MICHAEL BLAIR is a writer from St. Louis, Missouri and a member of the Yo La Tengo cover band the Electric Tie Rack Preservation Society.
Since celebrating their thirtieth anniversary with a string of historic shows at Town Hall in December, Yo La Tengo has spent the last few months surfacing in surprisingly different guises. At Pioneer Works last month, the group collaborated with a host of New York jazz veterans to make up Little Black Egg Big Band.
In the opening seconds of Holy Science, the début recording of Amirtha Kidambis Elder Ones ensemble, Kidambis harmonium counts off the notes of a dense minor chord and, backed by the buzzing drones of a bowed bass, slowly plunks through a progression of three other pitches before starting all over again.
“Now you know I’m ready,” Jennifer Herrema and Neil Michael Hagerty snarl in the opening seconds of Royal Trux’s 1998 album Accelerator. Warped through some busted-up, crackling processor, their voices mash into and over each otheryou’re never quite sure who’s singing what, or, as the song opens up into noisier and noisier stacks of static feedback, what they’re even saying at all.
Emil Amos, the Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist of Grails and OM, has been recording highly personal, thickly philosophical tunes under the name Holy Sons for going on twenty-five years.