Discord & Rhyme: An Album Podcast

Discord and Rhyme is a podcast where we discuss the albums we love, song by song.

029: Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One (1997)

“Extra mayo, please.”

—English translation of the name “Yo La Tengo,” according to the Matador Records website.

Arguably the rock-geekiest band of all time, Hoboken indie-rockers Yo La Tengo have internalized seemingly every album they've ever heard, and they mix these diverse influences into distinctive and tasty musical stir-fries. Sometimes they're noisy and deliberately sloppy, sometimes they're gorgeous and pensive, but they're almost always engaging, and I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One is simultaneously their most accessible and their most eclectic album to date. It also happens to be Will's favorite album ever, so get ready for a heapin' helpin' of superlatives as he hosts this in-depth look at its 16 songs, along with fellow YLT fans Dan, Mike, and Rich.

Miscellany

  • Yo La Tengo were riding high following the success of this album and its follow-up, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out... but then, tragedy.

  • I have been unable to confirm the veracity of the anecdote about the New York Mets' bumbling outfielders from which Yo La Tengo took their name. As I said in the episode, it strikes me as likely too good to be true. Ira Kaplan himself has had some trouble tracking down when the “Yo la tengo!” incident took place, and was told by Mets left fielder Frank Thomas that it never happened. Ira does claim that the story was mentioned in Jimmy Breslin's contemporaneous book about the Mets' historically laughable first season, Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?, but I skimmed my copy and couldn't find it in there.

Other links

Discord & Rhyme roll call

  • Chris Willie Williams (host)

  • Rich Bunnell (moderator)

  • Mike DeFabio

  • Dan Watkins

I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One tracklist

  1. Return to Hot Chicken

  2. Moby Octopad

  3. Sugarcube

  4. Damage

  5. Deeper Into Movies

  6. Shadows

  7. Stockholm Syndrome

  8. Autumn Sweater

  9. Little Honda

  10. Green Arrow

  11. One PM Again

  12. The Lie and How We Told It

  13. Center of Gravity

  14. Spec Bebop

  15. We’re an American Band

  16. My Little Corner of the World

Other clips used

Yo La Tengo:

  • “Upside-Down” (from May I Sing with Me)

  • “Everyday” (from And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out)

  • “Blue-Green Arrow” (initially released as a 7”; more easily available on the three-disc version of the Prisoners of Love compilation)

  • “The Story of Yo La Tango” [sic] (from I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass)

  • “Griselda” (from Fakebook)

  • “Shaker” (from the Shaker EP; more easily available on the Prisoners of Love compilation)

  • “Nowhere Near” (from Painful)

  • “Mr. Tough” (from I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass)

Others:

  • Dump – Daily Affirmation (from A Grown-Ass Man)

  • Lambchop – Interrupted (from What Another Man Spills)

  • The Velvet Underground – “European Son” (from The Velvet Underground & Nico)

  • The Velvet Underground – “What Goes On” (from The Velvet Underground)

  • Burt Bacharach – “Bird Bath” (from the After the Fox soundtrack)

  • The Who – “Armenia City in the Sky” (from The Who Sell Out)

  • David Rose & His Orchestra – “Gay Spirits” (from Holiday for Strings)

  • Kate Bush – “Suspended in Gaffa” (from The Dreaming)

  • My Bloody Valentine – “When You Sleep” (from Loveless)

  • Sonic Youth – “Beauty Lies in the Eye” (from Sister)

  • Sir Lord Baltimore – “Hard Rain Fallin’” (from Kingdom Come)

  • Dump – “Daily Affirmation” (from A Grown-Ass Man)

  • Beach Boys – “Little Honda” (from All Summer Long)

  • Lambchop – “Interrupted” (from What Another Man Spills)

  • Neu! – “Hallogallo” (from Neu!)

  • Rolling Stones – “Yesterday’s Papers” (from Between the Buttons)

  • Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil” (from Beggars Banquet)

  • Faust – “Krautrock” (from Faust IV)

  • The Velvet Underground – “After Hours” (from The Velvet Underground)

Songs we mentioned but didn’t clip

Yo La Tengo:

  • “Big Day Coming” (from Painful; Dan’s referring to the first version on the album)

  • “Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)” (from Electr-O-Pura)

  • “Don’t Say a Word (Hot Chicken #2)” (from Electr-O-Pura)

  • “Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House” (from And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out)
    “From a Motel 6” (from Painful)

  • “Friday I’m in Love (from Stuff Like That There)

  • “Autumn Sweater (μ-Ziq remix)”

  • “Autumn Sweater (Kevin Shields remix)”

  • “(The) Farmer’s Daughter” (from the Upside-Down EP)

  • “Shut Down” and “Shut Down, Part II” (from Fuckbook, an album YLT released under the name the Condo Fucks)

  • “By the Time It Gets Dark” (from the Little Honda EP)

  • “Be Thankful for What You Got” (from the Little Honda EP)

  • “Paul Is Dead” (from Electr-O-Pura)

  • “Mr. Ameche Plays the Stranger” (from the Camp Yo La Tengo EP; more easily available on the three-disc version of the Prisoners of Love compilation)

  • “Drug Test” (from President Yo La Tengo)

  • “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind” (from I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass)

Others:

  • Melle Mel – “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” (Trivia! As far as I can tell, this was a standalone single, and some pressings were credited to Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel for the sole purpose of fooling the record-buying public into thinking Grandmaster Flash had something to do with the song. He did not. The record industry, ladies and gents!)

  • Urinals – “Surfin’ with the Shah” (from Negative Capability… Check It Out!)

  • Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated” (from Road to Ruin)

  • Devo – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (from Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!)

  • Devo – “Gates of Steel” (from Freedom of Choice)

  • Sonic Youth – “The Burning Spear” (from the Sonic Youth EP)

  • XTC – “Summer’s Cauldron” (from Skylarking)

  • Lambchop – “This Corrosion” (from Rainer on My Parade)

  • Lambchop – “Love TKO” (from Tools in the Dryer)

  • R.E.M. – “Maps and Legends” (from Fables of the Reconstruction)

  • R.E.M. – “Life and How to Live It” (from Fables of the Reconstruction)

  • Beatles – “Revolution 9” (from the White Album)

  • Grand Funk Railroad – “We’re an American Band” (from We’re an American Band)

  • XTC – “The Meeting Place” (from Skylarking)

  • Richie Van – “My Little Corner of the World” (from My Little Corner of the World)

  • Anita BryuuUUGGGGHHHH–ahem, sorry. Anita Bryant – “My Little Corner of the World” (from My Little Homophobic, Loathsome Corner of the World)

Band/album personnel

  • Georgia Hubley - Drums, vocals, etc.

  • Ira Kaplan - Guitar, vocals, misc.

  • James McNew - Bass, vocals, et al.

  • Jonathan Marx - Trumpet on “Shadows”

  • Al Perkins - Lap steel on “Moby Octopad” and pedal steel on “One PM Again”

Credits

“Discord & Rhyme (theme),” composed by the Other Leading Brand, contains elements of: 

  • Amon Düül II - Dehypnotized Toothpaste

  • The Dukes of Stratosphear - What in the World?? ...

  • Faith No More - Midlife Crisis

  • Herbie Hancock - Hornets

  • Kraftwerk - Autobahn

  • Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen

  • Yo La Tengo - Autumn Sweater (this episode only) 

You can buy or stream I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One and other albums by Yo La Tengo at the usual suspects such as Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon [affiliate link]. Follow Discord & Rhyme on Twitter @DiscordPod for news, updates, and other random stuff. Follow Rich @zonetrope and Dan @DanSWatkins. Mike and Will aren’t on Twitter: they’ve slipped away, Will with nothin’ to say, Mike in his autumn sweater. Editing is by Rich, and special thanks to Mike for production. See you next album, and be ever wonderful.

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