Letterman, Stereogum exclusive, Record release

Apes of Wrath,
So you were watching Letterman Monday night, and it was getting late, sure, and you had to trot off to work the next morning (quite literally trot, if you live in NYC), but you were loving the comedic bits, the witty barbs, that Dave’s hand doctor brought to the table, and then Jim Carey came on and you hadn’t seen him in a while so you steeled yourself against exhaustion and stayed up, and yeah, he’s still got the touch, he was pretty funny, especially when he started manically high-kicking from a seated position, and it was good to hear about his new film, and you enjoyed the clip, and when his interview ended you were happy to have checked in with him and you flicked off the TV and slouched off to bed. What you bed-happy dummies missed:
We Are Scientists Explode Into National Fame on Letterman, Somewhat Timidly, Sure, But With Obvious Goodwill (.wmv)
We know, we know, we look a little stiff, a little reigned in. The fact is, gentle bastards, we were nervous. Give us a break. It was our first time playing for more than a million people. Lasting impressions, you ask? Cold. Blinding, awful cold. Well, not quite that cold, but the set is kept at 48 degrees fahrenheit, per Dave’s directive. And, as anyone who’s seen us live knows, we can only really play at 53 degrees fahrenheit.
Dying for more W.A.S. in a tiny window on your computer? Oh, you really are? Go to Stereogum and take an exclusive look at the It’s a Hit video we made this summer for inclusion on the DVD (available late Spring). It’s funny, this video. Funny in a way that kind of says ‘fuck you’ to the viewer, sure, but still pretty funny.
As to the big-budget, full-bore-no-mistakes-multilayered-rat-attack It’s a Hit video that we shot a few weeks ago, we were happy to hear that MTV2 in the UK and Europe has begun playing it with the kind of frequency that would make you think we’re paying them to do so. (Which of course we are.) If you don’t live in the UK or Europe, then not seeing that video is the least of your worries, but some comfort may be got by watching the preview we made.
And don’t forget, shoppers: coming up very soon, definitely too late for Christmas, is our fine album, With Love & Squalor. Our recommendation is that you set aside at least one CD that you receive as a gift this Holiday Season and, in the second week of January, take it back to Best Buy or Tower or wherever and exchange it for With Love & Squalor. That second or third copy of X&Y that you get from your Aunt is a great candidate for this program.
Anyway, With Love & Squalor is out January 10th in the U.S. Here are some dates for those of you living in other parts of the mall: France/January 10, Germany/March 4, Rest of Europe/February 27, Japan/February 22, Australia/February 5, New Zealand/February 27.
We write “in other parts of the mall”, and you’re thinking, “Man, get a load of these idealistic cynic-type guys,” but you’ve got us wrong. We’re not suggesting that the world is, like, one big consumer dome, minus North Korea. (Not that the world isn’t a big consumer dome — we just wouldn’t know cuz when we travel we’re always in the goddamn van.) Our point is more that it’s kind of odd that the CD is coming out at different times in different countries when economies, at least for things like music, are so tightly connected, even indistinguishable. Especially if you’re talking about digital music (and who isn’t? Prez Bush downloaded his millionth song from iTunes on Monday!), it’s difficult to understand how staggering release dates can work. It would literally be like a CD coming out on one day at the Sam Goody, and months later at the Tower Records at the other end of the mall, and then even a couple of weeks after that at the little food-court CD kiosk. People’s eyebrows? They would be raised.


Recently we did two weeks of touring through Europe. Over the course of this time we became more and more aware that, as often as not, the people we were having conversations with weren’t speaking English. Most of the time we circumvented the problem by drawing simple pictures on chalkboards we kept hanging from our necks. But every once in a while a person has a message he needs to communicate, and the message is so important, so specific, that it has to be conveyed using language. On such occasions, we were usually able to brute-force our way through astride the back of our limited but determined German, our flighty French, or our one year-old baby’s Italian. But — it often occurred to us — wouldn’t it be nice to have on hand a few grammatically flawless phrases? Just a set of elegant, idiomatically-up-to-date queries and responses that we could use in navigating some of the issues common to a touring musician? Providing just such a succinct and workmanlike lexicon is exactly what those nifty yellow phrasebooks do, of course; but those books turn out to be almost useless in talking one’s way through a Dutch soundcheck, or in buying bass strings at a Parisian music shop, or in bantering between songs to an Italian audience. So we’ve endeavored to create a phrasebook for foreign bands coming to the the U.S., one that tailors to the specific needs of a touring musician. May you escape the embarrassment that we wore like itchy woolen long-johns through the bulk of our foreign travels!
This list is intended for people who have a basic but limited command of conversational English. We haven’t included the French, German, Italian, or Spanish translations for these phrases, the idea being that you probably have enough English to understand what the phrases mean, you just don’t have enough English to formulate things as elegantly and accurately as we’ve done here. By memorizing these sentences, you’ll be able to tour America and not only get your message across, but also impress hosts and listeners alike with your perspicuity and wit. Even native English speakers will listen to your sophisticated grammar jealously.
The car-gas middles. Do you max the tank and post a sentry on the oil level? Please.
Our round-rubber popped and flayed. Do you vend his brother in type and size?
The direction of the washroom is, fill in the blank.
Do you give me the fifth most powerful value meal and a Coke to clean it off the inside of my neck.
There are to be one and one and one rooms, one called Cain, one called Murray, one called Tapper. Two are the two man, and one is the one man, it is said to be. Do you need to touch my passport? I use the force of this credit card to circle and detain all three rooms.
What phase is breakfast? The question of whether it is bundled in the lodge pay.
Can I get another blanket? Embittered by cold, ravaged by temperature-fear, raped by frost, raped by ice-air, I.
This bill gives me an idea. Do you check the pull of the math to assure all is flush?
This chips and this Cokes strike deficient comparison with some facts we lodge in our contract to you. Who or where is the rider? Tell your god to send beer.
The guarantee was two times hundred with fifty, not uni-hundred with seventy-five. Call your god.
Do I not hear my voice from this monitor lizard. Do you now impress my voice upon me? I still hearn’t — do you make it faster. Faster.
We will write the next song while in heat over a girl. She then was killed in our minds, but still the song.
Hello, leisurely [name of city]! What’s the deal? Who’s up for it? What’s the deal, [name of city]? How is it? Who wants a deal? What is it? Who can make a deal? Who is it? Where is it? What is it?
This song is called [song name]. When you don’t dance to it, your life is a wing-sheet of pain. When not a wing-sheet, then blur your tube-sacs in motion.
The last song is now, when I finish wording. Tonight has changed our thought about you, which we doubted. Never home, but this is our home! What is it? Who wants a deal?
To us, music fills wheat with meaning. It is slick. If you drop a pebble through a pond top, [host name], you have caused the spreading, you have ramified the rounded grid that then the fish can move underneath and against.
The lyrics are endrenched with politics after real life is endrenched with politics.
If dogs have chased you, then do you not wear cats, you hear? It’s a simple motion, but sometimes you forgot. To also say it is that if you wear wood, do you not wear the overcoat of flame or the crown of flame and gas.
Vast steaks you see. You hear? And whistle the forest, Jack Frost! Big battle bats bat across a vast forest whistle… Do you mark time on physical beats! On fiscal beats! Or whistle beasts! Yesterday I brunch with that inchoate elderly, and does he signal his whistle rudely, and do I pierce and whine, but come what feasts of vast steak! A peace-gate. A certain nutrition, fiscal and vast. Red tardy debt.
Do you speak French/German/Spanish/Dutch/Italian?

Barnaby, Tom & Bryn, Matthew, Pants & Mill, Nansi, Charlie Brown

name: Barnaby
query: Lovely scientists, there is a full moon tonight and I am without anything silver. I do however have a copper penny with Abe Lincoln’s head on it. I have also put on a fake mustache to attempt to fool them into thinking I am one of them. What should I do to keep the werewolvses away?
You have to act fast. First, glue together a small man out of toothpicks. Now glue Abe Lincoln’s coppery head on there. Now glue the fake mustache onto the toothpicks so that Abe Lincoln appears to be wearing a werewolf-fur coat. Now put this guy on the other side of town from where you intend to hang out tonight.
name: Tom and Bryn
query: if you’re going downtown (which is about 5 miles away), how long would it take to get there on a bus on a rainy day?
also have you seen wallace and gromit yet?

It will take you three minutes to get downtown, because buses travel one hundred miles per hour in the rain, because bus drivers think that police radar doesn’t work in the rain. You say to yourself, “Isn’t it dangerous, driving that fast in the rain?” Well, yes, but you don’t take the bus for a safe, conservative ride, you take it to see what’s going to happen that day on the bus.
name: Matthew
query: I’ve just found out that you’re album is out in my homeland (U.K.). Usually I buy albums the day they come out, just so I can prove to my friends that I’m infinitely more scene than they are, but now, I’ve lost that privaledge. What can I do?
You have three options. First, you can travel back in time and get the album on the day it comes out; a corollary sub-option here is to send a message back in time to your October 17th self and urge him to buy the album — tell him his very scenicness is at stake. Second, you can buy the album today, then launch an elaborate campaign to convince your peer group that purchasing albums exactly 8 weeks after they come out is scene’s ne plus ultra. Third, you can cut up all your friends and find a new set of friends with whom to begin meticulously building a positive scene rating. As the first two options are completely impracticable, we recommend the third option, except legally. In a legal sense, we recommend pursuing the first option. But yeah, no, do the third thing.
name: pants and mill
query: wat do i do. thers this lad i fanci. an he dunt evan no hu i am. my frend pants nos him. but i wnt to get to no im too. wat do i do? u see….im a year younger than him aswell, so it makes it evan harder to try an see im. how can i get im to notice me?
You have but three options. First, you can invent time travel. That will definitely get this dude’s attention. A corollary sub-option here is to successfully send a message back through time to, say, the him of two months ago — maybe just a note saying “Hey! It’s me, Mill! From Simple Tools Making class! Just wanted to say ‘Hi’, but from the very near future!” He will be fucking flabbergasted probably. Second, you can launch an elaborate campaign to convince his peer group that when it comes to people worth knowing, you are the ne plus ultra. Getting an introduction with you will then become the primary goal not only of this dude, but of the other guys he hangs out with, whom you may ultimately find to be more satisfying, attentive lovers, even if they lack all of dude’s flashy equipment. Third, you can kill your objet’s family; this will put you all over his radar, for all of time. As the first two options are completely impracticable, we recommend the third option, except legally. Legally, we recommend you just walk up to the fucking dude and say “Hey! I’m Mill! We’re in Simple Tools together, right?”
name: Nansi (aka pants)
query: thers a lad i fancy at skul. he is givin really wierd signals. he uses lots of txts on me. hmmmm. i dnt no. he fancies some one else apparantly. but i dont think i believe him. all his m8s think he likes me tho. hes a year older than me and a lot taller. ive got cystic fibrosis. do you think my illness could be a part of him not wanting to go out with me?
Your first step is to assure the object of your affection that cystic fibrosis isn’t contagious. He sounds like an ignorant sonofabitch, so the possibility of contracting your malady is definitely something he’s stewing over — not in those words, of course. No, he’s thinking, “Her sick make him sick? Like porcupine make Flash sick when him play on porcupine?”
Once you strip away the naked terror he’s been feeling toward you, the wooing process can begin. Start by giving him treats — crackers, pretzels, those little Pounce succulents for cats. This causes him to think of you as “friend”. The next and final step is to rescue him from danger — take him to the hospital when he’s sick, push him out of the way of a careening rainy-day bus, maybe even have one of your friends anonymously kidnap him; then you heroically storm the dilapidated old house, lower a bucket into the pit and pull him out, rush him to the hospital and get his wounds closed up and get him hydrated. If you can make him feel that you’ve saved his life, he’ll be permanently grateful to you, all the way down to his bones. It’s that kind of aching-heart, weak-kneed gratitude that makes for a hell of a nice romance.
name: charlie brown =)
query: yeahh..i need your lyrics!! bought your album today. its amazing, but i have this thing for the lyrics..so i can sing along =D so where can i get them? and i WANT my lip pierced..my dad said no, mum said yeah (i hatee it when that happens) and its my birthday soon…can you think of a way i can persuade him?
You’re going to feel pretty foolish about this lyrics thing when we tell you that they’ve been right in front of you the whole time. You see, they’re on the album that you bought — that’s actually what Keith’s singing the whole time! The lyrics!
You’ve probably just scampered off to pop the CD into your boom box and get to work learning those lyrics, but in case you’re still reading, here’s what you do about the lip piercing thing, because yeah, you’d better goddamn well believe we know how you can persuade him. Here’s the thing: there’s a certain type of dad who thinks that jewelry is just fuckin dumb, especially on boys, especially lip piercings. Sounds like you maybe drew this exact dad. What he wants is for you to be “normal” — “normal” as defined by what boys looked like and acted like way back when he was your age. Which leaves you with three options.


Kudos. “Drop your business card INN to be entered into our monthly prize draw.” Bam. It’s a firm pun — relevant, classical, yet timely. Probably doesn’t hurt business, either. Along those lines, though, mightn’t the Premier Travel Inn folks be even better served by something like this? You can’t really push the brand too hard, I feel.