Interview: Yo La Tengo


Indeed, there’s much to love about this release, except for the fact that retrospectives like this often signal an exit plan. After all, it has been 20 years. And then there’s YLT’s recent soundtrack work: “Sounds of Science” shows began in 2001, and they’ve recently scored two movies (“Game 6,” “Junebug”), both of which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. To the serious YLT fan — myself included — this kind of news sets off alarms. Will the band keep making albums?

Kaplan: “Yes.”

Hubley (grinning): “I don’t know.”

Kaplan (more emphatically): “Yes.”

McNew starts, pauses, and then adds: “After that record was released, the first few interviews I did, the tone of the questions really freaked me out. They were all in past tense. I felt like I was already dead.”

On the contrary, Yo La Tengo’s best work may lie ahead of them. Albums have grown quieter over the past few years, but no less innovative. In person, they speak and sing with the same quirky excitement they’ve always had. Kaplan betrayed his age only once: His eyes lit up during talk of old R&B records like The Hollywood Flames’ “Buzz Buzz Buzz,” but when the topic changed to dancehall, he looked like he just swallowed a bug.

It didn’t really help matters when I asked what they thought of the directions independent music had taken during their tenure, but I had to. “We may keep blinders on as best as possible,” comes Kaplan’s carefully worded reply. “I want to expand on my past rather than leave scorched earth behind.”

Read the full interview at The Japan Times Online.

Yo La Tengo: the band next door | The Japan Times Online

About Jason Andrew Jenkins

In 1997, Jason left his home near Atlanta for a year abroad. He liked it so much that he never went back. After three years in Taiwan and 13 years in Japan, he and his wife quit their desk jobs in Tokyo, pulled their kids out of local schools and traveled as a family for six years, living in Malaysia, Spain, and Mexico along the way. They returned to Japan — Osaka this time — in the summer of 2019. Jason loves Google Maps, carry-on luggage, and most dishes registering on the Scoville scale.
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