Pick of the Week: Yo La Tengo “Fallout”

WERS 88.9FM Pick of the Week - Yo La Tengo - Fallout
Graphics by Angie Pham

By Ash Jones, Staff Writer

"Close your eyes, fall out of time with me," Ira Kaplan asks, as if he’s reaching out his hand to his devoted listeners. 

Unlike many other Yo La Tengo releases, their upcoming record, This Stupid World, is free of higher-scale production and heavy mixing. You can hear a glimpse of their raw sound on “Fallout,” a scratchy track that feels like it’d belong on a live concert album. 



Yo La Tengo has been in the game for almost four decades. With age, bands tend to tighten up, and become less expressive with their musical flow. I was presented with a delightful surprise when I heard their new release last month. “Fallout” is loose, and shows how the band is always down to experiment when Georgia Hubley bangs on her drums, James McNew plucks at his bass, and Kaplan takes his emotions to the mic. 

Kaplan’s vocals echo underneath the vacuum of fuzzy instrumentation, courtesy of McNew’s ringing bass, and Hubley’s domineering percussion. Their record label, Matador, describes every track off of This Stupid World as nimble, yet also “sturdy enough to keep things to the band’s high standard.” “Fallout” is the perfect singular release to encapsulate the casualness of their new sound, while also showing how stimulating and fresh it’ll be to the ears of nineties fans. 

This four-and-a-half minute song reminds me of a college band performing in a cramped basement. For instance, the quality of the recording sounds like it was taped in one go, most likely on a device that picked up all instruments simultaneously. The straight cuts, and lack of heavy mixing is reminiscent of a debut piece; sprightly and laidback. It mirrors a lot of their older work such as Electr-o-pura and Ride the Tiger, when they were first solidifying their signature voice. “Fallout” grips you until you're let go into the warm buzz of McNew’s bass at the end of track. 



This past fall, Yo La Tengo opened on tour with Japanese Breakfast. They highlighted some of their fan favorites as well as some underrated gems during their journey across America with Michelle Zauner. 

The band returns to New York for an 8-day music event to celebrate Hanukkah, with every performance being played at the Bowery Ballroom. 

Kaplan, Hubley, and McNew will begin their official This Stupid World tour in Seattle on February 15th, 2023. They plan on hitting major cities in the country, as well as visiting Europe.


Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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