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Musical Pairings: Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs (paired with kabocha squash gnocchi w/ sage butter)

The kabocha squash gnocchi with sage butter recipe is perfect for a Fall meal. It is warming, flavorful and filling. To find the perfect pairing for it, I needed to find an autumnal, but upbeat album; something complex, but fun. In other words, I was looking for Yo La Tengo‘s latest release, Popular Songs. A collection of beautifully crafted indie-pop tunes, Popular Songs is warm and fuzzy like your favorite sweater that you’d stored away throughout the summer at the bottom of your dresser. It’s an album to listen to while carving pumpkins, drinking spiced wine, or… preparing kabocha squash (a type of pumpkin) gnocchi with friends.

Popular Songs opens with the tune “Here to Fall” with ambient drones which give way to a rat-a-tat drum blast and backing violins that blend into a tender, sympathetic pop song: “I know you’re worried / I’m worried too / but if you’re ready / I’m here to fall with you.” “Avalon or Something Similar” is fuzzy and warm, a shimmering and sweet song. They double down on the fuzz with the feel good blast of “Nothing to Hide” featuring rough, felt-like electric guitar which is nicely contrasted by cheery keys. One of the album’s many standouts, “Periodically Triple or Double,” features a slinky r&b rhythm centered around a funky bass line. The next cut, “If Its True,” is a feather-light slice of indie-soul similar to some of Belle & Sebastian’s recent tunes, and is another happy highlight on a solid album. The trio give in to their inclination towards experimental song-writing for the last three songs on the album, “More Stars Than There Are In Heaven,” “The Fireside,” and “And The Glitter is Gone.” Its available on wax over at Insound.

Yo La Tengo – Here To Fall
Yo La Tengo – Periodically Triple or Double

Head back to eating/sf to read the recipe for kabocha squash gnocchi with sage butter.

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Posted by Matthew Hickey

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

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