Tengo Yo La Tengo

If rock required a caretaker for its creative flame, it could do a lot worse than Yo La Tengo singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan. The one-time rock critic and his crew possess an en¬cyclopedic knowledge of the form (witness their annual covers-by-request pledge drive performances for Jersey’s WFMU), and they’ve developed such facility over their quarter-century of making music that they can pull off just about anything they like. Originally inspired by the yin-yang of Velvet Underground’s personality (from the gen¬tle textured pop of “Stephanie Says” to the fuzz-drenched freak-out “European Son”), they’ve outgrown their masters to mix beauty and brawn in a variety of shades that rivals Sherwin-Williams. From drummer Geor¬gia Hubley’s tender Mo Tucker-ish croon, tiptoeing over dreamy organ-driven shim¬mer (“Avalon or Someone Very Similar”), to funky self-possessed two-steps (“Periodi¬cally Double or Triple”), flamenco-tinged acoustic paeans (“When It’s Dark”), and chunky, garage-rock throwdowns (“Nothing to Hide”), their latest, Popular Songs, spans the spectrum before closing with a trio of epic nine- minute-plus tracks. Their loving attention to songcraft flirts and shimmies, whatever its stylistic guise, drawing the lis¬tener into their orbit like the Pied Piper, and producing several of the finest albums of the past 15 years.
Wed., Oct. 14, 7 p.m., 2009

 
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