Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Styles of the Old Times

A worrying trend that I've noticed in recent years is that many of my favorite musicians from high school just don't seem to give a crap anymore, or perhaps have gone in a more unpopular direction. I've already mentioned my thoughts on Jay Farrar. Another biggie of my youth that has followed this trend is Yo La Tengo.

YLT has released two albums since their masterpiece "I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One." Their follow-up, "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out," was released when I was in college in Milwaukee. I couldn't be any more thrilled to check it out considering the brilliance of their last album. However the rhythmic feedback of their last album and earlier on "Elecr-O-Pura" and "Painful" was replaced with cutesy percussion and jazzy instrumentation. It had its moments, but overall was disappointing. Even guest Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and Portastatic couldn't save it.

Last year YLT released "Summer Sun." I rushed out to pick it up, but was disappointed once again. Unlike "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out," "Summer Sun" did not have hardly any memorable moments.

In October YLT released the EP "Today is the Day." After being disappointed with their last two releases, I did not rush out to get it. Even though their previous two EPs, "Danelectro" and "Nuclear War," were pretty interesting, I was in no rush to pick it up. However, when I noticed how cheap it was on Amazon, I figured I'll give it a shot, at least to polish off my YLT collection. Well I got it yesterday.

Very surprising, to say the least mostly because it freaking rocks. It really recaptures the earlier garage sounds of the band. Take the organ out of "Painful" and this is what you get. I don't know if this is the direction they are moving in (or back to) or if this release is more of a pat of assurance to their disappointed fans, but I love it. It's the sound I've been missing. However, always being ironic, they had to put a joke in to close the disc. The only rocker from "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Out," "Cherry Chapstick," they had to perform acoustic and make it the softest song on this EP. Weird.

Lunch is over. Back to work. I wasn't hungry, so I decided to rant instead.