Concert Review: Japanese Breakfast with Yo La Tengo


Artists: Japanese Breakfast with Yo La Tengo
Venue: Roadrunner Boston
Date: September 29, 2022

Susan and I attended our first concert since before the COVID pandemic, and it’s seems to be taking almost as long for me to write about it.  The headliner was Japanese Breakfast, the Philadelphia-based band lead by Michelle Zauner.  Opening was the veteran New Jersey indie rock band Yo La Tengo, who I’ve seen in concert three times before.  It may seem strange that a long-time act like Yo La Tengo would be the openers for a newer band like Japanese Breakfast, but it was clear that there’s a mutual admiration among the two bands and that they enjoyed sharing the ticket.

This was also our first visit to Roadrunner, a venue that opened earlier this year.  As a long time Boston resident, it felt kind of surreal that Roadrunner was among several shiny new buildings in an entire new neighborhood that was plopped on to Guest Street in Brighton while I wasn’t looking.  The venue has a large standing-room area on the floor in front of the stage with a standing-room mezzanine on three sides.  Simple and elegant.

Yo La Tengo played a nine song set, including two of my all-time favorite songs “Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House” and “Black Flowers.”  They also played “Autumn Sweater” which may be their most famous song.  The multi-talented trio of Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew took turns on lead vocals and a variety of different instruments. They create a really big sound for just three people.  I got the sense that Kaplan would’ve enjoyed spending the night alone in a room with his guitar just as much as he would performing in front of hundreds of people.  Michelle Zauner and guest guitarist Kevin Micka joined the band for the final number “I Heard You Looking,” an extended instrumental jam.  I really admired the professionalism of the artists on stage when they went they suddenly all snapped from improvisation back into the tune.

Japanese Breakfast took the stage next, playing a set primarily made up of songs from the band’s most recent release Jubilee. They opened with “Paprika” during which Zauner struck a gong several times, the lights surrounding gone lit up exciting the audience each time. I should note here that the light design for the whole show was excellent. Susan, being on the short side, couldn’t see the gong and thought Zauner was holding a large bone.

The band followed with “Be Sweet,” my favorite song of Jubilee, so my desires were sated early. Zauner has a lot of charisma and energy so even though I’m only familiar with the most recent album, I thoroughly enjoyed their performance of songs from earlier albums as well as a couple of covers.  The band’s guitarist was also excellent, and he had several great solos, however I have not been able to locate his name.

The concert ended with Ira Kaplan returning to the stage to join Japanese Breakfast on an encore of “Diving Woman,” the opening track from the 2017 album Soft Sounds From Another Planet.  It featured another breakdown of improvisational noise from all the artists performing.  It was a great show and a good night out for all.

Related Posts:

 

 

Song of the Week: “Fallout” by Yo La Tengo


Yo La Tengo – “Fallout”

New Yo La Tengo is always a good thing! Even if it sounds a whole lot lie old Yo La Tengo, which is a surprise for a band known for continually known for reinventing themselves.  Still, it sounds much better than their most recent albums, so that is a good thing.


Song of the Week 2022

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

 

Favorite Albums of All Time: 110-101


Having listened to every album on the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, I’m making my own list.  This list will be only 250 albums, although I had to make some tough cuts.  The list includes a mix of works of musical genius with the pure nostalgia of some albums I’ve loved throughout my life.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about these albums and what your favorite albums are. I will continue the countdown every other Wednesday throughout 2022.

250-241 200-191 150-141
240-231 190-181 140-131
230-221 180-171 130-121
220-211 170-161 120-111
210-201 160-151

110

Artist: Various
Title: Camelot: 1982 Original London Cast
Year: 1982
Favorite Tracks:

  • Camelot
  • How To Handle A Woman
  • If Ever I Would Leave You
  • What Do The Simple Folks Do?

The First Time I Heard This Album …: mid-80s, sort of

Thoughts: Technically, the album I want to put in this spot does not exist.  As a child I watched and loved the HBO presentation of Camelot starring Richard Harris, filmed on Broadway as part of its 1981-1982 revival. While the movie exists there doesn’t seem to be a cast recording, so I go with this West End version which also stars Richard Harris but different actors in the other parts.

Bonus Sounds: Richard Harris’ most famous vocal performance, of course, is on “MacArthur Park,” one of the weirdest ballads ever composed.


109

Artist: Otis Redding
Title: Otis Blue 
Year: 1966
Favorite Tracks:

  • Ole Man Trouble
  • Respect
  • A Change Is Gonna Come
  • I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
  • Shake
  • Rock Me Baby
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  • You Don’t Miss Your Water

The First Time I Heard This Album …: ca. 1987

Thoughts: I can’t remember the first time I heard Otis Redding, but I know I began a lifelong obsession with Otis after watching Monterey Pop on television celebrating the the 20th-anniversary of the festival.  Like a lot of R&B artists of the time, Redding focused on singles but this album is a concerted effort to interpret the top soul songs of the era, including 3 songs by the recently deceased Sam Cooke.  There are three original songs, although even Redding would have to admit that Aretha Franklin took ownership of “Respect.” On the flip side, Keith Richards would praise Redding’s take on “Satisfaction” as being how he envisioned the song.

Bonus Sounds: If there’s one Otis Redding song everyone should know, it’s his posthumous hit “Dock of the Bay.”  But really, you can’t go wrong with any of Redding’s recordings.  If you want to learn more about his life and artistry, read Dreams to Remember by Mark Ribowsky.


108

The Clash UK.jpg

Artist: The Clash
Title: The Clash
Year: 1977
Favorite Tracks:

  • Remote Control
  • I’m So Bored With the U.S.A.
  • White Riot
  • Career Opportunities
  • Police & Thieves

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1991

Thoughts: The debut album from The Clash is hands down one of the greatest statements of punk rock ever.

Bonus Sounds: There’s one more very obvious selection from The Clash coming up in this list, but I also consider Sandinista!, Combat Rock, and Live At Shea Stadium to be among my favorite albums. Read my Music Discovery on The Clash for more of my thoughts.


107

Artist: Traffic
Title: John Barleycorn Must Die 
Year: 1970
Favorite Tracks:

  • Glad
  • Freedom Rider
  • Empty Pages
  • John Barleycorn
  • Every Mother’s Son

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Late 80s

Thoughts:  A little bit jazz, a lit bit folk, a whole lot of fusion.  It’s really a feast for the ears.  I remember the tape I got back in high school had all six songs on both sides.  In the streaming era, the album has gained two songs but they’re not as good as the original 6.

Bonus Sounds: I never liked what I heard of Traffic’s other releases.  Steve Winwood, of course, participated in another of my favorite albums with Blind Faith.  I remember really liking is solo song “Higher Love” when I was a kid, and listening to it now, it’s still not so bad.


106

Artist:Pete Seeger
Title: We Shall Overcome: The Complete Carnegie Hall Concert, June 8, 1963 
Year:  1963
Favorite Tracks:

  • Banjo Medley: Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/Leather Britches
  • Mail Myself to You
  • What Did You Learn In School Today?
  • Little Boxes
  • Farewell
  • Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
  • Oh Freedom!
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Oh, What a Beautiful City!
  • We Shall Overcome
  • Guantanamera

The First Time I Heard This Album …: mid-90s

Thoughts: A live concert recording of Pete Seeger at the height of his career.  As always he turned the spotlight off himself, dedicating an entire set to music of the Civil Rights Movement and another to the songs of new artists (specifically Bob Dylan, Malvina Reynolds, and Tom Paxton).  I also love the audience singalong aspect.

Bonus Sounds: There are so many Pete Seeger recordings to choose from, but a good starting point is his children’s albums American Folk Songs for Children, Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Little Fishes, and Folk Songs for Young People.


105

Artist: Stereolab
Title: Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night
Year:1999
Favorite Tracks:

  • Fuses
  • Blips Drips and Strips
  • Italian Shoes Continuum
  • Infinity Girl
  • The Spiracles
  • Blue Milk
  • Strobo Acceleration

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Early 2000s

Thoughts: I was introduced to Stereolab by a co-worker in the early 2000s and associate listening to the their version of space-age bachelor pad music with the time I spent working in a windowless warehouse during a library renovation.  It’s good music to keep one’s sanity.

Bonus Sounds: There’s another Stereolab album coming up on this list, but in the meantime you can read my Stereolab Music Discovery.


104

Artist: Various
Title: Free to Be … You and Me
Year: 1972
Favorite Tracks:

  • The New Seekers – “Free to Be … You and Me”
  • Rosey Grier – “It’s Alright to Cry”
  • The Voices of East Harlem – “Sisters and Brothers”
  • Alan Alda & Marlo Thomas – “William’s Doll”
  • Marlo Thomas – “Glad to Have a Friend Like You”

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Infancy?

Thoughts: I didn’t have many records of children’s music when I was a kid, but I did have this album that Marlo Thomas made with the Ms. Foundation. The songs and stories focus on ideas of gender equality, growing up, friendship, feeling emotions, and compassion, but done in a way that makes it fun and funny (or terrifying, in the case of “Girl Land” which creeped me out as a child).  Surprisingly, my father (who voted for Nixon) loved this album and was the one who bought it for me and my sister!  A lot of great celebrities participated in making the album including Alan Alda, Harry Belafonte, Mel Brooks, Diana Ross, Tom Smothers, Carol Channing, Diana Sands, and Rosey Grier.  A couple of years after the album came out they made it into a tv special, but I never saw that.

Bonus Sounds: When my own kids were young we listened to a lot of the locals superstar of the preschool set Wayne Potash.  We even saw him at Club Passim!


103

Artist: Dimitri From Paris
Title: Sacrebleu
Year: 1996
Favorite Tracks:

  • Sacre Francais
  • Reveries
  • Dirty Larry
  • Une Very Stylish Fille
  • Un Woman’s Paradis
  • Le Rythme et le Cadence
  • Le Moogy Reggae

The First Time I Heard This Album …: around the turn of the century

Thoughts: DJ Dimitri From Paris’ tribute to his adopted city is a collection of electronic beats with samples from lounge and bossa nova tunes and classic movies.  It’s a very French vibe with a midcentury twist.

Bonus Sounds:


102

Artist: Carl Stalling
Title: The Carl Stalling Project: Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons, 1936–1958
Year: 1990
Favorite Tracks:

  • The Good Egg (1939) – A Vintage Merrie Melodie
  • There They Go Go Go (1956) – A Complete Road Runner
  • Anxiety Montage (1952-1955)
  • Porky In Wackyland (1938) / Dough For The Do Do (1949)

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990

Thoughts: Film composer Carl Stalling created over 600 tiny symphonies to score the Warner Bros. cartoon shorts from the 1930s to the 1950s.  His genius lay in drawing on his knowledge of classical music and the latest pop tunes and working them into his scores.  If you’ve ever watched a Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoon, you will know how essential the music score is to the comedy.  This album allows one to appreciate Stalling’s work without the visuals and most of the dialogue. The album includes collections of Stalling’s best musical cues tropes as well as full cartoon scores.

Bonus Sounds: If this album doesn’t fulfill your needs for cartoon music, a sequel album was released in 1995: The Carl Stalling Project Volume 2: More Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons, 1939–1957.


101

Artist:Yo La Tengo
Title: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Out 
Year: 2000
Favorite Tracks:

  • Everyday
  • Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
  • Last Days of Disco

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Around 2000

Thoughts:

New Jersey indie rock trio Yo La Tengo took a turn for slower and more atmospheric.  Pitchfork even declared it one of the 30 Best Dream Pop Albums.  As slow as it gets, it’s never boring and it’s sonically rich.

Bonus Sounds: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Out came at the end of a streak of five albums that define Yo La Tengo’s best work (including one album we’ll see later on this list).  There output since 2000 hasn’t been as good, with the exception of I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (2006), although a friend of mine described that as sounding like a greatest hits album of the their 1990s work.

Song of the Week: “Who Has Seen the Wind” by David Byrne and Yo La Tengo


“Who Has Seen the Wind” by David Byrne and Yo La Tengo

As a long-time fan of Yo La Tengo and Talking Heads‘ leader David Byrne, I feel this collaboration was targeted at my interests.  Better yet, this is a cover of the song Yoko Ono created as the B-Side for John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.”  There are so many layers of rock & roll history in this one song.  This will be featured on a Yoko Ono tribute album called Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono. Learn more at Rolling Stone.

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 430-421


Last September, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:

Get ready for a great week as I love all ten albums!!!


 

Artist: Elvis Costello
AlbumMy Aim Is True
Year: 1977
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Alison”
  • “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”
  • “Less Than Zero”
  • “Mystery Dance”
  • “Watching the Detectives”

Thoughts: It’s a sign of a good album if several tracks are in regular rotation on the radio decades later.  Although in the case of Elvis Costello, I feel that he has a lot of good work from other albums that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Thus the popular perception of Costello is frozen in his debut album as a pub rocker with hints of the coming New Wave.  Still, it’s good to have your first work be so fully realized that it’s still relevant well into the next century.


Artist: The Four Tops
AlbumReach Out
Year: 1967
Label:  Tamla/Motown
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”
  • “Standing in the Shadows of Love”
  • “Bernadette”
  • “What Else is There to Do (But Think About You)”

Thoughts: Based on patterns in the RS 500, I would’ve suspected that The Four Tops would’ve have got a compilation album on this list.  I guess since this album spawned 6 songs in the Billboard Top 20 that Rolling Stone can consider it a Greatest Hits album.  The album contains three of the Tops’ greatest tunes in “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” and “Bernadette” (all by the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team).  Much of the rest of the album is made up of cover songs of contemporary pop tunes, including two made famous by The Monkees.  While I’d prefer more songs written for the Tops, I understand why they felt the need to do cover songs, and really admire their work as song interpreters.


Artist: Hüsker Dü
AlbumNew Day Rising
Year: 1985
Label: SST
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “New Day Rising”
  • “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill”
  • “Celebrated Summer”
  • “Books About UFOs”
  • “I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About”

Thoughts: I’m afraid that most of my knowledge of Hüsker Dü is that they are the other 80s punk rock band from Minneapolis and the band where Bob Mould got his start. It’s another case of something I should have paid better attention to a long time ago.  This album just plain rocks and sounds perfect on first listen.


Artist: Al Green
AlbumCall Me
Year: 1973
Label: Hi
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Call Me (Come Back Home”
  • “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
  • “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”
  • “Funny How Time Slips Away”
  • “You Ought to Be With Me”
  • “Jesus Is Waiting”

Thoughts: The second Al Green album on this list is Al Green at his peak with hot grooves and sultry vocals.  I like that he could take country songs by Hank Williams and Willie Nelson and make them his own.  And somehow he made the gospel song that finishes out the album sound sexy.


Artist: Lucinda Williams
AlbumLucinda Williams
Year: 1988
Label: Rough Trade
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Big Red Sun Blues”
  • “Like A Rose”
  • “Passionate Kisses”
  • “Side of the Road”

Thoughts: Lucinda Williams is a name I’ve heard but I hadn’t before paid attention to her music.  She has a big, beautiful, and expressive voice that works well with the blend of country, folk, and blues music presented here.  I also discovered that Mary Chapin Carpenter’s big 90s hit “Passionate Kisses” was a cover, because the original is here on Williams’ album and it’s excellent.  Lucinda Williams is another great revelation for me in this RS 500 experiment.


Artist: Paul Simon
Album: Paul Simon
Year: 1972
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Mother and Child Reunion”
  • “Run That Body Down”
  • “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard”
  • “Paranoia Blues”

Thoughts: I’ve long listened to the music of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel, although less so in recent years (partially because I’ve learned how much of a jerk is in real life).  Nevertheless, I can’t deny that this is a collection of well-crafted songs.  The music is stylistically different from the most recent Simon & Garfunkel album, and contains hints of the “world music” fusion style that would become Simon’s bread & butter in the 80s & 90s.


Artist: Beck
AlbumOdelay
Year: 1996
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Devil’s Haircut”
  • “Hotwax”
  • “The New Pollution”
  • “Novacane”
  • “Jack-Ass”
  • “Where It’s At”
  • “Minus”
  • “High 5 (Rock the Catskills)”

Thoughts: Not only did I wear out my cassette of this album back in the day, but it ranked #78 on my own list of Favorite Albums of All Time when I ranked them back in 2009.  This album was a statement from Beck that he was not going to be the guy who had a quirky hit with “Loser.”  Instead there were a few years there in the late 90s and early 2000s when Beck’s unique fusion of folk rock and electronica (among other genres) was some of the most creative music around.  I’m surprised that Odelay is the only Beck album on the RS 500 as I would argue for inclusion of Mutations and Guero, and possibly others from his catalog.


Artist: Yo La Tengo
Album: I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Year: 1997
Label: Matador
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Moby Octopad”
  • “Sugarcube”
  • “Shadows”
  • “Stockholm Syndrome”
  • “Autumn Sweater”
  • “Center of Gravity”
  • “My Little Corner of the World”

Thoughts: Once again, we have an album that I included on my Favorite Albums of All-Time list.  I ranked I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One at #17, the highest of 4 Yo La Tengo albums in my top 200. Obviously I like Yo La Tengo, who I think were one of the best bands of the 1990s. And I wasn’t even a record store clerk.


Artist: Marvin Gaye
Album: Let’s Get It On 
Year: 1973
Label: Tamla/Motown
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Let’s Get it On”
  • “Come Get to This”
  • “You Sure Love to Ball”
  • “Just to Keep You Satisfied”

Thoughts: Marvin Gaye puts the most courteous and persuasive request for sexual intercourse to music.  The album explores the spiritual and healing powers of sexuality with the same consciousness of Gaye’s social justice songs on What’s Going On? The only flaw with this album is that it’s way too short.


Artist: M.I.A.
Album: Arular
Year: 2005
Label: Interscope
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Pull Up the People”
  • “Bucky Done Gun”
  • “U.R.A.Q.T”
  • “Galang”

Thoughts: My knowledge of M.I.A. is basically the excellent hit song “Paper Planes,” but I really enjoyed listening to Arular.  This is M.I.A.’s debut album (why does the RS 500 seem to value debut albums so much?) and shows her talent rapping over largely minimal drum beats on a drum machine. It reminds of a mix of the simple hip hop of the early 80s with the consciousness of the likes of Public Enemy and De La Soul.


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485, Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483, Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482, The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481, Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478, The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477, Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469, Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465, King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464, The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459, Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457, Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456, Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455, Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453, Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451, Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448, Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446, Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444, Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443, David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440, Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439, James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438, Blur, Parklife
  • 437, Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435, Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433, LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431, Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430, Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429, The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428, Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427, Al Green, Call Me
  • 426, Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425, Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424, Beck, Odelay
  • 423, Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422, Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421, M.I.A., Arular

Album Review: There’s a Riot Going On by Yo La Tengo


AlbumThere’s a Riot Going On
Artist: Yo La Tengo
Release Date: March 16, 2018
Favorite Tracks:

  • Shades of Blue
  • Above the Sound
  • Forever

Thoughts:

Even as a diehard Yo La Tengo fan, I felt apprehensive that their new album is named identically to a classic Sly & The Family Stone album.  Having listened to it, I suspect this is the quietest riot ever.  I enjoy Georgia Hubley or Ira Kaplan singing quietly over a guitar or piano track, but previous Yo La Tengo albums always mixed in some rave-ups with the gentler stuff.  This is not a protest album so much as a retreat from the horrors of the present day.  I think this album will grow on me with more listens, but I don’t think it will ever live up to the statement made by its title and the history contained within it.

Rating: ***

Ten Favorite Songs of 2006


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2006.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken – Camera Obscura

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Wind and Rain – Crooked Still

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Rainbows in the Dark – Tilly & The Wall

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Sleep Don’t Weep – Damien Rice

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On the Radio – Regina Spektor

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Wolf Like Me – TV on the Radio

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Crazy – Gnarls Barkley

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Dirty Knife – Neko Case

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Black Flowers – Yo La Tengo

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Emily – Joanna Newsom

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And my song video of shame for 2006 The song’s kind of bland, but I like this Red Hot Chili Peppers video for Dani California.

Ten Favorite Songs of 2002


And now the top ten songs of 2002.

Learn more about this project in the first post.

Banjo in the Rain – The Benders

[clip from CD Baby]

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Bob Hope & Charity – The Mekons

[clip from Amazon]

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Do You Realize? – The Flaming Lips

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Losing My Edge–  LCD Soundsystem

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Misery is the River of the World –  Tom Waits

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Nuclear War (Version 2) – Yo La Tengo

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NYC – Interpol

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The Old Man Doesn’t Like It – The Operators

[listen here]

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Oliver’s Army – Peter Mulvey

[clip on Amazon]

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Stop Foolin’ Around –  Quicksound feat. Isabelle Rajotte

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And my song of shame for 2002: Whenever, Wherever – Shakira

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Ten Favorite Songs of 2000


New decade. New century.  New top ten list for the year 2000.

I seem to still be in the middle of my my folk music and electronica phase.

Learn more about this project in the first post.

Blackbirds – Erin McKeown

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Frontier Psychiatrist – The Avalanches

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Last Days of Disco – Yo La Tengo

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The Littlest Birds – The Be Good Tanyas

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Me & Mr Sutton (Plug 97 Rmx) –  DJ Maus

[A link to a link where you can hear this track]

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No Place Like the Right Time – Donna The Buffalo

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Prince Charming – Jim’s Big Ego

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Still The Night – Paperboys

[listen to a clip on Amazon]

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Tanglewood Tree – Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer

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Wings of the Ragman –  Peter Mulvey

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And my song of shame for 2000:  Who Let the Mets Out by Baja Men

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What were your top songs for Y2K?