Crying for the Lot
Yo La Tengo

 

Information


". . . a Bergman film set in a Hoboken record store: abstract and intimate, sweetly whispering, raging like a distant thunderstorm." ~ Chris Norris, SPIN Magazine

Yo La Tengo is not a jazz combo, but they think like jazz musicians. They constantly re-define their own boundaries, stretch their songs into new shapes, and often restructure their old songs into new forms. As rabid fans of music, Yo La Tengo choose from a wildly diverse selection of covers (Richard Thompson, Wire, John Cale, The Dead C, The Normal, Flamin' Groovies, and the Kinks comprise a small sampling) and make the songs their own, much like Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry deconstructing "Embraceable You." Like most great artists, they never regurgitate derivatively, synthesizing influences into music that only sounds like Yo La Tengo.

Their CD And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out contains an interesting reference to Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49.

Pop culture references usually abound on Yo La Tengo track listings, and continue here. "Last Days of Disco" is a modal pop song, Ira Kaplan reminiscing about a distant first meeting, his vocals and guitar cruising lightly over Georgia Hubley and James McNew's polyrhythmic underpinning. "The Crying of Lot G," title suggestive of notoriously Byzantine author Thomas Pynchon, is ironically the most lyrically naked and literal song on the album. It's also the most direct paean to the internal ebb and flow of love they've ever written, with Kaplan speak-singing "you say all we do is fight, and I think, 'gee, I don't know if that's true...'" over an ambient 50's-style weeper. A cover of disco hit-maker George McRae's "You Can Have it All" follows and features Hubley sleepily declaring her heart over Kaplan's AM-radio "ba-ba-da"s ping-ponging in the background and funky soul string accents (courtesy of engineer David Henry and his 'cello). The band's approach to disco cheese is loving and un-ironic and raises the song above its station in pop's hierarchy; it could be a Yo La Tengo song, whereas the next song, "Tears Are in Your Eyes" sounds achingly classic enough to be a cover of a lost country ballad.


Discography

 

You Can Have It All
ole-439 7"/CD5
Street Date: 5/25/99
on Matador Europe
Saturday
ole-422 10"/CD5
Released: 1/31/00
on Matador Europe
And then nothing turned itself inside-out
ole-371 dbl LP/CD
Released: 2/22/00
Strange But True
ole-309 LP/CD
Released: 10/20/98
Little Honda
ole-295 CDEP Long
Released: 3/10/98
Little Honda
ole-291 7"/CD5
Released: 11/17/97
on Matador Europe
Sugarcube
ole-272 7"/CD5
Released: 8/4/97
on Matador Europe
Autumn Sweater Remixes
ole-250 12"EP/CDEP
Released: 4/8/97
Out of Print
I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
ole-222 dbl LP/CD
Released: 4/22/97
Ride the Tiger
ole-205 LP/CD
Released: 6/18/96
Reissue recorded in 1986
President Yo La Tengo/ New Wave Hot Dogs
ole-206 dbl LP/CD
Released: 6/18/96
Reissue recorded in 1987
Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo
ole-194 dbl LP/CD
Released: 9/10/96
Camp Yo La Tengo
ole-171 7"/CD5
Released: 9/19/95
Out of Print
Tom Courtenay
ole-139 7"/CDEP
Released: 4/4/95
Out of Print
Electr-o-pura
ole-132 LP/CD
Released: 5/2/95
From a Motel 6
ole-080 CD5
Released: 1/7/94
Out of Print
Big Day Coming
ole-071 7"
Released: 9/30/93
Out of Print
Painful
ole-069 LP/CD
Released: 10/5/93
Shaker
ole-060 7"/CD5
Released: 8/24/93
Out of Print
 

Information submitted by "Seth"

Anderson, Laurie.
Famous New York performance artist Laurie Anderson dedicated a song to Pynchon on her Mister Heartbreak album.

Benatar, Pat.
Believe it or not, she named a final album Gravity's Rainbow.

Benny Profane.
English hard rockers from Liverpool, they took their name from a character in V.

Blowtorch, Eric
Reggae influenced artist putting Pynchon's lyrics to music.

Cassiber.
An avant garde German group used Gravity's Rainbow to tell a different tale.

Corey, Prof. Irwin.
The man who was the infamous stand-in for Thomas Ruggles Pynchon.

Dangtrippers.
They recorded Maxwell's Demon Box on their album, Days Between Stations.

Einhorn, Richard.
Another rendition of music devoted to the Demon, and much more.

Fariña, Richard.
An long-time friend of Pynchon, this folkie named an instrumental work after a Pynchon novel.

Favorite Color, The.
A New Jersey band sets a selection from V. to music on their album Color Out of Space (1996).

Fool, The.
Surely not Slothrop's band, this was a short lived group which did, in fact, have a harmonica player.

Forked Yew.
Independent, highly experimental rockers and Pynchon fans from the American South.

Frith & Kaiser.
An instrumental pair with a piece called The Kirghiz Light.

Hall, Ed.
An early 90's band influenced by Pynchon, they named a song Roger Mexico.

Insect Trust.
This jazzy, psychedelic group mined V. for lyrics to The Eyes of a New York Woman.

Jazz Butcher.
AKA Pat Fish, who named a track Looking for Lot 49 on his Fishcoteque album.

Jones, Spike.
Pynchon himself wrote the liner notes for Spiked!

Knopfler, Mark.
The Sultan of Swing sails to Philadelphia!

Koron, Barry.
Weilding the Sjambok never felt so good!

Lot 49 (Ontario).
This now retired hardcore outfit hailed from the hometown of Spermatikos Logos' own Laurence Daw.

Lot 49 (NYC).
Indie NYC rockers named after Pynchon's second novel.

Lotion.
A New York group whose liner notes were penned by the Man himself.

 

Maas.
A visit to San Narciso.

Nirvana.
Was the famous tune Smells Like Teen Spirit acutally inspired by a song from Gravity's Rainbow?

Nova Mob.
A "Rock Opera" filled with references to Gravity's Rainbow.

Ocker, David.
Musical meditations on Eight Facts About
Thomas Pynchon
.

Okasek, Ric.
Ride The Rocket with the former frontman of The Cars.

 

Pere Ubu.
David Thomas' legendary, seminal band shows some Pynchon influences.

PopCanon.
These literate Indies hail from Flordia, and have a song about Wanda Tinasky which is highly recomm-ended!

Poster Children.
This group from Champaign, Illinois, covers a lot of Pynchon ground!

Radiohead.
English art-rockers who incorporate many Pynchon motifs into their work.

Rapoon.
An offshoot of Zoviet France, Robin Storey's group named Rapoon released an album called The Kirghiz Light.

Sauter & Dietrich, Moore.
More liner notes written by Pynchon !!

 

Six Finger Satellite.
Indie electro-rock futurists Six Finger Satellite make a reference to Gravity's Rainbow.

Soft Machine.
Seminal "proggies," they recorded a full-scale work called Esther's Nose Job in 1969.

Spock's Beard.
In memory of "the evil Spock," they do homage to V.

Time in Malta.
A California metal group with a name taken from V.

Ware, Tim.
Pynchon scholar, Web master, and MIDI Musician.

Whole Sick Crew, The.
Purveyors of pirate folk-punk, truly a gang like their Pynchon namesakes.

XXX Atomic Toejam.
F. Thorendal, from praised thrash-heroes Meshuggah, gets one in for the Vikings.

Yo La Tengo.
Making music indebted to The Crying of Lot 49.

Yoyodyne.
Related to New York's Lot 49, ths Florida group also takes their name from Pynchon's work.

Zevon, Warren.
He recently released an album containing work inspired by Pynchon.





--Dr Larry Daw
& "Seth"
28 July 2001