On There’s a Riot Going On, their fifteenth studio album, dream-indie legends Yo La Tengo are at their most minimal and atmospheric, with over an hour of borderline-ambient rock in the vein of their classic And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. At the center of all the songs are layers of clean guitars, subtle keys, and repetitive, gentle drum rhythms. Opening track “You Are Here,” is a slow-building instrumental of guitar jamming and repetitive percussion that lets the instruments continually build off one another and evolve into a hypnotic wash of soft sound. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, with any noisier elements of YLT’s past taking a backseat to an ultra-chill approach to indie. Songs like “Let’s Do It Wrong” and “Out of the Pool” have a surreal and retro-futuristic feel, with swells of synthesizers and whispered, almost spoken word vocal delivery. Others are less “out-there” (at least by this album’s standards), such as “For You Too” with its buzzing bassline and upbeat motorik rhythm, and “Polynesia #1,” a dream-pop cover of an old Michael Hurley folk song. On the hour plus of There’s a Riot Going On, YLT show off their skill in making music that’s as otherworldly and unpredictable as it is tasteful and memorable.

-Andrew Bennett