Yo La Tengo
Today Is the Day EP
Half of these six tracks are outtakes from the Summer Sun sessions. One of the remaining three is a Bert Jansch cover; another is an instrumental. The last is from an Australian radio session. In other words, it’s exactly what an EP ought to be: a small hodge-podge of curiosities, B-sides and rarities that are too frail, moody, obnoxious or peculiar for the album-only crowd.
“Today Is the Day” is the rock-oriented version of the Summer Sun track that since has become a live standard for the trio. Most listeners will prefer this more aggressive rendition to the album version. “Styles of the Times” and “Outsmarter” are straightforward, love-’em-or-hate-’em rock songs — simple, driving and irritatingly monotonous. “Needle of Death,” the Jansch cover about intravenous drug addiction, is something altogether different — more acoustic, subdued and melancholy. For YLT aficionados, it could easily rate among the best of the band’s extensive cover repertoire.
The instrumental “Dr. Crash” could have been on the Austin Powers soundtrack if it didn’t have such an ominous lilt. Recorded for JJJ Radio in Melbourne, the acoustic version of “Cherry Chapstick” from And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out is surely a must-have for completists, if such a person can exist where the highly prolific YLT is concerned.
Six tracks, at least four of them downright splendid. Today Is the Day may be an EP, but it nevertheless occupies a prime place in the Yo La Tengo catalogue.