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Yo La Tengo, 'Fallout'

Ira Kaplan knows there's power in a hushed vocal. His singing in Yo La Tengo, the long-standing Hoboken indie-rock trio, has been unadorned and conversational for nearly four decades. "Fallout," from This Stupid World — the band's 16th album, out Feb. 10, 2023 — bears the fruits of such consistency. Over propulsive guitar chords and James McNew's fuzzy bass line, Kaplan contemplates the anxieties of contemporary living and the way they've shaped his own thinking. He's disgusted by everything — including himself — and wants to escape; his desire for catharsis is felt in how Georgia Hubley's drums tumble into the occasional cymbal crash. Even more than their previous songs, "Fallout" feels like Kaplan's putting your hand in his, providing comfort amid increasing uncertainties. "Close your eyes, fall out of time with me," he softly asks. It has the intimacy of sitting on a porch with a lifelong friend, relishing the moment.

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Joshua Minsoo Kim