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Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun

Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun Never had a band a more fitting name. Yo La Tengo. Hold it. Whenever you hear this band the first time, don’t let it slip you by. They are the incarnation of a band who cannot make a bad album. On the other hand the concept of an absolute best album seems to be wrong concerning their output. Whenever a new YLT album comes out for me it is always automatically their best one for about a month. It takes some time to stack it up against the others.

On Summer Sun Georgia, Ira and James continue on their trip from feedback to silence. The noisy rock phase around May I Sing With Me seems to have been the purgation of the bad spirits. From that album (which I love) on Yo La Tengo have become riper, mellower and more mature with every new release. They have started fading out with their last album. It is amazing how quiet music can be intense. This is a waking up album instead of a falling asleep album like the predecessor. Music to listen to in the afternoon after the siesta, day dream music. My first real listen was going down to the Mediterrenean, to picturesque Collioure after a wine-drenched meal and an hour of afternoon sleep.

They are the archetype of a band to get old with. I think they make music for people the same age as them. Ira on guitar and Georgia on drums who share the vocals in turn have almost become a couple like Philemon and Baucis in the Greek mythology. They have found joy and contentment in pastoral soundscapes approaching ambient and jazz. James, the bassist and a multi-instrumentalist like the couple gives the solidity to the band. Like a chair, a band on three legs is more stable than on four.

The new album is a real grower. In the beginning it sounds pleasant but not very remarkable but then it grows and grows and grows and becomes a giant sunflower. With all the seeds falling down on the listener. The music feels like a feather touching the skin on its surface. It tickles the ears. Probably their most accomplished and refined album yet. Atmospheric, not demanding anything from the listener, not asking for attention, flowing without being wallpaper music. The album begins very relaxed and cool and then becomes warmer and smoother.

Geogia’s voice gets more and more expressive with each release. It has never been as sexy and tender as on this album. In the last song Take Care, an Alex Chilton cover, she gives me the shivers.

The other songs: It starts with Beach Party Tonight. Only sounds. Dawn is breaking. Little Eyes is Georgia breaking my heart by singing “you can only hurt the ones you love”. Nothing but You and Me is Ira begging his beloved to come back and wake up. Season of the Shark and Today Is the Day have the effects of an Irish coffee on me. When listening to the first one sung by Ira, I can feel the Irish coffee flowing down my throat and starting to warm my stomach. When Georgia starts singing on the second one the effect of the alcohol goes to the head. I get dizzy. On Tiny Birds James sounds as innocent as Nick Drake. Sad but wise. How to Make a Baby Elephant is a slow warm song with a jazzy flute. Georgia Vs. Yo La Tengo is Georgia with a fireworks on the drums, Ira with a rhythmic keyboard and piano theme and James doing some weird sounds on the synthesizer. Don’t Have to Be so Sad is like lying in the hammock. There is tension but there is support. We can stretch our limbs and relax. On Winter A-Go-Go Georgia is irresistible. I like it very much when the song changes speed suddenly. Stop and go. Moonrock Mambo is kind of dark and groovy. You could dance to it. Ira sings “I wanna be next to you” and he means it. Georgia hums at the same time. Gorgeous. Let’s Be Still is the longest and weakest song. Almost like a free-jazz session but too repetitive and predictable for more than ten minutes (maybe not, it is a beauty of a song though).

The biggest reproach I could make to the album is the cover. Looking at the ball though I am reminded of my juggling leather balls. Which have similar colour combinations. And which I really love. As I learnt juggling with them.

Live I am a little sceptical but still I won’t miss their concert at the Mousonturm in Frankfurt, on May, 20th. The tour with their last quiet album wasn’t so great, I found. Live I prefer them when they mix slow quiet and loud rocking songs.


Wonderful album! "Little Eyes" is my favourite. Well written, Alex.

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Wunderbar, Album wie Beschreibung. Wir sehen uns am Zwanzigsten.

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wie? kommst Du nicht heute abend zu den go-betweens nach darmstadt, andreas?

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Oh, sollten wir heute schon die Chance der realen Begegnung haben?

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ich dachte, die spielen heute in frankfurt. man darf sich halt nie darauf verlassen, was man so hört.

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Nene, am 6. in Berlin (unter Beobachtung durch Jochen), und heute in der Darmstädter Centralstation.

Ach, und auch da, Herr Tom Paul? Sie wohnen ja auch in der Nähe, wie ich bei Ihnen gesehen habe.

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ja, werde wohl auch da sein.

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@tompaul: falls unsicherheiten bzgl. konzerten bestehen, vielleicht hilft meine konzertvorschau rechts unter der "recently modified"-box unter "rhein-main live" weiter.

falls jemand an einem treffen interessiert ist: also ich komme heute abend in jeans und mit yo la tengo t-shirt. bin brillenträger und 1,95 groß. meine freundin ist auch dabei. by the way, es soll erst um 9 losgehen.

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hilft ungemein. sollte ich da sein, werde ich mich bemerkbar machen.

btw. ich habe die wäsche abgehängt und weiss jetzt, was ich anhabe. hellbraune cordjeans und ein scharzes, langärmeliges t-shirt. ansonsten brille und graue, kurze haare. das müsste gehen.

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So, und ich sollte an blauer Jeans, dunkelblauem T-Shirt und roten Sneakern erkennbar sein, bin 1,87 groß. Mal sehen, ob's mit dem Treffen klappt.

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In aller Bescheidenheit würde ich mich als noch unbekannter Zaungast und zeitweiliger Lurker gerne dazustellen. Braune Lederjacke, brauner 7" Filz-Airbag, helle Hose, Blundstone-Boots (Wildleder), 186cm groß -- Brille. If you don't mind...

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es hat sich gelohnt. robert forster ist am ende fast abgehoben und ich habe zwei weblogger in real life kennengelernt. da sag noch einer, dass weblogging eine beschäftigung von autisten ist. mehr davon.

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last updated: 2/23/21, 8:55 AM
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contact: alex63 at bigfoot dot com
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