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Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo: say it with a New Jersey accent. Now set that to the backdrop of a tight uncompromising drumbeat. Add horns, a string quartet, a 10-minute guitar jam and breathy voices...or grungy ones, or loungy ones. Throw in the occasional organ trill, a conga or two and pepper your mash with heavy metal sounds or maybe outer space ones. You’re getting close to getting it...
One of the US’s most critically acclaimed rock groups, Yo La Tengo defy easy description. Some call them ‘alternative rock’ or ‘noise oop’. Others say ‘shoegazing’. In more than 25 years, this group has released music to put the baby to rest, seduce a lover, set an angsty rage aflame and start many a foot a-tappin’—sometimes all at once.
With such a range, Yo La Tengo risk catastrophe, but always pull through. They soundtracked the ocean in 2001 (The Sounds of the Sounds of Science) providing scores to eight undersea documentaries by Jean Painlevé. They’re famed for their covers (Cat Stevens, the Kinks and Sun Ra are among their repertoire) and in 2006 released an album of live covers called Yo La Tengo Murders the Classics. Cheeky musicmakers!
For this, their fourth visit to Apolo, Yo La Tengo will play off their 12th record, Popular Songs. Released in September 2009, the album has been enthusiastically received. The 12 juicy tracks on Popular Songs cross from dark to light, Motown to epic jam, mixing the previous Yo La Tengo sound with the brand new, including heady collaborations and production. One track mixes in an Isaac Hayes soundtrack. Two others feature elaborate strings composed by jazz artist Richard Evens. Popular Songs ends with a few mega-jam tracks, concluding the album with misty psychedelia. Without a doubt, this will be a ‘popular’ show (nyuck nyuck), so get your tickets as soon as you can.
Yo La Tengo: Sala Apolo, March 19th