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Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock Paperback – June 5, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592407153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592407156
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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He becomes immersed in the Indie music scene and evolves into an industry insider.
David A
He tells the back story of each of the three core members of the band, giving you sufficient background to appreciate their musical journey.
Donald E. Gilliland
A must-read for anyone interested in the history of modern American independent music.
ERIC B JOHNSON

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
It took guitarist Ira Kaplan and his wife, drummer Georgia Hubley, fifteen tries before they found the right bassist, James McNew. This happened over a decade into their career. It began, perhaps apocryphally, with a Village Voice ad: "Guitarist & bassist wanted for band that may or may not sound like the Soft Boys, Mission of Burma, and Love." They formed Yo La Tengo at the end of 1984, when he was twenty-eight and she was twenty-five. This proves their devotion to their craft, and to their endurance as one of America's most innovative rock bands, beloved by a devoted few.

As The Onion summed up their fan base: "37 Record-Store Clerks Feared Dead in Yo La Tengo Concert Disaster." This is one band where the audience mirrors the performers, for nearly thirty years. But, Yo La Tengo benefits by their maturity, growing up involved much more deeply responsible for the indie rock movement as they constructed its formation behind the scenes as well as on stage. Journalists, artists, managers, 'zine writers, sound engineers, roadies, label managers, DJs, promoters: this adds up to only a brief resumé.

In 1964 at seven, Ira Kaplan fell in love with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones on the car radio. As Jesse Jarnow phrases it, all of the band "inhaled the spore" as this music consumed them. Kaplan barely graduated from Sarah Lawrence. He wrote for the New York Rocker in the days when CBGB and Patti Smith ruled, and championed local talent around the Hudson against musical Anglophilia, yet his favorite band arguably remains The Kinks.

Still, along with many early-1980s rock musicians, Kaplan admired the punk movement, their alternative heirs, and their common idols, The Velvet Underground.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hotrodimus on August 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jesse Jarnow's Yo La Tengo bio is a great read for longtime fans like me who have really struggled with a lack of information on "The Story of Yo La Tango," between the band members' storied shyness and the general lack of media coverage throughout their career. It's also interesting how YLT's lifecycle has almost perfectly followed the initial rise of the American Underground movement that later turned into the heyday of Indie Rock, then later mutated into the Pitchfork-led "Indie" monoculture that persists to this day, with YLT as elder statesmen. Jarnow is to be commended for not only recognizing this trend, but accurately portraying the cultural shift and the band's increasingly complex place and figurehood within the "Indie" monoculture - something that most rock writers are just starting to recognize and incorporate into books.

The one downside about the book is that there's hardly any insight into the conception, writing, recording, inspiration, etc. of the band's studio albums. If you blink you'll miss "may I sing with me" entirely. YLT are an obsessive record nerd's band, and yet you're not really going to find any behind the scenes info, insight into lyrics or song titles, studio stories, that aren't already known or available. Considering that the band members themselves are listed as primary references, I was surprised to see that almost all of the meagre content in this regard was familiar to me from the Roger Moutenot "Tape Op" interview and a few other sources. There's no talk about gear (considering YLT are a pedal, obscure drum machine and organ and amplifier-fueled band) at all.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By redone on June 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
the title says it all! this has been a long time coming. being a fan since I was a tween - this sheds a nice light on the scene that has influenced my entire life. it is so great to read all the details and stories from such a vast array of people that were so closely involved with the band from day 1.

jarnow did his research and you can clearly tell that he put his heart and soul into this publication. he is clearly a fan and made sure to cover all bases without being overwhelming and too wordy. he sheds a nice light on each album and release, their touring and self promotion. the coverage and research that went into Hoboken alone is worth the read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kraig Kemp on July 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First off, I have all of Yo La Tengo's albums and have seen them live. I listen to them almost daily. I feel this book is for fans only. Even as a fan, I longed for a more in-depth look at their lives. Don't get me wrong, there are some interesting facts and some insight into where they came from and their journey. Overall, however, I just feel a lot of it was really boring. Hey, if someone wrote a book about my life and described my job as it progressed on a monthly basis for 25 years it would be a snooze fest. I just would like a bit more passion to come across on the page. It is written well, but about a quarter way through the book I just became bored. I read a lot of biographies, especially rock band/musician biographies. This one is written better than many, but it is not as interesting as most I have read. If you like Yo La Tengo a lot, it might be worth it. If you're just getting into them, I would just enjoy their music.
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