Painful [Extra Painful!]

Painful [Extra Painful!]

by Yo La Tengo


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Painful [Extra Painful!]

Yo La Tengo made a major creative leap forward with 1992's May I Sing with Me, where their yin-and-yang mix of quiet and loud finally began to work as well as it was meant to, but 1993's Painful was where they truly hit their stride, their first album to confirm they were one of the best independent bands extant. Ira Kaplan's buzzy guitar freakouts had made it to vinyl before, but Painful gave them better context, with songs that were well suited to his noisy style. "Sudden Organ" introduced the Ace-Tone keyboard that would become an important voice in their music, while the droney textures of "Big Day Coming," "The Whole of the Law," and "Superstar-Watcher" were the cornerstones of a key part of the YLT aesthetic over the next two decades. While Georgia Hubley's drumming had been capable enough on YLT's early sides, she played with greater confidence on Painful and revealed a more adventurous sense of rhythm, and her vocals sounded less shy and more sweetly certain. And bassist James McNew had fully integrated himself into the band after making his debut on May I Sing with Me, and if his style was far from flashy, it was an ideal complement to the idiosyncratic but effective sounds Kaplan and Hubley brought to the table. And Yo La Tengo were writing as well as they were playing on Painful, and "From a Motel 6," "I Heard You Looking," "Nowhere Near," and "Big Day Coming" remain key numbers in the band's songbook. Before Painful, Yo La Tengo were a fine band that hadn't quite mastered the recording studio; with this album, they matured into one of indie rock's most consistently satisfying acts, and this was the first in a run of excellent albums that would stretch into the 21st century. [In 2014, Yo La Tengo celebrated the 20th anniversary of Painful with the release of Extra Painful, which included a bonus disc of demos, live recordings, and session outtakes. The demos suggest that Yo La Tengo were certain of what they wanted Painful to sound like from the start, though the rougher version of "Double Dare" and the more elemental take of "A Worrying Thing" are well worth hearing. The outtakes "Smart Window" and "Tunnel Vision" find the band rocking out with impressive vigor, and the live acoustic versions of "Big Day Coming" and "From a Motel Six" show off different sides of the tunes. The bigger bonus comes to folks who buy the physical editions of Extra Painful, which include a download coupon for a third disc's worth of live recordings and outtakes. The fidelity on the live tapes isn't always optimal and the performances lean to the esoteric, but the gloriously hypnotic 19-minute live version of "Big Day Coming" is worth the purchase price all by itself. Extra Painful is a marvelous upgrade of an already excellent album, and a welcome look into the Yo La Tengo archives.]

Product Details

Release Date: 12/02/2014
Label: Matador Records
UPC: 0744861106326
catalogNumber: 11063
Rank: 77976

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