You Shouldn’t Hide But You Always Do

From northern England yesterday to New Jersey today. I’ve posted some Yo La Tengo but make no apologies for putting some more up. In 1993 they released Painful, an album combining their love of ambience and atmospherics with melodic guitar and noise. The noise on From A Motel 6 is there at the start and comes in ecstatic bursts afterwards. Motel 6 is a nationwide chain of budget motels. I always imagined someone similar, Teenage Fanclub say, writing a British equivalent about Travelodges or Premier Inns in reply.

From A Motel 6


Now I’m Looking For A Lucky Charm

If you’re looking for sublime, romantic indie-rock with happy sad melodies, just the right amount of fuzz, some chiming noise and the sense that something else is out there, just out of reach, there’s no finer sound than Yo La Tengo in the mid 90s. Tom Courteney is a marvellous example- maybe their finest (although I’m willing to listen to arguments for Autumn Sweater, From A Motel 6, Sugarcube and Big Day Coming. Actually this list could go on and on…)

Tom Courteney

Big Day Coming

Big day today- child number two, our daughter ET, starts at secondary school, getting the bus on the main road, full uniform and bags, and all the kit and caboodle that comes with it. As a secondary school teacher I’ve seen thousands of children do this but it all seems a bit different when it’s one of your own. On the bright side, she’s confident, she’s looking forward to it and she seems ready. Onwards and upwards.

Yo La Tengo have some great songs in their back catalogue, including this one, a slow, fuzzy song that packs a punch.

Big Day Coming

Yo La Remix

I found this recently and was going to wait for autumn but frankly that involves planning- Yo la Tengo put out a career spanning double disc about a decade ago. Limited quantities came with a third disc, the main highlight of which was this- Autumn Sweater remixed by MBV’s Kevin Shields. Autumn Sweater is a beautiful, slow burning song of lost love, shyness, leaves turning brown and the need for an extra layer of clothing. Kevin Shields sidesteps that for a drum loop, a repeated organ part, an isolated and distorted vocal, an overloaded bass riff. Then he begins to add some other loops, all running on and on for just shy of nine minutes. Stunning.

Autumn Sweater (Kevin Shields Remix)

Yo La Tengo ‘Autumn Sweater’

Something to ease the soul and lift the spirits after a Wednesday night which ended in some disappointment round these parts (and many thanks to all those who texted messages of support after we were dumped out of the Champions League last night). I saw Yo La Tengo play the Roadhouse in Manchester after I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One came out, about ten years ago I reckon. They were fantastic, playing guitar drones, rock-outs, moments of lo-fi spine-tingling beauty, and some random covers (Gram Parsons, Sham 69). This is their finest moment to these ears, although there are many other contenders- And Then Nothing Turned itself Inside Out is a great album, last year’s Popular Songs held up well, and from their early stuff from you’ve got to go a long way to find better songs than Big Day Coming and From A Motel 6.

This song, Autumn Sweater (and somewhere I’ve got a Kevin Shields remix I need to dig out), is autumn captured on tape, all disappointment, loneliness, longing and regret- ‘We could slip away, maybe that’d be better, me with nothing to say and you in your autumn sweater’. Lovely drums and organ, descending bassline, whispered vocals. Maybe not quite what we want on a sunny spring morning but it’ll fit for the moment.

02 Autumn Sweater.wma