Yo La Tengo's not entirely great first album. It's certainly not bad. It's just not "run out and tell all your friends and listen to it obsessively." Or am I the only one who had that reaction to Painful? On this album, they pretty much sound like a decent indie rock band. Nothing special, really. For me, the only reasons to own this album (other than an obsessive completism) are "The Evil That Men Do," a sort precursor to the masterful freakouts that fill May I Sing With Me, and "A House is not a Motel," which is just an excellent little pop song.


Georgia Hubley - Drums
Ira Kaplan - Vocals, Guitar
Mike Lewis - Bass on *
Clint Conley - Producer, Bass on **
Dave Rick - Bass on ***


  1. The Cone of Silence *
  2. Big Sky (Cover of the Kinks) *
  3. The Evil That Men Do *
  4. The Forest Green **
  5. The Pain of Pain *
  6. The Way Some People Die *
  7. The Empty Pool **
  8. Alrock's Bells **
  9. Five Years *
  10. Screaming Dead Balloons *
  11. Living in the Country

    Bonus Tracks on Matador CD Reissue

  12. The River of Water ***
  13. A House is not a Motel ***
  14. Crispy Duck * (Recorded with Closing Time in 1996)
  15. Closing Time *

Issued by Coyote Records/City Slang as TTC 8676 in 1986; Reissued by Matador Records in 1997 as OLE-205

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