[[caption-width-right:300:L-R: Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James [=McNew=]. None of them surf.]]
Yo La Tengo is a [[LongRunners Long Running]] AlternativeRock band from Hoboken, New Jersey. Founded in 1984 by former music reviewer Ira Kaplan (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and his wife Georgia Hubley (drums, vocals), they went though a series of bassists before settling on James [=McNew=] (bass, keyboards, occasional vocals). They've achieved almost no commercial success, but have become a touchstone of indie-rock nerds everywhere thanks to their large back catalogue, consistent output, and endearing songcraft, which is based on a beguiling mix of [[Music/TheKinks Kinks]]-esque pop-rock, Music/VelvetUnderground balladry, and Music/SonicYouth squall and fuzz. The latter helped popularise them in TheNineties, to the point that they toured with Music/MyBloodyValentine and Music/DinosaurJr in 1992.

!!This band provides examples of:

* TheBigGuy: James. He towers over Ira and Georgia.
* ChristmasEpisode: Subverted; for years, Yo La Tengo celebrated the holidays by playing an [[UsefulNotes/{{Judaism}} eight days of Hanukkah]] residency at a local bar in Hoboken.
* ConceptAlbum: ''Painful'' and ''And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out'', both about a troubled relationships.
* CoverVersion: At least one on every album, plus three albums consisting mostly of covers: ''Fakebook'', ''Fuckbook'' and ''Stuff Like That There''. The band's renowned encyclopedic repertoire led to annual fundraising visits to independent radio station WFMU, during which listeners who pledged money could request a song of their choice for Yo La Tengo to attempt to play on the spot; some of these attempts, from "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" to "The Hokey Pokey" are documented in the compilation ''Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics''.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJwTSTlpsak video]] for their cover of "[[Music/TheCure Friday I'm In Love]]", which features Georgia Hubley casually strolling through town while drawing down the apocalypse in the form of giant hearts crushing people to LudicrousGibs.
* EpicRocking: Extended noise jams typically at or near the end of an album such as "The Evil That Men Do (Pablo's Version)", "Blue Line Swinger", "Spec Bebop", "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind", "Night Falls On Hoboken" and "The Story of Yo La Tango" are common.
** EpicInstrumentalOpener: "Blue Line Swinger". "The Story of Yo La Tango" as well, since the vocal starts about 3:50 in.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin:
** "Sudden Organ" begins with a rather, well, sudden organ riff.
** "86-Second Blowout" is exactly 1 minute and 26 seconds.
* FakeBand:
** On ''Fuckbook'', a cover album of old GarageRock songs, the band is credited as The Condo Fucks, complete with a made-up history of the band.
** They also appeared on ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'' as the cover band Bobby K[[Music/NightRanger night Ranger]].
* GenreRoulette: A lot of albums, most notably ''I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One''.
* GratuitousSpanish: Their name. It's apparently a very obscure baseball ShoutOut.
* HappilyMarried: Georgia and Ira. Averted in the case of the married couples in most of their songs.
* IntentionallyAwkwardTitle: ''Fuckbook'', ''I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass''
* KidsRock: Their cover of Music/SunRa's "Nuclear War" features a positively ecstatic choir of adorable little children gleefully yelling the [[ClusterFBomb chorus]]:
-->''It's a motherfucker, don't you know!''\\
''When they push that button, yo' ass gotta go!''
* LongRunners: They recently celebrated 30 years in the business, and have had the same line-up since 1992.
* LongTitle: ''I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One'', ''And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out'', ''I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass'', as well as a number of songs.
* {{Joisey}}: They're from there, but they don't really fit the stereotype.
* NewSoundAlbum: Several. ''Painful'' introduced a lot more guitar noise into the mix, ''And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out'' featured slower tempos and drum machines, and ''I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass'' featured strings and horns much prominently than previous albums.
* PerformanceVideo: Usually subverted; "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDgpQBaziy0 Sugarcube]]" has them try to do this only for their record company to send them to rock school to learn how to be ''proper'' rock stars, "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtBDlNEME48 Tom Courtenay]]" is an ImagineSpot of what it would be like to open for Music/TheBeatles, and "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17zFF3Wu2A8 Nothing To Hide]]" has the band Times New Viking lipsync to the song instead.
* PerishingAltRockVoice: All the band members have this.
* PopStarComposer: They've done soundtracks for several indie films, most notably ''Film/{{Adventureland}}''. Most are represented on the compilation album ''They Shoot, We Score''.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: All of the songs on the album ''Strange But True'', recorded together with Jad Fair of Half Japanese, are based on tabloid headlines such as "National Sports Association Hires Retired English Professor to Name New Wrestling Holds", "Ohio Town Saved from Killer Bees by Hungry Vampire Bats" and "Retired Grocer Constructs Tiny Mount Rushmore Entirely of Cheese".
* ShoutOut:
** Various, including their name, which is a ''VERY'' obscure baseball reference.
** ''And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out'' has songs titled "[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Let's Save Tony Orlando's House]]" and "[[Literature/TheCryingOfLot49 The Crying Of Lot G]]"
** "Tom Courtenay", in addition to the title, also references ''Film/{{Help}}'' and ''Film/DoctorZhivago''.
* ShownTheirWork: Ira could very well be the Creator/QuentinTarantino of rock and retro pop given his astounding knowledge of it.
* RearrangeTheSong: They occasionally re-record older songs in new versions, especially on ''Fakebook'' and ''Stuff Like That There''.
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: "The Story Of Yo La Tango", which is titled that way as a joke about their name frequently being misspelled. This in turn led to people getting the title wrong by correcting the spelling.
* StockholmSyndrome: "Stockholm Syndrome"
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: They have their tendencies toward this.
* TriumphantReprise: "Big Day Coming" on ''Painful'', opening the album as a slow ethereal ballad, and then reappearing as a noisy rocker towards the end.
* TurnTheOtherCheek: ''Mr. Tough''
* VocalTagTeam: Lead vocal duties are mostly split between, [[LeadDrummer Georgia]] and Ira, with James [[StepUpToTheMicrophone getting the occasional song]].