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Yo La Tengo

July 14 • Bunbury Music Festival/Sawyer Point

By Jason Gargano · July 9th, 2013 · Sound Advice
soundadvice_yo_la_tengo_photo_carlie armstrongPhoto: Carlie Armstrong
Yo La Tengo capped its 30th anniversary in January by dropping its 13th long-player. At 10 songs, all of which clock in at a relatively brief 3-6 minutes, Fade is YLT’s most concise release in ages, perhaps the result of a switch in producers from longtimer Roger Moutenot to John McEntire (of Tortoise fame). 

Otherwise, not much else has changed — the core trio of Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew has delivered yet another stellar collection of psych-tinged Folk Pop, again anchored by the band’s unique mix of melancholic slow-movers and groove-based rave-ups.

“Concept-wise, there is not much going into records,” McNew says in a recent phone conversation when asked about Fade’s creation.

“I think the concept this time was working with John (McEntire). We were trying something brand new for us (Moutenot had helmed every album since 1993), and I think it had a really positive effect on the way we worked.”

For a guy who joined the group in 1991 as a self-described “office temp” — he was the band’s 17th (or so) bassist in less than 10 years — McNew has become an integral member of Yo La Tengo; it can’t be a coincidence that YLT’s best albums (the holy mid-’90s trinity of Painful, Electr-o-Pura and I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One) surfaced in the wake of his presence.

“I think it was just too awkward for them to tell me to stop coming to practice,” McNew jokes about his beginnings in the group. “Eventually I got my own key (to the practice space), which was great. After a while I learned all of the songs and then we started writing new ones, and it kind of went from there.”

Where it went from there has resulted in one of the best musical outputs of the last quarter century. 

YO LA TENGO performs at the Bunbury Music Festival on Sunday, playing the “Rockstar Stage” at 8 p.m. For tickets and full lineup info, visit bunburyfestival.com.



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