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September 13, 2006 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-13

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Setmber 13, 2006
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

ARe -1iTSgt tl

8A

4

TENGO:
R Q
SANS
FEAR
INDIE
ROCKERS HIT
STRIDE THROUGH
EXPERIENCE
By Matt Kivel
Daily Arts Writer
Yo La Tengo's critically
acclaimed career has spanned
threedecades,
a rarity in the
notoriously Y4 La Tengo
short lifes- I Am Not Afraid
pan of indie Of You and I Will
rock, leaving Beat Your Ass
them with Matador
very little to
prove in 2006.
With their 12th full-length
album, the enigmatically titled 1
Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will
Beat Your Ass, Yo La Tengo has
made a clear return to the foun-
dations underlying 1997's mas-
terpiece, I Can Hear The Heart
Beating As One.
The album's opening track,
"Pass The Hatchet I Think I'm
Goodkind," is a propulsive and
hypnotic rocker, drenched in
overdriven squalls of guitar noise.
The melody is eerily similar to the
classic "Autumn Sweater" from
Heart. In fact, most of Afraid is
a kissing cousin to Heart - dis-
tended album sequencing and
bursting, 200-second pop songs
given equal weight as roundabout
instrumentalism.
In classic Yo La Tengo fash-

Birth, meth and life
GOSSIP COLUMN

We're back to school, and
I'm back to writing the
column that will forever
tarnish Google searches of my name.
As reported by the National
Enquirer, the spawning of Britney
Spears's baby No. 2 was yesterday's
big news. Though the prospect of
being associated with "Lose Con-
trol" and "Crossroads"
frightened the baby
enough not to come out
naturally, the doctors
were able to grab the
little bugger via cesar-
ean section.
Spears admitted ear-
lier this year that the
child's conception was
an accident, but she and
professional husband Put
Kevin Federline were MAT
ecstatic. And they cel-
ebrated the only way a Spears fam-
ily should: with an Original Recipe
Family Meal from KFC.
Fellow popstar Fergie of the Black
Eyed Peas spoke to Time magazine
about her long battle with a crys-
tal meth addiction as a youngster,
describing it as "the worst boyfriend
(she's) ever had to break up with."
She didn't comment on the drug's
role in forming her album's first sin-
gle, "London Bridge," but after a few
spins, the drug's effect on her cog-
nitive ability is fairly obvious. That
whole thing about her looking like a
man, though? That's all genes.
Ben Affleck appeared to be on
some of those Canadian drugs on
a recent YouTube-circulated video,
which featured the actor groping a
Montreal television host in 2004.
Not only does the clip show a dazed
Affleck asking the host to sit on his
lap and do the show topless, it also
contains the greatest date-stamped
pickup line of the Super Bowl fiasco
era: "I do Justin, you do Janet."
Any attempts by Affleck to deny
his behavior at the time as nothing
more than an acted performance for
entertainment are undoubtedly false,
judging by any of his recent movies.
Instead, praise Affleck for recogniz-

ing that the fastest way to a girl's
heart is through a flimsy shirt (pref-
erably from Forever 21).
While Affleck has sobered up and
moved into the blandest relationship
in Hollywood, Us Weekly superstars
Kate Bosworth and Orlando Bloom
recently broke off their courtship.
It's debatable how the two will split
up all their possessions
after staying together for
such an extended period
of time. I mean, who
gets the eyeliner?
Tension from their
competing films may be
areason for the breakup;
Bloom likely referred
I to all-time box-office
-- standings as the trump
NIT card in all arguments.
TOO But fear not, TeenBop
readers: The two will
forever be entwined. Rumors spread
earlier that Bloom transmitted her-
pes to the ever-shrinking Bosworth.
There's no better way to say "I love
you" than herpes, the gift that keeps
on giving.
From a herpes-ridden couple, we
go to a herpes-ridden "woman": Paris
Hilton.Themodel/singer/actress/porn
star inevitably makes her way into the
news, and nobody else seems provide
more material for college newspaper-
worthy snark. Last week, she was
stopped for a DUI while making a
trip to L.A. hotspot In-N-Out Burg-
er. Not surprisingly, the arrest only
enhanced Hilton's party-girl image,
endearing her to a generation of girls
destined to be spoiled sluts and the
boys ready to help them.
The late-night-munchies trip was
marred when officers pulled herover
with a blood alcohol content of .08,
the minimum for conviction in Cali-
fornia. Hilton must have felt right at
home ending her night with her lips
drunkenly wrapped around a breath-
alyzer, blowing until somebody told
her to stop.
Too easy.
- Mattoo can be reached
at mattoop@utmich.edu.

Actually, we're exceptionally passive-aggressive.

ion, noise gives way to sweet
melodic pop. "Beanbag Chair" is
a breezy track, with a chorus that
could have fit snugly onto any of
Heavenly's early-'90s twee-pop
records. Ira Kaplan delivers a
delicate vocal performance, con-
templating regret and uncertain-
ty: "I'm losing every race I run /
making misery out of fun."
As the album continues, the
band hops between a seemingly
endless supply of song structures
and instrumentation. "Black
Flowers" is a thoughtful, emo-
tion-driven ballad, accompanied
by an iridescent layer of strings
and punctuated by staccato bas-
soon hits and melodic French horn
phrases. When the drums finally
kick into the song, its full emo-

tive powers are realized, and the
effects are hauntingly beautiful.
Yo La Tengo's more psyche-
delic tendencies are indulged
on tracks like "The Race Is On
Again" and "The Room Got
Heavy." Blending Byrds-esque
chiming guitars with repeti-
tive drumming and garage-rock
organ, these songs lend the album
a dark undercurrent. There's a
pervasive sense of, melancholy
and instability among even the
most elegant pop songs.
Even with all of Kaplan's gui-
tar heroics and the band's tenden-
cy to delve deeply into the world
of avant-garde experimentation,
the albums more song-oriented
pieces are its shimmering high
points. "Sometimes I Don't Get

You" is a nostalgic piano-driven
romp through late-'60s folk pop
sung in Kaplan's whispering fal-
setto. "The Weakest Part" sees
Georgia Hubley taking lead vocal
duties and capturing the melody's
bouncy elegance with her beau-
tifully restrained performance.
"Mr. Tough" is a whimsical exer-
cise in soulful AM-radio song-
writing, complete with a tight,
gritty horn section.
After long years on the road,
Yo La Tengo has carefully honed
its sound and songcraft to effec-
tively encapsulate a myriad of
styles. With Afraid, they have
given us a grown-up version of
Heart with all the baggage that
comes with being a band for 20
years.

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