Monday, October 16, 2006

Musical Quark: Familiarity

Yo La Tengo's 10th album, I'm Not Afraid of You, and I WILL Beat your Ass (or as I tend to think of it, I'm going to give you an ass-beating at One) begines with a tour de force of noise in "Pass the Hatchet...", an intensity which maintained in a variety of forms through-out the album. Listening to the song "The Room Got Heavy," I am reminded of the Wire song "Eardrum Buzz" from 1989's "live" album It's Beginning To And Back Again. Is the similarity intentional? Probably not, but still, YLT and Wire are both bands known as much for the influence they wield as for their own personal successes, both are innovators and mercurialists, pushing punk into poppiness and poppiness into punk. "Eardrum Buzz" arrived at a time when the critical hype around Wire had lost its lustre, and the song went on to become their most successful (and arguably most memorable) single. As for Yo La Tengo, they have clearly adopted (or are putting on) a take no prisoners attitude with this album, which draws comparisons with earlier, edgier work, such as 1997's Ican Hear the Heart Beating as One.

It amazes me that we live in a time when you can turn on the radio and hear songs playing from Echo and the Bunnymen, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, and God-help them, the Lemonheads! I suppose the the cost of hairspray and feathering irons adds up.

Yo La Tengo - The Room got Heavy

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