Like I said in my review for their previous album, even when they're not completely on, Yo La Tengo is still pretty darn good. It's true that Summer Sun probably isn't their best overall album, but like all their discs it was filled with enough great moments to warrant many a listens. Arriving around the beginning of the warm part of the year, it was a breezy disc full of warm melodies and more of those great vocal harmonies that the group has seemingly mastered over the course of the years.
Now, with fall well upon us, the trio is back with another little solid group of tracks to take you into blanket weather. The 23-minute EP starts with a bang and ends with a whimper, but is just the right mixture of sonics, including 4 unreleased tracks and versions of two separate tracks that take the original in a completely different direction.
One of those is the title track of "Today Is The Day," the original of which was a sleepy little stop on their last disc. Here, the exclamation mark in the title is rather appropriate, as the trio turns it into a rocking number that is one of their better louder moments in years. "Styles Of The Times" keeps the dirty pop coming with Ira taking over vocal duties on another track full of fuzzy guitars while "Outsmarter" is skronked up with some double-reed horn by William Parker.
After the rollicking opening half, the second half slows down nicely, including a cover of Bert Jansch's "Needle Of Death" and a stunning acoustic rendition of "Cherry Chapstick" from their And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out album. Interestingly enough, that track was one of the only loud tracks on that release, and it stuck out like a sore thumb, despite being a pretty good track. Here, it's in a completely form (almost slowcore), but works even better closing out the EP in fine fashion. With it and the opening track, Yo La Tengo also proves that if you write a good song, it will hold up fine even in drastically different versions.