James McNew grew up in Charlottesville, so he made frequent trips to Washington to catch the latest acts.
The Yo La Tengo bassist has fond memories of watching shows at the old 9:30 Club, and then performing there in his band's early days. He recalls "dodging armadillo-sized rats in the alley" while loading in gear, which makes performing at the 9:30 Club's current location that much more enjoyable.
"The new 9:30 is a dream," McNew said. "I love the 9:30 Club, always have."
Yo La Tengo performs Friday at the 9:30 Club. The show is sold out.
|Yo La Tengo|
|Where: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW|
|When: 8 p.m. Friday|
|Info: Sold out as of press time but tickets might be available through resellers; 877-435-9849; 930.com|
The indie-rock band's recent album, "Fade," came out on Jan. 15. It's Yo La Tengo's 13th full-length effort and offers a meditative, reflective vibe.
"Lyrics to our songs are kind of the very last thing that happens," McNew said. "There's a melody, but we never put words to it until it's time to record singing. That always means that the mood of music that we've written really informs the words that go with it."
The band members worked for the first time with producer John McEntire, with whom they have been friends for 20 years. "Fade" was recorded in Chicago.
"I guess we couldn't figure out why we had never worked with John," McNew said. "We couldn't figure out how that was an overlooked combination, so we corrected that right away."
One new development for Yo La Tengo is the video for the song "I'll Be Around," the band's first music video in 15 years. McNew said the band created a video for 1997's "Sugarcube," which he guesses fans saw twice, a number eclipsed by "I'll Be Around" in five minutes on YouTube.
"In the last 15 years, quite a bit of that was, technologically there was no place for it," McNew said.
Yo La Tengo first formed in the mid-1980s by husband and wife Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley. McNew joined the band in the early 1990s.
Yo La Tengo has never gained great commercial success but has consistently produced critically well-received albums. "Fade" is no different.
"It was written largely in the way that we've written all of our records," McNew said. "As we grow, as we change in ways we can't really see, our music changes, too."