Yo La Tengo

Tenga lo que? Mierda en tu oi'do?
*special introductory paragraph!
*Ride The Tiger
*New Wave Hot Dogs
*President Yo La Tengo
*May I Sing With Me
*Shaker EP
*Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo
*I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
*Little Honda EP
*Strange But True (with Jad Fair)
*And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
*Danelectro EP
*The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science
*Nuclear War EP
*Summer Sun
*Today Is The Day EP
*Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics
*V.O.T.E. (with Chris Stamey)
*I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
*They Shoot, We Score
*Fuckbook (as Condo Fucks)
*Popular Songs

Yo La Tengo is a trio from New Jersey. They're okay.

Ride The Tiger - Matador 1986
Rating = 6

Legendary power trio Yo La Tengo (spanish for "Yo! The Tengo") actually began their career as a 4-piece Chicken McNugget, but this huge, overbearing line-up only lasted for one album. Ride The Tiger finds guitarist/singer/songwriter Ira KRAPlan (if you ask me), his drummer wife Georgia Hubley and bassist Mike Lewis joined by second guitarist/singer/German serial killer Dave Schramm, who - though not much of a singer or songwriter - has one of the most beautiful guitar tones and playing styles in Hoboken history. And Hoboken has a looooong history, my friend. Did you know it's named after a hobo? Named Ken?

At this point, the band was essentially an Americana jangle combo - like early REM with weaker vocals and limited compositional skills. Their double-guitar assault of warm reverbed arpeggios, folksy picking and haunting feedback are a lovely gift to the ear, but too many of the melodies are simply dull/forgettable, a problem acerbated by the fact that Ira sings like a tone-deaf 14-year-old Lou Reed fan. Even the two loud 'rockin'' songs ("The Evil That Men Do" and "Screaming Lead Balloons") quickly lose themselves in tuneless cranky Gang Of Four crangin' and time-wasting pseudo-psych racket (though it's interesting to note how much Ira sounds like Greg Sage when he gets excited!). The band's overreliance on uninteresting chord changes is made all the more obvious by the inclusion of two covers whose melodies soar wide, high and far above any of the YLT originals -- The Kinks' "Big Sky" and Pete Seeger's "Living In The Country." So if nothing else, if you're not a Kinks fan, you will be after hearing Ride The Tiger.

But as I said, the album does have one great strength: its guitar tones and playing. Banjo-style folk picking, flawless lullaby arpeggios, harmonics held until they turn into angelic chorused feedback, warm reverbed bent notes and intelligent interplay collaborate to create an end product far superior to its actual songs. In the liner notes, Ira claims that Schramm is the one playing 'informed guitar' against his own 'naive guitar,' and the band's post-Schramm output certainly supports this view. God Damn That Schramm!

I'll vouch for the uncharacteristically riff-driven "The Forest Green" and gently relaxing seaboat "Alrock's Bells" as two great originals, but the others tend to fall back on standard, cliched chord sequences when it gets too hard to come up with something clever. Still, if you're in the mood for some musical optimism in today's feel-bad world of miserable scary dance-pop and hip-hop that wants to kill you, Ride The Tiger down the River Euphrates for a "Pixie-tastic" good time!

Now that THAT bullcrap's out of the way, I can focus on my true literary passion: the romance novel. First and foremost, I must develop a sensuous first line to hook in the ladies and reel 'em on home. I begin.

So I was eating a bowl of sex the other vagina when

Elbows? Ahhh, enough with the elbows! (*flails chainsaw at group of people with elbows*)

It's never a good morning when you've crapped your bed, but th

She had the most beautiful face and smelliest gonorrhea I'd e

"Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a Sesame Seed bun," I hummed contentedly as I slid my fingers along the seam of the Big Mac's silk panties

"For a girl, you're not bad-lookin'," I whistled to the nurse as she amputated my mangled limbs and head

Tortoises. Girls love tortoises. It was time I painted my dick green, and pretended it was a tortoise.

Anyone who's ever seen a James Bond movie has dreamt of sexy femme fatales like 'Octopussy' and 'Pussy Galore,' but I never thought I'd meet one in the flesh. Nevertheless, from the moment Linda Testicles walked through m

I'd always believed that love was the universal language, but I was wrong - music is actually the universal language. As such, here's a big book about Jimi Hendrix.

The room grew even steamier as a third breast popped erotically out of her ear and

Knock knock
Who's there?
P-U who?

It seemed like hours before all 10,000 fire ants finally crawled out of her vagina, but my turgid prick was ready to go the minute s

"Sorry, piss boner," I told Mom as she lay b

My belly button was a beautiful young girl discovering her sexuality, and that long, sweltering summer we made love at e

I thrust my man meat into her fox hole. POUND POUND POUND - I weighed three pounds.

There. I'm finished with my book!

Reader Comments

I haven't heard any Yo La Tengo, but those "romance novel" "excerpts" are all absolutely brilliant. I laughed out loud at pretty much every single one of them, chuckling like a guy named Chuck who laughs often. Probably one of the funniest things you've ever written! I haven't heard any Yo La Tengo, which is weird because they're relatively HUGE. Weren't they responsible for that song about being pretty fly for a white guy? That was a good song. So there's a band to check out some day I suppose.

based on what I've heard, Ira Kaplan would probably agree with this review; he's said that "Dave's guitar playing is inarguably the best thing about the record."

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New Wave Hot Dogs - Coyote 1987
Rating = 6

When Yo La Wango returned to the studio as a three-piece, they decided to branch out a bit from the jangle pop/folksy rock of their first album. The New Improved Yo La Tengo bounces back and forth between three key genres: their original jangly sound, stranglingly slow Velvet Underground-influenced ballads, and white sheets of noisy distortion racket in support of almost no actual riff at all. On the up side, their songwriting seems a bit more consistently hooky than before; on the other hand (or 'down side'), RTT's heavenly string-tones have been replaced by basic 'guy playing the guitar' sounds. Plus Ira still has a really weak voice. He sounds like a college kid with no BALLS! You gotta have BALLS to play rock'n roll! How are you gonna KICK PEOPLES' ASS if you don't have any BALLS?! Here, let me demonstrate:

Here's a side photo I took of Ira the last time I saw him at the Screwin' Little Kids pedophile store:


Now here's a side photo of someone who kicks ass:


New Hot Wave Dogs features five jangle pop/folksies, two VU soundalikes (+ 1 VU cover), three noisy distorted 'BRASH!'-ers, and one unexpected garage rock Pebble out of nowhere. Some of the riffs and chord changes are surprisingly unique (particularly the slow, strange "No Water") and the record hits a good variety of moods and styles to keep your interest from flagging a ride out of town. Still, it's this constant back-and-forth between "Wow! Great guitar line! Neat dark chord changes! Fun guitar pickin'!" and "Heard that melody before. I see, it's college music. Whoopee, another perfectly boring chorus taking the place of a catchy verse." And there are ways to save a recycled riff, but not if your voice is as shaky as Ira Levin's (or Robbins' or whatever his name is). Also, above all else, this band has a bad habit of boring the living shit out of me.

There it goes now! Catch it before it skids across the ivory couch!

Let's discuss this. It's the whole Velvet Underground thing again. Yo La Tengo is very much influenced by the Velvet Underground, more so than any other band or artist I have in my collection, including Lou Reed's solo discography. And it's not that I hate every single song the Velvet Underground did; "Run Run Run" has terrific energy, "The Gift" is hilarious, "White Light/White Heat" and "Waiting For The Man" are tons of fun, "Venus In Furs" is absolute GENIUS, and that's just naming a few. What I hate about the Velvet Underground (aside from the soft-touch drumming) is that they pioneered the resurrection of boringass, cliche'd chord changes from the early '60s folk movement and made them even MORE listless -- resulting in excruciating sleeping pills like "Femme Fatale," "There She Goes Again," and "Sunday Morning" that just drag and draag and draaag. And the Velvet Underground had a LOT of songs like that, built upon the slow nighttime heroin sleepy sound of dull string strumming and Lou Reed somehow getting vocals to fall out of his comatose head. Not only did Yo La Tengo grab ahold of this 'tired chord changes played at the speed of a solid, unmoving object' style and run to the top of a mountain with it, but they also in several unbearable instances attempted to follow up on the tinny noise-rock experiments of "Sister Ray" and "European Son," as if they had not been rendered completely toothless by 20 years of angrier, louder, noisier and more intelligent bands working in the same area. Plus Ira Kaplan hates Neil Hamburger so that guy can suck the pud.

This definitely isn't the slowest or sleepiest Yo La Tengo release ever; I just wanted to get the whole 'Velvet Underground influence' thing out there so you'd understand why my Yo La Tengo grades might be a bit lower than those of other listeners. I have trouble hearing sluggish age-old chord sequences as 'pretty,' and it takes a lot more than some jerk throwing his guitar around the room to excite my hypothalamus (resulting in such feelings as orgasm, joy, and extreme pleasure). It's to Yo La Tengo's credit that regardless of their unfortunate main influence, they still have the creativity to come up with some absolutely killer original compositions that even appeal to ME(!) -- in this case, aforementioned "No Water," dark and funny "The Story Of Jazz," twisty '60s rocker "Serpentine" and lovely electric/acoustic folk ditty "3 Blocks From Groove Street." Many other tracks have pleasant moments too, before they waste away into shit you've heard a billion times before.

Lyrically it's eh, with two standouts. Although the song itself bores me to tears, "Did I Tell You" appears to be a very heartfelt love song from Ira to Georgia. And as a former citizen of that fine state, I'd like to say "Thank you, Mr. Kaplan." The second lyric that really stands out is "The Story Of Jazz," a confusing morality tale that finds our narrator sitting through the set of a boring band, sympathizing with Cheetah Chrome's anger at having his name usurped by Italian hardcore band 'Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers,' and finally phoning up Steve Albini and forgetting what he was going to say. But Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's his life! It's all in a day's work for Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiira Kaplan!

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President Yo La Tengo - Coyote 1989
Rating = 6

Okay, these guys better get on the stick, on get on it quick. I'm quickly becoming much less willing to blame my own taste for their inability to come up with consistently compelling material. Ira Kaplan is one of the least interesting noisemakers in the guitar history, and seems to have no idea how to follow up a kickass riff with anything other than a generic three- or four-chord sequence he heard in a Velvet Underground song. THE GLOVES ARE OFF!!! And it's much easier to type now. Thanks, Skin Fingers!

Did you know, as everybody else in the world does, that Ira Kaplan used to be a music critic? It's true! And now I know to never ever even CONSIDER buying an album that he gave a good review to! (Those of you who've heard my own shitty CDs, ignore those last few sentences.) Ahhh no use trying to figure it out. The bottom line is that everybody is going to like what they like, and people are more than welcome to enjoy the 'thrilling' Velvet Underground rewrite "Drug Test," the 'I've never been so excited' tedious endless slop of amateurish noise "The Evil That Men Do (Pablo's Version)," and the Bob Dylan song performed as if it were a Velvet Underground cover, "I Threw It All Away." Likewise, I have every right to spend my time listening to GOOD music, like Excruciating Pain, Swallowing Shit, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

President Yolertango has been called an EP, but its 7 tracks last for slightly over a half hour, so I'll go with the LP categorization. Ira's sounding a little older, though still singing in a 'much less tuneful than the guy next door' way. And the songs more than before slash across several different genres, from fun surf/spy instrumental and '60s garage punk to acoustic strummy folk and Unrest-style drone-beauty-pop to the three slaughtered hunks of maggot-infested filth I described in the previous paragraph (two of which actually aren't even that bad; I'm just prone to hyperbole when the subject of the Velvet Underground comes up). On the terrific side, the droney pop opener ("Barnaby, Hardly Working") is a goddamned revelation, proving that with just a wiggly feedback sample, a pair of guitar noises, two chords and a steady drumbeat, these guys can mesmerize as cleanly and convincingly as The Fall at their finest and most repetitive. GREAT SONG! I take back all those bad things I said about Yo La Tengo.

Unfortunately, nothing else on here even comes close to "(Theme From) Barnaby Jones." Still, in all fairness and honesty, the 10-minute noisefest is the only track that doesn't include at least some entertaining elements; the acoustic strummer "Alyda" is particularly warm and comforting if you're looking for some upbeat feel-good music. But there's a wide divide between 'entertaining elements' and 'effective songwriting,' particularly when your songwriter blatantly steals riffs from his '60s record collection.

What's kinda funny is that when I saw this band in concert during the 1993-94 school year, I'm pretty sure they started their set with "The Evil That Men Do (Pablo's Version)" and it blew me away. So it must just be a live show thing that doesn't work on record. But Ira was goin' nutso with his screaming loud guitar brashing and frashing nothingness of noise as the rhythm section carried a nervous uptempo beat behind him. Ten minutes later, the noise came to a close and they launched into their first of 400,000 tedious ballads. No joke here - and keep in mind that I've seen CODEINE in concert - the Yo La Tengo concert was the closest I've ever in my life come to falling asleep at a concert. I was standing right in front of the stage, struggling like a fish with eyelids to keep my eyes open. It was like being in class!

That's an interesting thing about me, by the way, if you're looking in vain for something interesting about me: I didn't make it through a single school day between 11th grade and my college graduation without falling asleep in at least one class. In college especially, I generally slept through every single one of them! God, I fucking hated school. Well, that's not true. I actually had a blast at school. I just hated the fucking classes, with their asshole work and pecker tests and shit. But I'm warning you young people -- DO NOT DROP OUT. Yes, college sucks so much dick that it's amazing the diplomas aren't made of dried sperm, but if you quit you will (a) never not have a roommate, (b) never work in anything other than retail or 'the world's oldest profession' (Creator of the Universe), and (c) be 40, bald, fat and impotent, even if you're a girl. So "Be Cool! Stay in school!"

Also, "Have a hug! Don't do drug!"

Also, "Be a good guy! Don't poke me in the eye!"

Also, "Don't act like you're from Bornea! Get your finger out of my cornea!"

Also, "Augggh! Take your AUGGGHHHH!!"

Reader Comments

I once had the Matador two-fer CD of New Wave Hot Dogs/President Yo La Tengo. I traded it in at a local record shop one day during a collection thinning moment. I do miss "Drug Test" a whole bunch though. It's pretty sad that of the 20 or so tracks that make up both of these albums only one stands out.

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Fakebook - Bar/None 1990
Rating = 5

So now we're doing an album of dipshit folksy acoustic/country western cover tunes. We're a lousy band. We're going to perform songs by Michael Hurley, the Tremeloes, the Scene is Now, the Flamin' Groovies, Rex Garvin, Daniel Johnston, Gene Clark, the Kinks, the Escorts, john cale and NRBQ as if they were all written by the same boring band with one acoustic guitarist and one guy who plays slide electric guitar or pedal steel! And we're going to be very, very, very predictable and boring! Sure, it's mostly not pretty, but it sure is just generic, slow & dull. And Ira's voice is so uneventful, like a guy who can't sing! Luckily the girl sings lead a little. But too much relacese strummy boredome with dull leads! Also the harmony vocals are great. Also they play 'Unplugged' versions of 4 YLT originals. This album is boring. Either Ira Kaplan likes shitty music or he plays it shitty because most of these songs are really really boring. A few are fast, with fiddle or whatever. But most are slow and sound like "Femme Fatale."

Let me say something now about record reviewers and I want you to listen closely: They're a bunch of worthless talentless pricks. You should not give the tiniest shit whether or not they like an album. They should tell you what an album sounds like. PERIOD. And you should be able to make up your own mind about whether it's something you might like. I was reading my Alice Donut reviews today and was horrified by how godawful they were. It does NOBODY any good at all to just name the songs and tell whether you like them or not. Lots of amateur reviewers do this, including myself back in the day. Your taste in music is correct. Nobody else's is. You know? Critics love a lot of shitty music and ignore lots of great music. Just fuck 'em because they can't make music. I record music on my own, some people like it, some don't, but at least I DO it. At least I understand what it means and what it's like to write and play music. If I didn't, I wouldn't do this web site. It's the same reason I don't run a movie review site. I love watching movies and do so constantly, but having never tried to make a movie, I've no idea what goes into it, what's hard to do and what isn't. I DO know what's hard to do musicwise and what isn't, because I've been playing music my whole life (even though not that many people like the style I've chosen!). So ignore loser pricks like All Music Guide and Rolling Stone and everybody else -- they should be able to tell you what an album sounds like, and that's ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW. Here's what you need to know about Fakebook: One guitar is acoustic strummy, one is electric C/W slidey or pedal steel, most of the songs are covers, sometimes they do harmony vocals, and it's very relaxed. From that, you can decide whether it's something that might interest you. You don't need to know that I find it tedious as fucking shit. That doesn't help you at all. Nor do you need to know that I'm drunk off my ass.

What are people like? You'd have to know them to know for sure. I've heard from multiple sources that Ira Kaplan is an arrogant prick, but i've never even met him so I don't know.

Here are the songs I like on here, because that's pretty exciting, everybody says so:

"Here Comes My Baby" - This is just a great song, period. Yo La Tengo makes it mellow, but it's still pretty. The original by the Tremeloes of "Silence Is Golden" fame TOTALLY kicks with uptempo drums, excited shouting people and the greatest goddamned vocal melody in Lovelyland. The Daniel Johnston one is also fantastically cute. Flamin' Groovies beautiful. And YLT's original composition, whatever #10 is called, is mesmerizing with cool dark guitar breaks, low vocals, hypnotic fFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!



Even the Kinks song blows. How do you pick a shitty Kinnks song for Chrissakes? Yo La Tengo can suck "Moe's Tall Dingo," if that's slang for somebody's penis.

Fast counby with a fiddle! Old timey C/W Cute. Basic 12-bar r'nb, gentle, tedoius, slow strummy, VOX FAR TOO LOUD weak, pedal steel solo, ndull drag, "cry cry cry cry," mellow! Country-rock. Generic. THAT'S MY OPINION.

Movies about cannibals and zombies rule. Art movies that attack the bourgeois not so much. Bourgeois. You're so bourgeois! Talk about bourgeois. Christ, it's so much better to be a worthless throwaway proletariat piece of shit. Thanks, Stalin!

You want to know what I think? I think that the person arguing with me about the character of "Burzum" Varg Vikernes is a fuckin' asshole retard. The man is a NAZI. Do I hate Nazis? YES. Why? Because they're ARROGANT BULLIES. I hate arrogance and I hate bullies, so that sums that up, prick. Fucking asshole piece of fucking FUCK TUCK! TUCK YOU! TUCK TE WORLD! That guy in hte Vines has Asperger's Syndrome - HILARIOUS! MPile D re sss rel bGVN dLDI TEL Sle Gei LSG DIg GLdlwiLE jibLD GAS-X! KILLS THAT NASTY GAS FUME!

That's amore!

Reader Comments

You really need to stop reviewing stuff. This is easily among - if not their absolute - best album.

Awww, aparantly you just don't see the greatness of this album,which is too bad, seriously. It easily ranks among i can hear the heart as well as painful as the pinnacle of ylt.

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May I Sing With Me - Alias 1992
Rating = 6

With this one, they adopt a stronger, tougher, meaner, distorteder ROCK sound. If you're in it for the jangle pop, "take off to the Great White North!" because that's where Rush and Marillion live, playing their patented Canadian jangle pop. Yo La Tengo, however, is down here on Earth, giving us their usual mix of Velvet Underground ballads, melodic alt-rock chord changes and whatever else happens upon their collective brainstem -- but with more distortion and guitar noise than before!

My ears hear 3 VU ballads, 2 melodic college rockers, 1 killer mesmerizing drone-popper, 1 slow long godawful improv guitar solo, 1 long noise thrasher, 1 tough rocker, 1 strange piece of work that I can't but call 'Crankle-Punk,' and 1 leftover jangle pop song hanging out looking like an asshole (but a GREAT, MELODIC asshole!). Most of the tracks are comprised of fairly basic chord changes accompanied by a simple little lead guitar line. But you wanna hear a fantastic melodic guitar 'lick' that'll stick in your head like Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' For You"? Check out the totally Beatlesy (and GREAT!) happy recurring riff of "Some Kinda Fatigue"! That fucker's a dilly-nilly and a half! Check this out, I'll sing it: "Bum dee doodly-doo dah doe dee doo dah doe! Bum dee doodly-doo dah doe dee doo dah doe! Bum deep doop dah doe dee doo dah doe! Bum dee doodly-doo dah doe dee doo dah doe!" See? God man. If only the rest of the song wasn't just Ira singing over two boring fucking chords!

Now that I think about it, that's shaping up to be a theme for this band: they're incredibly adept at coming up with one really great part and then surrounding it with other parts so bland or hackneyed that it's impossible for me to enjoy the entire track. Examples? And how!

But first let's talk about that word 'hackneyed.' Have you ever actually heard anybody use that word in real life? If so, punch that guy in the stomach. It's a terrible word - a CRITICS' word. "Hackneyed." Fuck you, Hackneyed! You're a hackneyed WORD! What do you think about that???? Asshole word.


Examples? And now!

- "Upside-Down" - unforgettably hooky Georgia-sung bubblegum chorus ("No one knows the world is upside-down!"). Attached to a verse with ONE CHORD.

- "Mushroom Cloud Of Hiss" - A kickass speedy anxious Wipers-ish noise-rock classic!!!! Surrounded on each side by three minutes of a little fat kid jamming a guitar up his ass.

- "Swing For Life" - A delicate masterwork of gentle, intuitive double-guitar/bass interplay. Degraded by Georgia singing the same notes as the guitar (in a melody awfully similar to that of the Dead Milkmen's "I Hear Your Name," released six years earlier), and irreparably destroyed by Ira's CrAzY guitar noise waste of an ending.

- "Some Kinda Fatigue" - We already discussed this one. But I didn't want you to think I'd forgotten it, after all we've been through together. Remember that garbage man who thought you'd flipped him a bird? Ha! That was great stuff. Yeah I know he sodomized you, but we can laugh about it now.

- "Out The Window" - A mean (!) pissed-off (!) angry (!) bendy-note lick of ANGER! Quickly placed into a skirt as the bassist kicks into Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop."

However, even with all these song-spoilers, there would easily have been enough great moments on here for a 7/10 grade.... had they only ended the record 12 minutes earlier. The final two tracks are so awful they literally had my literal on the floor being literal. Do you take acidic drugs? If so, you'll simply LOVE Yo La Tengo's 10-minute Doors-style inner space exploration "Sleeping Pill"! And that's not just the song title -- it's also how they're marketing it to senior citizens!

And the last song is just a cutesy girl-sung short one. Wonder how they came up with that idea? Surely they haven't heard that ultra-rare Velvet Underground album that ends with a cutesy girl-sung short one? I think it's called The Velvet Underground.

I don't really hate this band. In fact, I try really hard to like them, because one of my favorite persons in the world really likes them (I'm lookin' at YOU, Chris Willie "Disclaimer" Williams!!!). But they just aren't my bag or something. Every time they get me going "YESSS!" to some great tough rhythm line or gorgeous, intelligent bit of guitar interplay (Ira overdubs lots of guitars on their records, so you can't tell it's just one guy), they almost instantly get rid of it to make sure they can fit in another three-chord sequence they heard on a record in 1962. And the vocals are mostly no help because Ira can't sing and Georgia's suave, sultry woman's voice for some reason starts to sound really emotionless and limited after a while. They're at their best when singing in harmony, I'd say. Or better yet, totally buried underneath all the instruments. Which brings us to the first good Yo La Tengo album - Painful! And for once, sitting through an entire Yo La Tengo album ISN'T!


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Painful - Matador 1993
Rating = 8

Why did Paul McCartney break up with Heather Mills?
Because she couldn't keep her legs closed!

(Alternate 'Director's Cut' Version)
Why did Paul McCartney break up with Heather Mills?
Because she WOODEN LEGgo of the past!

(Unrated 'Adults Only' Version)
Why did Heather Mills break up with Paul McCartney?
She was sick of waking up and finding his fecal matter on her stump!

You know, when The Clash sang "It's Painful/And it's paid for/And I'm so grateful/To be nowhere," not only were they actually singing "It's hateful" - they in fact weren't referring to this Yo La Tengo album at all! As a result of this unbelievable circumstance, I'll speak of the album at length in a moment.

But first I'd like to share with you a couple of hilarious "Weird Al" Yankovic-esque song parodies that I thought up as my wife and I were walking Henry The Dog to his favorite swimming hole this afternoon. The first is set to the tune of "Sally Simpson" by The Who:

"Outside the house, OJ Simpson announced
That Ronnie couldn't go, he was bleeding
Then he went on stabbing his old ex-wife
with Bruno Magli as his feeting

The second is set to the chorus of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" by The Kinks, and is perfect for a Christmastime Bob Rivers album:

"'Cuz I'm not like Santa and his elves
I'm not like Santa and his elves
I'm not like Santa and his elves!
I'm not like Santa and his elves!
I don't wanna make no toys like Santa and his elves!
And I don't wanna have no beard like Santa and his elves!
And I don't wanna be real short like Santa and his elves!
'Cuz I'm not like Santa and his elves!
I'm not like Santa and his elves!"

There, now that you've witnessed first-hand the extent of my artistic vision, my soul is sufficiently sated to speak with you about Yo La Tengo's sixth album (and first good one), Painful. First of all, it's quite appropriate that I began the review by making fun of Paul McCartney's unfortunate failed marriage three times in a row, because this album is all about the difficulties and rocky roads that can occur in a male-female relationship. And who better to write such an album than Yo La Tengo? By this point, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley had been a loving couple for many years, and you know bassist James McNew totally would've jumped right in there if they'd let him. So there's an extra jolt of sad truth in lyrics like:

"Pull a woollen blanket across my eyes/Dream a quiet place for us to fight/Oh no, your heart is broken- don't you think that's a little trite?"

"I'll walk you home/You take as long as it takes/The sun in the morning sky/In the morning sky we'll know where we are"

"Will you ever say what I fear you're dying to say/Well, I don't mind, if I don't think about it/Another sleepless night reading over by the only light/But I don't mind if I don't think about it/What scares me most, I'll keep from you/if you want me to I'll keep from you"

"The things about you that would drive me wild/still drive me wild/But now in a different way"

I woke up early, couldn't go back to sleep/Cause I had been thinking of where it all would lead/So I made you wake up, I said, "Let's take a walk/I wanna hold your hand, we don't have to talk"

There a couple of happy love songs mixed in too, but the overall effect is that of a 'Painful' marriage on the rocks. I guess they worked through it though, because they're still out there on the rock and roll highway kickin' some ass!!!!

Musically, Painful is a much tougher, fuller, fuzzier, warmer and better album that its predecessors, full of strong catchy melodies, warm organ tones, tons of different guitar sounds, both clean and distorted bass, and Ira's finest, most confident vocals to date (probably because he can't hem and warble if he wants to be heard over the loudass music!). They've opened up their influence doors too, giving us near-perfect imitations of loud romantic rockers My Bloody Valentine, Loop, Spacemen 3, Sonic Youth and Stereolab in addition to a (and this will blow your mind) slow, boring Velvet Undergroundy ballad. "From A Motel 6" is a particularly incredible impersonation; even the goddamned VOCALS sound like My Bloody Valentine -- and they're IRA!!! Then there's "Double Dare," which for all the world sounds like Sonic Youth using their straightforward rock guitars and indie boy vocals to convert an enchanting My Bloody Valentine love song into a 4/4 rocker. Best of all, wait til you get a load of "Sudden Organ," a ridiculous (but FUN!) mix of Stereolab Farfisa, Thurston Moore vocals, AmRep bass, and South American rhythms. Yes, Yo La Tengo may not have been able to come up with a sound of their own, but they sure did a great job imitating all the bands around them!

Painful features 5 loud rockers, 4 gentle ballads and 2 emotion-tinged electric guitar instrumentals, which is a pretty nice mix -- especially since the rockers are tight, tough, and mostly free of Ira's godawful 'noise explorations'. The first instrumental's kind of pointless and two of the ballads have nothing new to say in the melody department, but otherwise you're looking at one seriously good early '90s CD. Make it one of your first Yo La Tengo purchases and, like so many others, you too will soon be saying, "Fuck, none of their other albums are any good at all!"

(Well okay, one is. But we're not there yet.)

Reader Comments

That McCartney/Mills joke is gross! Bravo! I'd always imagined something rather seedy about their relationship, like them ritualistically performing crazed orgies in the McCartney basement, with the exhumed corpse of Linda splayed out on a counter; Paul rolling around in ecstacy with Heather feeding him entrails from a still-warm pigs carcass. (maybe its just me)

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Shaker EP - Matador 1994
Rating = 3


POINT: Shaker might make more sense if it were called Sleeper, because the three songs on this post-Painful EP are more somber than rocking.

COUNTERPOINT: More like SHITTER if you ask me!!!!

Hey, at least mine had an 'h' in it; it doesn't seem like you tried very hard at all.

POINT: The title track, released previously as a contribution to the soundtrack for Hal Hartley's Amateur, contains the only rock & roll gesture on the EP.

COUNTERPOINT: Did you just call Hal Holbrook an 'amateur'? Hey, that's really fucked, man.

POINT: Ira Kaplan sounds quite angry singing "come on down, nothin' to do" repeatedly over sinister, driving, and fuzzy guitars.

COUNTERPOINT: I agree that the brooding, menacing guitars kick some ass, but -- Wait, what is this string dangling out of my ass? Oh hey, it's Ira Kaplan's tampon!

POINT: It's the sound of the Velvet Underground as a post-rock band.

COUNTERPOINT: The song sounds nothing like the Velvet Underground and it's not post-rock. Are you even listening to the right record? That's like saying it's the sound of Grand Funk Railroad as a hockey team.

POINT: "For Shame of Doing Wrong," a cover of the pensive Richard and Linda Thompson song, with delicate vocals by Georgia Hubley amidst a faint background organ and a weeping slide guitar, is so quiet that it struggles to exist.

COUNTERPOINT: Slow down - which one are we on, the boring song or the boring one after it?

POINT: Kaplan's background vocals are barely audible, and the song is a great success in its minimalist intensity.

COUNTERPOINT: Did you notice it sounds just like that Enya "Sail Away" song?

POINT: "What She Wants" would sound perfectly at home on Painful.

COUNTERPOINT: It's a slow, tedious ballad. Wouldn't it sound perfectly at home on EVERY Yo La Tengo album?

POINT: It's almost a flipside to the Thompson cover, coming across like Kaplan's depressed response to Hubley.

COUNTERPOINT: Did you notice it sounds just like Sonic Youth playing a folk song?

POINT: With the song's tempo struggling somewhere between a waltz tempo and a dirge and a lone trumpet or tuba mournfully sounding off over a strummed guitar, it's quite an emotional display.

COUNTERPOINT: At first I read that as "a lone trumpet or tuba mournfully sucking off a strummed guitar"! I was all set to listen to the song again, with a tasty boner in hand!

POINT: Shaker is a brilliant EP and an excellent companion to Painful.

COUNTERPOINT: Shaker has one good song, and I could use an excellent companion to my painful tasty boner.

Come on, what's the problem? It's a TASTY boner!

Oh! Ha ha! I see what happened. You thought by 'boner,' I meant my PENIS! No no, I was just offering you a narrow knife for removing bones from meat, poultry or fish. There's still some juice on it from last time I used it. It's tasty!

Huh? No no, it's supposed to be pink and turgid with little blue veins running through it. Suck on that hole in the tip and the blade will pop out. In sticky mucous form.

POINT: Who hired this moron?

COUNTERPOINT: The same person who hired you, Stephen -- your uncle.

POINT: Fuck you!

Reader Comments

That was fun! I really enjoyed that point-counterpoint thingy, although I don't even own this record nor anything by YLT. Time for a new page callede "Mark Prindle's Point Counterpoint Discussions"!

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Electr-O-Pura - Matador 1995
Rating = 5

Hi friends! I know it's boring to read about other peoples' dreams, but I'm sharing this one with you because I love dreams that 'subvert' the bourgeois dream state and this one did just that. I'm actually cutting and pasting this directly from an email I sent a friend this morning, so it will be like you're reading it alongside him, sharing his joy and wonder at the magnificent words of a true genis:

"I had a funny dream the other night. Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason had reunited as Pink Floyd and were doing a tour of clubs, just the four of them. I went to one with my old high school chum Sanjay Aggarwal, and between songs Rick Wright kept droning on and on at length, telling stories and cracking jokes, for like up to FIFTEEN MINUTES between songs. But when they played, it sounded incredible. At one point, Roger Waters walked offstage to go use the restroom and I called him over to say, 'I never thought I'd get the chance to see Pink Floyd as a four-piece.... as opposed to an 18- or 19-piece!' He laughed knowingly and went back to the stage. Here's the part where the dream ruled ass: Sanjay Aggarwal turned around to say to me, 'Man, this concert sounds so good! I've never been to a concert where the sound was this good!' And I responded, 'You know it's not real, right?' He said, 'Huh?' And I explained, 'I'm just dreaming this. I'll tell you about it at school tomorrow and you won't know a thing about it because you're not really here.' He replied, 'How do you know it's just a dream?' And here was my genius dreamstate reply: 'Because I don't feel AWAKE!'

Also I wanted to thank you for the 'special care' you gave me last time you were in town. You know, I'm not gay but every once in a while a nice mustache ride will do wonders for a HOW DO YOU TURN OFF THIS CRAZY CUT AND PASTER?????

Ah, I see. You just scream.

On an unrelated note, you know how Henry The Dog always wants to go out on the terrace so he can bark at the kitty-cat next door? Well, the kitty-cat's owner sadly asked us to refrain from letting him on the terrace until we can get a divider put up, because the cat is all 'almost having a heart attack' and all this bullSHIT so Henry hasn't seen him ("Satchmo") in a few weeks. So last night I'm lying in bed watching Let Sleeping Corpses Lie on the pillow next to me (HA! Little ungrammatical movie title humor for you) and suddenly I see none other than Mr. Satchmo The Kitty-Cat wandering over onto our side of the terrace. I hold no ire against Mr. Kitty-Cat, but I thought Henry The Dog might enjoy seeing him so I shouted downstairs, "Henry! Satchmo's up here!" Not sure whether or not to trust me (as I often use similar lies to lure him up to bed at night - not for sex though, because I feel that having sex with animals is wrong), he trotted hesitantly up our majestic spiral staircase. When he reached the top and looked at me, I pointed onto the terrace and said, "Satchmo's right there!" Just then, Satchmo caught a glimpse of Henry through the sliding glass door, so Henry turned his head just in time to see the kitty-cat running as fast as he could back to his own side of the terrace. But that glimpse was all it took! Every single hair on Henry's back shot up and he started bouncing up and down in disbelief in front of the door. He was all like, "Daddy!!!! The KITTY-CAT was on our side of the terrace!!!!!!" Then he started making his weird whining noises to be let out, but of course I can't do that so I said, "I can't let you out, but I suggest you keep an eye on the terrace so this doesn't happen again." So he lay down with his nose pushed as far as it could go between two bars in our safety gate and stayed there for about two hours until it was clear that Satchmo wasn't coming back. God, that was a great story. And it was just the SHORT version, if you can believe THAT! In the REAL version, Satchmo looked at me when I called Henry's name and I was afraid he would run away before Henry got up the steps. But that seemed like a bit more detail than was necessary so I left it out. I look forward to your edits and feedback!

Now that all the music fans have moved onto a different site, let's talk Electr-O-Pura. It STINKS!


Afterword: How can it not be a disappointment when your favorite band in the world, Yo La Tengo, follows up their finest album yet with a bunch of half-assed tapes of sack a shit? Half the songs are quiet, muffled, lazily sung demo-quality toss-asides and the other half are driven by guitar lines that surpass genericism to reach previously unheard-of levels of SUPER-genericism, at which they don a cape and fly out of a telephone booth. Stylistically, they give us 6 slow quiet meditations, 3 Sonic Youthy guitar alt-rockers, 2 one-take blasts of crap, 1 needlessly lengthy four-organ-chords-and-dumb-guitar-noise epic, 1 awesome evil mean guitar rocker, and 1 super-fun uptempo fuzz organ noise classic. Qualitatively, they give us maybe four great, fully original compositions. But see, there's a problem here and I'm going to discuss it in a moment.

The moment has come to discuss the problem here. The problem with reviewing a band like Yo La Tengo - a band that so often falls back on really basic 40-year-old guitar lines and melodic changes - is that certain melodic changes or collections of sound have an aural quality that really appeals to me even if I know I've heard it before. And I have to imagine that everybody has this same quirk: the ability to be bedazzled by an uninnovative musical composition simply because the performance appeals to one's individual memories and tastes. So who cares if it's two basic chords if (a) they're chords that you like, (b) the singer has a warm voice and/or (c) the guitar is nice and fuzzy in a way that appeals to you? Plus, probably only about 5% of the world's population has been stupid enough to waste as much time and money on music as I have, so most listeners likely don't hear this shit as being anywhere near as derivative as I do. Or maybe I'm the only one who feels no need to hear the A-E-D chord progression ever again? Heck, people still like the blues, for Christ's love.

Another problem is that Yo La Tengo didn't really develop their own defined sound until fairly recently (in Y2K, when they got really mellow and started burying everything in thick organ/keyboard washes); in other words, most of the songs on their first 8 albums sound like the sum of the band's influences. Sonic Youth, Stereolab, REM, the Velvet Underground, the Wipers, My Bloody Valentine, Loop - they're all in there, along with probably lots of bands I've never even heard. Go-Betweens or Del Fuegos or some shit. Plus, most of their material up through Electr-O-Puker isn't even all that catchy. It's just 'inoffensively pleasant.'

So UP YOUR ASS, Yo La Tengo! I really STUCK IT TO YA on my amateur web site that nobody reads! BAMM!!!

Reader Comments

demander77@aol.com (Trevor e.y.)
Ok Prindle man, you are way outta line here. First of all, why do you dis on this bands' influences so much? Couldn't you do that to any band and call it dumb? "OH man, those Pixies guys just rip off Pere Ubu all the time. All they do is recycle riffs from Husker Du and Frank Black copies David Thomas when he sings, man that Surfer Rosa album sucks!" You know why that never works with good bands? Because they make their influences into something different and build on the past. There is so such thing as "complete originality" in rock music, there are only 12 notes for crying out loud. Don't even get me started on how people have used this same method with Nirvana. Don't you like the Ramones by the way? Why don't you diss them for having a sixties influence?

Also, who cares what chords you use in a song: it is how you use them. You destroy so many Yo La Tengo songs by saying "man it has a great chorus but the verse just bangs one chord over and over." Who cares as long as it is interesting to hear? Trust me, "Upside Down" is not a bad song because of the verse, that verse is fine the way it is. Electr-o-Pura has almost no problems, except for the confounding name. You can actually say you do not like half of these songs?!? I'll admit it is a grower, you have to listen to it a couple of times to get the feel, but I can't see anything less then 7/10. Hell, i'd give it 9/10! You break all of these records into how many rockers, ballads, and kind-of-ballads they have, as if that effects quality. What the hell, "some people still like the blues"? Well, i kinda see your point there....

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Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo - Matador 1996
Rating = 5

Actually Trevor, let me respond to a particular part of your email -- "First of all, why do you dis on this bands' influences so much? You know why that never works with good bands? Because they make their influences into something different and build on the past."

Yes, that’s why bands like the Pixies, Ramones and Nirvana are so great – they bring in new melodies, new ideas, and really transform things. Yo La Tengo, to my ears, do not do that at all. Like I say in my reviews, they sound like they have no style of their own until very late in their career. Everything else they play literally “sounds” like their influences, with nothing new added but awful, amateurish guitar noise. If you hear it differently, fine, but I don’t. I don’t think they brought a single new thing to their music to make it any better or different than their influences – they just happen to have a few albums where the songs are hookier than on others. In fact, I’m hard pressed to name a more blatantly derivative yet confoundingly well respected band.

Thus, Ballads + Crap = Yo La Tengo. This double-CD of b-sides, demos, outtakes, radio performances, soundtrack music and contributions to Various Artist compilations is a lifesaver for big-time fans of the band, pulling together tons of hard-to-find stuff into a 'songs' disc and an 'instrumentals' disc. But if you're not a huge fan, I'd say skip it because, although it starts very, very strong, it quickly becomes par for the golf course. The RIDGEWAY golf course, that is!

(Check out the name of the course designer)

(Proud of me?)


Aside from the surprisingly militant ass-kicking punk rock of "Artificial Heart" (with lyrics by hardcore old man Ernest Noyes Brookings), the compilation is best described as yet another walk through Yo La Tengo's favorite musical subgenres, most strongly represented by an energizing early version of "From A Motel 6" built around a completely different guitar line, a sad but speedy jangler called "Fog Over Frisco," and a beautiful dark Georgia vehicle called "Demons," which gets my vote for "Best Velvet Underground-Inspired Song Of Their Career" on Election Day when we vote for our local representatives and the Referendum on Best Velvet Underground-Inspired Song Of Their Career. But, unsurprisingly to people like me who don't like this band, most of the other good songs on here are covers. They do a wonderfully speedy, fuzzy cover of Wire's speedy, fuzzy "Too Late," predate The Ramonetures with an adorable surf instrumental version of "Blitzkrieg Bop," bring Neil Young distortion and melodic heartfelt vocals to Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby," and accompany an over-the-phone Daniel Johnston on a cover of his own "Speeding Motorcycle." Elsewhere, they turn their titillating tacks to John Cale, Beat Happening, The Urinals and one of the slowest and blandest of all Velvet Underground songs, "I'm Set Free."

You know what one of my favorite tracks on here is though? And this again just demonstrates my absolutely wretched sense of humor. The 4-second-long "Gooseneck Problem" cracks me up every time I hear it! I don't even know what they're doing, but you hear a voice say, "Okay, go ahead," then there's this stupid, ugly dragging noise - and it's over! My absolute adoration of this track is a pretty good explanation of why my own music sounds the way it does, and why nobody likes it.

Other highlights for the long-time fan include a slow, long, blasphemously dull version of the previously speedy, hooky "Some Kinda Fatigue," a little taste of how cool "Too Much" sounded before the bass player started playing "She Bop" to it, yet another early version of "From A Motel 6," and a lovely harmonics song they did with Jad Fair From Half Japanese. Actually they apparently did a full album with Jad, but I haven' theare hd it so I dnaton' dknos eifi tatlwieks or nots. Believe me though when I tell you this: it would be in your best interest to shut off disc 2 precisely 26 minutes and 21 seconds before it is scheduled to end. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.

Last night my wife was on some stupid women's dumbass message board of shit and one of the boneheaded probably fat lesbian whore posters on there had started a thread called "Let's Play 'The Vagina Game'!" Instead of simply posting photos of their vaginas like a good woman would, these women then proceeded to play a stultifyingly boring "game" wherein they would each name a movie, but - GET THIS - replace one of the words in the title with "Vagina"!!!!! Here are a few examples of this 'hilarious' game:

"On Golden Vagina" (On Golden Pond)
"Vagina And The Bandit" (Smokey And The Bandit)
"The Vagina Monologues" (The Vagina Monologues)
"Edward Vaginahands" (Edward Penishands)
"Vagina" (Fletch)

So I thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun if we played a game called 'The Penis Game,' wherein we all whip out our dicks and run 'em over with cars?" Who's with me!

That's what I would yell if Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and the late John Entwistle were with me.

On a related note, I do feel bad for making this page so negative. But there's only so many positive things I can say about a band whose songwriting is as inconsistent and derivative as this one. That's the sad, pessimistic state of things. Luckily, there are also lots of reviews on my site of bands that I actually LIKE! Read some of THOSE for those 'good vibes' you've been seeking! Unless you're talking about a dildo.

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* I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One - Matador 1997 *
Rating = 10

Check this out! I just got an email from Cannibal H. Icebergs giving me this really terrific deal on Replica Watches! I mean, this guy has EVERYTHING - Louis Vuitton, Chronoswiss, Vacheron Constantin, you name it! Hell, Cannibal even has GIFT BOXES available! If you're interested, be sure and check out http://c7zmh2znz5iqtcuszucszcuu.nigrouskg.com/. But hurry -- with a catchy URL like that, Mr. Icebergs' Replica Watches are inevitably FLYING off the shelf!!!

Hoo boy. Okay. How does one succinctly sum up an album where none of the songs sound the least bit alike?

Wait, I've got it!!!!

"Return To Hot Chicken" - Lovely peaceful electric guitar INSTRUMENTAL INTRO

"Moby Octopad" - Beat-tastic STEREOLABBY DANCE TRACK built around the bass line from The Velvet Underground's "European Son" (the same bass line that Kevin Rutmanis usurped for The Cows' "A Oven"!)

"Sugarcube" - Wonderful FUZZY BUBBLEGUM POP

"Damage" - Moody RELAXING DRONE piece highlighted by a wash of mystical space noise most likely created by Ira tapping his fingers against the back of a guitar neck for the song's entirety

"Deeper Into Movies" - Catchy pop vocal melody buried under incredibly loud chiming distorted guitars (or "SONIC YOUTH IN 1966")

"Shadows" - Slow Georgia-sung VU BALLAD with surprisingly clever, counterintuitive chord changes (and trumpet solo!)

"Stockholm Syndrome" - The band's bassist makes his vocal debut with an FM COUNTRY ROCK song so atrocious that I seriously thought somebody had accidentally mastered an Eagles B-side into the middle of the disc. God, it's SO FUCKING BAD!!! Yet, every time I hear it, I find its unbelievable shittiness ever more appealing. Jesus, did this guy think he was playing in an America reunion or something?!

"Autumn Sweater" - Huge rap drums and an excellent descending EARLY-PINK-FLOYDY ORGAN HOOK are the centerpiece of this wonderfully cool, artistic single

"Little Honda" - Gigantic distorted guitars and under-excited vocals somehow work in this BEACH BOYS COVER

"Green Arrow" - Very quiet and meditative SLIDE GUITAR DESERT INSTRUMENTAL

"One PM Again" - Generic ACOUSTIC FOLK STRUMMER and (aside from the so-bad-it's-great "Stockholm Syndrome") the only track that doesn't deserve to be on this magnificent album. Couldn't they have put this piece of crap on Electr-O-Pura where its lack of quality belongs?

"The Lie And How We Told It" - MESMERIZING AURAL SUNSHOWER of reverbed guitar notes and beautiful harmony vocals

"Center Of Gravity" - BRAZILIAN BACHELOR PAD LOUNGE music with the appropriate acoustic guitar rhythm and lots of "Ba-da-ba!" vocals


"We're An American Band" - Loud effect-soaked guitars join light jazzy drums and gorgeously melancholy harmony vocals for a unique experience akin to a MY BLOODY VALENTINE/THE ASSOCIATION JAM SESSION

"My Little Corner Of The World" - Adorable Georgia-sung uptempo acoustic strummer that sounds like CHILDREN'S MUSIC or LESLEY GORE UNPLUGGED or something!

There you go! A pithy, concise statement that boils down the entire I Can Feel The Heart Beating As One experience into a compact 240+ words. Or hell, a mere 57 words if you just speed-read the bold, capitalized descriptors like I asked you to (in a separate document). Yes, many people can't believe what a skillful wordsmanship captain I am, magically weaving my web of summarizing breviloquence around even the vastest of worldwide topics. But then they see me in action, as now, and they can't help but say things like "Man! Talk about compendiary!" and "Man! Talk about compendious!" But we can't all be like me and that's a skill we all have to learn: the art of brevity, levity and longevity.

No but serious now, this album surpasses all other YLT efforts for one simple reason: BETTER SONGS. Its diversity - though impressive - wouldn't mean diddlychickens without strong, smart melodies to back it up, and for some reason these guys/girl were ON in this particular year. I mean COMPLETELY-ass on. Sure, "Stockholm Syndrome" would only be a masterpiece if intended as a joke, and "One PM Again" doesn't have much going for it except its short length, but that still leaves 14 of the catchiest and most original/least derivative compositions of the band's entire career -- all on a single CD. A single CD made of polycarbonate plastic. A single CD made of polycarbonate plastic coated with a thin layer of Super Purity Aluminum and a film of lacquer, in which CD data is stored as a series of tiny indentations encoded in a tightly packed spiral track of pits molded into the top of the polycarbonate layer, which upon contact with the player's laserbeam read-head unleashes a miniature (or "clone") version of all three members of Yo La Tengo, who then sit inside your stereo and play songs for you.

Now that they've finally reached maturity as a band, they've got nowhere to go but up! This is just the beginning of what promises to be the greatest run of artistic successes in rock and roll history!

Reader Comments

Best YLT album easily - and one of the best albums of the 90s, in my opinion...

But I must object to your dismissal of "Stockholm Syndrome" - it's a novelty in the sense of featuring James McNew on vocals (who looks a bit like Hurley on LOST), but the naive melody and sincere whiny vocals have completely won me over for some reason. It's just a really pretty song that you can laugh at a little. I listen to it probably more than any other song on the album other than....

"We're an American Band": proves conclusively that Kaplan can play a truly emotional solo when the occasion calls for it. Holy crap, that long solo that ends the song is just breathtaking.

The rest of the songs are just great - it was as if YLT saved all their best songs for this release. Buy it, then buy "Painful", then buy "And Then Nothing...", then get a life.

ninestraycats@gmail.com (Dan)
Quite spot on, Prindle, but I too must defend Stockholm Syndrome (not the vocals, the song). Give it another listen! The chord changes are impressive when they want to be (the turnaround into the verse), and when they don't (the quite generic entry into the chorus), they are just damn BEAUTIFUL. The voice, albeit certainly annoying at times (although, in all honesty, fuck pretty voices - where's that DYI attitude??), works very well going into the chorus. A poignant moment in a short pop song. Actually, it's two (or three?) moments, what with the repeats...

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Little Honda EP - Matador 1998
Rating = 7

This covers EP allows Spain's Yo La Tengo to put their trademarked stamp onto songs previously made obscure by The Urinals, William DeVaughn, The Kinks, Gram Parsons, Sandy Denny, Queen, and Brian Wilson's famous The Beach Boys. There are two big differences between this record and their previous covers collection Fartbook: the first is that these aren't all a bunch of tepid soundalike janglers with pedal steel guitar (one of them is a '70s r'n'b song, for Heaven's Christ! And the Kinks one is from Something Else! Fucking great album, and fucking great song!!! Beats balls out of that shitter Fakebook song from Muswell DULLbillies), and the second is that the key focus seems to be on Ira/Georgia vocal harmonies. And I mean BEAUTIFUL vocal harmonies. They may be the two physically ugliest human beings to walk the face of the planet, but have you heard their vocal harmonies? WOW! I mean, their disgusting piglike faces may result in mass audience vomiting and diarrhea everywhere they play, but have you heard them sing together? MAN! I mean, one time a guy walked in on them having sex and now he soaks his eyeballs in feces every night to try and wash away the image, but have you heard their mouths in harmonious unity? JEEZ!

Okay, I don't even really know what they look like. But if they ARE physically ugly, have you heard them sing together? MAN!

Reverbed Shimmy Disc guitars are the 'order of the day' (?) as (?)

Five of the eight tracks - which run the emotional gamut from happy, silly and cool to wistful, frightened and melancholy - are well-chosen and brilliantly, gorgeously performed. Unfortunately the remaining three range from dull (Gram Parsons country-western, dull by its very nature) and unpleasant (an alternate "Little Honda" take with artless Sonic Youth feedback jam) to completely pointless (a crowd member singing "We Are The Champions" wrong as the band plays a piece of music with no relation to "We Are The Champions"). I'm so serious and bitter, I would have stood there at that concert with my arms folded and wearing a pair of glasses, waiting for the band to get off the 'humor' kick and return to their unique brand of heartfelt American indie rock. "Ha Ha," I would have thought. "Okay, we've all had our bit of fun; now let's return to the transcendent VU-inspired balladry for which I attended this concert." Perhaps I would have sighed and rolled my eyes, or cleared my throat loudly while staring at the fool at the mic, as if to say, "With each precious second of time you waste getting your kicks up there, that's one less moment of audio bliss we will experience tonight at the hands of Ira's explosive avant-garde noisemaking and/or Georgia's chanteusse vocal work." Then after the concert I would have been really friendly to the guy in hopes he could introduce me to Ira. Did I ever tell you that that's - wait, I'm coming out of character now. I'm Mark Prindle again. Hi! Did I ever tell you that that's something I did in college in hopes of meeting the girl who is now my wife? I befriended this quirky guy solely because he was friends with both her (Brenda) and this other cute girl named Christine. The quirky guy was okay, but certainly not somebody I would have chosen to hang out with had he not had these HoTTT SeXXXy friends. And it worked! Pretty soon both girls knew and trusted me, eventually I married one of them, and that 'quirky guy' can take a fuckin' hike now that I'm done with him! EAT SHIT, quirky guy!!! (*defecates on floor, puts little sign on top reading 'For Quirky Guy'*)

So if you're looking for haunting melodies, clean reverbed guitars and doggoned HEAVENLY vocal harmonies, I highly recommend that you go for the Little Honda EP!

Alternately, if you're looking for songs actually written by Yo La Tengo, I highly recommend that you go for a psychological evaluation.

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Strange But True (with Jad Fair) - Matador 1998
Rating = 3

I'm your dream, make me real!
I'm the pain that you can't heal!
I'm the deer tick in your meal!
You know it's strange but tru-u-u-ue!

When Metallica recorded their hit single "Strange But True" down at the Jad Renaissance Fair in 1979, who could have fathomed the effect it would have on America's Ear-conomy?

Hi, I'm Bob Corn. In today's harsh ear-conomy, we all need to work together -- or at very least, tow Ork together -- to make sure Robin Williams FUCK YOU

See, that's why I don't do train-of-thought writing anymore. Because my train just crashes into a sad puddle of pain and failure. Here's a story they tried to hide from you: last night I went to see the film Paranormal Activity, because I love the horror genre to pieces and had heard that this movie was quite the spooker. Well, I don't know about you but it scared the fuck out of me so fucking bad that I was afraid to go upstairs and sleep in my bed alone! (My wife's out of town all week) I wound up staying up until 7:30 AM with scenes from the film running through my head over and over again, scaring the duck out of me. It's a good thing I don't have OCD! Whew!

Then tonight I went jogging with Henry The Dog in Central Park at midnight and was so fucking scared the fuck out of my fucking mind because of Paranormal Activity that I was afraid to run more than like a yard ahead of Henry The Dog, lest a ghost jump out and do something scary. My point here is this: (a) I have OCD, and (b) if you like scary movies, RUN DON'T SKIP (FAG) TO THE CLOSEST POSSIBLE THEATER (OR 'TEATRO,' IF YOU'RE ONE OF MY MEXICAN-SPEAKING FRIENDS) AND SEE THIS MOVIE. However, do not under any circumstances watch the trailer or TV commercial -- it gives away far too many of the scares, INCLUDING THE ENDING!!!!. But Jesus H. Christ, if the idea of a haunted house scares you even a little bit, you MUST see this movie. I can honestly say that I haven't been this psychologically affected (ie FUCKING SCARED TO DEATH) by a movie since I saw Se7en in NYC by myself in like '97 or whenever that thing came out.

I don't want to talk it up too much because then you'll be expecting huge scares and you'll hate it. And don't be expecting Poltergeist-type high-budget thrills; that's not what this movie is about. Instead, it uses the same set-up as The Blair Witch Project, wherein the story is told through found video footage. Here, the footage is captured by a young couple who set up a camera in their bedroom to film suspected paranormal activity taking place while they sleep. The activity begins small, but becomes steadily more aggressive with each episode, culminating in a final scene so startling that the entire audience screamed "Aaah!" when it happened.

I think what makes it so scary is that it doesn't feel like a movie -- it feels real. Extremely low budget with no music soundtrack and almost no special effects, Paranormal Activity leaves you with the extremely uncomfortable feeling that it could happen to you. It is an absolute masterpiece of slowly building terror.

Unlike this album, which just blows.

Jad Fair of Half-Japanese fame recites a bunch of boring, rhyming stories based on tabloid headlines (ex. "Car Gears Stick In Reverse, Daring Driver Crosses Town Backwards") as Yo La Tengo performs half-written one-take 'songs' in the background. I'm not super-familiar with the work of Jad Fair, but if it's all this childish and shitty, keep me away from his toilet! He sounds like the Dead Milkmen's Joe Jack Talcum with about 100 IQ points removed. OH WAIT! HOLD YOUR PHONES! According to a review I'm now reading online, the lyrics were actually written by Jad's brother David. So forget everything I said about Jad (except that he recites everything and sounds like Joe Jack Talcum). It turns out his BROTHER is the songwriter whose forced rhymes and obvious punchlines sound thrown together by a nerdy 8th grader.

The record album brings you 40 minutes, 22 songs (14 of which are under 2 minutes long), lots of guitar feedback, and very few actual melodies. The scarce highlights include the fun and fuzzy "Texas Man Abducted by Aliens for Outer Space Joy Ride," uptempo dissonant rocker "Clumsy Grandmother Serves Delicious Dessert by Mistake #2," silly scraggle-funk rocker "Retired Woman Starts New Career in Monkey Fashions" and slow pretty indie rocker "Minnesota Man Claims Monkey Bowled Perfect Game." Yo La Tengo contributes a few other decent tunes (including speedy tuff rocker "Principal Punishes Students With Bad Impressions and Tired Jokes," folksy pickin' goodtime "Clever Chemist Makes Chewing Gum from Soap" and gentle arpeggio softness "Feisty Millionaire Fills Potholes With Hundred-Dollar Bills"), but even these are ruined by David's terrible 'joke' lyrics and Jad's tuneless nerdy vocals.

Here's an example of David's godawful songwriting prowess:

"Shocking Fashion Statement Terrorizes Town"

She wore frogskin shoes and stockings
She wore a ruffled frogskin shirt
She had a frogskin hat and frogskin purse
She wore a pleated frogskin skirt
Her outfit was outrageous
And according to reports
No one goes close to her
For fear of getting warts!

EVERY SINGLE SONG IS THIS CHILDISH. Is the album intended for little kids? There is no other audience that could possibly find amusement in such wretched Faire.

Well okay, tards, but I wasn't going to say it.

That reminds me of a hilarious and sensitive joke:

What do you call a developmentally disabled bird?

Tard and Feathered!

Actually, that just brings up another point:

1998: Cher releases a song called "Believe" that blows everyone's mind because of a strange and extreme "Auto-Tune" setting that makes her voice jump from note to note in an unnatural, computerized manner.

1998: Hearing this strange effect, a producer copies it. His song sounds like a boneheaded and obvious rip-off of Cher's idea.

1998-present day: 500,000,000,000,000,000 additional producers and artists fail to realize that (a) even the SECOND use of this Auto-Tune setting sounded like a bald-faced rip-off, and (b) the effect sounds STUPID! "Believe" was a hit because the effect was novel, not because it sounded good! Who are the assholes that decided to turn this one-time gag into a DECADE-LONG movement of people's voices going 'uh-uh-uh' all over the scale like they're stuck in a Tron game?! More importantly, how can any artist or producer who uses this effect not feel like a creatively worthless copycat dumbass? And finally, do the people who listen to this shit music seriously feel that a human voice sounds better when all of its human attributes are removed?!

I have the craziest feeling that somehow greed is involved in all this.

Reader Comments

This Jad Fair/Yo La Tengo album only has a few good tracks. It's not important. But it is evident that Jad Fair is great with kids. He's the brain behind the Stinky Puffs. Heard the Stinky Puffs? It's Lee Renaldo's 12 year old son and a 7 year old vocalist. The records are raw, unpretentious energy. The Stinky Puffs are a tragic story though. The 7 year old became a rebellious teenager. He rebelled against the noise and sings in a nu-metal type band! I told him on myspace that he needs a sponsor, to hook up with Penn Jelllitte. You know Penn was a big figure at Ralph Records. I'm sure he would take the kid in and give him some direction. Of course he has his head stuck up his ass. The boy is the son of one of the Residents after all. Weirdness is in his blood, and he's foolishly trying to escape from who he is.

Jad Fair also creates the most adorable model robots out of objects around the house and poses them very dramatic pictures. He'd be great youth councilor/punk modeler. I'd love to see him use his powers for good.

Add your thoughts?

And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out - Matador 2000
Rating = 7

This ablum's so awsome I think I'll review it entirely in mime.

(*closes eyes, rests head on hands, emits fake snores*)

(*unfortunately actually does fall asleep, topples over, bangs head on coffee table*)

(*wakes up in Hell, with the Devil*)

Hay devil, I don't deserve to be here. This album is Yo La Tengo's first since Fakebook to have a unified style and mood that it carries throughout, and that mood is "Slow"! Hay come on, don't hang me from the ceiling by giant rusty hooks gouged into my eyesockets.

And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out is nearly 80 minutes long and is filled almost entirely with slow, calm moods - some as eerie as a nightmare, others sad and sentimental, still others sweet and hopeful, and still others lazy and bachelor paddy. Hay come on, you don't have to hold that lit match under my ballsac.

The favored musical instruments on display here are those of the organ/keyboard/piano/xylophone family, whose friendly, multi-faceted members dominate nearly every song. The band also occasionally throws in some cheap electronic drumbeats because Georgia was having her period and bleeding all over the snare. Hay, enough with the piranha in my nosehair.

The first time through, I thought to myself, "Jesus Boobs, could they possibly try any harder to sound like the Velvet Underground?" But then I listened a second time and realized that this isn't what they were doing at all. It was just the sluggish pace and inconsistent songwriting that threw me. Hay come on, put my ass back.

(*is rescued by God and brought to Heaven*)

Thanks God, you da man. In my continuing effort to pigeonhole everything, I count 4 Bachelor Pad/Lounge melodies, 3 calm, uplifting works, 2 sad ones, 1 non-commital, 1 eerie, 1 quirky Unrest-style cover tune and 1 near-perfect Sonic Youth impersonation. Only three of these songs (cover tune, Sonic Youth and one of the Bachelor Pads) can be categorized as anything other than "extremely goddamned mellow." Oh, I'm sorry; I didn't mean you. What's that? The entire Bible was a bunch of bullshit you made up when you were drunk?

This album's mood is extremely calm and bewitching; even I, a hardcore punker with a mohawk and a shirt that says "Anarchy" on it, can't help but be attracted to its captivating aural shades of dark green, blue and purple. The problem is that if you actually manage to drag yourself off the couch and listen to the thing, it really only has 5 or 6 great songs on it (one of which is, shockingly, the mesmerizing-as-hell 18-minute album closer). The others, though doing a fine job of maintaining the seductive between-wake-and-sleep mood, aren't exactly piled high in melodic ingenuity. What do you mean, you don't actually exist and were just made up so people would be afraid of nudity?

(*wakes up on floor next to coffee table, with huge gash on forehead*)

Augh! There's a gigantic vagina on my forehead!

(*wakes up on floor next to coffee table, with huge cut on forehead*)

If I were basing Everything's All Topsy-Turvy solely on the quality of the songwriting, it would probably only get a 6. However, the entire record (aside from the Sonic Youth song) is just so perfectly paced, carefully arranged and eminently comforting that I absolutely must praise it as the band's third finest album. Which is kinda pathetic considering it's only worth a low 7. But hey, we can't ALL be Canada's The Guess Who (to whom I awarded eight 8s, two 9s and a 10)!

Reader Comments

I went to see them on the tour for this album. I wasn't really familiar with their material yet, so I'd bought their latest 5 or 6 albums about a week prior to get me in the proper state of mind. I'd had "President Yo La Tengo" for many years but it never blew me away or anything. I put em all on shuffle play and recorded whatever came out onto a 90 minute tape, and listened to that in the car. Interestingly, the majority of what they played at the show was on my random shuffle tape!

I agree with most of your ratings here - "I Can Hear the Heart..." is easily their best, and I even gave it my pick for best "College/Indie Rock" album in your genre poll a few months ago. "And then Nothing Turned...." is a close second for me though. The atmosphere is just intoxicating, and many of the melodies are just so poignant and lovely - "Crying of Lot G", "You Can Have it All", "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House"... the list goes on and on. I loved it so much that "Summer Sun" was a serious anticlimax for me. I don't really listen to many of their albums on a repeated basis other than these two ("Painful" comes in third for me), but they're a pretty good band who seems to be on a roll (I'm hoping the next one will have a bit more oomph to it).

Mark, I couldn't help noticing that you didn't review "Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo". Sure, it's a compilation, but it's all unreleased stuff. 2 discs of YLT outtakes and alternate versions! I'm sure you're salivating at the very idea. At least you get a good lounge instrumental version of "Blitzkrieg Bop" and a soundalike cover of the Urinals' "Surfin' with the Shah." Not to mention "Somebody's Baby" (which I can't hear without thinking of Stacy doing it with that older guy in the dugout).

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Danelectro EP - Matador 2000
Rating = 5

This EP features three calming, gentle instrumentals focused on the interplay between one plucking, lightly reverbed guitar and one melodic, lightly delayed lead guitar. Two of the songs are as lovely and optimistic as a rainy loving Saturday, and the third is so tiny it hardly matters that it isn't. Unfortunately, the band then farmed all three tracks out to fancy-pants DJ people who turned them into a warm moist stinky day with fleas bouncing all over the place and a balloon full of urine drifting from room to room.

More specifically, Kit Clayton somehow converts a restful ode to spiritual peace into a tension-wracked collection of cymbal crashes and microtones; "Q-Unique" (his given birth name) fails to figure out what to do with aforementioned tiny song, simply adding a hip-hop beat and dragging it out to three times the original length; and Nobukazu Takemura -- actually his remix is actually kinda cool, for a while. "Ol' Nob" (my new nickname for him - I hope he likes it because he's earned it!!!) adds a trip-hop beat and doubles the guitar hook on multiple keyboards, resulting in a track that sounds less like a remix than a flat-out cover of the track. Sadly, after "The Old Wrinkly Nob" runs out of song to remix, he bores you half to death with 6 minutes of UFO bleeps and organ drone.

I love Ya La Tengo and they're my favorite band. As a result, I give this album a 5 out of 5, with 5 extra spaces for me to kiss them through.

Here are a few jokes for us all to laugh around:

Why did Yo La Tengo cross the road?
Because something interesting was coming towards them, and they were afraid of it.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Yo who?
Yo! MTV Raps

How many members of Yo La Tengo does it take to screw in a light bulb?
All three - and their light bulbs are constantly going out, leaving little time for writing decent material.

Add your thoughts?

The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science - Egon 2002
Rating = 5

In the beginning Yo La Tengo created the music for some undersea documentaries. And the music was without form, and void; and no singing was upon the face of the music. And the Spirit of Yo La Tengo moved upon the face of the music. And Yo La Tengo said, Let there be a bunch of hypnotic and compelling melodies that unfortunately drag on and on for more than eight minutes each, until any interest has waned: and there was a bunch of really hypnotic and compelling melodies that unfortunately drag on and on for more than eight minutes each, until any interest has waned.

Call me Ira. Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely -- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me in the studio, I thought I would play about a little and record some music for a documentary about the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation of my band's music.

To be good, or not to be good: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the independent music world to offer The slings and arrows of dreamy hippy meandering drone and fingers scraping across loud distorted guitar strings Or to take arms against a possibly bad documentary about life under the sea of troubles, And by opposing contradict them? To create funky, bass-driven Miles Davisy fusion; to build a song around mesmerizing bass chords, futuristic pulse notes, and slowly fill in each nook and cranny with guitar notes, additional organ lines and loud guitar chords before replacing the entire mess with delayed guitar notes piling ever more on top of each other in fascinating fashion. Yes, more; and by putting you to sleep to say we end The earache and the thousand lousy songs we've written That you are heir to,-'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished.

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing this CD in this big field of beans and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy CD player. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to turn off the CD player - I mean if they're bored and they don't like where the hooks are going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the beans and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really be able to do to keep the kids from turning off the CD, because the songs all drag on forever (8:15 to 13:18) and, aside from two songs that turn into completely different compositions halfway through, none of them change or develop much over the course of time. But that's the nature of a soundtrack album; this music really wasn't meant to be listened to on its own like this. Especially by little kids in a big field of beans. But at very least, I hope that listeners notice how lovely, fun, calming, somber, and/or catchy most of the melodic patterns and organ chord sequences are. I mean, if you think of it as an EP and just listen to the first 3 or 4 minutes of each track, you'll probably really like it! There are a couple of lousy songs (an Eno ambient failure and a mess of lo-fi shitnoise), but the other six songs are completely melody-oriented. Good melodies too! A nice falling bass line here, a memorable high-pitched organ riff there, some slidey ebowy guitar here, some bachelor pad xylophone there.... If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck You, This Is A Great Riff" moments in the CD. It's impossible.

We the People of Yo La Tengo, in Order to form a more perfect Soundtrack, establish an Appropriate Undersea Feel, insure musical Tranquility, provide for the common Listener, promote the TV Program, and secure the Blessings of Income to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Album of Instrumentals for the United Fans of Our Music-ah.

Kaavya Viswanathan

Reader Comments

jfrey@oprah.com (James Frey)
Fantastic review, Kaavya. I'll never forget blasting this CD as I sped down the Interstate at 130 MPH zonked out of my mind on coke and pills. After I woke up in the state pen and bashed in the skulls of four huge inmates who'd tried to gang rape me in my sleep, I was told that I'd driven the car into a church and gone pew by pew running over every single member of the congregation. I felt the blood dripping down my face and thought, "Man, I need a drink." Then I busted a hole in the wall with my fist and shot up 5,000 pounds of marijuana crack.

Poor Kaavya. Did you know it was her own student paper that turned her in? Goes to show--the best colleagues are those that keep ya straight. Well, she'll likely be the object of cattiness for at least three years. Trust me- -Rice innuendo alone could drive the common man insane. And Harvard reportedly makes Rice look like a happy sand castle. Oh well--what one doesn't accidentally kill oneself with makes oneself stronger.

All I've heard from this band is I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One. Good album, but too long. Somebody recommended Painful, though--I'll have to give it a noisy, velvety listen and determine what flew and what blew.

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Nuclear War EP - Ole 2002
Rating = 3



It sucks so bad you'll throw it out the NUCLEAR DOOR!

Or stomp it into the NUCLEAR FLOOR!

If you like these hilarious rhymes and would like NUCLEAR MORE, please visit my review page for Thurston "NUCLEAR" MOORE!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to ball a NUCLEAR WHORE!

pump pump pump (*explodes*)

Good evening all! My name is Charles Ernroast III and I'm the undertaker down at Sexy Pines Topless Funeral Home (motto: "We put the 'X' in 'Rotting Maggot-Infested Corpses'!"). Upon learning of Mark Prindle's untimely demise in the arms of a prostitute who derives destructive energy from the release of atomic lubrication, I immediately ran to his apartment to tie up any loose ends he may have left on his Record Review Web Site. What I found on his computer screen was a quarter-assed 'review' of Yo La Tengo's Nuclear War EP. As I would hate for even a single bad review to crop up on markprindle.com to soil his good name, I would like to complete the review in my own unique fashion: by reviewing the record.

Nuclear War features four versions of Sun Ra's "Nuclear War," as performed by New Jersey's band, Yo La Tengo. As I have not heard the original rendition, I cannae compare the two. Howe'er, as sure as I'm standing here, I can tell you this: Yo La Tengo made a colossal error when they decided to waste 35 minutes on an idea that wears dreadfully thin after the first 30 seconds.

You see, the concept of "Nuclear War" (the song) is, in the fashion of an actual Nuclear War, to immerse the listener in a repetitive, never-changing Hell of infinite psychic pain and boredom. I'm usually a bit too stoic and staid to perform imitations but for the sake of Mark Prindle's memory, I shall attempt to do so here. What follows is my (admittedly ill-advised) factual yet haughty impersonation of the entire record:

(Enter: Funky Drum Beat) It's a nuclear war. (Adults: "Yeah") It's a nuclear war. ("Yeah") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") (REPEAT)


(Enter: Woobly synth playing one bloobly note) It's a nuclear war. (Children: "Yeah") It's a nuclear war. ("Yeah") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") (REPEAT)


(Enter: Groovy piano line) It's a nuclear war. (Adults: "Yeah") It's a nuclear war. ("Yeah") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") (Enter: Bleepy horn) Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") (REPEAT)


(Enter: Cute little organ notes and backwards piano) It's a nuclear war. (Children: "Yeah") It's a nuclear war. ("Yeah") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") It's a mother fucker. ("It's a mother fucker") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") If they push that button ("If they push that button") Your ass got to go ("Your ass got to go") Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") Whatcha gonna do ("Yeah") Without that ass? ("Yeah") (REPEAT)



Hello. This is Charles Ernroast III, back at your ass for the nine-4. If you found my impression a bit long and tedious, wait until you hear the record!

And with this, I bid you adieu. Yes, though we shall never again hear from Mark Prindle, Record Reviewer and Friend of the Animals, his spirit shall be with us forever and always. R.I.P. Mark Prindle

Of course, down at Sexy Pines, that stands for "Rest in Pussy," but the sentiment is similar. So remember - when you're ready to die, keep your stiff "stiff" and give your bones a "boner" by hosting your burial at Sexy Pines Topless Funeral Home! We even cut a little hole in your coffin so you can use it to wack off

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Summer Sun - Matador 2003
Rating = 7

So I was walking around the other day thinking about how "Season of the Shark" is a pop song so tiny and comforting that I want to walk around with it on my shoulder like a happy cockatiel, when all of a sudden SPLAMMO! The song actually FLEW OFF of the CD and onto my SHOULDER! God, it was so tiny and comforting there on my shoulder that I just... Hell, I just started WALKING AROUND with it! It seemed happy enough, so why not, right? Well, little did I know that the Insane Police were right outside my door with a warrant to arrest anybody they found walking around with a song on their shoulder that they kept offering a cracker to. So the FUCKIN' PIGS chased the happy little cockatiel song right off my shoulder back into its cage (or "disc") and my whole day was fucked up the ass. LITERALLY!!!! Guckin' cop shoved his dick right through my calendar, all pokin' at the June 21 page behind it. Now what am I supposed to do when THAT day rolls around? I sure can't LICK it as is my preference!!!!

As the windswept daffodils drift delicately across my bare feet, the corners of my mouth slowly rise into a smile - small at first, but slowly growing in size and intensity until it EATS MY ENTIRE HEAD!!!!!! This is the optimistic, loving atmosphere of Summer Sun. Although the songs are as relaxed and synth/organ-washed as those of Inside-Out, the overall feel is "positive," not necessarily "slow." Romantic pieces abound and pessimism is kicked to the curb as YLT express their bliss through music encompassing everything from Eno peace soundscapes and dreamy guitar/organ ballads (some of their finest ballads ever), to fast-moving pop/rock ecstasy and ridiculously bouncy electric piano glee, to vocal harmony acoustic explorations and playful novelty funk. The instrumental tones and production techniques are all over the map as well, with no two songs featuring the same guitar and keyboard sounds.

Another reason that this somewhat maligned latter-day release is one of the four YLT cds that I actually like is because it is truckful of smart, interesting ideas. Even when the songs as a whole aren't 100% satisfying (i.e. most of the second half of the disc), they often feature one or two really neat ideas. For example, "Nothing But You And Me" is destroyed by Ira's horrible, tuneless 'cool guy' vocal approach, but the piano work is really interesting and unlike any I've ever heard in a Yo La Tengo song -- very slow, deliberate, dark Tori Amos-like chords that seem to follow a mood rather than a set pattern. The wiggly bass synth just adds to the strangeness. Then there's "Let's Be Still," a 10-minute Ode to Joy that augments the band's usual guitar/keys/bass sound with additional posi-tones from trumpet, saxophone, flute and who knows what else -- the result is a big gigantic bag of melodic noises that love you! The most interesting song construction of all is "Moonrock Mambo," which quickly establishes itself as a shit-filled macho Bruce "Bruno" Willis-styled piece of rap/blues/funk garbage until all of a sudden, a minute and a half into the song, an eerie, harrowing keyboard aside comes in out of nowhere. And then goes away almost as quickly, returning you to Ira's low-key horrible rap shit -- but then it comes back, this time with Georgia "aaaah"ing along with it. Before you know it, the entire blues/funk song is gone, replaced by this creepy piece of music. Who in Hell combines stupid blues funk with fearful hopeless crying sadness!? I'll tell you who! The Yo La Tengo All-Star Band!

So there's that. Optimism, love and inspired musical ideas. Sure, it only has maybe five songs that are great all the way through, but we're into music for the IDEAS and the MOOD, aren't we? Aren't we???? We don't listen to music for SONGS THAT ARE ANY GOOD, do we???? Come on! Get your head out of the past where it belongs!

Now for some real-life love lyrics, courtesy of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, James McNew, and the members of Yo La Tengo:

"If you put your hand in my palm I won't let it go/Until there's nothing left in the world to make me"

"I like to hold hands when we walk/I'm not averse to pillow talk/But I prefer a private joke/The memory it evokes/Because it's our punch line"

"Last night I was trying to read in bed/But I got to watching you sleep instead/Even when I got tired I couldn't stop/Because I love you so, and I pray you know/But I'm not much for praying/I knew I couldn't say that without making a joke"

"I want to be The one to make you feel okay right now/Some way, some how/So when I fall short, I sink so low/that I even blame the clouds/For blocking out the sun"

Also be sure and check out www.yolatengo.com for a pair of hilarious videos (YLT opening for the reunited Beatles in "Tom Courtenay" and the Mr. Show guys teaching them how to "Rock!" in "Sugar Cube") and a sneak preview of their upcoming double-album I'm Not Afraid Of You And I'm Going To Beat Your Ass. As of this writing, they only have one song posted but it's a bouncy piano/trumpet thing that would have fit nicely on Magical Mystery Tour. So keep your fingers crossed that this September I'll have a FIFTH Yo La Tengo album to enjoy (out of twelve)!

Reader Comments

Your Yo La Tengo reviews are hilarious.

Fishgum, he seems to be recycling Hamburger jokes. Hazmat hitsquad gonna come take him away, I worry.

(the next day)

Actually now that I think about it, the earliest "Hamburger" version of the basic joke was:

Hey Henry, why did the chicken cross the road?
Cause I shot him.

Eat yer heart out Gregg!

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Today Is The Day EP - Matador 2003
Rating = 7

It's madness to name your EP after AmRep band Today Is The Day. What were they thinking? You can't do that! It's as crazy as Today Is The Day naming their first album after fellow Amrep band Supernova. What the hell? Why'd they do that? This is exactly the kind of horseshit that led to the violent Marillion/Fugazi riots of 1991. And don't get me STARTED on that time 500 billion people accidentally purchased Negativland's U2 ep, bankrupting Island Records and driving a desperate Bono to siphon third world debt repayments into his leather pants account. This is the problem we're facing, and this is why we're facing it. And how we're facing it. This is who we're facing, and which we're facing. This is where we're facing. But the problem is.... we DON'T KNOW WHEN!!!!!

Obviously with a stunning lead paragraph like that, I could go on to write the greatest spy novel in literary history. But that's not my game. I may touch upon these issues here or there, but when shush comes to pove, I know my strengths and try to stay in the comfort zone where I succeed best and most often. And my main strength, of course, is in the fast-paced sector of bustier sales. Now this Floral Applique Stretch Mesh Strappy is one of our most popular models, especially amongst whores, so your mustache w

This EP features six songs. The first three (including a revisioning of Summer Sun's "Today Is The Day") are great big warm fuzzy glowing uptempo shimmery loud distorted guitar rock songs unlike anything they've done since I Can Hear The Heart Beating Off In The Urinal. Unfortunately the other three are songs from a different kitchen, sinking from a decent Bert Jansch folksy-time ballad to a passable minor-key instrumental surf-spy/exotica hybrid before hitting roddy bottom with a slow acoustic version of "Cherry Chapstick" that completely negates the only thing I liked about the song in the first place (ie the fact that it was a hilariously note-perfect imitation of Sonic Youth!).

Yo La Tengo is not lacking in songwriting ability. Their key defect lies rather in their inability to consistently write songs geared towards me personally. See, it's okay for The Ramones and Motorhead to record the same songs over and over, because I like both those bands. But Yo La Tengo has no right to do the same because they don't kick enough ass. Thankfully, we can all rest easy knowing that Yo La Tengo has thousands of loyal fans and I'm sitting at work typing dick jokes on a computer.

Speaking of which, why did the dick cross the road?
To get to your mother's backside!

How many peckers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
I don't know, but it only takes one to screw your mother in the ass!

What has two penises, two ding-dongs and a pud?
Let's just say you'll soon be seeing a lot more of your mother's fecal matter around the house!

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Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics - Egon 2006
Rating = 7

Between 1996 and 2003, Yo La Tengo visited their local WFMU radio station featuring Tom Scharpling to help out during the aannual fundraising marathon. Apparently anybody who pledged money during Yo La Tengo's appearance was allowed to "Stump The Band" with a song request (not a Yo La Tengo song -- a cover! An on-the-spot cover!). Because the results were so funny and awful, they decided to put together a 70-minute compilation for sale exclusively on their web site, where it is described as "a Best-of, or Best-of-the-Worst, or Worst-of-the-Best, or . . . oh, what's the use, it's dreadful."

Well, of course it is. But it's also great fun. Because instead of all the stupid little fairy folk music obscure crap that Ira would prefer to cover for you, he and his kool gang are forced to perform songs by such wonderful, beloved and hilariously UNCOOL artists as Paper Lace, Frankie Ford, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Eurythmics, Billy Joel, Three Dog Night, Bachman Turner-Overdrive, the Hues Corporation, and even YES! And they try, they do try. I mean, it's not easy to play "Roundabout" and don't think the requester wasn't well aware of this fact! As such, YLT's version is absolutely horrific. But it's funny! And that's just one example, out of 30 tracks.

Other wonderful moments include Archie Bell & The Drells' "Tighten Up" with Ira (I guess it's Ira) even taking the time to recite that great spoken word bit at the beginning ("Hi everybody! I'm Archie Bell and this is the Drells!" etc); a New York Mets baseball jingle; a surprisingly ass-kicking rendition of Iggy & The Stooges' "Raw Power"; a lovely take of The Who's "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands"; "The Hokey Pokey" (does Georgia seriously not know the words? Or is she joking?); a gleeful, energetic run-through of the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner"; and the fourth (and hopefully not final) Kinks cover of the band's career, a thick heavy fuzzed-out blast of "20th Century Man." Some guy had to kiss ass and request the Velvet Underground too, but to the band's full credit, they kept their version down to about 90 seconds.

Having said all that about the fun that can be had, I must also stress that it would be in everybody's best interest to only listen to half of the CD in a single sitting. 70 minutes straight of unrehearsed, mistake-filled cover tunes is a bit much for even the heartiest Replacements fan to take, especially when these 70 minutes include such abominations as a Sir Douglas Quintet/Burt Bacharach medley, Yoko Ono's "Don't Worry Kyoto" (complete with every member of the band doing a screeching Yoko Ono impression), and a 6-minute soul riff over which Ira lays down some of his favorite, completely incongruous lyrics ("My Sharona," "Sonic Reducer," "God Only Knows," "Schizophrenia," possibly etc.).

And why the hell did NRBQ write a song about Captain Lou Albano? It's a great song, but come on!

And what the hell is "Baseball Altamont"? And why does it merge the "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" bass line with the "Dirty Boots" guitar line? It's a great song, but come on!

And couldn't the Replacements requester have picked a better track than "Favorite Thing"? It's a great song, but come on!

And what possessed a caller to request the theme from Never On Sunday? It's a great song, but come on!

And isn't it hilarious that the sole Beach Boys request they got was the drooling 5-year-old braindead Brian's "Ding Dang"? It's a great song, but come on!

And isn't it funny when Ira replaces the second verse of "Mama Told Me Not To Come" with the apology, "I don't think even Chuck Negron remembers the second verse of this song!"? It's a great song, but come on!

And why did "Let The Good Times Roll" have to be the Shirley & Lee song instead of the Cars one? It's a great song, but come on!

And what kind of boring artsy man with glasses requested Eno's "Baby's On Fire"? It's a great song, but come on!

It's a great song, but come on!
It's a great song, but come on!
You don't have to shove the speaker up my wong
dong diddly shing shong - that's slang for penis, Tom!

(Copyright 2006, Mark Prindle Music, Mark Prindle Publishing, Mark Prindle Records, Lyrics and Music by Mark Prindle. Drums, Guitar, Mandolin, Violin, Gonorrhea, Keyboards, Vocals, Rhythm Saxophone, "Tree" Rollins, Burton Cummings Cocaine Mustache, Vibes, Harp, Mouth Harp, Jews' Harp, God's Angrily-Taken-Away-From-The-Jews Harp, Bottles, Jugs, Knockers, Melons, Breasts of Chicken, Detuned Tambourine, Electric Triangle, Stratovarius Piano, Mellotron, Angrytron, Del Monte's Mandolin Oranges, Bass, Bassoon, Bassoonoon, Bassassonnonn, Fretless Tuba, Acoustic Clitoris, Ukulele Orchestration, Alto Wooden Block, Electronic Guitar Machine, Boogie Woogie Didgideroo, "Flying V" Mammogram, A Capella Frippertronics, Buddhist Maraca, Radio Shack Tandy B-5 Organ, Tap Prancing, Dollar Fifty-Five Whistle, Hammond Bicycle Horn, Grand Piano Made Out Of Ball Hair and Moog Banjo by Suck "Joe 'Blow Job' Blob" Job)

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V.O.T.E. (with Chris Stamey) - Yep Roc 2004
Rating = 3

Yeah, more like S.C.R.O.T.E. if you ask me!!!

To properly place the blame, let me make it clear that Yo La Tengo were simply hired hands on this terrible Chris Stamey record. They wrote none of the songs and basically just kept their mouth shuts and played. However, their name appears on the album cover so I feel obliged to include it in their discography. But you know what they say - you can polish a turd all you want, but it's still polish. None of that delightful turd is going to rub off and make it better.

You'd think I'd be familiar with Chris Stamey since he's from Chapel Hill, NC and I spent my important college years in that very town. Then again, I've never been much into pussy music (i.e. power pop) so I guess it's not surprising that I never heard him or his old band The dB's prior to dipping my head into this Toilet Of The Ears. Still, I'm not going to make an "ass" out of "u" and "me" by "masseuse"-ing the idea that all his other albums are also composed of slow generic lazyboners, cliche'd boogie rock and pointless cover tunes, all sung with the thin wimpy voice of a record store employee.

This long flog long dog features five cover tunes (by Gene McDaniels, Tift Merritt, Eric Clapton's Yardbirds, Eric Clapton's Cream, and Eric Clapton's Television), three new Stamey originals, a re-recording of his 1978 song "Summer Sun," two unnecessary reprises and a 30-second title track. I don't even want to waste your time by describing it any further. If you're a Yo La Tengo fan, you might enjoy the lengthy midtempo rock jam in the middle of "McCauley Street (Let's Go Downtown)." The rest is pbbll. With pffft on vocals.

Here then are a few interesting facts I learned from this record:

1. Power pop is actually quite charming when restricted to 30 seconds.
2. If you cover Television's "Venus" but leave out both the guitar interplay and THE MAIN GUITAR RIFF, it's pretty godddamned boring!
3. If you want to cover a '60s r'n'b song, try to find a vocalist who doesn't sound like the whitest man from the whitest section of Whiteville.
4. If you want to cover Cream's "Politician," try to find a vocalist who doesn't sound like Mr. Rogers with his testicles removed and shoved up his ass.
5. If you've only recorded four original compositions on your new CD, it might be best to refrain from including "reprises" of two of them at the end of the disc.

Speaking of which, I've watched two different films in the past three months (Starman and Sometimes They Come Back) that feature lead characters saying "Hello baaaaaby!" in that stupid Big Bopper voice. And it got me to thinking, "What if ALL our favorite movies featured lead characters saying "Hello baaaaaby!" in that stupid Big Bopper voice?" I think it would look something like this:

Scarlett: Rhett... if you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?
Rhett Butler: Frankly, my dear, Hello baaaaaby!
(*whips out a Flying V and starts shreddin'*)

Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but Hello baaaaaby!
(*they leave together on a plane to Hawaii*)

Oskar Schindler: This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people.
(removing Nazi pin from lapel)
Oskar Schindler: This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern. For this.
Oskar Schindler: Hello baaaaaby!
(*grabs a cane and does little happy dance*)

Yes, it's amazing what a little elbow grease can accomplish when you put your mind to it!

(*puts a little elbow grease on penis; enjoys crisis*)

HAY, I said 'mind,' not 'pud'!

Ron "Opie" "Richie" Howard
Director, A Beautiful Pud

Reader Comments

Charles Foster Kane: "Hello baaaaaby!"
(*Throws snowglobe at wall, shattering it. Grabs sled and copulates with it joyously*)

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I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass - Matador 2006
Rating = 8

Hide your mustache because Yo La Tengo's back and this time they're RAZOR SHARP!

Sorry about that. I'm pretty excited because I just sold three ads on my site for a whopping $60, so from now on I'm going to gear all of my reviews to potential advertisers, the same way the Rolling Stones do with their songs. And if you don't like it, you can go jump in a LAKE RESORT!

Yes, after two albums of sleepy slow slush and slobbering slumber slop, Yo La Tengo have cranked up their guitars, sped up their drummer, and put the pedal to the metal in this POPULAR NEW SPORTS CAR. Actually, there's more piano than guitar, and some horns too if you're seeking complete disclosure, but regardless this is an absolutely adorable, happy, warm, optimistic and FUN album that will bring a smile to your face like a LOCAL DENTAL OR ORTHODONTIC PRACTICE. It's also easily their most stylistically diverse record aside from I've Got A Dick On My Nose or whatever it's called -- and by the way, that's the sign of a superior music critic: completely forgetting the name of an album he gave a 10 to.

Your head will swell up and burst into an explosion as you wind your weaving way through the sinewy sinus of this COLD MEDICATION, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE OR DATING SERVICE. Comprised of such drastically incongruent elements as epic fuzz-guitar hypnotics, bouncy music hall piano pop, romantic Velvet Underground balladry, Jackson Fivey soul-pop, Flaming Lipsy neo-PsYcHeDeLiA, folk rocked Kraut-rock, Farfisa hippy racket, moody improvisational somber-rock, Stereolabby energy-electro-rock, '60s garage stomp and Sonic Youth impersonation, this album is comprised of 15 Bad Company covers. See, the thing is - w

Oh, my bad. I was misreading the 'Yo La Tengo' songwriting credits as 'Pa Ul Rodgo,' which I naturally assumed was a new "bling bling" hip hop moniker f

On a related note, track 10 - "I Should Have Known Better" - is neither a Beatles cover nor a Wire cover. In fact, it's a brand new original composition by Bad Company. You see, w

Isn't it awesome how I learned my entire writing style from the end of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"? Indeed, t

Oh crap, in all the hilariousness we were inwardly enjoying, I forgot about my potential sponsors, like MAJOR CIGARETTE COMPANIES and FIREARMS MANUFACTURERS. This album's melodies are mostly fairly simple, but their effortless catchiness and rich instrumental tones render them very pleasing to the ears. The energy level is high, the playing is tight and controlled, the vocals are spirited and mostly on-key, and the overall sound is dense and intriguing thanks to numerous echo, reverb and delay/repeat effects right where you want them the most -- in your ABORTION CLINICS and TELEPHONE SEX CHAT LINES.

A few additional points of interest:

- With "Sometimes I Don't Get You," they've built an entirely new song on top of Suicide's "Rocket USA." But does Suicide get any royalties? Hell no. That's how they fuck ya! And by "they," I mean the MANUFACTURERS OF ADULT NOVELTIES AND MARITAL AIDS

- The guitar break in "Watch For Me Ronnie" is Jeff Beck's "Heart Full Of Soul" lick transposed in like eight different keys!

- Any song with a Farfisa sounds just like Stereolab!

- "The Story Of Yo La Tengo" sounds exactly like Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth! In a GOOD way!

- "Mr. Tough" is as awful as you've heard.

Well, that's it! Every review in the place. Unless of course... you'd like to try....

the CRUEL reviews......

Guy Who References Things That Weren't Funny in 1979

Reader Comments

I like this band, but the way I feel about this album seems similar to how you feel about their older stuff. Very few of these songs connect: I'm sitting here and listening to these songs, absorbing all the ideas, chord changes, melodies, etc. they put into them, and I'm not feeling anything from them. It's diverse, but unlike I Can Feel the Heart, the diversity seems more put on (resulting in crap like "Mr. Tough") and seems to be an excuse for lazy songwriting. Ordinary chord changes are fine if you've got a sound, but there's no weight behind this music. Yeah, "Beanbag Chair" is "poppy" and "upbeat," but no one seems to mention how ugly it is (needs a better bassline). I think they were trying to make an album that has "a little something for everybody," and I guess they succeeded. I like maybe 5 of these songs.

Oh, and I think the Suicide song is "The Room Got Heavy" instead of "Sometimes I Don't Get You."

Their new one, with the song pass the hatchet and others. Is no way as good and definately not better than painful or i can hear the heart beating as one. Or even fakebook.I'd say it deserves a weak seven.

The thing about this record is, the more i listen to it the more i dislike it. I mean some of the songs on it sound good the first or second time, but after that their crapiness really seems to sink in. I actually prefer summer sun to this one. It's way better, they should go back to making music like that. I also think that mister tough is the worst song they've ever done so far.

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They Shoot, We Score - Egon 2008
Rating = 2

The worst band in the world is back - and this time they're making a MOVIE!

Oh alright, they're not the worst band in the world. This CD is a bore though. It's a bunch of incidental music snippets from four different two-syllabled films: Old Joy, Junebug, Game 6 and Shortbus. As each of these soundtracks has its own feel and felicity, I will approach the disc as if it were four smaller discs stapled together.


Although that was a joke - and a hilarious one - let it also serve as a grave warning to not staple together multiple small compact discs in hopes of creating a single larger disc.

Old Joy - This 2006 film stars Will "Bonnie 'Prince' Billy" Oldham as 'Kurt.' IMDB commentators refer to it as "a fraud," "without a POV, or real purpose," "homo-erotic," "pretentious," "gay" and "Beardy McGruntsalot." As such, Yo La Tengo contributed six tracks of Ira Kaplan noodling around on his guitar. A couple also feature piano and drums, but all are built and based around Ira's painfully mellow and sparse leads. I've no doubt that this music worked fine in context, but listened to on its own, it reminds me yet again of why I don't like this band very much. Their music too often has no energy at all! I mean, absolutely NONE! How can people play this slowly and lazily without falling asleep? Are they on Caffeinated Heroin or something!? Shame on you, The Velvet Underground, for influencing so many bands to make me tired. This section gets a 1.

Junebug - This 2005 film stars Will "Bonnie 'Prince' Billy" Oldham as 'Bill Mooney, scout.' IMDB commentators call it "blah," "bored and boring" and "incredibly stupid and pointless"; announce "Didn't like it," "Very disappointed" and "Dislike almost everything about it"; and ask "Are you kidding me?!?," "Does anybody like this movie?," and "Was Ashley masturbating?" As a result, Yo La Tengo contributed seven songs performed mostly on cello and piano -- four of which have the exact same melody. In the movie theater who gives a care about repeated motifs, but in my stereo room "Get on with it!" Still, the Junebug material is among the strongest and most memorable on the CD. I give it a 3.

Game 6 - This 2005 film stars Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Bebe Neuwirth, Griffin Dunne, Catherine O'Hara, Roger Clemens, Vin Scully and "Blackie" as "Cat." IMDB commentator who_wants_a_pony started five different message board threads about this film, including "Absolutely Stinkin' Brilliant !!!!!!!!!," "Always Interesting To See How Others React," "Lone Eagle Narration Rocked !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!," "'This Could Be It'," and "'So, How Did You Like The Play?'" Because they want a pony, Yo La Tengo gave the producers ten tracks of '60s-tinged funky beats, psych guitars, vintage organs and squishy noises. Nice grooves, but not much in the way of melody. Game 6? More like Grade = 3 if you ask me!

Shortbus - This 2006 film stars A Bunch of People as "A Bunch of People Fucking." Because Georgia Hubley is addicted to pornography, Yo La Tengo contributed four tracks of musical masturbation to the proceedings. The first features SEXophone, the next two are just squishy scrapy meowing noises, and the last is a bachelor pad lounge ditty with "Ba da da da da - Ba ba da" Stereolab vocals (the only vocals on the entire 57-minute CD!). Though the final track's vocals are a warm treat, the first three songs stink so bad I can literally smell them with my ear. A 1 with you, sex movie!

I have hundreds more things to say, but my boss insists that I have to create three important documents in the next five hours. As Eva Peron once told Rod Argent, "Don't feel bad for me, Argentina!"

Reader Comments

Shortbus fucking sucked.

Except it featured some Animal Collective on the soundtrack, so +3.

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Fuckbook (as Condo Fucks) - Matador 2009
Rating = 7

There are three things I need to talk about here, and I mean "four." I'm drunk, so deal with it.

A) I like Roman Polanski's movies. I really do. I've seen several of them, and almost all were good-to-great. However, I think he needs to be imprisoned for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. And I simply cannot understand why so many respected actors (Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp, etc.) have jumped at the chance to appear in his movies. I'm sorry he lost his parents in the Holocaust and his wife to the Manson family, but that's not an excuse for victimizing a little kid.

B) I am SICK TO DEATH of emails about Attack Attack!. Their idiot fans continue berating me, as if the band really needs a bunch of retards defending them -- and now my OWN fans are trashing me for apologizing to them! Just DROP IT. I don't give a shit about Attack Attack! one way or the other. I made fun of them for 1 minute about three months ago. I apologized because I didn't realize they were kids, and I felt like an asshole old man trashing youngsters on TV. LET IT GO.

C) People who complain, "You're so opinionated! Why are you so opinionated!?" should think about the consequences of going through life with no opinions. Do you honestly not like or dislike ANYTHING!? I'm opinionated because my site is a record review guide, and a non-opinionated record review is a LIE. Describe the record all you want, but if you're going to put your name on the 'review,' for Christ's sake let us know your actual opinion! Granted, I don't really give an existential shit about whether any album is good or not, or whether any classic band reunites and sucks or not -- but for the one hour a day I spend discussing it, you better BET YOUR FUCKING ASS I'm going to express my one-hours-long opinion!

D) 1-year-olds who read an opinion and complain, "But that's just your opinion! And you're saying it like you think it's a FACT!" are all over the Internet, and need to be removed until they learn the difference between an 'opinion' and a 'fact.' For example, the phrase "Linkin Park is godawful" is clearly an opinion, right? Could it possibly be considered a fact? By ANYONE? How about the opposite - "Linkin Park rules." Is that a fact? Could anybody AT ALL mistake it for a fact? "Oh shit, I just checked the Encyclopedia Of Scientific Facts and it says that Linkin Park sucks dogwang. I must reconsider my incorrect impression of them!" NO! OF COURSE NOT! "Linkin Park is a band" is a fact. "Linkin Park is made up of young men" is a fact. "Linkin Park is a complete piece of shit stinking up the world with their godawful shit music" is an opinion. If you can't tell the difference, GET THE FUCK OFF THE COMPUTER, ASSHOLE. What do you want, a world full of people who preface every statement with "In my opinion...."? Go kill yourself; you're making humanity stupider.

E) I'm no genius, but there are a LOT of stupid, stupid people in the world. Look around you. Listen to the way they talk. Listen to what they get upset about. Think about how much power they have. Kill them.

F) Whenever I watch an old '70s porn movie (which is only a couple times a week so don't go claiming I'm a perv, or ert), I can't help but think, "HA! Everything going on in this film is designed by nature for us to procreate and propogate our species! They're PRETENDING it means something else, but it doesn't! It's ALL our brains and senses reacting to stimuli in such a way that promotes the propogation of our species!" I love that! Granted, it ruins the whole 'boner' aspect of watching the movie, but I feel truth is more important than not truth.

G) David Cross's I Drink For A Reason book is hilarious.

H) Republicans are selfish pricks. Democrats are one half-step away from being Republicans, yet both sides pretend that they're universes apart. Ignore political people because they're all either (a) full of shit, or (b) extremely gullible, one-sided and stupid. And yes, that includes me. This web site is almost 14 years old, and there are a LOT of stupid, half-thought-out political opinions on here (as well as shitty old reviews, about which I apologize). But life continues. And by the time you're really smart and have it all figured out, you've had a stroke and can't tell anybody! Then you die and burn in Hell.

I) (a few hours later than H) Tonight at dinner, every time the waitress came by, a few seconds after she walked away I'd mutter "Cunt." This was because her first time by, she seemed rude to me. But I was mainly doing it as a joke. Still, ha! Right? Am i right? Example: WAITRESS: "Here's your food!" ME: "Thanks!" Here: "You're welcome!" (*walks away*) Me: "Cunt." Har! Jocularity!

This album is Yo La Tengo playing noisy, one-take covers of old '60s garage rock and '70s proto-punk tunes by such bands as Small Faces, Electric Eels, Kinks, Beach Boys, Troggs, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Flamin' Groovies, The Fezmen (!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?), Young Rascals and Slade. Most of the songs are excellent choices of great music! (except for the generic Electric Eels and terrible Young Rascals song) Unfortunately, because they half-assed it, they sorta ruined some excellent compositions (totally fucken up both "Shut Down"s, not being Richard Hell in "The Kid With The Replaceable Head," not having anywhere NEAR cool enough a voice to sing "Gud'bye T' Jane" without sounding like an asshole), but still it beats all daylights out of the tepid, embarrasing Fakebook (or Facebook, as today's greatest social networking site might call it).

The guitars are delightfully scraggly and distorted; the mix is hilariously lo-fi, plugged-up and screamed-in; the vocals are spectacularly buried; and the Stooges should have been covered.

They released the album while pretending that they were a band called "Condo Fucks." That was a mistake, because this album beats the living dicklights out of their "official" 2009 album Popular Songs (or Pussy-Assed Songs, as I likely don't call it below because I'm going to be sober when I review it).

One other thing: stop making my dog growl.

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Popular Songs - Matador 2009
Rating = 6

This record can be neatly divided into three halves.

HALF ONE: The first four songs on this thing are so great I honestly thought I was in for another I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. The tough'n'groovy rough'n'raw soul-rock fusion "Here To Fall," gorgeous mellow sunshine pop "Avalon Or Someone Very Similar," brooding psych "By Two's" and filthily distorted but enchantingly vocalized pop-rock "Nothing To Hide" had me so excited that I was actually starting to think I'd become a Yo La Tengo fan. Then, suddenly, I began to smell the fart stinking as one.

HALF TWO: Beginning with a beyond generic '60s soul throwaway called "Periodically Double Or Triple," what began as an eclectic mix of '60s/'70s ear candy immediately degenerates into a bunch of ball-less laidback lounge soft rock mellow bongo peaceful sugary schmaltzy happy breezy VOMIT PUKE GARBAGE! If you liked The Carpenters but thought they kicked a little too much ass, I may just have the tedious pillow music for you.

HALF THREE: Then suddenly at the end they start playing every song for like half an hour! "More Stars Than There Are In Heaven" is a beautiful and hypnotic 9 1/2-minute piece of gentle guitaring and distorted bass, but its follow-ups -- 11 1/2-minute dreamy acoustic strummer "The Fireside" and 16-minute Hendrix rock jam "And The Glitter Is Gone" -- though not bad by any means, could definitely have used some pruning.

As opposed to HALF TWO, which could have used some prunes -- in order to SHIT ITS TERRIBLE SONGS RIGHT OFF THE ALBUM!

In general, Popular Songs focuses on the musical sounds of the 1960s and 70s -- particularly sunshine pop, bachelor pad lounge, soft rock and soul. In specific, it starts with four fantastic songs, then stinks to High Hell for a while before turning into Bob's Long Song World at the end.

The record features 12 songs in 72 minutes, for an average of 6 minutes per song. This means that my grade of 6 for the 72-minute disc averages out to a grade of 1 for every 12 minutes. And if every 12-minute segment only earns a 1, then the overall grade for the album must be a 1. Congratulations on your 1, you bunch of New Jersey assholes!!!!!

Greek mathematician
3rd century BC

Reader Comments

infinitesimal@yahoo.com (Sir Isaac Newton)
Dude, you totally fucked up that equation at the end. If you apply the grade of 6 to the 12 songs, that means that each song earns a grade of 2. Thus, the overall grade for the album must be a 2. Dipshit.

mathematical-notation-sk8er@gmail.com (Leonhard Euler)
Sir Isaac, Fuck you, you old piece of shit. I hope you have around the clock security because i intend to kill your pathetic ass before this week is over. Learn to appreciate the amount of time and effort that it takes to create any mathematical formula, whether you like it or not. Fucker. DIEDIEDIE!

ThaPrince (Carl Friedrich Gauss)
Leonhard (yeah, more like LeonSOFT, according to your wife) - if mathematics is the Queen of the Sciences, then you are the Queen of Mathematicians. I wanna punch you in the face faggot.

I can't help but start to wonder if this band has run its course. This is two mediocre albums in a row now (I Am Not Afraid of You sucks-why do you and other people like it?). The first four songs are indeed really good, and I like "Periodically Double or Triple" too (groovy!), but the rest of this album blows. On the other hand, "Avalon" is gorgeous, and that's Ira, not Georgia, singing! Can you believe it? I just saw them live a couple of weeks ago and when I realized Ira was singing it I was confused. Overall, the gig was just aight, but they played "Nowhere Near," so in my mind it was awesome.

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