I don't think I've ever thought of them this way until now, but They Might Be Giants are models for me. Yes, I've listened to them for nearly 30 years now, and they remain one of my favorite bands, but what I'm talking about is something different from artistic merit or affinity.
Rather, it's how they've managed to keep a musical career going, and not just going, but spinning off into new and challenging ways long after the expiration date of most rock bands. There's the kids music, of course -- we'll get to that in a minute -- but there's the work-for-hire, the Instant Fan Club, Dial-A-Song Direct (a reboot of a 30-year-old idea featuring new songs and videos released weekly), and lots more, to say nothing of their artistic evolution.
I guess what I'm saying is that as someone hitting middle age (or who is there already), their constant evolution -- and artistic and what I'm presuming is some level of commercial success -- serves as some inspiration for how I should continue to approach my own life.
Having said all that, with the impending release of their new album Glean next week, they're turning their attention to their next 2015 album, which is reportedly a kids' album. (The band is definitely releasing a kids' album this year, it's only the timing that is not yet publicly known.) I've heard it rumored to be a sequel to No!, the freeform first kids music album from TMBG, as opposed to a sequel to any of the "Here Comes..." albums that followed. (Alas, no sign that Here Comes Political Science is becoming reality.)
We don't know much more -- and really, we don't know much at all -- but there is speculation/hope on the Dial-A-Song Direct page for the download and the YouTube page for the video that this track might be from the forthcoming kids' album. It wouldn't surprise me if that's the case. I don't want to spoil the song by describing it too much, but it features vocal interplay between John Flansburgh and John Linnell that I really only hear in their kids' stuff. Lyrically, it'll amuse older kids. And the glitchy, kid-friendly -- even the dog peeing is kid-friendly -- video for the song is directed by David Cowles and Jeremy Galante, who've co-directed other kids' videos (and non-kids videos) for the band.
Basically, we shouldn't assume that this is from the upcoming kids' album, but we shouldn't not assume that, either. Either way, fun stuff.
They Might Be Giants - "Thinking Machine" [YouTube]