Yo La Tengo - Stuff Like That There

LP VInyl Record with CD Album Copy

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Stuff Like That There is the fourteenth studio album by American indie rock band Yo La Tengo, released in August 2015 via Matador Records.

Yo La Tengo (often abbreviated as YLT formed in New Jersey in 1984. Since 1992, the lineup has consisted of Ira Kaplan (guitars, piano, vocals), Georgia Hubley (drums, piano, vocals), and James McNew (bass, vocals). In 2015, original guitarist Dave Schramm rejoined the band and appears on Stuff Like That There.

Despite achieving limited mainstream success, Yo La Tengo has been called "the quintessential critics' band" and maintains a strong cult following. Though they mostly play original material, Yo La Tengo is renowned for its encyclopedic repertoire of cover songs both in live performance and on record.

Perhaps the prototypical Yo La Tengo album, 1990's Fakebook offered a diverse grab bag of cover songs, spanning old hits, obscure favorites, and reinterpretations of the band's own previous work. Taking its name from bound compendiums of musical lead sheets used by gig musicians to quickly master popular songs, the album's title also implied some measure of sham deceptiveness.

To mark the group's 30th anniversary and the silver jubilee of that previous effort, comes Stuff Like That There, which can be classed as an update, a cover of a cover, or a sequel, depending on how you choose to define it. Taking its title from a song first recorded by Betty Hutton in 1944 (which itself doesn't appear here), the album continues the band's slippery practice of defining themselves through a mixtape-style method of cover curation, hinting toward possible influences while subverting the shape and meaning of those songs. Drawing on a diverse selection of material, all of it nudged toward Yo La Tengo's own recognisable but hard-to-define sound, the album further establishes them as adherents to the folk tradition, serial re-interpreters who make original statements through the tweaked voices of others. In this respect, they function as a less manic descendent of shambolic avant-folk groups like the Holy Modal Rounders (whose “Griselda” they covered on Fakebook), mixing in their own new compositions (“Rickety” and “Awhileaway”) and continuing to blur the line between copies and originals.

Such diversity harkens back to a different period of musical conception, before authorship and proprietary possession were audience concerns, when songs were just raw material on which singers and groups could put their own distinctive stamp. On the surface, Stuff Like That There doesn't seem much different from other recent Yo La Tengo. But while the album seems to roll by in a gentle, slumberous haze, it also makes a clever musical statement. There's a definite focus, for one, on culling material from acts with shifting identities; nearly all the songs here are collected from artists who were more famous in other incarnations. These span from opener “My Heart's Not In It” the 1964 would-be breakout single of the Cookies member Darlene McRea, to “I Can Feel The Ice Melting”, by doo-wop quintet the Parliaments, who later made their biggest mark under George Clinton's leadership, as one half of Parliament-Funkadelic. Both songs are drained of their original fervor, turned into depressive, downtempo shuffles that maintain small cores of upbeat sweetness.

A similar effect occurs with one of the band's own songs, as Electr-o-Pura's “The Ballad Of Red Buckets” (from 1995’s Electr-o-Pura) shifts from a shaggy organ-powered dirge to something more dynamic, pinging guitar harmonics complementing the atmosphere of restless calm. In terms of more recognizable material, the version of “So Lonesome I Could Cry” frees the standard from its usual maudlin moroseness, locating the pitch-black sadness at its core, while “Friday I'm In Love” turns the Cure's spirited original into a strangely restrained ballad. Keeping the surface changes minimal while gradually tweaking the tone of each song, Yo La Tengo manages to further their transparency and place the focus even more on the material, faking their way through another series of delicately adjusted, quietly exquisite reinterpretations.

If Stuff Like That There isn't as revelatory as Fakebook, it's a splendid, beguiling album that's perfectly suited for late nights and rainy afternoons, and a welcome reminder of one of the many, many things Yo La Tengo do so well.

Check out these tracks: My Heart’s Not In It; Friday I’m In Love and The Ballad Of Red Buckets.

This LP on black vinyl with CD copy of the album download is pressed in the UK.

(744861107910)

Tracklisting:

 

 

Title

Time

A1

My Heart’s Not In It

2:48

A2

Rickety

3:47

A3

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry

2:52

A4

All Your Secrets

3:18

A5

The Ballad Of Red Buckets

4:49

A6

Friday I’m In Love

3:11

A7

Before We Stopped To Think

2:59

B1

Butchie’s Tune

2:47

B2

Automatic Doom

2:37

B3

Awhileaway

4:03

B4

I Can Feel The Ice Melting

2:36

B5

Naples

2:45

B6

Deeper Into Movies

5:09

B7

Somebody’s In Love

2:06

SKU 744861107910
Record Label Matador Records
Label / Model # Inertia
Catalogue Number OLE 1079-1
Country UK - United Kingdom
Release Date (Year) 28 August 2015
Original Release Date (Year) 28 August 2015
Barcode # 744861107910
Shipping Weight 0.2950kg
Shipping Width 0.005m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.000493m3
Type New
Format Limited Edition LP Record, Black Vinyl, Inner Sleeve, CD Album Copy
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Rock
Genre Indie Rock
Format VINYL LP+CD

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