They Might Be Giants

Long popular in the rock world, John Flansburgh and John Linnell are now big with kids too

Erin Patrice O'Brien for TIME

Linnell, left, and Flansburgh with the on-camera alter egos that appear on their videos.

INDIE HITS Want a hot idea for a popular rock song? How about one that deals with mammalian metabolism? No? What about particle physics or James K. Polk? Such improbable topics have made They Might Be Giants a phenomenon in the indie-rock world for more than 20 years--and that same sense of curiosity and ingenuousness is now making them just as popular with kids.

The core members of the band based in Brooklyn, N.Y.--John Flansburgh and John Linnell, both 48--may have toughened their hides in the same unglamorous venues that all indie groups do, but they brought with them a gentler...

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