Yo La Tengo, Times New Viking
Friday, April 13, 8 p.m., $15 & 17
Yo La Tengo has by now reached a legendary status by doing things its own way. Carving its own niche out of space and sound away from the mainstream, the band’s only real contemporary is Sonic Youth. With last year’s beautifully crafted (and oddly titled) album, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, the over 20-year-old career of Yo La Tengo was again justified for being unrealistically consistent and remaining deftly experimental.
Like Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo is headed up by a husband and wife — in this case, it’s former rock critic Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley. The band has long been compared to the Velvet Underground with its sound, and though that’s not a bad comparison, it doesn’t really apply much anymore. Using hushed vocals and hazily muted guitars, Yo La Tengo has taken the Velvet’s doom-ridden rock and brightened the corners with touches of Beach Boys’ style harmonics and prog-rock accoutrements.
The remarkable thing about Yo La Tengo remains its constancy and tendency to have become an even better band as it has aged. Whether making a soundtrack to a maritime documentary, covering Sun Ra or reinterpreting a ’60s classic rock tune, the band has always managed to make a song its own original, timeless blend.