Tag Archive: “Yo La Tengo”

This is Past Sounds. Every Friday Ghettoblaster Magazine is looking back and finding great music from various eras. Below are songs that sound great no matter what decade they’re played in. So strap in as we take a musical journey, back in time.

Yo La Tengo – “Sugarcube” (I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One, Matador Records)


Yo La Tengo are the chameleon kings of indie rock, often sounding like several different bands over one album. I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One is one such album, finding the band masterfully taking on several different styles over the course of an hour. Stand out track, “Sugarcube” finds them in full on fuzzed out rock mode, delivering an incredibly catchy jam. Loud screeching guitars mix with sugary sweet melodies and grimy keyboards. For the accompanying music video Yo La Tengo turned to comedy greats David Cross and Bob Odenkirk to deliver one of the funniest and best videos around. Record executives send Yo La Tengo to Rock School so they can make them more money. It’s absolutely hilarious.



Black Star – “Definition” (Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, Rawkus Entertainment LLC)

Mos Def and Talib Kweli are hands down two of the best rappers alive and any song that features both of them is guaranteed to be a hit. Black Star is the supergroup they formed to produce just one album back in 2002 and it is a must listen for any fan of the genre. Their styles of rapping perfectly complement each other, with Mos varying between singing and rapping and Kweli’s crazy rhyme schemes and smooth rapid fire delivery. “Definition” finds this marriage of vocal delivery blazing on top of an old school boom bap beat, while they spit back and forth about the state of hip hop. It’s a master class hip hop track that gets better and better with each listen.



Ramones – “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” (Animal Boy, Warners Brothers)


“Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” isn’t one of the tracks that makes up the Ramones central cannon, but it is one of the most complex and enjoyable songs that they created. Written after seeing then President Ronald Reagan visit a German World War II cemetery, the overall feeling is just being sick of politicians and the political game that they play. Although written in 1985, the sentiment of this song is completely in line with U.S. politics today, especially given the never ending insanity of the current election cycle. Who hasn’t thought “My brain is hanging upside down, I need something to slow me down” after watching one of these debates? Apart from the message this song is also just one of those you want to crank up and sing along to the chorus and the “ahh la la la” parts. So turn up the volume and be ready to get out some frustration with a smile on your face.

Thee Oh Sees – “I Was Denied” (Warm Slime, In the Red)

Thee Oh Sees are a prolific band from San Fransisco fronted wonderfully by Jon Dwyer. Back in 2005 Thee Oh Sees rented a music venue space for 12 hours and recorded Warm Slime, hoping to capture the energy and intensity of their live shows. The resulting album definitely captures what they were hoping for and is a really fantastic listen. “I Was Denied” is a standout track both from Warm Slime and their discography as a whole. It is a great example of what makes Thee Oh Sees so good. It’s upbeat and catchy with unique harmonies soaked in reverb over gritty guitar and driving drums. Plus, who can resist thrashing along to a song and yelling “La la la la la”?



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Best Albums (in alphabetical order)
Beauty Pill – Describes Things As They Actually Are
An album I’ve waiting over 10 years to hear and it’s as amazing as I’d hoped it would be.

Fuzz – II
Ty Segall can do no wrong.

Kinski – 7 (or 8)
Sweet son of a bitch! This is probably their heaviest album and will kick you in the ass every time you listen.

Mike Krol – Turkey
Short, sweet and rocking, it’s 18 minutes you’ll want to relive over and over again.

The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ
I never realized how much I wanted an indie-folk concept album about about wrestling until I heard this.

No Joy – More Faithful
A more recent discovery for me, but the blend of noisy, shoegazy goodness made a good impression right off the bat.

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
I’ve missed this band so much. I seriously never thought this album would happen, but I’m so glad it did.

Soccer Team – Real Lessons In Cynicism
As is the case with most Dischord bands you never know if you’ll hear a new album from them, so this was a very welcome surprise. Not as lo-fi as their previous work, but it’s still really good.

Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m going down
Far beyond anything he (or anyone else) has done, both musically and lyrically.

Yo La Tengo – Stuff Like That There
Only Yo La Tengo could make a Cure song worth listening to.

Best Reissue
Ty Segall – Ty Rex
It’s Ty Segall. Covering T. Rex. Yeah…

Best Show
Fargo (Season 2)
Every bit as surreal and amazing as the first season, but with an even more interesting cast of characters played by actors you wouldn’t expect. Plus Bruce Campbell makes a cameo as Ronald Reagan, which is just awesome.

Best Movie
Mad Max – Fury Road
It’s basically a 2-hour anxiety attack. Seriously, it never stops or slows down and I loved every minute of it.

Best Podcast
The Best Show with Tom Scharpling
After a 1-year hiatus, Tom Scharpling is back to steamroll all the chumps and “podtrash” that stand in his way. Since the Clinton administration, Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster have created some of the best comedy radio in history and they’re doing it again every Tuesday night! Newbridge is comin’ to get ya!


Best Albums (in order):

Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Manhattan 

The Lower East Side’s last great hope, at the top of his game.

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

Aussie lass writes a smarter, catchier, and more enjoyable album than any of the boys this years.

Roadside Graves – Acne/Ears

Jersey road warriors return on top-flight label for more of their invigorating and introspective Northeast Americana.

The Front Bottoms – Back On Top 

Local boys make good, sign to major label, don’t suck.

Night Birds – Mutiny At Muscle Beach

The best HC album of the year, bar none.  Tuneful, fast, angry, powerful.

Yo La Tengo – Stuff Like That There

These sexagenarians don’t show any sign of slowing down or losing their edge on this delightful album of covers and reinterpretations.

Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us 

Jimmy from Weston gets a second life on one of the best punk albums of the 00’s.

Various Artists – Have Moicy! 2: The Hoodoo Bash*

The original Have Moicy! was just the best folk album of the rock era (according to Robert Christgau) and invented freak-folk and anti-folk. The followup features a mostly new cast of characters (except for the ageless Peter Stampfel) and captures a bit of the same magic.

*I didnt hear Have Moicy 2 until a few days ago and usually I don’t list records that I haven’t lived with for a while, but this is so good – and long-awaited – that I had to include it.

Screaming Females – Rose Mountain

After years of producing themselves live in the studio, the New Brunswick trio gets a producer and adds a bit of production value. And you know what? It sounds great.

PWR BTTM – Ugly Cherries 

Gay duo from Brooklyn who bring Pansy Division into the 00’s with a much needed dose of queerpunk irreverence and attitude.

Worriers – Imaginary Life

While women have come to dominate pop and R&B, they’re not doing so bad in the basement scene either, as this sassy, intelligent, rockin’ album proves.

Best Shows (alphabetical)

Better Call Saul

Doctor Who



Jessica Jones

Madame Secretary

Major Crimes

Mr. Robot

The Middle

Teen Wolf

Yo La Tengo, who recently released Stuff Like That There (a mix of cover songs, “covers” of Yo La Tengo songs, and brand new originals) today announce a run of headlining tour dates for 2016.  The band’s 2015 fall tour saw them performing in an unprecedented stripped-down set-up, with former member Dave Schramm on electric guitar, revisiting the original concept of their beloved Fakebook on its 25th anniversary — however, for the majority of these 2016 dates they will return to their trio formation (Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew).  The full list of tour dates, artwork, tracklisting, and Kurt Wagner-penned bio for Stuff Like That There can be found below, and tickets go on-sale this Friday, November 13.

11/9 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater*

11/11 – Las Vegas, NV – The Sayers Club*

11/12 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Music Thing @ Observatory North Park*

11/13 – Los Angeles, CA – The Theatre at Ace Hotel*

11/14 – San Francisco, CA – The Masonic*

11/15 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Rio Theatre*

11/17 – Eugene, OR – WOW Hall*

11/18 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall*

11/20 – Seattle – Neptune Theatre*

11/21 – Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre*

1/28 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom

1/29 – Ann Arbor, MI – Ann Arbor Folk Festival*

1/30 – Columbus, OH – Wexner Center for the Arts

1/31 – St. Louis, MO – The Ready Room

2/4 – Oklahoma City, OK – ACM@UCO Performance Lab

2/5 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater

2/6 – Austin, TX – Hogg Auditorium*

3/26 – Hudson, NY – Club Helsinki

3/27 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater

3/29 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In

3/31-4/1 – Knoxville, TN – Big Ears Festival

4/2 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel

4/3 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm

4/5 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Sound Stage

4/7 – Northampton, MA – Academy of Music

4/8 – Portsmouth, NH – The Music Hall

4/9 – Jersey City, NJ – Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre

*denotes acoustic set-up

In a world where experimental electronic music exponentially splinters into a multitude of rogue genres that slowly shuffle the globe from demilitarized dance floors to sleeper cell bedroom studios and back, a team of disparate scientists tracks this solanum-like pandemic while desperately trying to interpret cryptic field recordings of Samhain’s past, not one day at a time, but from Amen to Zombie


Somewhat of a departure from our modus operandi, but still apropos I think.  This time of year is when a very special radio station WFMU holds their annual pledge drive.  If you’re familiar with the station get off your butt and give up some cash.  They are, I think, the longest running independent, community-run radio station in the country, and at the very lease the oldest free-form station.  The station is funded solely from listener support, which allows them to run commercial-free and indulge in a lot of nonsense.  I recommend The Best Show on WFMU, Tale of the 12″ (which is a podcast only), and Airborne Event as entry points to all the goodness of WFMU.

Needless to say, I love WFMU.  Both well archived and always on with something interesting, the radio station is like the best parts of all the college and public radio stations all over the country.  But you don’t have to put up with Car Talk or some freshman trying to work the board and play three hours of garage rock from the 90s that you’ve already ingested ages ago.  No, WFMU plain and simple is just cooler than you are.  They’re in Jersey so they’re close enough to NYC to get out-of-towners in the studio.  There is an endless list of culturally important artists that appear on station, from Daniel Johnston to Patton Oswalt.

Now before you think, “Not everything can be cool about the station,” what I mean when I say that the station is cooler than you is that they have been a grassroots organization that has carefully balanced freedom of speech and democracy to ensure that their content is both representative of the individual DJs and their specific aims and goals within the context of a radio show and that those who wish to be heard over that radio station are given opportunity, access, and support to develop their goals and aims.

And they also have the Free Music Archive.  The idea is that because of the way publishing and the music industry in general is these days, a radio station that is sitting on the edge of extinction and being supported by listeners propping in up from the void might not always get to play some of the music that they do.  Granted, they do play very esoteric and underground music that they don’t have to pay to play, but they are a radio station.  And you’re going to have to pay to put on some ABBA.

So the brilliant solution to the problem of not being able to pay to play any of the music — or even if the situation were worse and WFMU could only pay for the electricity to keep them on the air and literally nothing more — there would still be the FMA.

The Archive is full of original content — live, recorded or found.  And it’s all free.  Royalty-free and free to download.  Their slogan “It’s not just free music, it’s good music.” is absolutely true.  In-studio performances by Yo La Tengo?  Check.  Interviews with pioneering artists like Morton Subotnick?  Check.  EPMD live at ATP?  Check.

And what’s more is that you can get yourself a little user account and make playlists.  For the big boys, you can also apply to be a curator and throw up your catalog should you actually own a record label.

And, speaking of which, we’ve made our way to a little gem on Happy Puppy:

Music for Vampires

Music For Vampires features eight artists and groups, each with their own unique interpretation on the subject of vampires. The only rule given to each participant was that the music remain instrumental (with a minor exception here and there), and the results are very reminiscent of scores and soundtracks.

Fittingly, starting out with a clock tower striking midnight and some spooky chords, the album holds very tight the instruction to make the results reminiscent of scores and soundtracks.  Mostly Jon Carpenter soundtracks, but I’m so down with that I’m… in… the… BASEMENT!

I hesitate to put too much thought into this review because, after all, the music is free to you.  Just go download it already.  It’s a soundtrack to an imaginary vampire movie.  What more do you need?  That’s an amazing thing to think about, let alone organize eight different tracks from eight different musicians.  And to help you along with the plot of your imaginary film, there is a nice story arc in the music and programming of the album.  Those bells starting out the album come from Nevermore Eleanor.  I would have preferred that no names or track titles be used, because they are all as hookey as that.  But the content is there.

There are stops at moonlit windowsills for quiet contemplation of an everlasting life in darkness.  Motorcycle punks doing doughnuts in mall parking lots biting pretzel stand hotties.  The hot breath of a vamp jutting into the stone hallway of a castle’s ruins as victims scramble to escape.  Fighting amongst the ranks of vamps, before a hasty retreat from sunrise and the survivors stuporing around in the morning light.  A hot dusty trail back into town.  Regrouping, explaining, and night falling again as the album ends with “Underground” by M. Patuluci, which would fit nicely on a Halloween sound effects CD.  But one with way more class than I’ve reviewed here.  Think of a CD with a cranberry velvet slip case.

Goodnight out there, whatever you are.