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COVER ME: New Yo La Tengo record relies on covers of their own songs, others

Matador Records
"Stuff Like That There" is the album Yo La Tengo released in 2015.
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ALBUM REVIEW: Yo La Tengo – Stuff Like That There (Matador) 2015

Released last summer, Yo La Tengo’s covers-heavy recording, Stuff Like That Therehas a particular feeling of live-in-the-studio intimacy as the trio of singer/drummer Georgia Hubley, guitarist/singer Ira Kaplan and bassist James McNew – along with sometime YLT member Dave Schramm playing electric guitar – runs through songs known and obscure by artists ranging from The Lovin’ Spoonful to The Cure.

They've done this before, as with Fakebook, released in 1990. 

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” originally done by Hank Williams, is redone here but inspired by Al Green’s 1973 version of the song featured on his Call Me album. The results are whisper-good.

And they even cover themselves, as we see with “The Ballad of Red Buckets” (from their 1995 Electr-O-Pura LP) “All Your Secrets” (from 2009’s Popular Songs LP) and “Deeper Into Movies” (first recorded on 1997’s I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One).

But the band throws in some new material as well, including “Rickety” and “Awhileaway.” These new tracks are pleasant, albeit not essential.

“My Heart’s Not In It" (originally by Darlene McCrea, formerly of The Cookies and The Raelettes) is a nice piece to start off with on the album and, considering the covers nature of the album, may be in the undercurrent of the music. Little new ground is broken here.

The brushes on drums and the guitar effects on the sleepily beautiful cover of Great Plains's "Before We Stopped to Think." And the final track, Sun Ra's "Somebody's In Love," brings to mind Jonathan Richman in its 

It’s nice to be over my many-years long Yo La Tengo hate. (I note it in my review of Fade in 2013). And speaking of Fade, that was one of my all-time favorite albums that year. The LP version included a 45 RPM single with YLT covering Todd Rundgren's "I See The Light." The band loves a good cover and on Stuff Like That There, it certainly shows, but in a more quiet, twilight-n-fireplace sort of manner. 

This isn't a critically important record and nothing like Fade. But if you are looking for musical curiosity from this Hoboken, New Jersey musical institution, go for it!

Yo La Tengo will play in Oklahoma City on Thursday, Feb. 4th at ACM@UCO. For more information go to www.yolatengo.com.

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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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