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Yo La Tengo Recommendations

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I'm going to be seeing YLT live for the first time this coming Hanukkah at Maxwells, and i want to get more familiar with their material, which albums should i be listening to? I've been getting into them more and more recently, but the only 3 albums i have are I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, and The Sounds of the Sounds of Science. Any help would be greatly appreciated

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My favorite album is not really the popular or critical choice, but I think that Electr-o-Pura is a great place to start (and it's my favorite) because it really shows all sides of the band: the quiet, sleepy late-night songs ("The Hour Grows Late"), the noisy ravers ("Blue Line Swinger"), and the concise pop songs ("Tom Courtenay"). All together in one handy collection!!!

I also think that the more-recent I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass does the same thing, just about as well. (But I've lived with Electr-o-Pura ten years longer, so that remains my choice and my favorite!)


Another fave:


(An early collection of about 1/2 covers and 1/2 originals. A lot more acoustic-based than anything else they've ever done.)

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I've been a big fan for a while and won't disagree with any previous recommendations. My three favorites are:


I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One

I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass



I don't listen to Summer Sun all that much and The Sounds of the Sounds of Science doesn't do much for me.


They are also a great live band. Enjoy the show ...

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I Can Hear the Heart is probably cut for cut their strongest release and also one of my favorite records. If you like their mellower stuff And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out is a gorgeous sounding record in places. As much as I love this band, I am a bit ignorant of their pre-Fakebook releases. And I don't listen to the earlier stuff nearly enough. They put on a hell of a live show, enjoy!



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Painful! Painful may have been my favorite purchase last year. And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out is also excellent.


Yo La Tengo runs quite a large area. They're not exclusively soft, nor loud, nor psychedelic, nor noisy. I know And The Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out has some cult followers on here. I'm quite fond of the naked intimacy displayed on Our Way To Fall. It's quite beautiful. But I'm also quite fond of a noisy Yo La Tengo when they play Tom Courtenay.

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And I've been seeing this band live since about 1985 or so, if that matters....

I saw them a bunch of times between 1986 and 1988 when I was living in NYC and found them sort of hit or miss. For me they really hit their groove (pun sort of intended) when James joined the band on Painful. There is definitely great stuff to be found on their earlier albums but I think they became consistently great starting with Painful.

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Maybye not the best intro to YLT but very enjoyable:



YLT is murdering the classics




01. Tighten Up

02. The Night Chicago Died

03. Raw Power

04. Sea Cruise

05. Favorite Thing

06. Baseball Altamont

07. Meet The Mets

08. Oh Bondage, Up Yours!

09. Ding Dang / Interplanetary Music

10. Captain Lou

11. Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

12. Route 66

13. Roadrunner

14. Tijuana Taxi

15. Mendocino / Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

16. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

17. Baby's On Fire

18. Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

19. The Hokey Pokey

20. You May Be Right

21. Mama Told Me Not To Come

22. Roundabout

23. You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

24. Don't Worry, Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow)

25. Downtown

26. Let the Good Times Roll

27. Never On Sunday

28. 20th Century Boy

29. Rock The Boat

30. Shotgun




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  • 1 month later...

Just got this email from the YLT mailing list:



Hi everybody, especially those of you with tickets to next week's shows,

We strive to make our Hanukkah shows unpredictable, and in one unfortunate regard we've outdone ourselves this year. I'm going to be a little vague here, but I had a pretty serious health scare earlier this month. I'm well on the way to recovery, but I've not yet been deemed ready to Rock. The good news is . . . well, the good news is I'm on the way to recovery . . . but vis-à-vis next week, the good news is that I've been deemed ready to sit in a chair and play the concerts that mean more to me, Georgia and James than most anything else we do together. Our sets will undoubtedly be tweaked accordingly. In other words, if you were hoping to be in attendance for our annual airing of "Mushroom Cloud of Hiss," I'm afraid that is now zooming up the Unlikely chart with a bullet. But we're confident that it's going to be a great eight days. We're looking forward to seeing you all, and to not answering any questions about what happened to me!

As long as I've got your attention, I'll let you know about one other change this year. We've filled the walls of Maxwell's front room with a bunch of posters and other ephemera from our various closets. Some of it will be for sale (all proceeds to charity) and all of it will hopefully be entertaining.


Hanukkahly yours, Ira

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Wonder what happened? If I google Ira Kaplan all I get is lawyers. :)


Every year, Yo La Tengo perform a string of shows at the Hoboken, New Jersey venue Maxwell's in celebration of the eight days of Hanukkah. This year, the shows will be a bit more subdued. Matablog points to a blog post on YLT's official site, where band member Ira Kaplan mentions he suffered a "pretty serious health scare" earlier this month, and will therefore be sitting down during this week's performances. But the show will still go on: "We’re looking forward to seeing you all, and to not answering any questions about what happened to me!"

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Ya, i heard that. A bit dissapointed, but glad they are still happening, and the setlists have looked pretty good so far, albeit maybe a bit shorter than usual. Still holding out for a great surprise opener night 8, though there have been some alright ones so far (would have loved to see the Lee Ranaldo band)

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  • 7 months later...



I'm reading this right now and it's pretty good. Remarkably detailed look at their formation and early days. I'm only at the point where their first record came out but it's interesting to read about their approach to things in the early days (and the number of bass players they went through).

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