i’m not sure what yo la tengo are fading to or away from, but whatever it is, i find myself enjoying it quite a bit. this is the band’s thirteenth studio album. yeah, that’s right. nick cave and the bad seeds are the only other band putting out a record this year that i care about that have released more albums.
the good news about fade is that it doesn’t seem stale. at least not to me, but then again, i haven’t been listening to yo la tengo for the past twenty years. i like tracks like “well you better” and “paddle forward” that touch on quintessential ’90s shoegaze without seeming overdone, and i like that ira kaplan had the balls to put the two back to back on the record. “i’ll be around” is a nice acoustical change of pace that bleeds perfectly into “cornelia and jane,” sung by georgia hubley in a slightly morose voice dribbled in reverb.
after nearly thirty years in the game, i think it’s appropriate to call yo la tengo indie rock stalwarts. kaplan is knocking on sixty years old and he’s still going strong, writing music that embraces the band’s signature sound while supplementing songs with newfound elements. it’s been four years since yo la tengo’s last studio effort, popular songs, but the band’s integrity alone seems to keep them culturally relevant. fade won’t leave diehard fans feeling cheated after their diligent four-year wait, but it won’t really exceed their expectations, either.