Tag Archives: Yo La Tengo

Murdering the classics

I‘ve mentioned Yo La Tengo before on xsamplex (right here); as part of my ‘Past The Bridge’ series, I (slightly) proclaimed my likeness for the NJ based band.

If you’ve been on the Internet, you are probably aware of the band’s yearly “Yo La Tengo is murdering the classics”-gig, where the band takes requests for the illustrious radio station WFMU. I recorded one such session in 2008 (briefly discussed here), which was exactly right before I moved to work in SJ. Ever since then I missed the opportunity to listen, well, except for like 2 weeks ago, were a timely reminder (Metafilter, props) reminded me to get my recording gear in action.

Today’s ‘Past The Bridge’ sample is the full track of Yo La Tengo’s rendition of The Clean’s “Tally Ho” – the full track can be found in my media section. Compare that with the original, and judge for yourself (Single Youtube Link)

I have not yet sorted through the whole setlist: I recall that during a couple of songs I slightly lost connection here and there. Generally though, it was an excellent session. If only I had time to separate the tracks out for both 2008 and 2012 sessions.


CBC had their documentary ‘Winning for a Living’ on tonight, which featured people who are obsessed with filling out contest ballots. The Internet, of course, has been the Great Leap Forward for these kind of contests. Ironically, most contestors use regular mathematical skills to ensure their win:

Mike Smith of Toronto has been contesting for over 30 years, winning an estimated $250,000 in free stuff, including seven TVs! He spent all of one weekend filling out 2,000 ballots in hopes of winning TV #8

In a way, I guess, you also need to have a talent to read the fine print before you start stuffing 2000 ballots with your name in a ballet box. I need to mention that I rarely commit myself to enter contests or even lotteries: if you do the math, you’ll find out the chances to win are generally too small. I did have a couple of wins in my lifetime, most notably, a Playmobil pirateship, which I (looking at the circumstances and my young age) obviously didn’t deserve to win because, well: that’s probably a separate story for another day.

As mentioned, I made a couple of recordings of the Yo La Tengo show last Sunday. The complete setlist can be found at Blog.WMFU. I missed a couple of sets: Set 3 didn’t work out because my stream connection was more or less flaky causing Audacity to flunk out a couple of times. One of the sets was interrupted because the WMFU crew had to restart one of the servers which, from what I gather, was to make room for more online music listeners.

Snipping through the Audacity audio recordings, I noticed that the recorded setlists (unsurprisingly) take up quite some space. Audacity stores project files in AU format (see history).

You may have noticed that Microsoft released their first IE8 Beta, which has caused quite a stir (or acclaim) among standards proponents, web designers and developers (I briefly touched on this before). I highly doubt that IE8 will beat out Firefox, Opera or Safari (Or Konqueror) if you look at it from the standards perspective.

A disturbance in the force

Via Metafilter (thread), I found out that Yo La Tengo’s “Murdering The Classics” session is happening today. WMFU will have a livestream, starting at 5PM EST (pls/MP3). If you need a different output stream, the WMFU blog has other types of formats, including RealAudio and Windows Media [Note: below a sample of the session].

Slashdot (and other news sites) reported that the American Institute of Physics released a study that shows that other spacecraft have experienced velocity anomalies, much like the ones detected by the Pioneer 10. The comments over at Slashdot are hilarious:

I’m sorry officer; I was experiencing a velocity anomaly.

That’s too bad, son, I’m still writing you a ticket. From now on keep it under 299,792,458 meters per second. The law is the law!

I’m not sure why I would bring it up here but the big news yesterday was about that Belgian lady who wrote up a book about her experiences during the Second World War: the book was even made into a movie. It was all fake (she isn’t even Jewish) and she explains her motives:

“This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving”

Wikipedia has a good background story about the hoax, which includes several references to the original publisher Jane Daniel (blog), who apparently suspected her story to be a fake.

Update 1: Good stuff: though, Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo is apparently missing today. I’ll try to get a small sample up tonight.

Update 2: It looks like the 128 KBS streams are ‘full’. I was kicked out a couple of times but was able to connect back within seconds.

Update 3: And as promised a soundbite from the session “Yo La Tengo is murdering the classics” – Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ (30+ second sample).

Update 4: WMFU has more: a video of YLT’s (hilarious) ‘The Passenger’, which indeed ended up with lyrics about Jack Nicholson.

Moby Octopad

I brought Yo La Tengoup Yo La Tengo a couple of times, skirmishly, I admit (previously on xsamplex). I discovered the band via the ‘regular musical path': As a fan of Sonic Youth I ended up listening to Yo La Tengo. I’m not sure why that is: Yo La Tengo’s music style comes closer to ‘easy listening music': edgy, experimental, yet, predictable and accessible. But fun, yes: the bandmembers are well-known for making fun (“You Can Have It All, Live”) of themselves (“Tom Courtenay”) and their ‘nerdy image’ (“Sugar Cube”). Maybe it’s because they are from New Jersey.

So: Initially, I was thinking of throwing in their song ‘You Can Have It All’ (see link above for live performance) but I decided to go for a sample from YLT’s 1997 album ‘I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One': Moby Octopad (sample 30+second) is the second track on that album. For me, personally, it stands out because of the heavily pronounced bass and drum theme and the (band’s) typical multi-vocal melodic song style. Not brilliant, but definitely different and unique.