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CD REVIEW: "Fade" by Yo La Tengo

Matador Records
"Fade" by Yo La Tengo
Fertile Ground Compost Service
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CD
REVIEW: Yo La Tengo – Fade – (Matador
Records) 2013

Ever since I had a bad encounter with Yo La Tengo
band leader Ira Kaplan on a dark sidewalk outside a club in Grand Rapids,
Michigan in 1994, I’ve tended to avoid the Hoboken, N.J. band’s music, more or
less out of principle. They were on tour supporting Painful and the encounter I had (and another guy had) was, well,
painful.

So, when friends would tell me how great the new Yo
La Tengo record was, I’d shake my head and think back to that “look” Ira gave
me all those years earlier. At the same time I wanted to hear it, because the music (ignoring the personalities of
the band members) was pretty groovy. I dug “From a Motel 6” and the covers on Fakebook.

So, Fade
comes out and I fade back in to giving the Tengo a chance. And holy shit, man,
I dig this Yo La Tengo record. Starting off with the dreamy “Ohm,” I feel
chills as I hear that percussive, Monkees-esque “Mary, Mary” opener with the shuffling
maracas-n-snare beat. It reminds me of the new Brian Jonestown Massacre a
little bit. A bit psychedelic, repetitive, spacey and irresistible. I kept
putting the needle on that record over and over just to lose myself in “Ohm.”
What a perfectly named song – and quite different from the one the Moody Blues
did eons ago.

Kaplan channels his inner
Lou-Reed-on-happy-pills-while-listening-to-the-Left-Banke on “Is That Enough.”
I like it, but can understand how some listeners might find it a bit too twee. But
“Paddle Forward is a little more muscular and heavy on the feedback sounds.

Drummer Georgia Hubley (Kaplan’s wife, by the way) and
bassist James McNew are in sync on the fat-n-friendly “Well You Better,” as
Kaplan does a little “wah-wah” for funzies, while on “Stupid Things,” Kaplan
sounds distant and breathy against a song that would feel most comfortable in
the poppiest corners of Sonic Youth’s 90’s material.

On Side 2 of Fade
(yep, got the vinyl! – with an extra 45 RPM single featuring a cover of Todd
Rundgren’s  1972 hit “I Saw The Light”),
we get the spare, acoustic song “I’ll Be Around” that has a very Thurston Moore
vibe about it.

Meanwhile, on “Cornelia and Jane,” drummer Hubley
takes lead vocal and performs admirably, while Kaplan is back behind the mic on
the lazy and hazy “Two Trains.”

The final two tracks – “The Point of It” and the horn-and-orch-heavy
“Before We Run” are examples of Yo La Tengo coming up with some delightful and accessible
alt-pop. This is a band that remains relevant after many years together. Fade is a keeper.

Copyright
2013 Red Dirt Report

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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