Yo La Tengo

Plus Cd Reviews of The Tyde, Slapp Addict, Trainwreck Riders.

Yo La Tengo

I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass


A rocked-out, brawn-versus-hazy beauty dichotomy has always been key to this Hoboken, New Jersey trio's Sonic Youth-meets-Velvet Underground M.O. The conflict yielded cracked indie diamonds until the bandmates' muse led them astray at the turn of the millennium (see 2000's flaccid And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out and 2002's cotton-candied Summer Sun). Despite being sturdily bookended by a pair of 10-minute-plus ya-yas-out exorcisms—"Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind," making hay out of hand claps, distortion-pedal hemorrhaging, and a taut bass line similar to that of Liz Phair's "Supernova"; and the twisting and turbulent "The Story of Yo La Tango"—I Am Not Afraid of You doesn't quite live up to its flexed- biceps title. That the tracks are prettily uninteresting yet mildly engaging in a few new ways, though—the show-tune jingle jangle of "Beanbag Chair" and fifties sock-hop bop "Watch Out for Me Ronnie"—can only be a positive sign. RAY CUMMINGS


Slapp Addict

(Slap Addict Prod.)

Somewhat underappreciated in the rise of the hyphy movement has been the contributions of local producers to the sound; when Lil Jon helmed E-40's "Tell Me When to Go," many Baydestrians felt the King of Crunk stole a stylistic page from Rick Rock, the self-described "King of Slaps." Slaps—a song mainly consisting of hard snares and heavy bass, whose beat "keeps knocking down your rearview mirror" according to 40—are a major reason why hyphy has emerged, and while Rock, Droop-E, and EA-Ski are often cited as the Yay's premier slap-nicians, Traxamillion's dope-ass album suggests the San Jose–based producer is just as responsible. Trax has the basic slap formula down, but what makes his knocks so habit forming is his use of keyboards to create a melodic, hypnotic counter-rhythm, as on Keak Da Sneak's "Super Hyphie." That track doesn't appear on Slapp Addict, but Keak's new song "On Citas," does, in addition to now-familiar anthems like The Team's "Just Go" and Dem Hoodstarz' "Grown Man Remix," plus several newer tunes. Of those, Too $hort & Mistah F.A.B.'s "Sideshow" has generated the most street buzz, but F.A.B.'s "Yellow Bus" and Balance's "We Like the Slapps" (which updates L'Trimm's "Cars That Go Boom") are just as fresh. Trax's skills are well evident in the album's consistent bump-ability; his versatility allows him to craft a pimp- worthy slap, bust an above-average rhyme, and elevate what might be an otherwise mediocre song like the Pack's "Club Stuntin" to the height of hyphy-dom. ERIK K. ARNOLD

The Tyde

Three's Co.

(Rough Trade)

Don't assume L.A.'s Tyde are anything like Beachwood Sparks because they share a few members. Whereas B'wood Sparks evoke late 1960s/early 1970s country-rock with a psychedelic glaze, the Tyde lean toward the glitter/pop-rock of the early '70s, specifically T-Rex, and the cordially melodic mope-rock of the '80s—namely, the Church, Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, and bands on UK's Creation label. Darren Rademaker's seductively purred, slightly vibrato-laden vocals are a ringer for T-Rex's Marc Bolan (to be fair, he's not doing a blatant imitation). His voice is perfect for the Tyde's brand of engagingly deft, subtly droll, rainy-day melancholia—after one or two listens, just try to get "Separate Cars" and "Ltd. Appeal" out of your mind's tape loop (g'wan, just try). Occasionally, they stumble—the poky "Aloha Breeze" sounds too much like a Ray Davies or John Lennon castoff, a couple up-tempo songs are a bit nondescript, and what's with the somewhat cheesy synth-pop "remixes" at the disc's conclusion? But for the most part, Three's Co. makes for comforting companionship for a dreary, housebound day or at night's end. MARK KERESMAN

The Tyde play the Showbox, 1426 First Ave., www.showboxonline.com. Sold out. 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 8.

Trainwreck Riders

Lonely Road Revival

(Alive Records)

It doesn't seem appro-priate that Trainwreck Riders will likely get lumped into the alt-country taxonomy. Sure, the telecaster pluck and scrappy punk spirit calls to mind the genre's forbearers—certainly the distorted smear on "Find Your Way Home" suggests vintage Uncle Tupelo. But considering the color-by-numbers landscape of alt-country, the Riders deserve better. The band's invigorated vantage on the punk-country crossroads distinguishes it; after opening "In the Wake of it All" with standard-issue riffs and Highway 61 ethos ("It's late at night behind the wheel . . . ") guitarist Andrew Kerwin suddenly evokes the snarl of Richard Hell's Robert Quine. The looping motifs and wobbly vocals of "Through Unto The End" borrow from '90s post-rock. Simpler tunes like "Christmas Time Blues" are equally refreshing, and when on the chorus singer Pete Frauenfelde begs, "Take that noose and set me loose," he may as well be speaking about musical tags as much as anything else. NATE CAVALIERI

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