Yo La Tengo releases new album
Yo La Tengo this Friday
Many of you know that beloved Hoboken-based band Yo La Tengo released a new album a couple weeks ago (see guest review after jump) – but did you know that Friday night is their last tri-state area appearance of 2009?
No Hoboken show, no Hanukkah shows – so to show your love, and “celebrate early” – head over to the Roseland Ballroom to check them out, along with the Black Lips. Visuals by Joshua White and Gary Panter Light Show, hosted by the Daily Show’s John Oliver. $28.50 in advance.
SEE ALBUM REVIEW AND MP3 SAMPLES AFTER THE JUMP…
Did you know that Yo La Tengo released their latest recording today? Hoboken resident Jake Stuiver provides us with a review of the new album…
Yo La Tengo does it again
The Hoboken band, now 25 years into its run, has built a cult following loyal enough to tolerate mere coasting. And yet their new album, “Popular Songs,” showcases a band continuing to challenge itself, branching into new territory to master a broad range of styles, even while integrating it all into a signature sound that is still distinctly, gorgeously Yo La Tengo.
“Popular Songs,” most notably, extends Yo La Tengo’s foray into soul-tinged territory, which the band employed to great success on “Mr. Tough,” from its previous album, “I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass.” That track’s combination of piano-driven rhythm, solid groove and James McNew singing in a Curtis Mayfield-esque falsetto yielded a new breed of offbeat blue-eyed-soul not entirely unlike where The Jam were headed toward the end of their run. The new album contains a pair of songs, “Periodically Double or Triple” and “If It’s True,” that explore the soul/indie-rock convergence even further, with the former built around a Stax-drenched organ groove and the latter a Motown-style string arrangement. Other tracks feature lovely, well-placed backing vocals that seem to draw from the same roots, particularly on “All Your Secrets” and “Avalon or Someone Very Similar.”
As always, Yo La Tengo turn in its share of upbeat rockers, particularly “Nothing to Hide,” and hauntingly beautiful softer-spoken numbers, such as “When It’s Dark.” Throughout, their lyrics remain memorable and vivid.
Listen to “Nothing to Hide” and “If it’s True” below!
Each Yo La Tengo album tends to contain at least one particularly lengthy track that revolves around extended jamming. When catching the listener in the right mood, many of these songs can come across as dynamic and inspired. At other times, some of them can be a bit of a slog. “Popular Songs” contains not one but three such songs, ranging in length from nearly 10 to nearly 16 minutes. While they have their strong points, there is some apt sequencing here — all three are thankfully tacked onto the end, thus maintaining the flow of the better portion of the album and allowing for listener choice between the easier-access album or the extended-jam version.
All in all, “Popular Songs” stands as another great milestone in a career that shows no signs of fading, continuing to innovate and distinguish its sound.
The million-dollar question is, will Yo La Tengo continue its other great Hoboken tradition this year — its beloved eight-night Hanukkah stand at Maxwell’s? So far, nothing’s been announced. But here’s hoping…