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Editors’ Notes

On Painful, the Hoboken, New Jersey-based indie-rock trio showed they could get loose and, for want of a better word, jam. Around the time of this album (1993), the band started playing shows under the name Sleeping Pill, exploding minimalist drone-rock in small clubs. Painful has the most originals on a Yo La Tengo album to date (the sole cover a gem by the Only Ones), and it's here that the band begins to fully meld their interests in classic pop harmonies, repetitive dreamscapes and noisy experimentation. On songs such as "Big Day Coming," "Sudden Organ," and "From A Motel 6, "they realized they could put all these things within the same song. A nearly perfect album.


Formed: 1984 in Hoboken, NJ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Yo La Tengo are in many respects the quintessential critics' band: in addition to their adventurous eclecticism, defiant independence, and restless creative ambition — three qualities that virtually guarantee music press acclaim — the group's frontman, Ira Kaplan, even tenured as a rock scribe prior to finding success as a performer. So frequently compared to the Velvet Underground that they even portrayed the legendary group in the 1996 film I Shot Andy Warhol, the Hoboken, New Jersey-based...
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