Saturday, August 09, 2008
Damn... what a slack bastard. A week and a half goes by w/out me even thinking about this dang blog. Feeling kinda uninspired in the writing stakes, plus I'm swamped w/ other duties right now, one of which I'll be announcing later this week (it's good news, by the way). For the time being, I defer you to that album above, Yo La Tengo's 1987 sophomore outing, New Wave Hot Dogs. I got it in the Au-go-go bargain bin for $10 back in 1991. Don't ask me why I remember that kinda shit; we'll leave that to the therapist's couch. The point is: what a great, almost flawless, album it is. Along w/ Sonic Youth's early work and The Feelies' three albums from the ' 80s, and perhaps even Opal's Happy Nightmare Baby and Dream Syndicate's debut, it stands as the great Velvets-inspired excursion by an American rock outfit in the 1980s. And when I say "Velvets-inspired", I don't necessarily mean "in the spirit of the Velvets" or a limp-noodled nod to the band a la U2 or REM, but a band who flat-out sounds a lot like the Velvet Underground. The vocals, the mannerisms, the guitar drones, the metronomic tempos. YLT did their homework, and it paid off well. It also features my favourite ever YLT track, "Shy Dog", a hardy garage "rocker" w/ the most perceptive and literate lyrics ever concerning what was the bane of my existence at the time: shyness. It took me years to be able to speak up, and I haven't shut up since, but at the time I - like most music obsessives/fanzine dorks - possessed a crippling lack of social skills (hard to believe!), and that song, it spoke to me, man. YLT's sound at the time was crisp and twangy, as opposed to the near-shoegazer lushness they've delved in the last 15 or more years, almost making them sound like a completely different band to the one you hear today. I haven't really dug YLT's last few albums all that much - something hasn't clicked - though I'll stand by the bulk of their back catalogue like the rabid fan I guess I must be: President, Painful!, Electr-O-Pura, I Can Hear The Heart...., etc. That's a good run. Who woulda thought that this now hugely popular "alt-rock" outfit was once almost solely drool fodder for such hard-to-please folks as Forced Exposure mag and even that Stigliano fellow who no longer sends me Xmas cards.