Lets talk about TV on the Radio.
I cannot get over this band. I know it has been around for a while (2001-ish) and started listening to them a couple of years ago, mainly Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes in which tracks like Ambulance, Wear You Out, Staring at the Sun, Poppy, stood out mainly because of how different they were from one another, and also because, i don't know, their sound is so new and carefully crafted. It is refreshing, that is the only way to put it. Later came Return to Cookie Mountain, and Dear Science, which has been recognized as one of the best albums of 2008. (I think i prefer Return to Cookie Mountain, though.) anyway, their discography has been consistently good, and you can definitely see an evolution in their experimentation, still without ever compromising their sound.
Still, i didn't really realize how awesome they really were until recently.
Curiosity, and the high you get when being at a rock concert, all screams and sways (an Hermanos Brother's show i had gone to, to support my drummer friend) made me look up their videos of live performances on YouTube. i was not ready for what i saw. they seriously blew my mind and aside from kicking myself from all the missed opportunities of watching them live while i lived in DC, all i could think about was, oh my god.
i have a hard time condensing all that i want to say about them into one coherent paragraph, so i am dividing this entry in three parts with three of my favorite performances. here it goes.
1. "Wolf Like Me" on Letterman
First of all, talk about amazing live performance. This has to be, the very definition of killing it. Not only that, but i think the energy from the entire band is pretty fucking rad. From Tunde Adebimpe's singing and just overall presence, i mean, little things, like the way his hands move and how it correlates with the song, its brilliant, and Sitek's guitar which never fucking misses a beat and how powerful it is from the get go, a cathartic explosion from the start. My favorite part though, is right around 1:43, and how it deliciously slows down for a second and Tunde's hands when he sings Open my hands and let them weave onto yours. I cannot get over that, i've never seen someone bring so much texture into a song, if that makes any sense. Anyway, also, the whole werewolf/little red riding hood metaphor is not only clever but also sexy as hell. I know i've talked about music and sex before, and i think i am really interested in how these two elements can compliment each other without resorting to cliches like Lets Get it On, or some Barry White-esque go-to. I mean, don't get me wrong, i am all for the classics, John Coltrane, and whatnot, but i think that the kind of sex that these artists evoke is very...vanilla. I think that it is tremendously hard for music to achieve the kind of erotic feel that revolves around the other kind of sex. I mean, hard, decadent, tearing of clothes, kitchen-counter kind of sex.
And with that note, i present to you this video
2. "Wear You Out" at La Route du Rock, 2004
Even without seeing this performance, this song is, in my book, one of the sexiest songs of all time. The lyrics are so blatantly seductive and so unapologetic about it, especially in contrast with Wolf Like Me, which plays with meanings and metaphors, Wear You Out goes straight to the point. Seduction at its best. So it is only fitting that this performance starts the way it does, slowly, with steady drums, only to be built up into the most amazing climax by the end of it. What i love about this performance is how well Tunde and Kip Malone compliment each other. It seems like both of their voices have been blended into one to form an entire new entity, so blunt about desire in a way that is not contrived or trite but honest from the get-go with lines like I can barely move from want of room/ and i'm forgetting to breathe/ But the sight of you/ Has me instantly Remember my needs and then it starts ascending and ascending until it explodes at 3:10 and they sing
Well, here i am, just a man/Is this light flattering?/Did you notice my crown of feathers/And check out my vital vibrant comb?/Oh puff chest out and play strong/Grab you by the hair and pull you along
Or do I just talk to you And tell you what I really really really want to do.
I don't know if it is those lyrics, or his snake-like moves, dripped in sweat, open shirt persona, but, honestly, i think it is impossible not to be completely turned on by this performance.
Last but not least:
3. Providence, live at De La Sema, 2008
Although not as hard or sexually charged as the previous two, this song absolutely kills me. They
have created the perfect sounds to blend not only the melody but also the general tone of the song which is, unmistakably hopeful. Kip Malone stated on an interview that he saw LOVE IS THE PROVIDENCE OF THE BRAVE written on a wall, a quote by Gandhi, and that is how the idea of the song came about. For me, personally, it is about moving on, but that is just my interpretation of it. I bet that it speaks to so many others in so many other levels. I think this song does a great job at salvaging the stubbornness of the human heart, from all aspects, from the melody to the words, i find it so inspiring and beautiful.
Anyway, so yes, TV on the Radio. I cannot say enough about them, except that i hope they keep making music and their vision of music as art never changes. I'll close with this; on an interview with the site Hate Something Beautiful, when they ask Tunde Adebimpe how did you he got into music, he replied
Probably like I'm guessing maybe 45 seconds after I came out of my mother's womb. I can't really imagine my life with out music. I mean as far as getting into recording and playing it, it was mostly as a teenager, messing around with friends in bands. I always hanging out in a group of people or doing a lot creative work and the bands were a huge part of that. I don't know. I can't pinpoint the exact second I got into music, it's always. When I think about my life without music, it becomes a very cold and sinister thing and I don't like to think about it.