I Can Hardly Wait
Yo La Tengo! Best band ever, right? Seriously. In some ways, it seems like YLT has been so good for so long that they’re taken for granted. But the Hoboken band’s legacy will be burnished considerably next month when Jesse Jarnow’s weighty book, Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock, is published. In the weeks to come, I’ll be digging deep into Yo La’s massive, fan-curated live archive — an archive that at this point is reaching Grateful Dead-like proportions. Old favorites, radical re-arrangements, rarities, guest stars and dozens upon dozens of covers — we’ll be trying to get to it all. In honor of Jarnow’s book, our first installment of what we’re calling The Sunsquashed Archives is a collection of “Big Day Coming”s throughout the years. I know, it might not sound that exciting to listen to seven versions of the same tune — but trust me, it’s plenty entertaining, and is nicely illustrative of the band’s multi-faceted approach to their songs over the years.
1. Big Day Coming - Maxwells, March 2, 1991. The debut of this song — and what a debut. A 27-minute ride that floats over that gorgeous organ loop, devolves into feedback cacophony and then lifts skyward with the unplanned entry of Sleepyhead’s Rachel McNally on drums. I don’t use the word “magical” all that much (OK, maybe I do), but dudes, this is fucking magical.
2. Big Day Coming - Enger, DE, December 29, 1993. A rip-roaring run-through of the “fast” arrangement.
3. Big Day Coming - The Crocodile, Seattle, WA, November 20, 1998. Very unique rendition featuring the inimitable Jad Fair on lead vocals.
4. Big Day Coming - Manchester Royal Northern College, Manchester, UK, May 9, 2000. A hauntingly beautiful, piano-led arrangement — so lovely.
5. Big Day Coming - The Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA, April 18, 2003. The free jazz skronk version, featuring the masters of free jazz skronk, the Sun Ra Arkestra!
6. Big Day Coming - Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC, October 10, 2004. The star-studded “Swing State Tour” BDC, with such luminaries as David Kilgour, Chris Stamey, Mac McCaughan and maybe even Soundtracapella chipping in.
7. Big Day Coming - Reckless Records, Atlanta, GA, September 19, 2009. The Fakebook arrangement? Maybe! This one is acoustic, sung by Georgia, and pretty much perfect.
Download [new link: 11/16/12]
Hey, you can learn more about Big Day Coming (the book), over on Twitter and Facebook, too. The Facebook page has already made itself extremely worthwhile by posting things like this and this.