Friday, April 9, 2010

A To Z - New Wave Hot Dogs

I waited way too long to lose myself in Yo La Tengo.

Losing yourself seems an appropriate and essential stage of life when it comes to listening to Yo La Tengo. Often hailed as the quintessential "critic's" band, I had heard their name tossed around for years. I bought "Prisoners Of Love" when it came out - essentially figuring a 2-disc retrospective would be the best introduction to this storied band.

I never listened to it.

Then this past summer I decided to truly explore the band. It started with an obsession with the guitar-based tracks they lent to movies. Particular the forelorn echo in "Old Joy" that made me want to figure this band out. I started at the beginning, I worked my way up.

I loved everything.

Yo La Tengo is a band to obsess over. I can't call them my favorite band, I still don't know their music well enough and the summer obsession didn't last but a month. But when I decided I wanted to write about "New Wave Hot Dogs", I suddenly rekindled this obsession. I mean, this album is often considered one fo their weakest in their catalogue. It might be, I don't know. I'm not comparing. It's not a masterpiece, but chronilogically, this is the first full album to feature Ira as the lead guitarist and jesus fuck do I love his guitar playing. Sloppy as all hell, yet somehow it reaches places that many other guitarists can't. I dropped my dreams of wanting to play electric guitar when I was 16. Listening to Yo La Tengo rekindled that. The vocals are average, the melodies are great. The Velvet Underground comparison is very apt on this release, but man none of that matters. For some reason the guitar on this record, even more than some of their more notable releases, really gets to me. Whether its the gentle instrumental "Lost in Bessemer" or the feedback-drenched "Let's Compromise" - somehow Ira Kaplan is able to make the guitar relevant to me. I listen to many of these songs and say "yeah, that's exactly how I'd do it."

I waited way too long to lose myself in Yo La Tengo.

I'm glad I finally did though.

Download Here.


dryclaine said...

Electr-O-Pura was the beginning of my obsession, and remains my favorite. Haven't listened to NWHD yet, but have listened to everything from Electr-o-pura and up. If you like his guitar playing you'll love Electr-o-pura.

virag said...

many days, 'new wave hotdogs' is my favorite album of all time. 'may i sing with me' is another absolute fav. yo la tengo's body of work is easily the equal of the mekons, and coming from me, that is saying something.