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Yo La Tengo offer masterful collection

Adam Spektor

Issue date: 9/4/09 Section: Focus
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Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, who make up two-thirds of legendary indie stalwarts Yo La Tengo, are married. This is an important fact to have in mind when listening to their music as so much of it sounds like the work of two people, long married and still deeply in love. The hushed, nuanced vocals, the subtle yet passionate performances, and the endearing lyrics are all indicative of their marital status and essential components of Yo La Tengo's sound. Still, with a lengthy catalog boasting such heartwarming indie staples as "Autumn Sweater," "Sugarcube," and "Our Way to Fall," in Popular Songs, Yo La Tengo may have released their most overtly romantic album yet. In addition to (or perhaps because of) this, it is also one of their best.

Immediately, the band makes this romantic disposition clear with "Here to Fall," a career highlight that pits Kaplan's vow to nosedive into devotion against all odds against an unusually seductive rhythm and string punctuations and flourishes straight out of a Paul Buckmaster arrangement. Unashamedly bombastic, the song helps push the band into new sonic territory while still looking backwards to the band's beloved 1960's for inspiration. Similarly retroactive is "If It's True," which bases its opening lick around that of the Four Tops' Motown classic "I Can't Help Myself" and builds an infectious new pop song from there. The group also drags the Farfisa organ out of the garage for the catchy retro groove of "Periodically Triple or Double."

Still, Yo La Tengo have never been the sort of band to exclusively look backward (they cheerfully let off a lot of steam while masquerading earlier this year as the Condo F***s on the sloppy, yet infectious cover album, F***book,) and the rest of the album hosts several tracks archetypal of their own unique style that rank with their best work. "Nothing to Hide," in particular, is the most perfect slab of fuzzy power pop Yo La Tengo have released since 1997's "Sugarcube." Perhaps most representative of the band's true sound is "Avalon or Someone Very Similar," a hazy, jangly ,Hubley-lead track that sounds like an exceptional outtake from 2000's delightfully low-key And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out. Closing the album, "And the Glitter is Gone" envelops listeners in swirls of feedback and holds tight for nearly sixteen minutes, continuing a tradition of lengthy, trancelike tracks that have emerged on many of the band's albums.
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In This Issue


  • A conversation with Major Jason Winterle
  • Budgeting 101 for college students
  • Can you name this place?
  • Case holds first annual Campus Security Fair
  • Case Western prepares to serve community
  • Have you heard about ACM?
  • Nursing "freshmen stimulus" provides support for incoming students, provokes unease
  • USG Briefs


  • Club sports & news
  • Fantasy Football
  • Gameday
  • Volleyball goes 3-1 at Wooster
  • Women's soccer takes two at JCU

Fun Page

  • Crossword Solution
  • Maze Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions


  • "You lie:" an old-fashioned outburst
  • Buenos Aires: most romantic city?
  • Editorial: Student groups deserve credit for programming
  • Learning to be responsible
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Letters to the Editor
  • State your case photos: What would you do with an Inamori Ethics Prize?


  • All's Well in CWRU MFA/Cleveland Playhouse production of overlooked Shakespeare classic
  • Dittrick Medical History Center reopens exhibit on history of contraception
  • Fashion for the frugal: look stylish on a budget
  • Hitting the Spot: The Antlers
  • Making breakfast work for you: getting a grip on granola
  • Nintendo DS game mixes strategy and traditional RPG elements for unique, timesaving gameplay
  • The Buzz
  • The Worst Case Scenario
  • Trail of Dead coming to Cleveland


  • Whalen becomes all-time passing leader in win over Rochester

Sex and Dating

  • Executing the first date


  • Stopped at nothing: Spartans shut out No. 21 Ohio Northern

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Andrea Wojtowicz
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