Out of Space 2019: Yo La Tengo w/ The Minus 5, Temperance Beer Co., Sunday, 23. June 2019

OUT OF SPACE 2019: Yo La Tengo w/ The Minus 5
presented by SPACE & Temperance Beer Company
welcomed by 93XRT
All tickets go on-sale to the public on Friday, March 15, at 10am CT. 

GATES: 5:30pm   |   SHOW: 7pm
Temperance Brewery is located at 2000 Dempster Street in Evanston, IL. 

Genre: Indie/Rock
Yo La Tengo

There’s a riot going on. You don’t need me, or Yo La Tengo, to tell you that. These are dark times, in our heads as much as in the streets. It’s easy to lose contact with the ground, flying through endless banks of storm clouds day after day. Confusion and anxiety intrude into daily life and cause you to lose your compass. There are times that call for anthems, something to lift you out of your slump and put fire in your feet. And then there are times when what is indicated is a balm, a sound that will wrap around you and work out the knots in your neck.
While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling “shoo-bop shoo-bop.” You are there. And even if your mind is not unclouded–shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time–you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries, above the sound and above the Sound.
For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting, and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of “Shades of Blue,” will involuntarily hear “She May, She Might” on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and “Let’s Do It Wrong” late at night. While there’s a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork.
In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly and the Family Stone released There’s a Riot Goin’ On, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair. Their first proper full-length since 2013’s Fade, There’s a Riot Going On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken.

The Minus 5
Less than three days after a doctor predicted he would never play music again, Scott McCaughey began writing his next album — while still in the ICU, unable to speak coherently, his right side just waking from paralyzation.
In November 2017, the Northwest underground stalwart suffered a stroke that nearly killed him and wiped his musical catalog from his memory — decades of albums and songs written and recorded with the Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M., Baseball Project, and many more, all disappeared. But instead of wallowing in misery, McCaughey channeled his omni-positive spirit and began to write down whatever incoherent thoughts crossed his mind. He turned those stream-of-consciousness notebook pages into his 13th full-length Minus 5 release, Stroke Manor.
“The lyrics are the reason for the album,” McCaughey said. “They’re frustrating and frustrated — they’re me trying to communicate something, to find out if I could communicate, if I could still even hold a pen and get it to physically move. The words are crucial to it though they’re not going to speak to everyone. But I had to try.”
Stroke Manor is a capsule of weeks in a hospital bed and the time-release recovery that creeps through in several songs. The influence is found in everything from misheard sentences and made-up words (“Pink Bag For Rip Torn” and “Plascent Folk,” respectively), to Turner Classic Movies (“Beacon From RKO,” “Scar Crow,” Goodbye Braverman”), hospital pain index cards (“Top Venom”), and the Beatles playlist Peter Buck made to help spark McCaughey’s musical memory (“Beatles Forever”). The results are often head-scratching, tongue-tying spats of confusion, but when the decision was eventually made to put them to music, McCaughey changed only the occasional word for flow, singing the words directly from his hospital notebook.
“The lyrics tapped into a different place for the music to come from,” he said. “I suppose I used the same old chords but everything sounded new and mysterious to me.” He used new voices, the dreaded autotune, and other voice-altering effects because he felt like he was singing as new characters. But the feelings were all his somehow. “I felt like I was a weird other person when I wrote those words, so it felt really right to me to let it be this guy who was coming from outer space.”
McCaughey recorded the album in his oft-frigid Portland basement, i.e. the “Dungeon.” Joe Adragna sent in rapid-turn-around drums (and often more) from his home studio outside New Orleans. Peter Buck was there to conjure up guitar lines, like a 1968 George Harrison. Jeff Tweedy, Corin Tucker, Jenny Conlee, John Moen, Steve Wynn, Linda Pitmon, Dave Depper and Alia Farah all dropped by to contribute, like good friends will do.
“I think this record captures the feeling, the moment, somehow,” McCaughey said. “I took something that I didn’t really know I was doing at the time and took it the full distance, not knowing whether it would work or not — but I feel like it really did work. I’m not saying I wish it hadn’t happened,” he said while laughing, “but at least I got something out of it. It’s a weird thing. But it’s my experience.”


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