Yo La Tengo | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Yo La Tengo 

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The Hoboken trio Yo La Tengo has been in a reflective mood lately, which befits a band that's turning 21 this year. They've just released a two-disc best-of, Prisoners of Love (Matador), as well as a limited-edition version of the record that includes a third disc of outtakes and rarities culled from their massive array of singles, compilation tracks, and sound-track contributions. In either form, the set underscores just how versatile they've been. Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew (who became their permanent bassist in 1992) all play guitar, keyboards, and drums, and they're equally persuasive playing brittle rock riffs, sweet acoustic-pop melodies, extended feedback-laden rave-ups, harmony-laden ballads, and dreamy ambient drones. Prisoners of Love isn't sequenced chronologically, which highlights their consistency: they bring as much depth and passion to a Half Japanese cover originally tucked away on an EP as they do to the deeply personal staying-in-love ballads on And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (2000). Still, the comp lacks the sense of surprise they cultivate onstage; the best parts of their shows are often obscure covers, drastically rearranged originals, or guest appearances by their idols or pals. Thu 4/21, 8 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $21, 18+.

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