Yo La Tengo | Never Say Die!

Yo La Tengo
I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Matador, 2006

While picking up the latest Yo La Tengo album a little while back, I joked with the record store clerk that I was buying it more out of habit than anything else. YLT pretty much reached the status of indie rock royalty a long, long time ago, and their chances of staying fresh and relevant get slimmer with each passing album. This made it all the more startling to find that their latest and quite appropriately titled LP, “I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass”, ranks among the best YLT albums out there to date.

So why am I talking about it now instead of when it first came out? Well, half the songs barely even sound like Yo La Tengo so, yeah, it took me awhile to notice. Vince Giraldi, maybe, or something from a movie soundtrack or a 60’s surf band and, wait…is that Ira yelling on “Watch Out for Me Ronnie”? What in the Sam Hill is going on here? This is not the sleepy Sunday morning Yo La Tengo we have come to expect. If you don’t believe me, just watch Hal Hartley’s great video for their old song Yo La Tengo – From a Motel 6, directed by the seminal Hal Hartley, circa 1993 — many years later, still the very definition of everything a music video should be IMO, and compare and contrast with the newer stuff below. Keep an eye on the Maxwell’s website for some shows when they get back from tour, or you can catch the band at Webster Hall in April.

Mr. Tough
Watch Out for Me Ronnie

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