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I Am Not Afraid of You And I Will Beat Your Ass 

Yo La Tengo

New Jersey's Yo La Tengo -- primarily the vehicle, since 1984, for married musical stalwarts Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley -- is not an imposing band, even at its most feedback-borne and Velvet Underground-acknowledging. Bassist James McNew may be a little stocky, but he's released a falsetto-splattered album of Prince covers; so there's little menace there. Still, nebbish yet jaunty little Yo La Tengo is going to beat your ass ... at indie-rawk versatility. Them and what army? An army of seemingly every era Yo La Tengo, as this album cherry-picks from melodic Brit flits and psychedelic somnolence, dreamy drones and deep-pocket rave-ups. This album could be an end cap to Yo La Tengo, sure. But it could also be the kung-fu movie's training montage, the one signaling plenty of well-honed ass-kicking to come.

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