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July 13, 2002
Yo La Tengo

Anyone heard of these folks? I hadn't until just yesterday, when I saw them perform live as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn summer performing arts festival. Yo La Tengo has been around since 1984 as a "local band" and have a very dedicated underground following. They consist of two men and a woman who all are very, well, normal. They play basic pop music (4/4 rhythms, I, IV, V chordal structures) but with fun and intelligent twists. I would describe them as an "Aging Garage Band" since they are all pushing 40 and still manage to sound like kids making lots of noise in their parents' basement. And despite their name, the music isn't based on any form of Latin beats.

Their sound is very diversified; from punk to alternative to slow ballads. Their setup consists of a few flavors of drums, a guitar, a bass, a grand piano, and some very old electric organs. The guitarist likes to play with feedback a lot, and has a neat trick of slamming his guitar body with a mallet to produce some rather interesting noises. The trio genuinely looked like they were having a good time up on stage; it's always nice to see a band who enjoy themselves.

I really, really liked what I saw and heard. I danced a bit, laughed a lot, and was glad that my friends had suggested it. I'm going to go check out some of their CDs; I'm pretty sure you can buy them at major record stores. Their sound is a refreshing alternative to today's mainstream rock and pop, and I highly recommend them!

posted by DJOktober at 12:15 PM | link this post!