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Today Is the Day! - EP

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Album Review

Yo La Tengo fans who were troubled with the often quiet and overly tidy surfaces of the band's 2003 album Summer Sun get a bit of a respite on the Today Is the Day EP, which opens with a remake of that album's song of the same name. While the original take of "Today Is the Day" was gloriously gentle and spare, this take features Yo La Tengo bashing away in noisy pop fashion in a way they haven't quite managed since I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One in 1997, and then following that up with the similarly amped-up "Styles of the Times" and the engagingly freaked-out and horn-enriched "Outsmarterer." In short, if you've been waiting for Yo La Tengo to rediscover the amps they used on "Mushroom Cloud of Hiss" or "Attack on Love," well, this isn't quite your dream disc but it's a step in the right direction. Of course, it wouldn't be YLT without dynamics, and they've also thrown in a few low-key numbers as well, including a cover of Bert Jansch's British folk chestnut "Needle of Death" and another recast of an older tune, taking the poppy "Cherry Chapstick" from And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out and stripping it down to a slow and spare acoustic ballad. One of the reasons Yo La Tengo can get away with releasing a lot more EPs than the average band is that they tend to be consistently solid and offer up stuff that will please and intrigue the fans, and if Today Is the Day isn't a masterwork, it's solid work from one of America's best and most interesting bands, and that's reason enough to give it a listen.

Biography

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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