Hoboken legends Yo La Tengo appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon this week to celebrate the release of Fade, their acclaimed 13th full-length album. Because two drummers is never enough, Portlandia star and former Trenchmouth drummer Fred Armisen joined the band for a blissfully noisy rendition of “Ohm”, Fade‘s shoegaze-goes-pop opening cut. Be sure to watch an ageless Ira Kaplan coaxing sweet feedback from his guitar around the four-minute mark and threatening to smash the whole thing altogether. It’s a joyous moment that hearkens back to classic YLT noise blasts like “Double Dare” or “Sugarcube”.
Ditching percussion altogether, the trio (sans Armisen) also performed the lovely “I’ll Be Around” for a web exclusive.
Somewhat more egotistically, the “Ohm” clip also marks my national television debut on Fallon‘s “band bench”. Witnessing the performance from a raised platform not far above James McNew’s head, I learned that seeing talk show tapings is mostly an opportunity to watch a largely random assortment of famous people interact in a room swarming with parasitic makeup assistants. There was one magical moment when Fred Armisen and house drummer Questlove took part in a drum battle while Jimmy Fallon looked on and a spirited Charlie Sheen nosed around somewhere backstage. Sadly, it didn’t make the episode.
But that’s me in the top left around the three-minute mark. You’ll have to squint kind of hard. I swear, it’s worth it.