Albums of the Month for 2023: Yo La Tengo, Algiers, and Little Fuss

Album: This Stupid World
Artist: Yo La Tengo
Release Date: February 10, 2023
Label: Matador
Favorite Tracks:

  • Sinatra Drive Breakdown
  • Fallout
  • Brain Capers
  • This Stupid World
  • Miles Away

Thoughts: Yo La Tengo’s 17th studio album is a return to form of sorts.  This is good because it’s reminiscent of the band’s late 90s peak when they turned out some of the greatest albums of all time.  But I can’t help feeling bad that a band as endlessly reinventive as Yo La Tengo is revisiting their sonic past.  That said, I’m glad they have abandoned the torpor of their releases from the past decade.  The songs are introspective and reflect on mortality and a feeling of apathy, but do so with raging guitars rather than lethargy.  The 7-and-a-half minute opening track, “Sinatra Drive Breakdown,” is a particularly good example of this.
Rating: ***1/2

Album: Shook
Artist: Algiers 
Release Date: February 24, 2023
Label: Matador
Favorite Tracks:

  • Everybody Shatter
  • Irreversible Damage
  • A Good Man
  • Something Wrong

Thoughts: Algiers, Yo La Tengo’s labelmates on Matador Records, return with their fourth studio album. The Algiers sound is hard to describe as it is built on traditional African-American genres such as soul, hip hop R&B, blues, and funk but with atonality, aggressive percussion, found footage, and folk culture. It’s been described as dystopian soul.  On Shook, Algiers bring in a number of guests including Big Rube, Mark Stewart, Zack De La Rocha, billy woods and Backxwash.  At times, the album feels overwhelmed by guest appearances to the point that it takes it away from this feeling like an Algiers album. That being said, with Algiers’ message of anti-racism and anti-colonialism central to their work, it makes sense for them to bring some allies into the fight. The Underside of Power was one of the great albums of recent years so I guess this feels a little underwhelming, but it’s still quite good.
Rating: ***

Album: Girls at Parties
Artist: Little Fuss
Release Date: January 19, 2023
Label: Self-produced
Favorite Tracks:

  • A Modern Olympia
  • Karma’s Team
  • Girls at Parties
  • Please Don’t Make Me Cry

Thoughts: Little Fuss is a quartet from Boston called the “buzziest band” at Berklee College of Music by WBUR.  A consciously feminist band, Little Fuss’ first full-length album is a concept album of sorts. “Basically it’s an album about a bunch of different girls at a party, or the same girl at a bunch of different parties, depending on which way you want to look at it,” says lead vocalist Olive Martinez.  The result is extremely hooky pop with a sometimes ethereal feel.
Rating: ****


2023 Album Reviews



  • Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World
  • Algiers – Shook
  • Little Fuss – Girls at Parties