Stellar Lineup with Yo La Tengo, Indigo de Souza, and Sylvan Esso in Durham, NC this May

Sylvan Esso, courtesy of RIFF Magazine

On May 20, Yo La Tengo and Indigo de Souza will open for Sylvan Esso at Historical Durham Athletic Park in North Carolina.

Rock band Yo La Tengo has been creating music since their band’s formation in 1984. Described on Wikipedia as a combination of indie rock, noise pop, experimental rock, and shoegaze, Yo La Tengo’s sound is perfect for those who like to listen to music from a vinyl or CD player in their bedroom, but also rock out at a live concert from time-to-time.

Yo La Tengo, courtesy of Listen Here Denver!

Current members Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew have been the band’s permanent group since 1992. The married Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley have been the constant duo of the band, though, since its formation in 1984. According to an interview from Listen Here Denver!, McNew joined as a sort of “temp worker,” working behind-the-scenes on Kaplan- and Hubley-led albums May I Sing With Me and Painful, getting more involved in the writing process after their release. By that time, Yo La Tengo had already released six studio albums.

Yo La Tengo has been touring since 1987, but this year their opening set for the sold-out Sylvan Esso show is only one of two scheduled shows. If you want to see them, though, you can purchase a ticket for their concert June 2 at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona.

Indigo de Souza album art for Any Shape You Take

Indigo de Souza, second opener for Sylvan Esso, has been active in the music industry since 2016, but writing songs since she was only eleven years old.

De Souza has been touring since 2019 after the release of her first full-length album, I Love My Mom. Pitchfork called this album “folksy garage-pop that’s both vulnerable and fierce,” setting a spunky precedent which de Souza has successfully maintained since its release. This album contains the crowd-pleasing “Take Off Ur Pants,” a song both charming and badass.

It’s particularly exciting that Indigo de Souza is one of the openers at this Durham concert, seeing as she’s from Asheville, North Carolina. She hasn’t been away for long, though, having performed in her hometown just this past November, to celebrate the release of her newest album, Any Shape You Take. Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that there will be some hometown fans cheering for her in the crowd.

Indigo de Souza, courtesy of Charleston Pour House

And of course, this article wouldn’t be complete without talking about headliner Sylvan Esso. Comprised of singer Amelia Meath and producer/instrumentalist Nick Sanborn, this electronic pop duo has been active in music since 2013.

The release of their first album, Sylvan Esso, drove the duo headfirst into the music scene of 2014, receiving attention from prominent music publications such as Pitchfork. As Pitchfork acutely noted, it seems that Sylvan Esso operates with the belief that “R&B, pure pop, and such should be considered a kind of folk music for people who’ve grown up in the 21st century.”

Following their self-titled album, Sylvan Esso released What Now (2017), With (2020), and Free Love (2020). Free Love especially made a splash, garnering attention from publications like Consequence, Line of Best Fit, and Paste Magazine. And now, they’re returning to their hometown Durham for what’s bound to be a momentous performance in their career.

Sylvan Esso, courtesy of RIFF Magazine

Tickets are sold out for this show, but you can stream Yo La Tengo (here, here, and here), Indigo de Souza (here, here, and here) and Sylvan Esso (here, here, and here) if you’re dying to get a taste of their music. I highly encourage you to check them out.

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