Yo La Tengo // I Am Not Afraid of You, I will Beat your Ass
Yo La Tengo have learned quite a bit over their three decade-spanning career, exploring every crevice of alternative rock and making it over in their own image. I Am Not Afraid of You was three years in the making and its 15 tracks feature all the intensity and variety that longtime fans have come to count on. The album is bookended by two feedback fueled jams that remain melodic and focused, rooted in the mechanical beats of the Velvet Underground and stretching out from there. “Beanbag Chair” provides their take on ephemeral French pop. “I Feel Like Going Home” is a morning-sun-breaking-over-the-horizon piano ballad. The piano, in fact, has become their unlikely weapon of choice, after years of guitar-centric jangle and twist. “Mr. Tough, “ “Black Flowers,” “The Weakest Part” and “Song for Mahila” all center on piano figures that give the album an unusual sitting-room luxury. After years of belting it out in cramped rock clubs, Yo La Tengo have found their way to the parlor for a little R&R, be it rock n’ roll or rest n’ relaxation.