And yeah, go ahead and listen along, if you’d like; I did while I was writing this. Album: There’s a Riot Going On (2018) Kaplan sounds in disbelief that the person he used to think about all the time is now a part of his life, and although it’s easy to assume he’s literally singing about his wife and bandmate, the lyrics are both universal enough and non-committal enough to apply to almost any sort of relationship. “No matter what I’m writing about, I always feel like I’m talking to Georgia and James. “Cornelia and Jane” is a showcase for her heart-breaking voice, which is Yo La Tengo’s greatest instrument. If you could somehow play a guitar through quicksilver it might sound like this. Yo La Tengo’s second EP in recent months finds them resuming their covers jukebox niche, weaving together selections as unlikely as a 1940s blues oddity and as recognizable as a … Since forming in 1984, this trio has remained one of indie music's most reliably lovable bands. Painful was an important milestone for the band, though, and not just because it was their highest profile release at the time or their first sustained artistic success. Close. “Barnaby, Hardly Working” is a beautiful droning pop song and the best original the band recorded in the 1980s. I hope people in 2018 know who Tortoise are. Fakebookis mostly an album of covers but one of its few originals is also one of the band’s most beloved songs. “Nothing to Hide” is pure bubblegum buried deep beneath guitar fuzz, and one of the most infectious songs the band has ever written. The original album version is a big, anthemic rock song, something you blast from your car with the windows down or pump your fists along to at a concert. The typical Kaplan guitar solo takes the sort of guitar lines you’d expect from a traditional pop song and turns them into free-jazz skronk. Unlike “Big Day Coming”, it’s a toss-up as to which one’s better. If you could somehow play a guitar through quicksilver it might sound like this. The subtle electronics of the song build up like a volcano until the roof of it pops off. “More Stars Than There Are in Heaven”, 12. Our top ten Yo La Tengo songs. It’s not just the room that got heavy—the multiple organ parts in this song are thick, unrelenting blasts of sound smothering the polyrhythms kicked up by a stripped-down drum set and some hand percussion. The series of albums between 1993’s Painful and 2000’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out is almost flawless and saw Yo La Tengo grow and challenge themselves in surprising ways. Listen free to Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs (Here to Fall, Avalon or Someone Very Similar and more). Okay, maybe I’m biased toward the epics and blow-outs. Genres: Indie Rock, Noise Pop, Dream Pop. They had experimented with noise in the past, but this was the album where they truly started to integrate their folk tendencies with their noise explorations. Just over three years ago, I wrote about Yo La Tengo’s 20 best songs. 2009’s “More Stars Than There Are in Heaven” might have the strongest such influence, and more than anything else in the band’s repertoire sounds like something that could be on a My Bloody Valentine album. Read: If There’s Really a Riot Going On, Yo La Tengo Aren’t Saying What It Is. 4 years ago. Its tone and production resembles Summer Sun, but with more of a spark to it—instead of feeling overproduced and relatively listless, as that album did, it’s endearingly and quizzically shaggy, proudly wearing its improvisational inspiration on its sleeve. They reached an early peak with “I Heard You Looking,” the final song on 1993’s Painful, and a piece they still regularly play at concerts today. (1) Spin-The-Wheel (1) Spinning Wheel Tour (2) Stuff Like That There (1) Stuff Like That There (Acoustic with Dave Schramm) (39) Summer Sun (1) Georgia Hubley’s voice might be flat but it isn’t affectless. Swans! The restraint is remarkable, especially since Kaplan routinely plays guitar like he’s one of those weird air-balloon creatures at a used car sale. REMASTERED IN HD! Sadly One Direction’s song of the same name isn’t a cover. I don’t know if “Drug Test” was a college radio hit in 1989 but it should’ve been. Bassist James McNew, who has released a few albums of tender four-track pop under the name Dump, first took lead on a Yo La Tengo album with “Stockholm Syndrome.” The concert favorite is a warm and tightly written look at romantic confusion, sung with McNew’s Neil Young-ish high-pitched sigh of a voice. But what makes it great is Hubley’s background vocals. Album: Painful (1993) The discography of Yo La Tengo, an indie rock band based in Hoboken, New Jersey, consists of fifteen studio albums, six compilation albums, fifteen extended plays, twenty two singles, two film score albums, four collaborative albums, and one album of cover songs. The solo on “Pablo and Andrea” is surprisingly straight-forward, and almost has the lilt of a pedal steel. It’s not like it celebrates drugs, though when Kaplan sings “I wish I was high,” he’s depressed, nerdy and resigned, interested less in feeling good than in not feeling bad anymore. At the moment “For You Too” has made the best impression; sure, it’s the closest to a conventional pop song on the record, but like “Little Eyes,” it brings a sense of structure and motion to a record that otherwise threatens to drift away. It’s the kind of slow-burn grower where the songs I love most today, at release, could very easily not be the songs I love most months or years from now. The first song on the record, which fans call the slow “Big Day Coming”, is a long, slow, hypnotic lullaby built around a circular organ melody, Kaplan’s whispered vocals and tasteful guitar feedback. (For accuracy’s sake it could’ve been called “one man’s 20 favorite Yo La Tengo songs,” but that wouldn’t work as well on Google.) 24 below), “False Alarm” is another rhythm-heavy, overdriven organ jam, with Kaplan pounding out the indie-rock equivalent of Cecil Taylor’s nontraditional piano chords over Hubley and McNew’s steady rhythms. It’s a lengthy, swirling, two-chord drone with barely whispered vocals from Kaplan. He never got a response. Album: Popular Songs (2009) And they do it all with the same level of proficiency, confidence and humility. Freewheeling Yo La Tengo (1) I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (3) Lollapalooza 1995 (1) Maquinaria Festival (1) Painful (1) Popular Songs (21) Reinventing the Wheel tour (4) Save Lounge Ax! Unlike “Big Day Coming,” it’s a toss-up as to which one’s better. After a few fine but faceless college rock albums in the 1980s, Yo La Tengo revealed a masterful ability to unite melody and noise near the end of the decade. Albums include I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, and Painful. While the cover songs and Schramm's curling guitar might resemble the folk-tinged quartet that debuted with a self-released single in 1985, Yo La Tengo have been many places in … In the original version of this list I wrote that Painful is where their “disparate influences congealed into a fully formed style of the band’s own, from early ‘60s folk and pop to the post-Velvets diaspora of noise and punk,” and that’s still a good summation. It might sound weird to commend the restraint of a band that’s partially known for very long jams and almost comical contortions during Kaplan’s unhinged guitar solos, but there’s always been a strong streak of restraint running through the band, and “Our Way to Fall” is a fantastic example of that. There’s not a lot of common ground between the two songs on Electr-O-Pura subtitled “Hot Chicken.” Whereas “Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)” is a pulsing rock dirge with bursts of noise, “Don’t Say a Word” is an aching love song with almost wordless vocals from Hubley and no percussion. The music sounds cool and distant but Kaplan’s voice and words are warm and seductive. The band’s first decade saw a constantly shifting line-up around the core of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, the guitarist and drummer who share songwriting and singing duties. It’s been 25 years since Fakebook, the record where Yo La Tengo first released this song. Album: Fade (2013) Okay, maybe I’m biased towards the epics and blow-outs. Album: Fakebook (1990) Fakebook is mostly an album of covers but one of its few originals is also one of the band’s most beloved songs. There’s no wall of feedback, or anything, but gossamer webs of sound that pulse around a staccato bassline and muted drums. “Sugarcube” might be the band’s most perfectly crafted pop song. Yo La Tengo occupy an interesting place in the world of indie rock, and I state this fully aware of the precarious implications of the term “the world of indie rock.” By all accounts, it is too vague to mean anything at all, though perhaps that’s why it’s a fitting term to frame Yo La Tengo. The first few times you hear it you may not even register it as a pop song, but it’s a brilliantly fractured take on the kind of restrained, earnest, fundamentally mature-sounding love song that Yo La Tengo have explored many times. There’s nothing flashy here but it’s one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. 1 year ago. It’s a lengthy, swirling, two-chord drone with barely whispered vocals from Kaplan. Popular Songs, an Album by Yo La Tengo. The video for this short pop blurt starred the now-defunct lo-fi faves Times New Viking masquerading as Yo La Tengo, which made perfect sense: At a time when incredibly noisy, incredibly catchy pop songs were making a major comeback among the record collector set, Yo La Tengo whipped up “Nothing to Hide” to remind everybody that they’d perfected this particular type of song decades before. It starts with Hubley’s soft voice in “Decora” floating atop a wash of guitar that has enough distortion and tremolo on it to pass for something off Loveless. Shakers, handclaps and Hubley’s mechanical drumming keep the ship afloat and rhythmically enriched. Album: Painful (1993) She can devastate without overemoting and while barely budging off a note. It sounds a bit like the somber, ghostly folk music of Jackson C. Frank, but with some muted organ drones and high bass notes keeping it aloft. It’s a wordless journey as cathartic as any song with vocals, and has both the loose charm of improvisation and the smartly designed structure of a pop song. “From a Motel 6” might have a downmarket name but it seems “classy” in a way most of the band’s stuff isn’t, like it should soundtrack a Virgin Air flight or a W Hotel lobby. These aren’t complaints, though, as it’s a classic rocker and a winning stylistic exercise. Yo La Tengo burst back after 2003’s middling Summer Sun with one of their most powerful jams ever. “Blue Line Swinger” almost sums up a 30 year career in just under 10 minutes, starting off fragile and indecisive before growing into a committed roar, with the band’s full complement of tricks— Hubley’s beautifully flat vocals, a freak-out solo, organ drones, “baa baa baas”— supporting a timeless riff.
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