Yo La Tengo have no plans to ‘Fade’ away any time soon

GOB_YoLaTengo_0703

There are people who credit Yo La Tengo with defining the genre of indie rock. One, writer/fellow musician Jesse Jarnow, wrote an entire book about it, “Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock.” If it’s true, it’s a pretty epic legacy. If you ask frontman and co-founder Ira Kaplan, however, he’s reluctant to even entertain the idea.

“That’s something that really does not enter into our life much,” he explains, in his slow, thoughtful way. “Even the notion of indie rock is nothing I’m particularly fond of. I don’t really know what it is. On a personal level, when somebody says that to me — not when someone writes it, but when a band says that to me — it is meaningful, and I’m happy. I mean I’m proud of what we’ve done, and I am happy when someone finds it inspiring, but I think about it as little as possible.”

It’s that distinct lack of pretension — and an apparent immunity to the trappings of fame or celebrity — that has largely contributed to the Jersey band’s staying power. Yo La Tengo, fronted by Ira and his wife Georgia (the two have been together even longer than the band, a remarkable feat even for a couple who don’t work together,) have been making music for just about three decades. And they don’t show any signs of slowing down now.

One wonders if, after putting out 13 studio albums (not to mention the countless collaborations, covers and compilations,) they ever hit a creative wall. “It doesn’t seem that way. Maybe our standards are too low,” laughs Kaplan. “I would say that every time we finish making a record, that’s pretty much the only time I think about that. You always figure, well it’s got to run out some time….but…it seems to just happen that at a certain point we all kind of know we’re ready and get to work.”

“Fade” is the most recent product of that work, and it’s the trio’s tightest album in more than a decade. Released on the heels of 2009’s “Popular Songs” (which has tracks clocking in at 10 and 15 plus minutes) and 2008’s “They Shoot, We Score” (a staggering 27-track record,) “Fade” almost feels like a concession to listeners’ dwindling attention spans.

“We did consciously make this new record a shorter record, thinking that we had made so many 70-minute records in a row, and we wanted to challenge ourselves to do something more succinct,” he says.

Still, “I wouldn’t use the word concession,” he continues. “I grew up when making a double album was something a band did. That was a statement. And I guess the lexicon I grew up with is still mine and I think that, with the realization that we had made something like six double albums in a row, I wanted to know for myself that we could do something shorter. So it wasn’t a concession, it was a challenge. Certainly nobody was demanding it but us.”

That notion of rising to only self-imposed challenges, and refusing to kowtow to popular demands, seems like it’s the driving (and sustaining) force for the band that may or may not have created indie rock.

“I think we’re in a good position. We get to do whatever we want,” Kaplan says. “We’ve gotten to where we are by doing what we want. It’s hard to compare our life as a band to another, because I don’t know others as intimately. Like anyone else, it’s always our goal that people like what we’re doing but, at at the same time, we’re aware that anything good that happens always comes with its own set of problems. So I don’t think any of us are under the impression that ‘oh if only we had 50,000 more listeners…all of our problems would go away and everything would be great.’ I think it really is about dealing with the challenges that face you, which happens at every level.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…