"It was a weird, challenging and pleasurable experience. It's nice to find new ways to make music to
Today sees the release of experimental rock stalwarts Yo La Tengos new studio album Theres A Riot Going On. This is their fifteenth since their start in 1984, and in that time they've also released countless EPs, soundtracks and albums under pseudonyms, yet they are still finding new ways to innovate and challenge themselves. For the first time ever on Theres A Riot Going On, the trio recorded and produced the entirety by themselves with no outside pressures or input.
This has resulted in a warm and open-hearted collection with plenty of sonic quirks; you get the feeling the threesome holed up in the studio and wrote these songs as a balm to the car crash that was 2017. We spoke the Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew, who also engineered the album, all about how these challenges wrought new ideas and how the album came into being over the course of last year.
I don't think I've ever interviewed with such a dense back catalogue, so first I have to ask, over three decades into your career, what compels you to go back and make another album?
Um... I don't know! I think it's just a part of who we are! What do they call that? It's like an autonomic bodily and mental function for us I think. It just feels like a natural way of expression. I don't know any other way of being.
That's what I expected, I guess! It's good to hear. This time around you went into the studio with nothing written, did it feel different?
Extremely! In 2016, I believe, the company Avid, who is the parent ....