On the last couple of tours you might have heard us performing "On The Drag"
or "They Got Lost" and talking about the "They Got Lost" rarities disc- well,
you can only get it at shows and on-line! And it's exactly this rarity that
makes it such a great gift. I have written some highly subjective personal
liner notes to the various songs to perhaps pique the interest of people who
haven't checked it out, and as an enhancement for the proud owners of this
So here's a highly subjective overview by of "They Got Lost"
Rest Awhile This is a highly rocking track
which really spotlights an extraordinary rhythm section. This
is the very first recording we did with Dan Hickey and probably
the last we did with bass legend Graham Maby (the mega-bass power
behind nu-waver Joe Jackson) before he got scooped away by Natalie
Merchant. It was also one of the first sessions we did at Coyote
Studio, and there was a very fun and easy vibe around this session.
Truth In Your Words This is one of my favorites
from the McSweeney's disc. Very new wave. Recorded and mixed within
a Malcolm In The Middle tracking session, although it's all machines
save for the electric guitars. I wish it was longer.
On the Drag You might remember this one from
the live show. We recorded a version of this for Factory Showroom
but it sounded kind of generic. At a later session at Coyote for
something else we pulled this one out and the track came back
All Alone This song was part of the ABC Nightline
series that we did. Our assignment was to write a song about a
germ that went to the moon and caused quite a bit of confusion
at NASA. This song contains a little more existential angst than
your average folk song, and probably more than was required.
Down to the Bottom of the Sea Another fine
miniature from the McSweeney's session. This track features both
JL and me tracking it up on the Korg "preset" synthesizer- a remarkably
sleazy device from the mid-70s that I bought in a pawn shop that
kinda simplifies the idea of a monophonic synthesizer into a pretty
straightforward ugly sound maker, and with the addition of the
guitars, it's a real contender for the most out-of-tune track
we've ever recorded.
I'm Sick (of this American life) We wrote and
recorded this in a single afternoon on a dare from Sarah Vowell
from This American Life while she waited at a coffee shop for
us to finish. She offered us money to write a song spontaneously,
as part of her report on Dial-A-Song, and, while we turned down
the dough, we rose to the bait and cooked this thing up. Nice
obvious use of some simple drum loops, and no bass instrument
in sight-which I find intriguing and pretty random. The lyrics
cannibalize some of what was going to become "Cyclops Rock" probably
because they were sitting around at the moment.
Words Are Like My second favorite track on
the disc. The lyrics are a total dreamscape. That's Robin "Goldie"
Goldwasser doing a top-quality "Levon-Helms-asleep-at-the-drums"
imitation and on harmony vocal. This was our little Americana-tribute
for the "Battle of the Bands" project we cooked up for TMBG Unlimited
last year. Again-drums and no bass.
I Am a Human Head This song was recorded for
"No!" but came across too adult in the end. Dan Miller delivers
some nice guitar work.
Oranges We cooked up this song as an accompaniment
to a cool web site designed by The Chopping Block (the fine folks
who've designed Mink Car, No! and a lot of our web stuff.)
Empty Bottle Blues (instrumental) We put most
of this track together electronically for a Malcolm session, and
then set trumpet player Jim O'Connor loose on it. I remember instructing
him to keep it as simple and bluesy as possible, basically in
keeping with the simplicity of the track, and he still cooked
up this wild and sophisticated part. He also harmonized it in
a most excellent way in the second half of the song.
They Got Lost Our title track is vibey tour-de-force
of TMBG Mk II. Eric Schermerhorn and I worked out some nice interwoven
guitar parts, and the lyric of the song is the universal touring
Reprehensible A cool song that fell between
the cracks. This song features the sound of the Mellotron (actually
from a sampler) that was a primitive version of sampling created
in the 60s. The "horn section" is actually created by playing
a chord on an electronic keyboard, but instead of a piano or organ
sound you get the sound of a saxophone, or in this case, the sound
of a very old-fashioned, melodramatic, vibrato-laded sax with
a tone more from the 40s than from the 60s when it was recorded.
Rat Patrol This song cause quite a bit of division-even
among those within the inner sanctum of TMBG. The effect of Linnell's
very twitchy vocal is further heightened when I come in with my
personal caterwauling. We can't really justify this track. We're
just grateful it's finally on a CD.
The Army's Tired Now An abstract version of
an antiwar song. The spare extended instrumental opening adds
something haunting to the track. I think this song was originally
more on the Neil Young side of the good ship Rock, but this recording
goes to show how an octave bass part and a sleighbell really can
make anything sound like "Pet Sounds" (which is a good thing).
Certain People I Could Name A piano driven
song with subtle charm from the Factory Showroom era. Don't really
know how this got put aside, but I suspect it was probably more
due to its mid-tempo than its high quality.
Theme to McSweeney's #6 (instrumental) Linnell
"switches on" to something with this highly filigreed instrumental.
Dollar for Dollar A mini-track from McSweeney's
of maximum charm.
Mosh Momken Abadon (instrumental) Another JL
instrumental, only this is actually a cover of an Egyptian pop
Token Back to Brooklyn This is actually a hidden
track on one of our albums, but I'm not going to tell you how
or where it is hidden.
Disappointing Show This is from a live show
at Columbia University in NYC. We had a new stage tech (for one
day) who neglected to plug anything in before we walked on stage-
leading to perhaps the most humbling show start of our humbling
careers. Things went downhill from there with power failures and
electronic disasters. This spontaneously written song captures
the magic of the disappointment!
Oranges Testimonial A little spoken word piece
about how much we love the Chopping Block. Ultimately as unimportant
as the previous track, but we think it is worth saving from rock