I’ve enjoyed Yo La Tengo’s music for years and years. I have many of their records, although I’d never consider them a favorite band. They’re just a reliable band I like. This Tiny Desk Concert sees the venerable band in acoustic format (with no drums!). Ira Kaplan sings and plays guitar, drummer Georgia Hubley sings backup and bassist James McNew plays an acoustic 12-string guitar.
Yo La Tengo has a lot of diversity in their records. And even here, their songs sound quite different. I had never before considered that on “Is That Enough” Kaplan sounds like someone out of A Mighty Wind (Harry Shearer perhaps?) I also never considered how much they sound like The Velvet Underground (which I guess others have, but I especially noticed when Hurley sings her slow song). McNew also adds some lovely high-pitched harmony vocals (compared to Georgia’s deeper harmonies).
After the first song, Kaplan says, “You in the back will never hear this one” They start “Tears Are In Your Eyes” from their 2000 album (and I can’t help but hing that McNew’s 12 sting is out of tune). Georgia sings and sounds incredibly like Nico on this song.
It’s strange how Ira keeps whispering to Georgia (you can kind of hear him) throughout the song–the microphone is really sensitive.
“Ohm” is one of my favorite songs from their album Fade. Its simple, but with some great harmonies and I love the way the song–which is fairly straightforward–goes up an octave during the “say goodnight “ part. That little melody shift really makes this song wonderful. And it sounds terrific here. I also love how the end is a repeating of the same chord and chanting vocals while Ira plays a wild (but acoustic) guitar solo.
I’ve never really considered seeing Yo La Tengo live (they tour all the time), but maybe I should.
[READ: January 23, 2017] “Don’t Be Evil”
Before Simon Rich started writing longer pieces for the New Yorker, his Shouts & Murmurs pieces were usually pretty short–and he crammed a lot of funny into that short space.
This piece is all about Google. It’s kind of one-note, but it’s still pretty funny. And its brevity prevents it from wearing out its welcome.
So it begins with him saying how much he loves the Google Dictionary feature. It’s really convenient, but sometimes the results can be strange. Then he gives some examples:
Yahoo: a stupid Web site for stupid people who only want crap.
Bing: just a bunch of crap.
Barack Obama: a cool guy who uses Google.
Since this is from 2010, the jokes also remind us of a time when Google was having a little legal trouble, so we also get some of these:
Privacy: an overrated thing that people should maybe chill about.
Jesus Christ: a guy who made people’s lives much easier and then was crucified. Sound familiar?
There’s no great punchline at the end, in fact the jokes kind of peter out. But it’s still fairly amusing.