Yo La Tengo reissuing ‘Electr-o-pura’ for 25th anniversary; Lucy Dacus covers “Tom Courtenay”
Matador Records is continuing its Revisionist History celebration of 1995 and the many indie rock classics the label released that year, with details on the 25th anniversary reissue of Yo La Tengo's great Electr-o-pura. The 58-minute album has been remastered from the original tapes in HQ audio and is being pressed as a double album for the first time for maximum fidelity. The gatefold sleeve looks nice too. The reissue will be out September 4 and you can pre-order it now.
Fun factoid: fellow Matador artist Lucy Dacus was born on May 2, 1995, which is the day Electr-o-pura was released. She's written an essay about the record, noting how she noticed the track lengths printed on the back of the CD did not actually match up to the real running times of the songs: "I wondered if there was some manufacturing error and I wasn't hearing the songs I was supposed to hear. 'Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)' is listed as lasting just over three minutes when it's actually 6:42. 'Blue Line Swinger' says it's 3:15, but actually clocks in at 9:18. I know now from looking into it that Yo La Tengo intentionally misprinted the times, trying to combat short attention spans, hoping they would trick people into giving those long songs a chance." You can read the whole essay below.
She's also covered Electr-o-pura single "Tom Courtenay," giving it a gentle, calming solo electric rendition. Watch that, along with a stream of the original album, below.
I was born on May 2, 1995, the day that Electr-o-pura came out.
Fourteen years later, I started high school and made a new friend who wore a leather jacket and boots, who expressed confident opinions about music that I had never heard. I devoured every recommendation they gave me in an effort to align my tastes. I wanted to be cool, or at least not uncool. I found out about The Stooges, Philip Glass, and Sonic Youth through my effort to win their approval. I loved it all, and my parents hated every new discovery. Cool was loud.
One day my friend brought me a stack of CDs, all Yo La Tengo, and told me to take them home, listen to them, burn them, and return them. I did what I was told. I liked those records from the start, and more with every listen. I'd lay in bed listening to one of their records, pause the song I was listening to when I got too tired, then push play upon waking.
I remember my confusion upon listening to Electr-o-pura for the first time. I referenced the tracklist on the back of the CD so I could learn titles, but the printed song durations didn't match up to what I was hearing. I wondered if there was some manufacturing error and I wasn't hearing the songs I was supposed to hear. "Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)" is listed as lasting just over three minutes when it's actually 6:42. "Blue Line Swinger" says it's 3:15, but actually clocks in at 9:18. I know now from looking into it that Yo La Tengo intentionally misprinted the times, trying to combat short attention spans, hoping they would trick people into giving those long songs a chance. It tricked me, though I'm a sucker for long songs anyways. It's interesting to think about how this move couldn't be pulled today in a world of digitized music. And if people had short attention spans then, how short are they now? All to say, I liked that they were playful.