I have a soft spot for Yo La Tengo's curiosities, like the cloudy bossa nova shimmy of "How To Make A Baby Elephant Float" or the spelunking drones and gurgling rock improvisations heard on The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science, which soundtracked a series of underwater documentaries. These experiments — sometimes used for interludes, others integrated into proper "songs" — seal the corners of a 30-plus decade experience, like memories continuously cut and pasted and painted in a Romare Bearden collage.
There's A Riot Going On was recorded by bassist James McNew, who, with Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, was tasked with making sense of the band's rejected fragments from over the years. Perhaps because these songs sound so different on their face, they've offered up a sampler-as-cross-section to coincide with the album announcement. There's the endless chill and blissful Ebow-guitar lead of "You Are Here," the bouncing Pet Sounds reverie of "Shades Of Blue" sung by Georgia Hubley, the droning acoustic pop of "She May, She Might" and "Out Of The Pool," a space-age oddity seemingly beamed from Joe Meek's brain.
If these four new tracks are any indication, it sees Yo La Tengo embrace the paper scraps and cut-up fabrics of song experiments to present something whole.
There's A Riot Going On comes out March 16 via Matador Records.