Episode 33: Yo La Tengo, Koreanguistics, Killer Greens

Yo La Tengo/Photo by Michael Lavine

This week: Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan pulls out his organ… We get a hangul on Korean literate-ture… and “Food, Inc” director Robert Kenner gives Rico an industrial food complex.

Icebreaker: Cass McCombs
Cass McCombs, indie tunesmith behind “Catacombs,” one of 2009’s finest albums, tells us a cloudy joke.

Small Talk: 24 Beers a Day, Fab 4 Studies, Swine Fluits
The staff from public radio’s Marketplace share their favorite offbeat news stories from the week

History Lesson with Booze: Hangul and the “Song For Sejong”:
On October 9th, South Koreans celebrate “Hangul Day,” honoring the publication, in 1446, of the Korean alphabet “Hangul” — a triumph of elegant, thoughtful simplicity over illiteracy. Hear the story of hangul, then toast the King who invented it with a potent glassful of Korean flavors; click the link above for the recipe.

Guest of Honor: Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan
Yo La Tengo are indie rock royalty. Pop enthusiasts with a penchant for expanded noise, they’re a Hoboken, NJ-based trio consisting of husband and wife Ira & Georgia Kaplan and James McNew. Over 12 albums the band has delivered everything from bluesy love duets to instrumental guitar-drone sprawlers; their albums sound like eclectic, beautifully-crafted mixtapes. Brendan speaks with Ira about longevity, green M&Ms and tweetal.

Main Course: Robert Kenner & Killer Greens:
Food safety was the hot topic this week — The New York Times ran a front page story about meat contamination, and the Center For Science in the Public Interest published its list of the top 10 most-contaminated foods. Rico speaks with Robert Kenner, director of the food-industry documentary “Food, Inc.,” about how the industrial food system stifles reforms. TIP: This is dinner-party conversation you might not want to share during actual dinner.

One for the Road: The Ladies, “Heads out the Window”
Brendan Francis Newnam was once the frontman for a short-lived, uncoordinated twee band called The Ladies. This is one of their only known recordings.