Yo La Tengo: Stuff Like That There (Matador) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Yo La Tengo

Stuff Like That There


Sep 04, 2015 Yo La Tengo Bookmark and Share

For years, decades even, Yo La Tengo have inhabited the role of the indie mainstay; “business as usual” could describe any of their albums since the mid-aughts at least. That makes Yo La Tengo sound like a band who sticks to one successful sound, however, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Time and time again, Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew have demonstrated their proficiency with a myriad of styles and genres: sweet ‘60s pop, driving guitar college rock, gentle folk, and even (and especially) feedback-saturated squalls of noise rock. They are Jacks of all trades, these three, and they’ve earned the right to do whatever they want, even while maintaining the respect of the general indie rock community.

Stuff Like That There is another album covering already-trod ground; it’s a collection of covers and re-recordings of Yo La Tengo classics, with a couple originals thrown in for good measure. “Rickety” is an exceptional new song that explores the breadth of Kaplan and Hubley’s harmonic play, and it features McNew on upright acoustic bass. Great Plains’ “Before We Stopped to Think” is gorgeous. Stuff is a spiritual sequel of sorts to Fakebook, released 25 years ago (!), and it’s unsurprising to find that Yo La Tengo are just as adept at covers, well, as they have always been. Despite the variance of source material, this is perhaps the first Yo La Tengo release to sound specifically crafted for a certain specific mood. It sounds like the sun setting during family dinner on the screened-in porch: a cohesive and comprehensive journey through the most tender chambers of the heart.

Ultimately, Stuff Like That There is a pretty listen, even if it sometimes blends into the background. It can occasionally veer toward an abundance of preciousness. Once again, though, this is a band that has earned a permanent pass, and at the end of a long day, the friendliness and familiarity of this band’s talent and heart are endlessly endearing. (www.yolatengo.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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