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Yo La Tengo

Murder in the Second Degree

Yo La Tengo

Released: 4th June 2021

CD£12.99Out of Stock

We’re Back, Back in the New York Groove

We can think of no more apt a headline for this second edition of “highlights” of our annual appearance on WFMU. Admittedly, the station resides in Jersey City, not New York, and among the many beats deployed within, all fall safely outside of the category of “groove.” Yet apt is apt. You better believe it.

So impressive is Adrian Tomine‘s cover art that it is entirely possible that you, the prospective purchaser, are unfamiliar with what will unfold for the next 76 minutes should you be so rash as to part with your hard-earned money. For the last 20 years (and counting), Yo La Tengo, accompanied by cub reporter Bruce Bennett, have performed live on WFMU during their fundraising Marathon, and in return for listeners’ pledges of support, we have attempted to play their requests, with no prior knowledge of what those requests will be, and without utilizing any of the many web sites that provide lyrics and chords. We rely instead on a lifetime of listening and the forgiveness of our audience.

As with this volume’s predecessor, we will not tell you what songs are essayed. A track listing that includes, say, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Rock and Roll Love Letter” and “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” (one of which is here; the other two have never been requested) will all but demand imagining how it might sound, and you will be wrong. As listeners familiar with Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics already know, but you will learn the hard way: There are endless ways to ruin a song.

And let’s all raise a glass of something non-alcoholic to WFMU’s Gaylord Fields, who has either hosted or co-hosted us for all 20 (and counting) years.

We compiled Murder in the 2nd Degree years ago. Would it have made sense to tweak the contents, and add some more recent material? Undoubtedly. But that would require us to listen back to more of these performances. And as Half Japanese put it so aptly on “No More Beatlemania” (not included): “Once is enough.”