What does it sound like?:
“The critics favourite indie band ” as All Music describes Yo La Tengo are a fascinating band with maninstays husband and wife team Ira Kaplan and drummer wife Georgia Hubley. Not over endowed with chops but a great sense of groove and melody they have a whopping catalogue with a lot of diffeent stuff from garage rock to ambient.
Many on the blog complain about overly long albums with bands seemingly obliged to fill the digitial capacity of a cd. Well if the classic 40-45 minute LP is your style then how about the EP? Ideal for those times when an LP really has one good side.
According to Pitchfork the songs on Sleepless Night were originally released as one side of an LP included within a limited-edition catalog for Yoshitomo Nara’s LACMA exhibition. The artist worked in collaboration with Yo La Tengo to choose the EP’s songs. The new edition of the EP features cover art by Nara.
YLT have already put out an EP of ambient stuff this year but this one is a collection of sparse understated songs. A blues from the 40s that has apparently been done a few times, Blues Stay Away From Me opens with some nice harmonies then onto the Byrds’ I Wasn’t Born To Follow. The inspiration apparently bein gthe same as for me- the Easy Rider soundtrack. The jangly rickenbacker is still in its pomp on their version courtesy of Dave Schramm. The next track is pure catnip for me. One of my alltime favourite Dylan songs – It Takes A Lot To Laugh. I’ve heard a million versions and the song is so good, it just swings so well that I can’t name a version I dislike. YLT do it quiet and spare with Georgia taking the lead – think Cowboy Junkies doing Sweet Jane. Speaking of great songs that are hard to fuck up we also get Ronnie Lane’s Roll On Babe – actually a cover of an earlier folk song. There’s an original which is a bit meh but that’s the risk of bunging one of your songs on with a collection of classics. The EP closes with the Flying Machine’s Smile A Little Smile For Me.
What does it all *mean*?
Some bands do cover albums coz they have no ideas or think they might arrest a flagging career .YLT are just fans who have sprinkled covers throughout their catalogue.
Goes well with…
Pretty much anything. Agreeable, unobtrusive but in a good way.
Might suit people who like…
Melodious chilled stuff