburgh said the band is also experimenting with new musical directions. "We're kind of casting about for new ways of working," he said. "Our drummer Marty just got an electric drum kit, which sounds like we're going techno, but it's actually kind of the opposite -- it sort of sounds like Spike Jonze and Kraftwerk falling down the staircase together."   Continued...