Synopses & Reviews
The first biography of Yo La Tengo, the massively influential band who all but defined indie music.
Yo La Tengo has lit up the indie scene for three decades, part of an underground revolution that defied corporate music conglomerates, eschewed radio-friendly hits, and found a third way. But unlike other indie groups, such as R.E.M. and Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo actually managed to stay true to its roots, never switching to a major label. Going behind the scenes of one of the most remarkable eras in American music history, Big Day Coming traces the rise of husband-and-wife team Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, who rocketed from the college radio circuit to the global stage, selling millions of records along the way and influencing countless bands.
Blending the band’s story with legends of the clubs, the music reporters, the fans, and the pivotal figures in indie rock history, musician and journalist Jesse Jarnow draws on all-access interviews and archives. A mesmerizing trip through a unique creative process, Big Day Coming is like a backstage pass to the singular sounds and sights of true legends.
"Yo La Tengo, the influential rock band formed in the post-punk fervor of the early 1980s and still going strong today, receives its due in this fascinating if sprawling biography by music journalist Jarnow. He focuses primarily on the band's founders, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, and their efforts to make a quirky, eclectic sound out of their many influences and their 'equally intense love of art-noise bands like Mission of Burma alongside perennial favorites NRBQ, the Kinks, and others.' Jarnow is clearly an unabashed fan of the band and its creators, who he describes as 'a nearly ageless rock-and-roll couple in loving bohemian matrimony.' But he is also out for bigger game: an attempt to use Yo La Tengo to chart the rise of alternative or 'indie' rock. He details the early days of rising and soon-to-be influential bands such as Black Flag and the Replacements experimenting in Maxwell's, Yo La Tengo's favorite bar in its home base of Hoboken, N.J. He excels at following the intricate rise and fall of indie labels such as Gerard Cosloy's Homestead Records. And he captures the all-encompassing spirit of the current post-indie scene, a 'continuum between the Velvet Underground at Max's Kansas City and the eternal now of live music.' (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jesse Jarnow is a music journalist and the host of The Frow Show on WFMU, an independent radio station based in Jersey City. His work has appeared in The London Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, where he is in the band Sloppy Heads.