Album ass: TMBG style. I was beside myself when news of They Might Be Giants’ 1996 album, Factory Showroom would (finally) be released on vinyl. Quickly snatching one up, I fell into my chair looking at a 12″ display of what was, to my experience at the time, the CD’s back cover. Countless pizza deliveries were made listening to this album, and many a red light were spent matching the artfully displayed tracklist to the appropriate track number. Metal Detector, James K. Polk, and the personal favorite, Till My Head Falls Off were, and are classic, late 90s jams. (Takes a deep breath.) Thank you, Asbestos Records!
The Avatars of They, before they were so known, switched from a quirky, two-piece, drum machine-heavy outfit to a full-fledged live ensemble with their fifth full length, 1994’s John Henry. One of only two TMBG CDs owned by yours truly back in High School, John Henry was on par with the critically, and fan, acclaimed Flood, their 1990 offering, for reasons, upon initial spinning, that are glaringly apparent.
Released on vinyl for the first time (on Asbestos Records), John Henry was one of the last remaining “need to own on vinyl” albums on my “never released on vinyl” wishlist. Thankfully, opportunity, and an understanding SO, allowed for this double LP to (finally) come home.
So much personal grief has been filtered through these 20 tracks, with specific, loathing, heartbroken attention diligently paid to A Self Called Nowhere. It’s exceptionally difficult to listen to this lamenting track and not picture the narrowing walls of my basement bedroom, all the while desperately (and at times violently) seeking any form of alleviation from the inevitable pains of one’s first breakup. A Self Called Nowhere was my internal theme for far too many weeks, and it helped to push me through an experience that callused my nerves like the fallout of first relationships are rightfully meant to do.