Tag Archives: Yo La Tengo

9 of the best – sounds of 1997

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite 9 songs of 1997, bookended by Radiohead. There are no surprises there; I have showed some restraint by not featuring more of their work.

Radiohead – Airbag

Supergrass – Late In The Day

Yo La Tengo – Stockholm Syndrome

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Embrace – All You Good Good People

Pavement – Stereo

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space

Björk – Unravel

Radiohead – Let Down


Honourable mentions also go to: Radiohead for ‘No Surprises’; Radiohead for ‘Paranoid Android‘; Radiohead for ‘Lift‘; Supergrass ‘Richard III‘; Spiritualized ‘Broken Heart’; Yo La Tengo for ‘Autumn Sweater’, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Into My Arms‘; Daft Punk for ‘Around The World’; NuYorican Soul (featuring Jocelyn Brown) for ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It!’ and The Notorious B.I.G. for ‘Mo Money Mo Problems‘.

I realise now that four albums – classic albums – were crowding out others from my ears in 1997.

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Yo La Tengo – Blue Line Swinger (1995)


Last week, Broadcast made me think of Yo La Tengo for the first time in a little while. The band hit its stride by the 1990s, releasing a sequence of classic indie-rock albums: 1993’s Painful, 1995’s Electr-O-Pura, and 1997’s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. The latter’s superiority is hard to dispute, but Electr-O-Pura boasts the epic ‘Blue Line Swinger’. It grows from a fragile start to something full of musicianship and swagger: an organ, drum fills, the feedback and Georgia Hubley’s “Ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop”. Glorious.

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Broadcast – Corporeal (2005)


Shortly before they released their 2005 album Tender Buttons, Broadcast had reduced to a duo. This change brought about a more stripped-back sound. On ‘Corporeal’, Trish Keenan and James Cargill create a pulsing beat and bass line that reminds me of the work of Yo La Tengo, albeit a touch more sultry. Have a great week.

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Yo La Tengo – Today Is The Day (2003)

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Yo La Tengo’s 2003 album Summer Sun is a slow burner. It was always going to be difficult to follow 2000’s brilliant And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, but the Georgia Hubley song ‘Today Is the Day’ reminds me of something earlier. I recollect ‘Shadows’ off I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, their equally sublime album from 1997.

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Happyness – Montreal Rock Band Somewhere (2014)



“I’m wearing Win Butler’s hair/There’s a scalpless singer in a Montreal rock band somewhere.” Happyness may be a band from South London, but they are a band for fans of Wilco, Broken Social Scene and Yo La Tengo. Their self-produced debut album Weird Little Sister was released in 2014 and features the track ‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’ – and that lyric, which deserves to be immortal.

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Metronomy – Love Underlined (2011)

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This track kicks off an electronic run-in to the weekend. I love the facts that: these guys are from Totnes; they continue a great tradition in electronic music of self-explanatory, pithy lyrics (e.g. “Our love is underlined, ‘coz she wants it all the time.”); and there is a definite sound of clotted cream about their album ‘English Riviera’. Enjoy the hypnotic ride. Think Yo La Tengo with a spoonful of abandoned carousel.

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Yo La Tengo – Stockholm Syndrome (1997)

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Undoubtedly YLT’s best album to date, I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One was moody, introspective, diverse – I read somewhere that the album is an ideal soundtrack for a nighttime drive. It would be need to be some distance; the long player is too long for some. So I pull out this 2:51 nugget for its brevity, simplicity of lyric and autumnal feel. The touches of Neil Young and Velvets helped the choice of course.

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