We’ve all got something to hide

Yo La Tengo
When it comes to Yo La Tengo, the noisier the better. The group got ornate on its last album, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, with peppy pop songs that augmented the usual three-piece setup with layers of horns, strings and keys. It was an impressive feat, but the lighter material was overshadowed by the first and last songs, both of which were fuzzed-out guitar epics.

The follow-up, Popular Songs, is due next week, and the first video/single is another noisy gem from the New Jersey trio. “Nothing to Hide” taps into the group’s ’80s indie rock roots, pairing white-wash distortion with hazy reverb and a monotonous groove. The tune itself is pure pop bliss, its sunny melodies delivered with gentle boy-girl harmonies and its instantly-hummable refrain supported by cheesy organ flourishes.

The video takes place at a Yo La Tengo in-store performance, but the band doesn’t actually appear. Instead, Times New Viking stands in for the group, miming along to the song while the proprietor busts shoplifters, High Fidelity-style. Times New Viking is an apt choice for the clip—not only because the group has the same three-piece set-up (two guys and a girl), but also because the song’s mixture of lo-fi grime and summery bubblegum pop sounds like something that could have appeared on last year’s Rip It Off (albeit with the crackling overdrive scaled back somewhat). Filmed with grainy, home movie-style cameras, it’s a simple but entertaining video.

Popular Songs is out September 8 via Matador.
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