Yo La Tengo Announce This Stupid World

Yo La Tengo announces new album This Stupid World
Yo La Tengo photo by Cheryl Dunn

Legendary indie trio Yo La Tengo have announced their new album This Stupid World will drop on February 10th, 2023 via Matador. Ahead of the album’s arrival, the band have shared the lead track “Fallout”

Time keeps moving and things keep changing, but that doesn’t mean we can't fight back. Yo La Tengo have raced time for nearly four decades and, to my ears, they just keep winning. The trio’s latest victory is called This Stupid World, a spellbinding set of reflective songs that resist the ticking clock. This music is not so much timeless as time-defiant. “I want to fall out of time,” Ira Kaplan sings in “Fallout.” “Reach back, unwind.”
Part of how Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew escape time is by watching it pass, even accepting it when they must. “I see clearly how it ends / I see the moon rise as the sun descends,” they sing during opener “Sinatra Drive Breakdown.” In the séance-like "Until it Happens,” Kaplan
plainly intones, “Prepare to die / Prepare yourself while there’s still time.” But This Stupid World is also filled with calls to reject time – bide it, ignore it, waste it. "Stay alive," he adds later in the same song. "Look away from the hands of time.”
Of course, times have changed for Yo La Tengo as much as they have for everyone else. In the past, the band has often worked with outside producers and mixers. They made This Stupid World all by themselves. And their time-tested judgment is both sturdy enough to keep things to the band’s high
standards, and nimble enough to make things new. 
Another new thing about This Stupid World: it’s the most live-sounding Yo La Tengo album in years. At the base of nearly every track is the trio playing all at once, giving everything a right-now feel. Take the signature combination of hypnotic rhythm and spontaneous guitar on “Sinatra Drive Breakdown,” or the steady chug of “Tonight’s Episode,” a blinkered tunnel of forward-moving sound. There’s an immediacy to the music, as if the distance between the first pass and the final product has become more direct. 
The songs on This Stupid World are still journeys, though. An example is the absorbing, three- dimensional “Brain Capers.” To construct this swirl, the band blends guitar chords, bass loops, drum punches, and various iterations of Hubley and Kaplan's voices into shifting layers. Simpler but just as dense is closer “Miles Away." A dubby rhythm lurks below Hubley’s vocal, which brushes across the song like paint leaving bright blurs. Throughout the album, these touches, accents, and surprises intensify each piece. It’s a rarity – a raw-sounding record that gives you plenty of headphone-worthy detail to chew on.
This Stupid World also gives your brain a lot to digest. All these battles with time drive toward heavy conclusions. In the gripping “Aselestine,” Hubley sings about what sounds like a friend on death's door: “The clock won’t tick / I can’t predict / I can’t sell your books, though you asked me to.” In “Apology Letter,” time turns simple communication into something fraught and confusing: "The words/ Derail on the way from me to you.” Not everything is so serious, though. The absurdist “Tonight’s Episode" helps McNew learn to milk cows, steal faces, and treat guacamole as a verb. And somehow Alice Cooper, Ray Davies, and Rick Moranis show up in “Brain Capers” — all telling us that time isn’t finished yet.
So I guess everyone on This Stupid World grapples with how time keeps steamrolling and how we keep trying to do something about it. It is there in the title, a defiant but clear-eyed declaration that suggests a will to fight, against the odds. It’s there in the title track too: “This stupid world – it’s killing me / This stupid world – is all we have.” Such realism leads to the resolute optimism of This Stupid World’s parting shot, “Miles Away,” which sees time’s passage and life's impermanence as things to deal with rather than reasons to despair. “You feel alone / Friends are all gone," Hubley sings softly. "Keep wiping the dust from your eyes.”

Yo La Tengo
This Stupid World
Matador Records

1. Sinatra Drive Breakdown
2. Fallout
3. Tonight’s Episode
4. Aselestine
5. Until It Happens
6. Apology Letter
7. Brain Capers
8. This Stupid World
9. Miles Away

Yo La Tengo- Hanukkah 2022

Sun, Dec 18 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom – SOLD OUT
Mon, Dec 19 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom – SOLD OUT
Tue, Dec 20 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom – SOLD OUT
Wed, Dec 21 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom – SOLD OUT
Thu, Dec 22 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom – SOLD OUT
Fri, Dec 23 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom – SOLD OUT
Sat, Dec 24 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
Sun, Dec 25 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom

Yo La Tengo 2023 Tour Dates

Wed, Feb 15 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
Thu, Feb 16 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
Fri, Feb 17 – Bellingham, WA – Wild Buffalo
Sun, Feb 19 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Mon, Feb 20 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Wed, Feb 22 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Fri, Feb 24 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Sat, Feb 25 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
Sun, Feb 26 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
Mon, Feb 27 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
Thu, Mar 9 – Carrboro, NC – Cat's Cradle
Fri, Mar 10 – Carrboro, NC – Cat's Cradle
Sat, Mar 11 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
Mon, Mar 13 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East
Tue, Mar 14 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East
Thu, Mar 16 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater
Fri, Mar 17 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Sat, Mar 18 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
Sun, Mar 19 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
Tue, Mar 21 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr Smalls
Wed, Mar 22 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
Fri, Mar 24 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Sat, Mar 25 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Ballroom
Sun, Mar 26 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Mon, Apr 10 – Dublin, IE – 3Olympia
Wed, Apr 12 – Manchester, UK – New Century Hall
Thu, Apr 13 – Bristol, UK – SWX
Fri, Apr 14 – London, UK – The London Palladium
Sun, Apr 16 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
Tue, Apr 18 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
Wed, Apr 19 – Rotterdam, NL – LantarenVenster
Thu, Apr 20 – Hamburg, DE – Uebel & Gefaehrlich
Fri, Apr 21 – Copenhagen, DK – Bremen Teater
Sun, Apr 23 – Cologne, DE – Gloria Theatre
Mon, Apr 24 Prague, Czech Republic – MEETFACTORY
Tue, Apr 25 – Berlin, DE – Festaal Kreuzberg
Thu, Apr 27 – Paris, FR – La Cigale
Sat, Apr 29 – Barcelona, ES – Sala Apolo
Sun, Apr 30 – Murcia, ES – WARM UP Festival
Tue, May 2 – Madrid, ES – Warner Music the Music Station Príncipe Pío
Wed, May 3 – Bilbao, ES – Santana 27

– Marc Masters


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