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Baker's Dozen

Future Islands Discs: Samuel T. Herring's Favourite Albums
Patrick Clarke , October 14th, 2020 08:40

From teenage years spent amassing an arsenal of underground hip hop CDs to his first forays into jazz, post-rock and indie, Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring picks thirteen records that soundtracked his coming of age


Yo La Tengo - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out

This record was given to me by someone in high school. I had three indie rock albums in my senior year of high school that started to open my mind to music in that world. It was Jets To Brazil’s Orange Rhyming Dictionary, Radiohead’s The Bends - I’d never heard Radiohead before, and in 2001 I’m like ‘Oh this band’s kinda interesting!’ – and Spoon’s Girls Can Tell which is on the list. I think at the time I was heartbroken over early teenage love type stuff, like ‘I do understand what they’re saying!’ And I was allowing myself to get away from the posturing of trying to be tough, enjoying things like ‘High And Dry’, like ‘Damn, that breaks my heart’. But Yo La Tengo fulfilled different things than that. There’s such a dreamy quality to it. I feel like a lot of it deals with their own home in New Jersey, but the image on the cover could just be a house in my neighbourhood in North Carolina. There’s something about it, the canopy of the stars, the blanket of clouds in the night. While also being really gentle and tender it’s also really experimental and kinda weird, which spoke to me too.

I saw Yo La Tengo play for the first time at Primavera when we were there in 2009. I went and tried to speak to Ira Kaplan and he acted like he didn’t speak English. He started speaking in Spanish, I thought ‘Oh my god, I must have the wrong person’. I walked away but then I looked back and he was laughing. Anyway, even with that, I still love Yo La Tengo and that record. They’re one of my all-time heart bands, a band that really speak to me.