Nanobots (album)

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Nanobots
Studio album by They Might Be Giants
Released March 5, 2013
Recorded 2012 at Patrick Dillett's studio in Manhattan, Collyer Brothers Studio in Brooklyn, and The Governor's Bluff in Sullivan County
Genre Alternative rock, art pop
Length 44:47
Language English
Label Idlewild (US)
Lojinx (EU)
Breakaway (AU)
Producer Patrick Dillett
They Might Be Giants chronology
Album Raises New And Troubling Questions
(2011)
Nanobots
(2013)
Idlewild
(2014)
TMBG studio album chronology
Join Us
(2011)
Nanobots
(2013)

Nanobots is the 16th studio album from Brooklyn-based alternative rock group They Might Be Giants. Uncharacteristically for the band, the album's title comes from the second track, "Nanobots".[1] The album was released on March 5, 2013 on Idlewild Recordings — the band's independent imprint — with Megaforce Records in the US.[2][3] The album was also separately released on March 8 in Australia through Breakaway Records and on March 11 in Europe, through Lojinx.[4][5][6] One week before its physical release, Nanobots was released digitally for streaming in its entirety through the band's SoundCloud, announced by Rolling Stone.[7][8] Prior to this, "Call You Mom", "Black Ops" and "Lost My Mind" were released through the advance digital Nanobots EP in January 2013. The EP, released through Amazon.com and iTunes, was met with fairly positive responses.[9][10]

The album, which contains 25 tracks and runs approximately 45 minutes,[11] was recorded in Manhattan and produced by Patrick Dillett.[12] The relatively short run time is accounted for by the fact that the album includes many of what band member John Flansburgh describes as "extremely short songs". Flansburgh adds that "...the songs kind of stand alone. When you listen to the album alone, it has this manic pacing to it with the short songs. It makes for a different kind of listening experience."[13] John Linnell commented that these songs were naturally written as short songs to avoid over-populating them with unnecessary verses and choruses.[14] This distinguishes them from the "Fingertips" suite of songs under one minute long on Apollo 18, as those songs were written specifically with brevity in mind, and were described by Linnell as having been "hyper-arranged".[15]

Artwork for Nanobots was designed by Paul Sahre, using collages by artist Sam Weber.[16] Throughout the album artwork, four of Weber's collages are used: Ingres, Hansel, Jester(clown), and Blue Beard 2.[17] The same style was used for the promotional Nanobots EP. The collages were described by Christopher R. Weingarten for Spin as "Max-Ernst-gone-Saw".[18]

Promotion[edit]

Before the release of the full album, two tracks from the album were released digitally. "Call You Mom" and "You're on Fire" were made available through Rolling Stone and Stereogum, respectively, in the winter preceding the album's release.[19] A full week before the album's official release date, the entire album was also uploaded to TMBG's SoundCloud.[7] Further emphasizing the availability of free music via the Internet, the band also released a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The app, which is updated daily, allows the user to stream five They Might Be Giants tracks at a time.[20]

They Might Be Giants are currently touring in support of Nanobots. The tour includes shows in North America and Australia.[20] Through their online mailing list, the band has also indicated that they will be playing shows in the United Kingdom and Germany during the tour.[21]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 69 (8 reviews)[22]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[23]
Consequence of Sound 3/5 stars [24]
Paste (favorable)[25]
Robert Christgau (B+)

Nanobots has garnered generally positive reviews from critics. It has received an aggregate score of 69 (based on 8 reviews) on Metacritic.[22] Both Heather Phares, writing for Allmusic, and Steven Arroyo for Consequence of Sound indicated approval of the album's selection of tracks that run under a minute long. Reviewers also found Nanobots to be similar to some of the band's earlier material. In particular, the album was compared to Apollo 18, which featured "Fingertips", a series of 21 songs, almost all under 30 seconds long.[23][24] Longtime music critic Robert Christgau, writing as Expert Witness for MSN, described "Tesla" as "strong as‑-and more soulful than‑-anything in their catalogue", and also cited "Black Ops" and "Replicant" as highlights.[26]

The album debuted at #57 on the Billboard 200.[27] The album also spent a few weeks on the CMJ Radio 200 chart, peaking at #13 in April.[28]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "You're on Fire"   2:41
2. "Nanobots"   2:45
3. "Black Ops"   3:11
4. "Lost My Mind"   2:50
5. "Circular Karate Chop"   2:56
6. "Call You Mom"   3:06
7. "Tesla"   2:04
8. "Sleep"   0:42
9. "Stone Cold Coup d'Etat"   2:57
10. "Sometimes a Lonely Way"   2:40
11. "Destroy the Past"   0:16
12. "9 Secret Steps"   1:56
13. "Hive Mind"   0:06
14. "Decision Makers"   0:15
15. "Nouns"   0:17
16. "There"   0:09
17. "Insect Hospital"   1:30
18. "Tick"   0:11
19. "Replicant"   2:55
20. "The Darlings of Lumberland"   3:21
21. "Great"   0:52
22. "Stuff Is Way"   1:37
23. "Icky"   2:32
24. "Too Tall Girl"   2:34
25. "Didn't Kill Me"   0:31
Total length:
44:47

Australian bonus CD[edit]

The Australian CD, released through Breakaway Records, was packaged with a bonus disc containing seven live tracks.

No. Title Length
1. "Santa's Beard"   1:54
2. "Ana Ng"   4:10
3. "Careful What You Pack"   2:42
4. "Withered Hope"   3:16
5. "Judy Is Your Viet Nam"   1:31
6. "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"   6:18
7. "How Can I Sing Like A Girl?"   2:56
Total length:
21:47

Personnel[edit]

They Might Be Giants[29]
Backing band[29]
Additional musicians[29]
  • Stan Harrison – saxophone on "Call You Mom", saxophones, clarinets and flute on "The Darlings of Lumberland"
  • Jon Graboff – mandolin on "Hive Mind"
  • Jedediah Parish – vocals on "Decision Makers"
  • Chris Thompson – vibraphone on "Replicant" and "Too Tall Girl"
  • Robin Goldwasser – vocals on "You're on Fire", "Stone Cold Coup D'Etat", "There" and "Too Tall Girl"
Production[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flansburgh, John (2013-02-19). Interview with Joelle Albury. Jo & Cheech's Radio Hour. WRFR. Rockland, Maine.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "They Might Be Giants Seek Mother Figure on 'Call You Mom' – Song Premiere". Rolling Stone. 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  3. ^ Flansburgh, John (2013-02-09). Interview with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (MP3). Interview with Maxe Mazelis. Yoshi's Island. WRUV. Burlington, Vermont. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  4. ^ "They Might Be Giants on Lojinx". Lojinx. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  5. ^ "They Might Be Giants Release 'Nanobots'". Tom magazine. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  6. ^ "Nanobots". Amazon UK. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  7. ^ a b "Nanobots". Idlewild Recordings (SoundCloud). 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  8. ^ "They Might Be Giants Pack Mini-Jams Into 'Nanobots' - Album Premiere". Rolling Stone. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  9. ^ Suits Baer, Harrison (2013-01-24). "They Might Be Giants release preview EP for forthcoming album Nanobots". Beats per Minute. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  10. ^ Freed, Nick (2013-01-29). "Album Review: They Might Be Giants – Nanobots EP". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  11. ^ Flansburgh, John (2012-12-06). "Twitter / tmbg". Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  12. ^ Blistein, Jon (2012-11-16). "They Might Be Giants Q&A: In The Studio With The Nerd-Rock Kings". Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  13. ^ Block, Dustin (2013-02-07). "They Might Be Giants' Detroit memories: Bombing at St. Andrew's, following Skinny Puppy, and buying great records". MLive. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  14. ^ "They Might Be Giants Bio". Girlie Action. February 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  15. ^ Linnell, John. "The Weird and the Wired". Interview with Arthur Durkee. Night Sites and Sounds. August, 1992.
  16. ^ Weber, Sam (2013-01-22). "A big thank you to...". Tumblr. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  17. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. (2013-01-22). "Hear They Might Be Giants' Shifty 'Lost My Mind'". Spin. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  18. ^ Breihan, Tom (2013-02-21). "They Might Be Giants – "You’re On Fire" (Stereogum Premiere)". Stereogum. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  19. ^ a b Hall, Tara (2013-02-01). "They Might Be Giants prep for 'Nanobots' rising". SoundSpike. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  20. ^ "Mailing List Archive/2013-03-13". TMBG Mailing List. This Might Be a Wiki. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  21. ^ a b "Nanobots - They Might Be Giants". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  22. ^ a b Phares, Heather (2013-03-05). "Nanobots". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  23. ^ a b Arroyo, Steven (2013-03-05). "Album Review: They Might Be Giants – Nanobots". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  24. ^ Skidmore, Alex (2013-03-05). "They Might Be Giants: Nanobots". Paste. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  25. ^ "Professional weirdos". Expert Witness. 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  26. ^ "Nanobots". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  27. ^ "Bleached: ‘Ride’ The Lightning". CMJ. 2013-04-09. Retrieved 2013-06-17. 
  28. ^ a b c d Nanobots (Media notes). They Might Be Giants. Idlewild Recordings. 2013. 

External links[edit]