throwback thursday: they might be giants

When I was in high school here in Houston, every Friday on 90.1 KPFT there was a radio show from 6 – 8am called Wake Up and Smell The Coffee. They played an eclectic mix of indie rock, pop and other weirdness both from local and national bands.

Another cool thing they did was had like 30 minutes of the show where people could call in a give a shout of to their friends. This is sort of a weird thing and sounds wholly uncool but we all thought it was pretty bad ass.

All my friends listened to the show and we always tried to call in a give a shout out to our other friends who listened. It was always a minor thrill to hear you friends on the radio giving you a shout out. Ah to be young again…

Anyway I would usually wake up a 6am and put a tape in my radio and hit record and then go back to bed. That way I got like the first 45 min or so on tape before I had to actually get up and get ready for school. And then when I got home I would listen to that tape a see what I got.

The one song I remembering getting was “Ana Ng” which proceeded to be stuck in my head for days.

If you don’t know They Might Be Giants they make a quirky indie pop goofiness that is hard to duplicate. There is no reason I should like this goofiness but somehow when they do it it works.

I followed TMBG a bit after this and but didn’t pay much attention after Flood. But to me, the Self Titled, Lincoln and Flood show a band in the prime of a period that could’ve only give rise to them.

This was before the 90’s took off but the new wave-ish sound of the 80’s was also on its way out. I guess what was left were literate nerds who could somehow craft a damn catchy song.

To see what I mean check out “Don’t Let’s Start” and “They’ll Need A Crane” but for now here is the one that started it all for me:


Another cool thing about TMBG was their dial a song thing. They would record songs on an answering machine and then you could call this Brooklyn phone number and hear the song. I never did it as my parents would’ve not been pleased with long distance calls on their phone bill. The slogan though was something like ‘Toll free when you call from work!’ or something like that. But since i didn’t have a job, i couldn’t call…

Today’s throwback thursday was written by Dan Sharber. He’s the oldest person we know who is willing to do this column…

  1. No Country said:

    Ironic that you post this today after the “Giants” (of San Francisco) threw a perfect game against Houston. Ha! Nice write up. Keep up the good work!

    • ha! a total coincidence i assure you. except i did happen to watch the local news last night and they talked about the game. so maybe i got in my head overnight… :)

      • This band brings back some pleasant memories! Thanks.

        • glad you like it. they will always bring back some pleasant memories for me too!

  2. Loved the nerd rock of the 80s. My fave was “Istanbul (not Constantinople)”.

    • yeah that was a classic too!


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