Yo La Tengo performs September 20 at Gypsy Tea Room, with the Aislers Set.
Yo La Tengo is the sound of slightly nerdy brainiacs rifling through the racks of the hippest record store in town. You know the type--obsessive fans who always have the first line on what's new and cool and often obscure, people who can also find the buried treasures on albums you thought were hopelessly uncool. They're the overgrown kids you see at every club gig that matters, who finally buck up the nerve to step up on those stages, and in actuality, a trio for whom hearing the Velvet Underground was an epiphany that actually got to be the Velvets in I Shot Andy Warhol. For nearly 20 years, Yo La Tengo has made music both popular and unpopular on their playground to become perhaps the definitive indie-rock band, playing a piquant mix of pop chime, narcotic noise and inspired amateurism. Now Summer Sun finds them wandering to the back of that record store with a copy of Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers under their arms to peruse the jazz section. It's Pet Sounds turned upside down into the sound of a satisfied yawn at 3 in the morning in a bohemian cafe, melding moody and ethereal postrock wandering with muted trumpet, gently lilting flute and sultry saxophone. Yep, these forever-young rock kids are showing signs of a graceful maturity that still wears T-shirts and tattered sneakers, suggesting that their next decade may blend a visionary underground sensibility with witty historicity to even greater consummation.