I Am Not Afraid Of You...

And I Will Beat Your A**, is the newest album from one of the favorites around here at the BRR office: Yo La Tengo. YLT has been one of my faves since I heard their Electr-O-Pura album way back in the day. There are a few albums that stand out as being pretty huge during that stage of my life: Pavement's Wowee Zowee, Sebadoh's Bakesale, Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand and YLT's Electr-O-Pura. All of them weird outsider (I refuse to use the word "indie," - it sounds stupid) rock, all droning and obtuse and all of them still, to this very day, really good. Try and say that about any of the "grunge" (also sounds stupid, but oh well...) classics from the same time period.

Anyway, I fell in love with YLT. There's a quality to them that, for some undefinable reason, really hits me somewhere primal. It's 2 a.m. music, if that makes any sense. There's something about the way that their songs unfold themselves, their mystery or surprise or whatever that unrolls itself differently upon each listen. There's a hugeness, whether emotionally or sonically or both, that all great, transformative rock and roll must possess if it's doing its job correctly.

First off, the title is brilliant.* Just really funny. Yes, I know it contains profanity, but come on? You know you chuckled a bit. Admit it. Admit it. Whatever.

Secondly, It's chock full of song that are just plain good. There are the obligatory loooooooooong songs (this is a Yo La Tengo album, after all), in fact the album's bookended by them ("Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind," clocks in at 10:46 and "The Story of Yo La Tengo," at 11:48, with track 9, "Daphnia," also in this category at 8:51), but for some reason, a 10 minute song from YLT I can not only handle, but welcome. As I mentioned before, it's sort of their thing, ya know? I Am Not Afraid is classic YLT, full of songs that rock, that roll, that sway and pulse, that giggle and weep and kiss and fight. Cut up beanbag chairs, races won and lost, playhouses burned, heavy rooms and hatchets, fights on the train and I feel like going home and I love you but sometimes I just don't get you. They're songs like you and me, living breathing things, all pretty and pissed and playful. Wow. It's late.

Anyway, it's a good album. Check it out. The Matador site's here. The band site's here.

*In fact, it was a banner week for great album titles, with TV On the Radio's newest album, Return To Cookie Mountain also released. (the genius of this title may warrant an entirely separate post... Man, the questions it prompts: What is Cookie Mountain? Where is it? Did you have to get a passport? If there are cookies there, why in the name of heaven did you ever leave? Why are you returning? Did you forget something? Or are you maybe just hungry for cookies? Are there any cookies in this house? I want cookies... )

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