September 26, 2007

That Was The Show That Was: Yo La Tengo | Coolidge Corner

Yo La Tengo, Coolidge Corner Theater, Sept 25 2007 -- photo courtesy of Ric Dube[We are pleased to present once again reportage of friend and former editor Ric Dube, one of the stalwart duo of men who critiqued our writing into the good shape it was in six years ago. The Good Doctor is the most devoted Yo La Tengo fan we know (this is the very man who created this popular I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass promo video). He previously reviewed for us the band's Sept. 28, 2006 performance at Boston's Avalon, which you can read here. -- Ed.]

Last night we watched and listened as Yo La Tengo performed their scores to eight short undersea documentary films directed by Jean Painleve. It's something the Hoboken, New Jersey-based act does rarely, having first created the presentation for a 2001 film festival in San Francisco. The storied indie trio has performed this music fewer than a couple of dozen times since. A 2002 CD titled The Sounds of the Sounds of Science offers a beautifully recorded but more restrained representation of what transpires when Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew offer it in a live setting. And the initial differences between the performance and recording were only the beginning of an evolution; now as the years go by it's exciting to hear how much the performances continue to evolve.

And so it turns out The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science isn't a soundtrack album -- it is an album unto itself. Like any other set of compositions, the songs have evolved as the artists have grown and as their interests have changed. On numbers like "Sea Urchins," "Love Life of the Octopus" and "How Some Jellyfish Are Born," digital delay sound effects once used as background texture are now "played" as lead instruments. Melodies once played right in the pocket are now syncopated. Passages once patiently formless have inched toward structure. Yo La Tengo's entire performance Tuesday evening was magnificent, which was reassuring after the discouraging introduction of the band by filmmaker Fabien Cousteau, grandson of legendary undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau. -- Ric Dube, Senior Yo La Tengo Correspondent

Yo La Tengo intends to spend much of the early autumn touring. We've posted full dates below. The band has also posted "The Love Life Of The Octopus" for download, which we offer below to save you the trip.

Yo La Tengo -- "The Love Life Of The Octopus" -- The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science
[right click and save as]
[buy this and other Yo La Tengo titles from the band here]

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Previous Yo La Tengo coverage:

That Was The Show That Was: Yo La Tengo | Avalon, Boston [2006]

09/29 -- Hollywood Bowl -- Los Angeles, California
10/06 -- Lyceum -- Brooklyn, New York
10/09 -- Warhol Museum -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
10/10 -- Buskirk Chumley -- Bloomington, Indiana
10/11 -- Lakeshore Theatre -- Chicago, Illinois
10/12 -- Discovery Museum -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
10/13 -- Calvin College -- Grand Rapids, Michigan
10/19 -- Jeanne Rimsky -- Port Washington, New York
10/20 -- Colony Cafe -- Woodstock, New York
10/22 -- First Unitarian Church -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10/23 -- The Birchmere -- Alexandria, Virginia
10/27 -- Manifest Festival -- Mexico City
10/29 -- The Aladdin -- Portland, Oregon
10/30 -- Town Hall -- Seattle, Washington
11/01 -- Palace of Fine Arts -- San Francisco, California
11/04 -- Museum of Contemporary Art -- San Diego, California
11/10 -- MassMOCA -- North Adams, Massachusetts
11/11 -- Cornell University -- Ithaca, New York
11/15 -- Museum of Fine Art -- Boston, Massachusetts


keith said...

I'm kicking myself now for missing this - I didn't realize how rarely they perform it. Thanks for the info on the MFA show though - I'll be sure to catch them then for a YTL fix.

jbreitling said...

There are actually two shows that day at the MFA, so you've got double the chances. I saw this at Somerville Theater a million years ago -- don't think I blogged about it, but maybe I did? -- and it was great.

Ric said...

However, while you may have mentioned this, the MFA shows will not be Sounds of Science performances. They will be a new presentation called "Freewheelin' Yo La Tengo." I am not making this up. The band will take questions, tell stories and play stripped down arrangements.

jbreitling said...

Good point, and no I hadn't mentioned it. I knew some or all of the forthcoming dates I listed were the "Freewheelin'" dates, but I erred in forgetting to mention that in the item. Good catch.