If you HATE Yo La Tengo, you may want to avoid this site for a little while......I've been thinking of doing some more ultra posts such as this, as much work as they are, the results are usually favorable.....The Stranglers, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Roxy Music, Queens of the Stone Age and others are among the bands that I have TONNES of stuff from and have not profiled.......we will see, but I've been promising this Yo La Tengo for a while.......if you have any boots of YLT by any chance, send em along, If I don't already have em, you bet they'll be included!
Shall we begin? Formed in the mid 1980's in Hoboken New Jersey, the band shuffled through a fw lineup changes before settling in 1992 on Ira Kaplan on vocals, guitar, and piano; Georgia Hubley on drums, piano, and vocal, and bassist/vocalist James Mc New.
The origin of thier name is quite humorous as a sports fan, so I think I will copy the Wikipedia paragraph about it in its entirety:
Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley formed the band as a husband/wife duo in 1984. They chose the name "Yo La Tengo" (Spanish for "I have it"; or referring to a female-gender object or person, also "I've Got Her") in an effort to avoid any connotations in English. The name came from a baseball anecdote. During the 1962 season, New York Metscenter fielderRichie Ashburn and Venezuelan shortstop Elio Chacón found themselves colliding in the outfield. When Ashburn went for a catch, he would scream, "I got it! I got it!" only to run into Chacón, who spoke only Spanish. Ashburn learned to yell, "¡Yo la tengo! ¡Yo la tengo!" instead. In a later game, Ashburn happily saw Chacón backing off. He relaxed, positioned himself to catch the ball, and was instead run over by left fielder Frank Thomas, who understood no Spanish and had missed a team meeting that proposed using the words "¡Yo la tengo!" as a way to avoid outfield collisions. After getting up, Thomas asked Ashburn, "What the hell is a Yellow Tango?
OK, so anyway, after a series of singles (including a B-side of Love's "A House is Not a Motel",
which appears on the first album "Ride the Tiger" (1986) (on the extended CD bonus version, as presented here).....it also includes a Kinks cover, and some unexpectedly quirky trombone/saxaphone playing.......it sold me when I first heard it way back then, this is a good debut, tuneful, funny, quirky, and unusual.......one of the more underappreciated albums of the 1980's.
The seconed album was even better, "New Wave Hot Dogs" (rereleased with "President Yo La Tengo" making a fine super-CD. There is a fine Lou Reed cover ("It's Alright"), as well as spectacular originals, "Clunk", "House Fell Down", and more, and the addition of "President Yo La Tengo" gives us more gems such as the long "The Evil That Men Do" (there are TWO versions of this song here, as you may recall it also apeared on "Ride the Tiger".....very typical moves from YLT) and the weird addition of "The Asparagus Song" ......essential for my money.
Next up came "Fakebook", which is mostly a covers set (but, as before, they "Cover" thier own "Barnaby, Hardly Working")......and the cover material, from sources as essoteric as Cat Stevens, The Flamin Groovies, Gene Clark and John Cale, THIS is how you make a cover album (you know I LOATHE slavish cover versions, these versions belong totally to Yo La Tengo.
Along came 1993, and yet another Yo La Tengo album ("Painful")......very different from any of thier previous works, this is much more shoe-gaze, trippy stuff, I almost want to compare to Mazzy Star but that sounds a little silly.......they are still an ORIGINAL. There are two very different versions of "Big Day Coming", as well as my favorite, "From a Motel Six"...........underrated album as well.
This is the life of a cult band.......try this, try that, try anything, those who LOVE YOU will groove on anything you do, while 99% of music fans will get your name wrong ("Yo La TENGO not TANGO (They even make fun of THAT a bit later on))......and if ever modern times gave us a great cult band it was Yo La Tengo.
"Electro Pura" appeared in 1995 and was another critic's fave, and deservedly so......they continued to
grow, to change, but NEVER to lost thier unique identity......I wouldn't agree, but I know some who rank this as thier favorite Yo La Tengo album.......plenty of good stuff here tough, "Bitter End" and "Blue Line Swinger" are a couple of the more memorable for myself.
It gets stale just telling you how great each subsequent release is, but what am I to do........"I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One", is a great one as well, this album was and remains today a HUGE critical favorite, and it's way easy to see why........because it's great.........perhaps the trippy "Damage" is for you.....if not, maybe the beautiful "Autumn Sweater".......the obligatory "long" one here is "Spec BeBop", ten minutes of electro-psych.......and let us not forget thier goofball cover of "Little Honda"......five star album from THIS "critic", no doubt about it.
Next album "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out" experimented with a lot of simple, quieter songs, some of which work ("Everyday" for example, is a nice one), but not forgetting that they ARE You La Tengo, there is plenty of noisy killer rock here, notably the 17 minute closer "Night Falls on Hoboken"........while it deosn't quite measure up to it's predecessor, this is a great album as well in it's own right, one that I think is ignored a bit.
We'll do one more album and that will give you the first ten of thier career, and should give you a picture of what we are talking about......we have only scratched the surface, there are more studio LP's to come (good ones too), plus singls, EP's, comps, rarities boots..........thiswill take a while so please leave a comment......maybe you don't like em as much as I do, but sure would like to hear some newbie opinions.
Album number ten, then, is "The Sounds of the Sounds of Science", an instrumental album to accompany a series of underwater documentary films shot underrwater by filmmaker Jean Painleve.....for what it is, it is beautiful, NOT one I pull out very often, but what band EVER has taken as many chances as Yo La Tengo? slip this one on as beautiful makground music for some stoned lovemaking, or just for napping, again, it's a triumph.
RIDE THE TIGER-01 The Code of Silence/02 Big Sky/03 The Evil That Men Do/04 The Forest Green/05 The pain of Pain/06 The Way Some People Die/07 The Empty Pool/08 Alrock's Bells/09 Five Years/10 Screaming Dead Balloons/11 Living In the Country
PRESIDENT YO LA TENGO/NEW WAVE HOT DOGS-01 Barnaby, Hardly Working/02 Drug Test/03 The Evil That Men Do/04 Orange Song/05 Alyda/06 The Evil That Men Do/07 I Threw It All Away/08 Clunk/09 Did I Tell You/10 House Fall Down/11 Lewis/12 Lost In Bessemer/13 It's Alright (The Way You Live)/14 3 Blocks From Groove Street/15 Let's Compromise/16 Serpentine/17 A Shy Dog/18 No Water/19 The Story of Jazz/20 The Asparagus Song
FAKEBOOK-01 Can't Forget/02 Griselda/03 Here Comes My Baby/04 Barnaby, Hardly Workig/05 Yellow Sarong/06 You Tore Me Down/07 Emulsified/08 Speeding Motorcycle/09 Tried So hard/10 The Summer/11 Oklahoma USA/12 What Comes Next/13 The One To Cry/14 Andalucia/15 Did I Tell You/16 What Can I Say
MAY I SING WITH ME-01 Detouring America With Horns/02 Upside-Down/03 Mushroom Cloud
of Hiss/04 Swing For Life/05 Five-Cornered Drone/06 Some Kinda Fatigue/07 Always Something/08 86-Seconde Blowout/09 Out the Window/10 Sleeping Pill/11 Satellite
PAINFUL-01 Big Day Coming/02 From a Motel 6/03 Double Dare/04 Superstar-Watcher/05 Nowhere Near/06 Sudden Organ/07 A Worrying THing/08 I Was the Fool Beside You For Too Long/09 The Whole of the Law/10 Big Day Coming/11 I Heard You Looking
ELECTR-O-PURA-01 Decora/02 Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)/03 The Hour Grows Late/04 Tom
I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE-01 Return To Hot Chicken/02 Moby Octopad/03 Sugarcube/04 Damage/05 Deeper Into Movies/06 Shadows/07 Stockholm Syndrome/08 Autumn Sweater/09 Little Honda/10 Green Arrow/11 One PM Again/12 The Lie and How We Told It/13 Center of Gravity/14 Spec Bebop/15 We're An American Banad/16 My Little Corner of the World
AND THEN NOTHING TURNED ITSELF INSIDE OUT-01 Everyday/02 Our Wa to Fall/03 Saturday/04 Let's Save Tony Orlando's House/05 Last Days of Disco/06 The Crying of Lot G/07 You Can have It All/08 Tears Are In Your Eyes/09 Cherry Chapstick/10 From Black to Blue/11 Madeline/12 Tired Hippo/13 Night Falls On Hoboken
THE SOUNDS OF THE SOUNDS OF SCIENCE-01 Sea Urchins/02 Hyas and Stenorhynchus/03 Shrimp Stories/04 How Some Jellyfish Are Born/05 Liquid Crystals/06 The Love Life of the Octopus/07 Acrea or the Witches Dance/08 The Sea Horse