Yo La Tengo are one of the best bands that are frequently overlooked in musical history and by Alternative musicians. Their fusion of different styles of Rock music and other genres out there got them noticed. Although there have been many albums seen as good by both critics and fans from Yo La Tengo, this is frequently cited as their best album. It is a historic release so let’s hear exactly how this sounds. Yo La Tengo are basically a USA-centered band with three main musicians: Ira Kaplan; Georgia Hubley and James McNew. Let’s check out this album now.
Return To Hot Chicken begins with some ghostly Industrial sounds, a ticking clock and a pretty guitar riff. This is instantly listenable and loveable, the guitar phrasing on this song is wonderful. A fair amount of stereo panning is used on this track, and the clean sounding guitars sound very awesome. In any case, this is a real joy to hear, all the way through to the fade out.
Moby Octopad is an interesting title which references the EDM artist Moby. It quickly launches into some excellent bass guitar work and chopped-up beats. This is a really fascinating and enjoyable listen, and is a great mesh between 1990s EDM-styled textures and guitars. Soon enough, a mixture of male and female vocals, singing in a gorgeous way enter the scene. This is an extremely Psychedelic listening experience, and it is very image-evoking. A really awesome and fun listen, this is exactly what a girl group version of The Beatles and The Velvet Underground would have done musically in the 1990s. The harmonies are an absolute joy to hear, and this tune is mind-blowingly excellent. In the middle is a strange sonic surprise, before launching into a very pretty and brilliant piano solo, with a guitar rivalling this effort. Nonetheless, this does sound very, very good. A thoroughly good listen, this sounds very futuristic throughout. A great listen to close your eyes to, Wonderful, interesting and futuristic, this is an otherworldly and inspired tune. Amazing to hear, and very soothing. A little repetitive but it is supposed to be so. A great work of art, all the way through to the fade out.
Sugarcube begins with energetic drum rolls and powerful guitars that sound very Punk. Soon enough, this enters and we have a group informed by musical tradition, not suffocated by it. The music is a great answer to the harmonies and Classic Rock of the way of The Beach Boys. Nonetheless, this is extremely consistent music and is a good way to define Psychedelic Soft Rock. Some weird guitar solos are in the second half of the song, before the velvety smooth vocals return. Another fantastic song from an album that has been great so far. Fantastic music for the morning after nightclubbing on a Saturday night. It fades out the main section of the song, followed by watery wobbles. Nice work.
Damage begins with more Psychedelic guitar feedback, followed by a repeating single bass note. This is followed by some suffocated and subtle drum rolls in the background. This is a very audio/visual experience, so put on your 3D glasses and tune in. There is some calm and decent singing, and this covers a break-up in a bad situation. Understandably, all of us have been there at some point, and this is a good listening experience for that moment, if and when it happens. There is a little bit of an acoustic guitar playing here as well. This is a calm, sleepy and relaxing ballad, although it is about sad emotions throughout. Musically and lyrically, this is fresh and consistent. An enjoyable and thoroughly great listen, this is Yo La Tengo taking on a U2-styled theme, in their own original way. The second half has some killer harmonies and sounds very relaxing and warm, so to speak. This album is already a masterpiece, even at this point. The tune fades out nicely, brilliant.
Deeper Into Movies begins with a slow fade in intro into the tune, which sounds like digitally modified guitars. This is extremely catchy and wonderful, and it builds up with an increasingly energetic and noticeable sound about it. There is a slightly melancholy feel to the music here, and it just sounds really awesome and amazing for Yo La Tengo to cover different emotions in their songs. There is a solo of sorts near the middle of this piece, just before the chorus returns. A wonderful, enjoyable and decent listening experience, this sounds really top. A decent listen with some great neck pickup guitar solos, this sounds mighty and legendary. The discordant guitar parts sound oddly different, and this tune is really great for what it is. A great five-minute-long piece that doesn’t wear out its welcome, this album is a real underrated gem. An awesome tune, especially if you dig Indie or Alternative Rock. It ends with a load of guitar feedback.
Shadows begins with some clean multitracked guitar parts and a mellow organ in the background. This eventually launches into a wonderful listening experience with female vocals to go and is a lovely piece of romanticism that is likely inspired by the music of the 1960s. Again, this song is sonic beauty and is a great tune to enjoy, just like everything else on the album so far. A gorgeous trumpet solo enters the right channel in the second half, before this short tune concludes. A pretty and lovely listening experience.
Stockholm Syndrome is named after the condition where prisoners fall in love with their captors. This is a decent musical piece with calm vocals, strummed acoustic guitars and gorgeous arrangements. An excellent tune, despite the dark imagery on this lyrically. With references to more relationship issues, this tune sounds pretty and different. Think the Kinks Face To Face album, and you are very much there in a musical context. A loud, chopping and discordant guitar solo exists here, and it is wonderfully played. The second half continues with colourful sounds and pretty harmonies. All in all, this is a romantic song that simply works. Great job Yo La Tengo. A great tune and it ends gently.
Autumn Sweater begins with some excellent real drumbeats, and sounds simple, yet exciting. Eventually, this piece launches into a keyboard heavy listening experience that is upbeat and magical. The tune sounds really quite fantastic and the singing about romantic concepts gives this a very-Beatlesque edge to the music. This continues with bongo sounds and deep, grooving basslines on it. This is another beautiful and very excellent listening experience, with some nice breakbeats and driving melodies throughout. A really cool piece of music and musicality, this explains why this is a classic album. Bongo beats resume in the middle of the tune, and this whole thing sounds quirky, interesting and fun. A really cool piece with some dual-tracked drums, pseudo-Underworld lyrics and a very concise and surprising listen. A very mellow piece of music, this is a masterpiece of restrained, calm and considered music. Great song from start to finish. This is fantastic music, it ends with some pretty electronic keyboard sounds and finishes nicely.
Little Honda is a cover of The Beach Boys classic song. It begins with feedback, loud and noisy guitars and male vocals seeping in for your enjoyment. This is a very strange and different way to cover a classic 1960s tune, it is like The Beach Boys meeting Lou Reed or the Jesus and Mary Chain. All the same, it is a very decent and enjoyable listen that surprises the average listener. There is a single-note guitar solo, proving that it is not what you play, but how you play the guitar. This continues for some time and makes a lasting impression on the listener. A grand sonic journey for a cover, Yo La Tengo do impress. A really cool tune to hear, with a little bit of piano in the background. It ends with sustained guitars.
Green Arrow begins with chirping crickets that eventually seep in. This is followed by some maracas, acoustic guitar and a bit of slide guitar to match it. From the start, this sounds really awesome and fantastic. It is an ideal listen for a romantic occasion with a partner, and it sounds pretty and magical. This is actual proof that less is more, at least musically. A gentle, soothing and relaxing piece of music, this is super ear candy that is tasty. Yo La Tengo has succeeded in many ways on this album, especially with sonic sounds that aren’t really heard anywhere else. An enlightening and wonderful tune, this is really super spiritually invoking and relaxing, too. The second half has a reverberated slide guitar part that is so pretty that one will never forget this amazing instrumental. A great tune to hear from start to finish. This is exactly how instrumentals should be made. There are some soft and subtle drum rolls towards the end, and this piece gradually comes to a gentle and soothing close musically. Great music, it ends with the lone drum beats and chirping crickets. Excellent.
One PM Again begins with clean electric guitars and some other pretty slide guitar sounds, before this tune gets going. This one has a definite subdued Country music feel to it. Short and sweet at around two and a half minutes long, this piece will get the artistic mind and imagination going. The slide guitar solos on this song are extremely pretty. Gorgeous tune, with spoken word lyrics on top. The harmonies at the end are fantastic.
The Lie And How We Told It begins with a faded intro keyboard, followed by reverberated chorus guitars and launches into a nice and mellow-sounding tune. Yo La Tengo had an adventurous side to them, and this is absolute proof of the group creating the most perfect sonic journey that you could ever imagine. A really excellent music listening experience, the production and arrangements on this song are fantastic. A genuinely awesome listen, this is perfect music for Grateful Dead fans to listen to, especially if they feel a bit of nostalgia about Psychedelic music. This three-minute-long piece gradually reaches a logical conclusion and ends softly. Amazing.
Center Of Gravity begins with some hand-played percussion sounds, quickly followed by upbeat and mellow acoustic guitar. Sure, this is a bit of a neo-Hippie style of music, but the music on this tune sounds absolutely wonderful. With the group’s efforts here there are both female and male vocals present, making this a pretty, dynamic and gorgeous listening experience. This is an excellent tune that breaks down traditional barriers musically, complete with 1960s style “ba-da-ba” harmonies that are irresistibly great. Towards the end is some random piano playing, before this concludes. Great stuff.
Spec Bebop is a 10-minute-long epic. It begins with some electronic gurgles and a simple drum pattern and we are underway on this sonic journey. This is just as interesting as what came before it, it just works extremely well. An interesting and experimental instrumental, this has some wacky sounds and progressions about it all. The beats become more unusual after a while, showcasing the progression of the music extremely well on this tune. This is a really fine, extraordinary and amazing listen. It is the musical equivalent to The Chemical Brothers if they were a Rock band. Sure, this piece is going to be seen as lengthy by some but doesn’t give out, give up or seem ordinary. A real space travel styled tune, this does come across as a little repetitive, if this tune has a flaw in it. It gets more powerful and noticeably energetic towards the middle of this tune. A very enjoyable and interesting listening experience, this is a really true modern art form. An interesting and meandering listen, this comes across as a bit like The Velvet Underground’s length classic Sister Ray. Even so, it works surprisingly well. Interesting and very Psychedelic, Yo La Tengo will surprise your listening ears. A pretty and fantastic piece, even if it will be repetitive for some. This is the answer to The Private Psychedelic Reel, and it is just as effective musically as that track from The Chemical Brothers. Overall, this is another one to put on and listen all the way through. A really great effort, although this could have been cut down length-wise a little. An inspiring and memorable tune. Underworld would be pleased by this long tune, as well as Pink Floyd. It ends with a repeated set of beep melodies, before concluding with a fade out. Awesome. Beats galore close this one off, before some ghostly shimmering sounds segue this tune into the next tune.
We’re An American Band is another epic piece that is six minutes long. It continues with the shimmering sounds from the end of the previous track, some subtle Jazz based drumming and some rather discordant guitars. Nonetheless, this is an interesting listen, with kill-switch-styled sounds on it. There is a pretty and subtle sonic intensity on this tune, and the whole thing is refreshing, different and amazing to listen to. A really pretty and wonderful listening experience, this proves that the ability that Yo La Tengo had for making decent tunes is quite clearly there for all to hear. Despite that, the singing possibly could be a bit higher in the mix. There is a neck pickup discordant and distorted guitar solo which links the two halves of the song together. A very powerful and artistic listening experience, this is something that The Beatles would have made together if they lived in the 1990s. Still, it works amazingly well. The second half has some interesting guitar based instrumentation, with no vocals. It gets crazier and crazier sounding towards the end, which is really awesome. A fine, energetic and fantastic listen, this is also a bit long but much more interesting than the track before it. Soon enough, this tune wraps up with feedback guitars, simple drumming and a melodic outro. Nice.
My Little Corner Of The World is the very last track on this album. It has mellow acoustic guitars strumming away and some gorgeously lovely guitars. This is another love song, but it is very much a positive message present. A good conclusion to a really great and underrated musical listen, this is a very good and wonderful tune. There is a keyboard solo on this, which sounds pretty and sweet. Nonetheless, this is a truly romantic tune that works extremely well. Great love song here, and a good finish to a very important album.
Yo La Tengo delivered a stand-out classic album that, for the most part, delivers. The only real flaw of this amazing album is that the instrumental tracks are very repetitive and lengthy. Despite that, this is an amazing album that you should definitely hear, especially if you like Psychedelia or Alternative music.
A genuinely interesting and artistic album.