There’s barely a Yo La Tengo record of which you could not say “Haven’t they made this one before?” One could even say they’re the sensitive, meditative Ramones, if one were so minded. But in the case of Stuff Like That There, it’s more accurate than usual – like 1990’s Fakebook, it mixes stripped-down versions of their own songs with obscure covers. This time, Tengo touchstone Sun Ra is present, not in skronky free-jazz form, but with the lovely doo-wop number Somebody’s in Love; the Cure’s Friday I’m in Love becomes still and sad, to the extent you suspect Monday being blue, and Tuesday and Wednesday being grey, are more important than what happens at the end of the week. Deeper Into Movies, one of their own, ends up sounding almost exactly the same as Fakebook’s reworking of Barnaby, Hardly Working, and is none the worse for it. But where Fakebook served as an introduction to the breadth of Yo La Tengo’s tastes, Stuff Like That There doesn’t need to. We know, now. So it’s an oddly pointless record – but utterly lovely.
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian