June 30, 1997 12:00 PM

Yo La Tengo

Even if they hadn’t portrayed the seminal 1960s art-punk group on film in I Shot Andy Warhol, it would be natural to identify Yo La Tengo as the Velvet Underground of the ’90s. Long known for their whimsical lyrics, off-kilter harmonies and affinity for brain-piercing guitar feedback, the Hoboken, N.J., trio have, on their eighth album, added new layers to their dense atmospherics. Highlights include a cover of the Beach Boys’ “Little Honda” that uses a flat, almost monotonal vocal to transform the auto-erotic ode into a drone that’s both menacing and funny, and “Center of Gravity,” which sets a sweet love song to a lilting samba beat. (Matador)

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