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Yo La Tengo: There's a Riot Going On

Alfred Soto, Spin, 20 March 2018

THE MOST VULGAR THING about Yo La Tengo's latest is its nod to Sly and the Family Stone's 1971 landmark: on the Hoboken trio's fifteenth album there's no riot, and there's nothing going on — at first. Fans expecting the freakouts of yore will instead hear a series of tranquil undulations, notably in the second third of this hour-long album. Quiet has rarely sounded this fraught. If Yo La Tengo's greatest subject has often been itself — the platonic triad of bassist James McNew, singer-guitarist Ira Kaplan and singer-percussionist Georgia Hubley adding sinew and affirmations to Kaplan and Hubley's own marriage — then There's a Riot Going On limns a soundscape occupied, contentedly, by no one but themselves. Communicating through a series of cues and reflexive winks like parents hosting a kid's birthday party, Yo La Tengo are self-contained. Their albums are, their little corner of the world.

Total word count of piece: 587


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