Among the many things that made They Might Be Giants stand out from all the other “alternative rock” bands in the 1980s and 1990s was its Dial-A-Song service, a phone number fans could call to hear exclusive, low-fi TMBG recordings. These songs—a mixture of demos, covers, and otherwise unreleased experiments—were recorded onto an answering machine in John Flansburgh’s New York apartment, usually changing on a daily basis. The band kept Dial-A-Song alive more or less continuously from 1983 to 2006, when it was finally disconnected. The service was so much a part of TMBG lore that the group’s 2002 compilation album was titled Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants.
And now it’s coming back. They Might Be Giants has announced plans to revive Dial-A-Song “for all of 2015,” according to an e-mail sent to its fans and a brief, enigmatic teaser video posted to YouTube. Meanwhile, over on the band’s Tumblr, Flansburgh has said he’s even trying to reclaim the classic phone number (718-387-6962), which was purchased by other musicians in 2010. (“It’s not totally up to us!” he cautioned.) However, it appears that the primary platform for the new Dial-A-Song will be the Internet, where the band has promised to post new recordings “online, every Tuesday for the year.”