Thursday, September 3, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

Yo La TengoPopular Songs

Early on in high school, I befriended this really sweet hippie girl who eventually made me a mixtape. I remember only two things about the tape – that it was mostly really boring Grateful Dead stuff and that it had this song called, “From a Motel 6” by Yo La Tengo. She soon afterward became a born again Christian, started dating a sanctimonious prick who once (as a “concerned friend”) said to me, “As a white, Christian male, I feel threatened by your feminist views” and our friendship dissolved. For all I know she’s married to him now and has 11 kids with names like Ezekiel and Hezekiah all of whom have been homeschooled to believe that homosexuality is responsible for the inevitable apocalypse which would come shortly after Satan was elected President of the United States by posing as a hope filled black man with a Muslim name and no U.S. birth certificate. But I got Yo La Tengo out of the deal and I’ve basically been madly in love with them ever since. So clearly I win.

I’ve seen YLT live more than any other band outside of a few local bands. I think nine times. I have also taken every person I’ve ever been in a serious relationship with to see them. I can’t even say that about Morrissey (though, I ALMOST can). I first saw them the summer they were on the 2nd stage at Lollapalooza. Like a little fan geek, I asked Georgia and James for their autographs. James drew a little bunny, and Georgia wrote, “Thanks for supporting us (and our quiet songs too).” This is because I was right up front during their set, and got super excited when they played, “Don’t Say A Word (Hot Chicken #2).” Keep in mind, this was well before I learned the valuable adult lesson that anybody who shows even the slightest interest or enthusiasm at an indie rock show was to be shunned and mocked. A few years later, I got so excited when they came to Detroit with the Magnetic Fields I bought them all finger puppets. And looking back on that, they probably thought I was a total weirdo. But that’s fine. I am. And sometimes I awkwardly express my affection. But that doesn’t make it any less earnest. So for me to love Popular Songs is no huge surprise and you can pretty much count on it ending up on my top ten of the year list. And if I may borrow a phrase from the New Kids on the Block, you can count on me lovin’ Yo La Tengo forever.

Added Yo La Tengo bonus!

Pitchfork talks to Dario Robleto, the artist responsible for the artwork of Popular Songs as part of their "Take Cover" series.

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