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4AD

TV On The Radio

TV on the Radio formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2001. Initially featuring Tunde Adebimpe and Dave Sitek, the first record to be credited with the band’s moniker was the self-released OK Calculator, originally an experiment devised by Sitek in order to learn how to use Pro-Tools. Later assisted by guitarist/vocalist Kyp Malone, the Young Liars EP was released in 2003 to startling critical acclaim and nailed Sitek's goal of sounding like a "grand four-track thing". Although only an EP, the four songs brimmed with a surfeit of ideas, ranging from the evocative balladry of ‘Blind’ to the spectral pop trails of ‘Staring At The Sun’. Following the release of Young Liars, Malone joined the band as a full time member, along with drummer Jaleel Bunton and bassist Gerard Smith who rounded out the rhythm section.

Signing to 4AD, the band’s full-length debut, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes was released in March 2004. Taut, fearsome, intelligent and highly literate, the record established TV On The Radio as a formidable band willing to challenge and provoke, rained equally in critical plaudits. The band’s second studio album, Return to Cookie Mountain, leaked in early 2006 and garnered pre-release praise from such outlets as Pitchfork before its official release in July. Densely layered, Return to Cookie Mountain was a collection of songs that required hi-def headphones to truly appreciate, and was awash with guest appearances from David Bowie, Celebration, Antibalas, Blonde Redhead, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner.

Third studio album, Dear Science, was released September 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. While album opener, 'Halfway Home', was vintage TVOTR with its speaker-swallowing canvas of careening beats, buzzing riffs and bloodletting vocals, it proved was a red herring for the experimentations that were to comprise the rest of the record. Adebimpe attacks 'Dancing Choose' like a mic-wielding battle MC, and there are the glimmers of drum & bass, drunken horn sections, and carefully-plucked film score strings that spice up what's clearly TVOTR's most challenging effort yet, rewriting the group's supposed gloomy, stormy aesthetics but always with the same emotional core. And that's ultimately what TV On The Radio still look to achieve with their music: a connection, to make people feel something, anything no matter how up or down a song's arrangement is. "A lot of bands have something to say," explains TV On The Radio producer/multi-instrumentalist David Sitek. "We have something to ask." Indeed, but good luck finding easy answers in TVOTR's ever-evolving soundscapes.

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