Album Review: Yo La Tengo - Stuff Like That There

Empty Lighthouse is a reader-supported site. This article may contain affiliate links to Amazon and other sites. We earn a commission on purchases made through these links.

Just in time for the autumn bonfire season, Hoboken, New Jersey's Yo La Tengo have just released their 14th studio album Stuff Like That There.

The band has really run the gamut in their 30 plus years together. Ranging from noise-addled guitar freak-outs to hushed, ornate acoustic lullabies, Yo La Tengo never found themselves backed into a corner.

This time around, the band (singer-guitarist Ira Kaplan, singer-drummer Georgia Hubley and bassist James McNew) are finally easing into their legacy status by releasing Stuff Like That There.

An homage, if you will, to the 1990 classic Yo La Tengo album Fakebook (not Facebook - I'm looking at you, Millenials), the album features Yo La Tengo's stripped-bare selection of covers, remakes and a couple new originals.

When Fakebook hit hip record stores in 1990 it was the first time many listeners got to hear the real Yo La Tengo, completely unadorned and honest without the ambling noise-jams with which they made their name.

The album also was ahead of the 90's curve by including a list of kitschy, idiosyncratic cover tunes from girl-groups, John Cale, Flamin' Groovies and Ray Davies instead of more well known, obvious choices.

Not all that much has changed in the intervening 25 years, as Yo La Tengo's new cover choices are just as head-scratching for the new album Stuff Like That There, out now on Matador Records.

Odd bedfellows like Hank Williams, The Cure, Darlene McCrea, Sun Ra and The Lovin' Spoonful all get their shine, with rustic yet energetic readings.

The standout moment on the album comes with "I Can Feel The Ice Melting," a lovely rendition of an old song by The Parliaments, which would later become the groundbreaking funk-rock powerhouse Parliament. The song was a b-side for "(I Wanna) Testify," the 1967 debut single released by The Parliaments and written and sung by a young George Clinton.

Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan harmonize with the trust and sincerity that only a long-lasting couple can possibly emit.

Stuff Like That There may be full of brushed snares, stand-up bass and acoustic strumming (the band is also joined by long-time confidant Dave Schramm on electric guitar) but the sequencing is so nuanced that you never finally yourself bored or sleepy.

While not the mind-blowing game-changer like their 1997 album I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, Stuff Like That There puts the bands chemistry front and center, giving good proof as to why they are considered one of the most consistent American bands of the past thirty years.

For more info visit:

Yo La Tengo will be at The Vic 11/5 for tickets

 photo EmptyLighthouseStar_zpspdxocilz.jpg photo EmptyLighthouseStar_zpspdxocilz.jpg photo EmptyLighthouseStar_zpspdxocilz.jpg photo EmptyLighthouseStar_zpspdxocilz.jpg photo EmptyLighthouseNoStar_zpsnuh8azgs.jpg