It can take years for a musician to discover his or her voice. But in the meantime, they find themselves by discovering the music of other artists. With a wide-ranging catalog spanning 30 years, Yo La Tengo is its own band, but the trio has become just as noted for its huge repertoire of cover songs.
Yo La Tengo’s new album, Stuff Like That There, features covers from the well-known (Hank Williams, Cat Stevens, The Cure) to the obscure (Antietam, The Special Pillow). Before serving as Morning Edition‘s in-house band, they sat down with NPR’s David Greene to talk about adapting to other artists.
Did you all have a goal in mind when you took “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure into the studio?
Ira Kaplan: I’m not sure we were going for anything specifically. I think the sound of Georgia singing that song — we all respond to that and wanted to play in a way that was supportive of her. In fact, when we were recording it, it actually took us a little bit of trial and error. At first, Dave Schramm was playing electric guitar, as he does on every