Veteran rock duo They Might Be Giants will return July 10 with their first new "rock" album in three years, "The Else." The 13-track Idlewild/Zoe/Universal release was produced by the Dust Brothers, who previously worked with the group on a 1993 remix of "Snail Shell."
"We came up with a couple of ways of working," TMBG principal John Linnell tells Billboard.com. "We got loops from them early in the process, a huge collection of their delightful drum loops. That's how we started a bunch of the tracks. Then they came to New York and helped us re-assess stuff we'd written and demoed on our own. There's a third of the songs which they were not involved with, but we wanted to be of a piece with the rest of the record."
"Withered Hope" and "Upside Down Frown" were written over the aforementioned drump loops, while "Take Out the Trash" was got the Dust Brothers treatment later in the process. "I'm Impressed" is one of the songs featuring just Linnell and collaborator John Flansburgh, "but it reflects working with (the Dust Brothers)," Linnell says. "It sounds like it belongs on this record as opposed to a record from a few years ago."
Another new song, "The Cap'm," sports "a loop of a stadium rock crowd clapping along rhythmically," according to Linnell. "It's underneath the entire song but you only hear it at certain moments." It also features a stylophone, a rare '60s-era keyboard that can be heard on David Bowie's "Space Oddity." "I own two of these and they're both broken at this point," says Linnell. "They sound like nothing else."
TMBG will spend two weeks in May previewing new material on the road, beginning May 3 in Newmarket, N.H. "The general plan is to be really, really on tour in the fall in a bus," Linnell reports.