If rock and roll were fantasy football, then Yo La Tengo would be the players that everyone tries to draft. For thirteen albums, the band have been critical darlings for good reason: they deliver consistent results and exquisite songcraft with each release. The band is at a point where you don’t really run the risk of releasing a bad album; they are minor fluctuations of good to great with the disappointments generally coming on the heels of an offering that’s been deemed above average, based on their own lofty curve.
Album fourteen, Popular Songs, finds the band delivering yet another decent release, albeit one that loads up the first half with impressive results while leaving side two to flounder under its own girth.
Directed by John McSwain. Cool song with psychedelic strings, electric piano, and flanged vocals. “I know you’re worried / I’m worried too / But if you’re ready / I’m here to fall with you / What else is there for us to do?” From Popular Songs, due September 8 on Matador.
The Matablog says there will be a new Yo La Tengo video every week until the release date. All five will be collected here.
You can’t see everything, and with 130 bands over three days, you wouldn’t want to. I wasn’t very excited about this year’s lineup. In fact, there were less than 25 bands that I was even vaguely interested in, and that’s being liberal with my definition of “interested.” So there was no way that I could spend every waking hour for an entire weekend there. Not this year. Not for three whole days.
I devised a plan which I called “Hit it and quit it.” Get in, see some bands, and get out before I got bored or sunburned or too wasted. I ended up getting sunburned anyway. But I saw some great sets and had a few pleasant surprises, which is all you can really ask for.
Not really, of course. There’s a lot more you can ask for… like good sound and short beer lines, both of which were handled very professionally this year.
“These people are simply not in the physical condition to survive this sort of trauma. It’s just a twisted mass of black-frame glasses and ironic Girl Scouts T-shirts in there.”
Of course, less than a year after this article was published, the Rhode Island Great White disaster rendered these kinds of jokes rather distasteful. But hey, four years after that, and the Onion story is funny again! Time heals…
“I haven’t seen this much senseless hipster carnage since the Great Sebadoh Fire Of ’93,” said rescue worker Larry Kolterman, finding a green-and-gold suede Puma sneaker in the rubble. “It’s such a shame that all those bastions of indie-rock geekitude had to go in their prime. Their cries of ‘sellout’ have been forever silenced.”