Yo La Tengo Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003

Blending older songs with their most recent output, Yo La Tengo have created the perfect primer for those uninitiated with their pioneering music. While including a third disc of b-sides in a deluxe edition might alternately delight and enrage die-hard fans, this double-disc, greatest hits collection is pretty cool no matter how you slice it. Despite the title’s time span, neither of the two records is sequenced chronologically. Instead, songs from different moments in the band’s career — from The River of Water to Summer Sun — flow together, forming a re-contextualised whole. It’s an interesting way of re-tracing Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew’s evolution from proto-college rock, R.E.M. wannabes to ingenious purveyors of a concoction perfecting the art-pop of the Velvet Underground and experimental sludge of Sonic Youth. Really, Prisoners of Love is the sound of freedom — a document of indie-rock at the peak of its powers. Any time capsule should save some room for this. (Matador)