Nineties rock stalwarts Yo La Tengo recently created a MySpace page. It was not an easy decision. “We’re happy to have people contact us on our Website,” singer-guitarist-keyboardist Ira Kaplan says with a sigh. “But they don’t have to be called Friends.” Like it or not, the band’s getting thousands of listens to cuts from their first album in three years, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. It’s a sprawling work that almost entirely forgoes the noisy, experimental rock the band is known for in favor of bouncy pop-rock gems (like the single “Beanbag Chair”); a ten-minute-long epic guitar jam; and the quirky, meandering album closer, “The Story of Yo La Tengo,” which Kaplan says he “had to write words to go with” after coming up with the title. Hitting middle age is apparently the best thing that’s ever happened to Yo La Tengo. “We have more youthful fearlessness now,” says Kaplan, “than we did when we were youthful.”
I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, Matador; September 12.