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Yo La Tengo - I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 20 / 10 / 2006

Yo La Tengo - I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Label: Matador Records
Format: CD


Impressive tenth studio album, which has been released in both a CD and double vinyl edition, from the ever experimental Yo la Tengo, and which is their equivalent of the Beatles 'White Album'

Yo La Tengo are one of my best friends' favourite bands and have made good records now for 22 years. 'I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass' is their tenth studio album, and, as we both agreed when she flew to London for their showcase low key launch gig for this album at the mid-sized Bush Hall, their equivalent of the Beatles' 'The White Album'. A vinyl edition comes as a double and it both opens and ends with very long and loud tracks. 'Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind' is over 10 minutes long, and is a primitive drone-like and mostly instrumental number. The vocals by Ira Kaplan are not really required and are mostly inaudible anyway. Very heavy on the drums and bass lines, it has a 'White Light/White Heat' Velvet Underground feel, and, although it is the length it is, I would have liked it to have been double this length. 'Beanbag Chair' recalls the Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour' in its wackiness. Mainly piano and brass based, it has very softly sung vocals by Ira. 'I Feel Like Going Home' is sung by Georgia Hubley and is very slow. Based around the piano with a sad violin, it sounds as if it could be a cover from the 60s' or a downbeat Mojave 3 track. 'Mr Tough' is the UK only 7 inch single from the album. It is once more piano based with lots of brass, and, again fun and very wacky, has a stupid, daft vocal. 'Black Flowers' again is slow, but this time it is sung in a reflective manner by Ira, with a looking back feel and soft brass backing, very much like 'White Album'-era McCartney. 'The Race is On Again' is more beat grooved, and sounds like the early Velvet Underground combining with the early Byrds. It comes across as sounding quite twee, and has an ever-growing, head-nodding rhythm to it. 'The Room Got Heavy' is experimental and combines a jazziness with a soft psychedelia. 'Sometimes I Don't Get You' has a laid back, beatnik sound and is something like a slow-paced Broadcast or Stereolab. 'Daphnia' meanwhile is a slow and long instrumental piece. 'I Should've Known Better' is fast and furious with a garage rock feel, while 'Watch Out For Me Ronnie', which is even more garage rock still, sounds like it was recorded in the mid 60's but also has a touch of prog rock thrown in. The vocal is distorted, and it has a fun, primitive beat. 'The Weakest Part' is much more mellow, and a really lovely pop number.'Song for Mahila' is also soft and gentle, and on the ears even downbeat. 'Point to Shoot' is a groovy and very cool psych-based number. It ends with 'The Story of Yo La Tengo' which is long, experimental and mind blowing from the start, a song so big you could live in it.

Track Listing:-
1 Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind
2 Beanbag Chair
3 I Feel Like Going Home
4 Mr. Tough
5 Black Flowers
6 The Race Is On Again
7 The Room Got Heavy
8 Sometimes I Don't Get You
9 Daphnia
10 I Should Have Known Better
11 Watch Out For Me Ronnie
12 The Weakest Part
13 Song For Mahila
14 Point And Shoot
15 The Story Of Yo La Tango

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Interview (2009)
Yo La Tengo - Interview
One of the most innovative bands of the last 25 years, Yo La Tengo have just released their latest new album, 'Popular Songs'. Mark Rowland speaks to the band's front man Ira Kaplan about it and adaptable and constantly changing nature of his band

live reviews

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digital downloads


Fade (2013)
Playful and versatile thirteenth album and first release in four years from acclaimed New Jersey-based trio, Yo La Tengo
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