Really love ‘Ballad of Red Buckets’ off this record. That buzzy droney guitar feedback
I always liked Tom Courtenay the best off that record.
Speeding Motorcycle came on one of my Spotify daily mixes and it filled me with joy.
I made a big Yo La Tengo playlist of my favourite tracks if anyone is interested:
listened to Summer Sun last week. Bit of a less intent listen than the previous few, but I do think (as FL said) that it’s an underrated album. Which makes sense in a way, cause it’s also pretty understated. I really like YLT’s quieter side though, and I associate the mellow melancholy of this album (which is smoother, less ‘alien’ than its predecessor) with my last years at university in like 2011/2 or whenever.
The lyrics “I want to be next to you” are ones I have associated with many an overoptimistic crush. Also that song’s referencing of “Steve Coogan and Rebecca Front” blows my mind every time. It’s an unexpected place to hear those names.
I keep meaning to get a full listen of The Sounds of the Sounds of Science in as well for this. Re-downloaded it specially, but have only listened to individual tracks so far.
My main anecdote related to it is that it fits really well with a specific instance in which I read the Haruki Murakami short story ‘The Dancing Dwarf’.
IANAOYAIWBYA (YLT acronyms are rarely helpful) always strikes me as a sort of more extreme version of ICHTHBAO:
- the genre-hopping is more extreme, best exemplified in the three minute indie pop song followed by the eight minute full-on ambient track followed by the three minute garage punk thrasher.
- longer acronym
- the wig outs are hella wiggy, and the quieter bits are really lovely and tender (aforementioned eight-minute ambient track is a beautiful example, and the cold chill Americana at the end of ‘I Feel Like Going Home’)
Speaking of wig outs, it’s kind of a stroke of genius how the album is structured. The stylistic jumps sandwiched by two ten minute whams of psych-gaze mayhem. It works in a really odd way that has revealed itself to me through multiple listens
oh and Black Flowers really reminds me of Flaming Lips
One my favourite live YLT tracks, this
Basinski Americana right here
i need to listen to Summer Sun again as i never noticed those lyrics.
otherwise it didn’t grab me much when i listened to it. the Today is the Day EP is absolutely brilliant however (i like my YLT loud)
He mentions Professor Frink too
I’m not sure what I think of the structure of Popular Songs. Quite like the idea of going straight-up pop songs followed by three proper lengthers at the end, even if does feel kind of like two albums.
It’s the first YLT album I got though, and it takes me back to being 18 and listening to ‘When It’s Dark’ over and over again (which I think was pretty much the first YLT song I really got into) at night in my dinky student room. That song always reminds me of Flight of the Conchords for some reason.
I have been keeping this up though I ain’t posted in a bit.
There’s A Riot Going On is such a good album. Listened to it on a train as the sun was going down on that really hot Saturday. Perfectly nocturnal, understated album
I have no idea where I’m supposed to be with this but I just stuck on “I’m Not Afraid Of You…” for the first time in ages and aaaaaah god what a fucking opener
Wtf Neil Innes was once part of their touring line-up
What does Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind mean anyway?
no idea but it’s very pleasing to say
This is of no help whatsoever but I think might be my new favourite thing on the internet
I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. The first YLT record I listened to. An all-timer. Proper throws me back to being 15 and discovering music vicariously through my mates awfully [dis]organised iTunes library composed of various mixtapes and… well I have no idea.
This record builds up to a frankly unbelievable middle section and tapers off beautifully, this is a band who really put something incredible in an album format here, it’s so wonderful. Here goes.
I consider Return to Hot Chicken as an extended intro to Moby Octopad now, the way the moody bass rolls in on the latter, woomf. Ever present throughout the ghostly vocals, the enthusiastic keyboard, its so lovely and familiar and warm (sorry)
Sugarcube, iconic, so much fuzz. Can really come alive live too. You know, I remember downloading a rip of this record from what.cd yonks ago and having to check the bitrate of my download cause of the fuzz ffs, having never really heard anything like this sort of lo-fi before. Love so much when Ira and Georgia do vocals at the same time as in the choruses here.
Damage has massive Painful vibes, the drums on the recording are almost Low-esque in their distance. The most Yo La Tengo lyrics -
“Feeling like a kid again, my eyes are glued to the floor
I hope I mumbled goodbye as you walked out the door
The damage is done”
And the seemingly improv-y heartfelt pulls on guitar strings. Amazing
Deeper into Movies aaarrrrgggggh what a ridiculous tune. Track 4! COME ON. The whole sound of this record is just spectacular, remember it blowing my mind as I span it on repeat the first time round. Feel like every third tune I talk about in this thread I comment how monstrous a song this is live, but there’s fewer bigger than this one. Oh here’s a thing, deeperintomovies.net has a picture of Eleanor Bron, name checked in Tom Courtenay. It’s so washed out and almost unmistakable and so good.
Shadows is a beautiful Georgia-led piece, followed by a beautiful James led piece in Stockholm Syndrome, a lovely lull before the ridiculous run of tunes here.
Autumn Sweater needs no introduction - the reason I first listened to YLT, this record, ugh, the way the fuzzy guitar line and are-they-fucking-bongos roll in was enough: hooked. Then! Ira’s little romantic nerdy lines that I to this day still hear and think ‘are you me?’. Mates, what a fucking band. The organ, so good, ffs.
Then they cover The Beach Boys, like, c’mon, you’ve front loaded this album with 2 like post-shoegaze corkers then you do this. Incredible. Ya know I’ve heard this so much it feels like the original to me heh, but still, Ira I think never changing key on Little Honda in stark antithesis to everything The Beach Boys based a career on is just… so Yo La Tengo, innit.
I adore Green Arrow. To me it fills the same space sonically as most of *And Then Nothing… * (I am so excited to gush about that record) which is basically as big a compliment as I can possibly give – it’s swirling, slightly washed out, it feels like the amps are moving (no I’m not weird it’s that sort of amplitude change in Ira’s guitar), booming and distant drums.
Just feels like they can do anything; the country twangs of One PM Again come in, lovely deep vocal, an almost surfer rock solo, brings you right back to their covers, early demos, etc. Post Electr-O-Pura it just feels like they’ve relaxed a bit, gone back to the Painful-ish mindset, it’s all over the place stylistically but it works so well.
The Lie… feels very late summery to me and floats on by effortlessly. Love the percussion on Center of Gravity, Ira and Georgia harmonising then going to-and-fro, it feels really personal but you’re involved in it, it’s that adorable love song to each other I can’t get over - - with a sprinkling of twee piano for good measure - - “Whenever you’re next to me / centre of gravity / can’t feel both feet on the ground”.
It’s a wonderful ride until this point and then we get truly spoiled by the wonderfully chuggy Spec Bebop, feedback and guitar squeals, you’ll listen to the same key line 15 times and suddenly there’ll be a key mispressed - and is that intentional? - I mean, it works, so probably, I guess?
Then we roll straight into the smooth bass line of We’re An American Band, then the lo-fi comes back, the dreamy vocals… then it becomes an album-closing soundscape of scratchy high pitched guitar, you can imagine Ira doing his thing flailing his guitar towards the floor and wiggling out while James sits there keeping his control on the rhythm, it’s so atmospheric. The production on this album works so well, it’s an absolute masterpiece.
The album has come to a perfect close there hut nah, they’re having none of it, and fair enough, it’s a 2010s style YLT version of My Little Corner of the World, and it’s great, and they know better than me how to do an album, honestly I don’t know what it is about Georgia’s vocals but they get me like absolutely nobody else’s have, it’s a truly beautiful ending to an incredible record.
This is so so so wonderful