Used to be bigger: They Might Be Giants
They Might be Giants’ trademark sound was a bellwether of toy box rock, moving the yardage posts of cool music to include string quartets, vari-speed vocals, saxophones and children’s melodies. The great triumph of 1992’s Apollo 11, for instance, is the song Fingertips, which pastes together two dozen or so choruses to create an epic Frankensong, defying everything anyone ever learned in songwriting school. Part of the band’s charm was in marrying abstract art with a real sense of fun, pushing electronic Dadaism face-first into the playground sand.
But times change, and sounds change with the times. Brooklyn, for instance, was once the spiritual home of They Might be Giants, and if you haven’t been there in years, you wouldn’t recognize America’s largest borough, now latted with hipster parents and miles of restaurants too sparkly to enter. (Illustration by Jori Bolton)