Shoegazing and organ-jamming, Yo La Tengo’s newest songs are popularly pleasing

Yo La Tengo’s 12th studio album doesn’t deviate from the familiar sound veteran fans have come to love. However, new fans and enthusiasts of the shoegaze genre alike will enjoy Yo La Tengo’s newest work, “Popular Songs.”Typical of any band with a 25-year long track record, Yo La Tengo has some standards to live up to. Nevertheless, newcomers to the Yo La Tengo experience won’t be turned off, as the album spans many sounds and styles.The opening track, “Here to Fall,” at almost six minutes is a somewhat lengthy beginning. Oscillating synths and strings highlight this classic opener, with vocalist Ira Allen’s soft and dreamy vocals accompanied by additional percussion.A brighter and more upbeat second track “Avalon or Someone Very Similar,” is sung with higher vocals and a more steady, cheerful beat. A refreshing song, it pronounces the established style of Yo La Tengo’s soothing, soft melodies.Breaking from their signature lengthy songs, the group’s “Popular Songs” is dotted with catchy tracks as well, such as “Nothing to Hide,” an organ-driven song complimented with strumming guitars and repetitive, fuzzy lyrics.Dipping into their arsenal of musical techniques comes “Periodically Triple or Double.” Sprinkled with funky guitar riffs and screams from a blues organ, including a solo, this track is definitely a new sound for the veteran act. This willingness to break from any sort of norm or label is admirable. Tracks 10 through 12 of “Popular Songs” bring the album to a special Yo La Tengo close, a unique stacking of three extremely long songs. However, long songs treasured trademarks of Yo La Tengo, and present on “Popular Songs.””More Stars Than There Are In Heaven,” the shortest of the final three tracks, is a relaxing, shoegaze guitar song with blissfully muted, quiet vocals.”The Fireside” conjures up images of a quiet, dark night by a fire, as the name suggests. The nearly 11 and a half minute song is marked by subtle, blurred yet simple guitar strums. Deviating from a usually dense sound, “The Fireside” is a great ambient piece.The final track, “And the Glitter is Gone,” is a noisy blend of guitars and steady drum beats with additional percussions. Definitely representing the iconic sound of this prolific band, the final track finishes another artistic work by a veteran group to the indie rock scene.While still presenting some definite Yo La Tengo-esque elements, “Popular Songs” highlights the brilliance and experimental nature of this senior band, with ambient and funky moments. Yo La Tengo, from New Jersey, is playing at Higher Ground on Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.