New York’s Finest Deliver Again
To say that 2006 was a great year for New York’s indie rock superheroes TV On The Radio is a bit of understatement. The release of Return to Cookie Mountain, the follow-up to 2004 Shortlist Prize winner Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, resulted in the band winning Spin Magazine’s annual Album of the Year voting and landing in the Top 10 lists of almost every other music periodical. Following such a hectic year, TVOTR surprised many with the recent release of Live at Amoeba Music, a four-track EP taped at the famed record store’s L.A. branch. At first thought, TVOTR without Dave Sitek’s wizard-like production in the studio would seem to be lacking some magic. However, halfway through the crashing rhythm of opener “Blues From Down Here,” two things become clear: 1.TVOTR is one of the most creative bands in music today and 2. TVOTR puts the “rock” back in “indie rock.”
All four tracks hail from Return but instrumental additions and the album’s stripped-down feel offer listeners a new kind of enjoyment. Intermittent tuba blares accent the peaks and valleys of “Blues From Down Here,” while guitarists Sitek and Kyp Malone combine angular chords and a dangling wind chime to create a Radiohead-inspired web of sound from an extended instrumental section of “Province.” “Wolf Like Me” and “Wash The Day” feed off vocalist Tunde Adebimpe’s energetic scream as the former is urgent and powerful while the latter slows to an almost tribal rumble below a floating flute.
While only providing twenty-four minutes of listening joy, Live at Amoeba gives reason to believe that after the success of 2006, TVOTR’s innovative tank is hardly dry.