Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Yo La Tengo 

I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)

Living up to its feisty, yard-long title, Yo La Tengo's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass is the classic sucker punch -- who'd've expected the band to release a masterpiece two decades into its career? Especially since the last album, 2003's sedate Summer Sun, sounded like a holding pattern, following another chill-out record, 2000's And Then Everything Turned Itself Inside Out. So expectations were muted this time around; would Ira Kaplan, James McNew, and Georgia Hubley retreat permanently into middle-aged mellow or come out swinging?

The title says it all. I Am Not Afraid . . . is a frontal assault that uses practically every weapon in the rock canon, from the disc-opening 10-minute gut shot of vintage axe-on-fire Kaplan ("Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind") to piano-and-horn-blast summer-soul pop ("Beanbag Chair," "Mr. Tough"), tribal-beat organ rave-up ("The Room Got Heavy"), late-night lament ("I Feel Like Going Home"), Byrds jangle ("The Race Is On Again"), and punk dust-up ("Watch Out for Me Ronnie"). When the album closes with another 10-minute controlled burn -- the fittingly titled "The Story of Yo La Tengo" -- you'll queue up smiling for another ass-whuppin' this good.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of CD Review

More by John Schacht

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays