More than twenty years and twelve albums into its career, Yo La Tengo remains one of the few vital bands that manage to release brilliant albums on a regular basis. The trio's material is so richly varied that it defies comparison -- even though the act has been known to cover the Beach Boys as a nod to its own pop instincts. Yo La also invoked another of its more obvious influences in the 1996 movie I Shot Andy Warhol, in which the group portrayed the Velvet Underground. I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, the band's latest effort, recalls the fiery enthusiasm of 1997's gorgeous I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. With its signature alloy of driving, electrifying drones and upbeat, unexpectedly sweet pop, Yo La Tengo has very few imitators. Its influence, however, can be heard in virtually every indie-rock group that has emerged since its inception.
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