ARTIST: Yo La Tengo
TITLE: President Yo La Tengo
YEAR RELEASED: 1989
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: The Asparagus Song (a bonus track now)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe not
LINEUP: Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, Gene Holder or Stephan Wichnewski
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The guitar freakouts continue, the covers show up, and one song becomes a YLT classic.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While this album is short (could be called an EP, but it’s over 30 minutes), it’s also a game changer for the band.
“Barnaby, Hardly Working” has become a fan favorite and a turning point for Yo La Tengo. The structure and sound of the track is the basis for the band going forward – the guitar feedback loop at the beginning is an infamous YLT sound. Likewise “The Evil That Men Do (Pablo’s Version)”, which is one of two remakes from a track from their first album, is a touchstone for their penchant for double digit long guitar freakouts.
Then there’s the gentle, reverent cover “I Threw It All Away”, which is quiet and placid, and shows their true feeling for the song.
Not every track is quite as winning as those, but this is a big step in the right direction.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This is now included (and even streaming) with New Wave Hot Dogs.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, except above
GRADE: B+: Love the feedback and the drone sounds, which later became the signature for the band.