KUTE Pick of the Week



Yo La Tengo

I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Matador Records

Four-and-a-half out of five stars

In the 22 years the band’s been around, Yo La Tengo has put out a plethora of critically acclaimed albums. The newest from the New Jersey-based trio is its 12th, and it’s on par with all the others.

Consistency, though, is a funny word-especially for a group like Yo La Tengo, which has managed to be consistent only in its refusal to be pigeonholed into a single genre. Mixing pop sensibilities and melodies with feedback-driven noise could prove disastrous, but for Yo La Tengo, it’s a signature sound. Even Bugs Bunny and Kermit D. Frog can’t keep up with all the genre hopping.


Few bands successfully pull off epic-length opening songs (“Quay Cur,” from Fiery Furnace’s Blueberry Boat disc, is the only recent notable exception), but this 10-minute-plus dissonant opener-dubbed “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind”-hits the spot. The cut is followed by a masterpiece of quiet, wispy folk sung by Georgia (the band’s female drummer) and “Mr. Tough,” a cheerful pop song that the Apples in Stereo would be proud of, complete with Snoopy-style piano accompaniment and horns. You’ll hear blues undertones in “Sometimes I Don’t Get You,” right after “The Room Got Heavy’s” funkified drums and droning buzz.

But the irony and perfection of the album is best demonstrated by its title-I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. It is the most out of place-and therefore perfect-title for a Yo La Tengo record. To witness the beginning of a social revolution, check out the Web site at: www.iamnotafraidofyouandiwillbeatyourass.com

?or WE WILL beat your ass!