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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From new television to new music now - the band Yo La Tengo. They're from Hoboken, New Jersey. They have lots of fans, especially in indie rock, and they have a new album out. Here's DAY TO DAY music contributor Christian Hoard.

(Soundbite of song, Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind)

CHRISTIAN HOARD: That's clip from Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind, the first track on Yo La Tengo's twelfth studio album, I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. Not many bands would open an album with a 10-minute feedback jam. But this one's a great raver, one that show the adventurous spirit Yo La Tengo bring to the album.

(Soundbite of song, Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind)

HOARD: Yo La Tengo were one of the great indie rock bands of the '90s, turning out eclectic records long on great songs and jammy, genre-jumping playfulness. As the follow-up to their more homogenous 2003 record, I Am Not Afraid of You harkens back to their classic albums. It jumps from country-tinged nuggets to horn-specked dance music to garage rock with a preponderance of warm, buzzy drones and sweet guitar and piano patter. But however you define the sound, there's a lot to like here.

(Soundbite of song, Sometimes I Don't Get You)

YO LA TENGO (Rock Band): (Singing) Sometimes I don't get you, (unintelligible). All I do is waste the look on your face like (unintelligible)...

HOARD: That song, Sometimes I Don't Get You, is a sweet ballad that sounds like a lost AM radio hit, maybe something written by Burt Bacharach. It also brings to mind two good things about Yo La Tengo songs: their abundant warmth and the way the draw on classic pop and sometimes more obscure genres.

(Soundbite of song, Sometimes I Don't Get You)

YO LA TENGO: (Singing) Sometime I don't know you...

HOARD: Yo La Tengo are pop historians, prodigious record collectors who put on an annual live show for a Jersey radio station, performing impromptu cover versions of songs requested by listeners. But they've always showed off their pop knowledge while maintaining a certain homespun charm. I Am Not Afraid of You is no different. It's a supremely warm album.

(Soundbite of song, The Room Got Heavy)

HOARD: That track, The Room Got Heavy, is a drony, organ-splattered jam.

(Soundbite of song, The Room Got Heavy)

HOARD: Throughout the album, Yo La Tengo stretch out and toss in all kinds of jammy sounds, almost like seasoned, adventurous jazz musicians, albeit seasoned, adventurous jazz musicians who write great songs. I'll leave you with one of the album's best cuts, Mister Tough, a falsetto-laden song about getting together on the dance floor. But before I do, a word about the album title. Apparently, it's a quote from somewhere, possibly something one pro basketball star said to another. But Yo La Tengo have refused to say just where it comes from. Whatever the case, it's just the kind of in-joke you can ponder while delving into an album that sounds like a gift from old friends.

(Soundbite of song, Mister Tough)

YO LA TENGO: (Singing) Hey Mrs. Blue, time to think of something new...

CHADWICK: Christian Hoard is a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. The band is Yo La Tengo. Their new album, the title again, I am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. It's just out this week.

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