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Extended Play: Yo La Tengo, Circulatory System, Os Mutantes

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Welcome to Extended Play, a delightfully unpredictable feature on the Music Mix wherein, from time to time, we review new releases that we did not have room for in the print magazine. (Not because we don’t love them!) This week, we take on a trio of mind-expanding albums by Yo La Tengo (pictured, left), Circulatory System, and Os Mutantes. Intriguingly, each of these bands makes music that might plausibly be described at times as “Beatlesque” — and each one is dropping a brand-new record in this most Beatlesque of weeks. Coincidence? You decide…

Yo La Tengo

Popular Songs

Indie Rock (Matador)

Not many bands sound like they’re having as much fun on their first albums as Yo La Tengo do on their twelfth. The New Jersey vets bounce from sound to sound, couching their typically oddball observations on domestic life in layers of woolly reverb, Motown-esque strings, or groovy organ riffs as the mood strikes them. Make sure to stick around for the final track, a nearly sixteen-minute feedback freakout that proves they can kick up just as vital a racket as any of the acts on today’s hip noise scene. Songs as idiosyncratic as these, Popular? We should be so lucky. A– —Simon Vozick-Levinson

DOWNLOAD THIS: “If It’s True”

Circulatory System

Signal Morning

Indie Rock (Cloud)

Long after some fans had resigned themselves to never hearing a proper follow-up to this Athens, Ga. band’s 2001 debut, Circulatory System has miraculously returned. Rejoice! Signal Morning is another peek at the spectacular imagination of frontman Will Cullen Hart (late of the lamented Olivia Tremor Control)—a place where ethereal harmonies and swirling strings can coexist with all manner of squeaks, buzzes, and malfunctioning tape sounds, somehow forming a whole that’s much greater than the sum of those parts. No one else does psychedelic rock quite like this anymore. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another eight years for the next one. A– —SVL

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Round Again”

Os Mutantes

Haih or Amortecedor

Rock (Anti-)

A Vladimir Putin vocal snippet and a mash-up of national anthems bookend the first studio offering in 35 years from the Brazilian pioneers of the bossa nova/rock hybrid known as tropicalia (and darlings of indie-pop heavyweights like the Flaming Lips). That spirit of free-roaming iconoclasm blazes forth courtesy of guitarist (and sole remaining original Mutante) Sergio Dias, backed by songwriting titans Tom Zé and Jorge Ben on the politically charged “Bagdad Blues” and “Samba do Fidel.” Thankfully, the proceedings are goosed by hooky popcraft, buoyant harmonies, and deftly eclectic instrumentation (Kawwala flute, Egyptian oud). When Dias proclaims (in English) “I am singing the music of life” on the cheekily titled “Neurociencia do Amor,” over a funkified bass groove, the message is clear: The psychedelic Carnaval goes on. A —Ben Spier

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Neurociencia do Amor”

Photo credit: Yo La Tengo: Michael Lavine; Circulatory System: Kelly Ruberto