Yo La Tengo by Steve Bodow

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 71 Spring 2000
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Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo.

They keep going. On any number of levels, that’s what defines Yo La Tengo. For starters, there’s the sheer longevity; having passed through postpunk, indie, alternative, grunge, and whatever flavor-of-the-month has come and gone, YLT has earned the right not to be understood as part of any trend. Then there’s the commitment. First, to craft: the Yo La Tengo sound has evolved impressively (especially since their 1993 Painful, the first in a yet-to-end sequence of remarkably assured records), their palette expanding in complexity, their playing and singing gaining confidence, their songwriting growing more subtle. Looking in at them from the outside, one sees all one could ask from an ongoing creative project—namely, serious growth in a dozen directions with a recognizable aesthetic core still intact. And there’s the commitment to one another: at the band’s core are Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, soulmates and spouses, whose writing often takes the very un-rock perspective of people involved in long-term relationships.

De facto frontman Ira boasts that every album and every show (Have you seen a Yo La Tengo show? They’re staged like some sort of loose, minimal choreography. Every performance is radically different, in content and form. In creating fresh live experiences, they keep going.) has at least one song that goes eight, ten, 15 minutes long. It’s no mistake; it’s the band’s way of getting to new places. There are discoveries to be found only deep within an experience; few bands—few artists in any discipline, I’d dare say—make the commitment and spend the time getting to that depth. YLT does. Case in point: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, the band’s latest Matador release. Their gentlest, quietest, and most texturally nuanced work to date doesn’t sound rock-trio at all, but despite the seeming change of mood, it is unmistakably Yo La Tengo: thoughtful but not cerebral, melodic but not facile, complex but not overwrought, romantic but not adolescent.


—Steve Bodow


And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out was recently released on Matador.

Stupid Club's Made to Feel by Suzan Sheman
Stupid Club
Bill Orcutt and Loren Connors by Keith Connolly
Orcutt Connors Body

Listen to a collaboration between Bill Orcutt and Loren Connors, recorded August 30, 2012 at Georgia NYC. Following the session, Keith Connolly conducted a brief interview with Orcutt and Connors.

Shake: 4-song 45-rpm record Black Lake by David Brody
Black Lake 01

David Brody praises the compelling rock-minimalist sounds of Slink Moss and Susan Jennings of Black Lake.

Stupid Club’s Made to Feel by Suzan Sheman
Stupid Club

Stupid Club’s first CD Made to Feel is an eclectic collection of songs inspired by vinyl favorites crisscrossing a seemingly limitless range of genres. Stupid Club strikes a balance between looking back at music and adding an air of knowing sophistication in order to make it their own.

Originally published in

BOMB 71, Spring 2000

Featuring interviews with Frank Stella, John Currin, Jim Crace, Frances Kiernan, Brian Boyd, Marsha Norman, and Arto Lindsay. 

Read the issue
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