Daily Archives: April 12, 2011

TV On The Radio – Nine Types of Light [NEW MUSIC]

'Nine Types of Light' is the band's first album recorded outside of New York.


1. This TV On The Radio album, NineTypes of Light (Interscope), isa lush and beautiful album that stands apart from the group’s previous work. Iftheir other albums had shades of dystopia and distress, this album, sung byTunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone, is filled with songs about longing and love.”I like love songs. There’s nothing particularly interesting going on withme in my life to bear this work. I like the forms of love songs, thepoetry.” Kyp adds that though there might be more “positivity”on this album, it wasn’t an overall conceit they set out to do. “We’veattempted to work on themes before but they fall apart very quickly. Moreorganic versions arise because we’re sharing time or space orcommunication.”

Though Nine Types of Lightwill sound like an album full of love songs, often the true meaning of thesongs lie deeper. On “You,” Tunde sings a haunted refrain;you’re the only one I have ever loved.The sincerity of his voice sells the idea of absolute adoration. But Tundeexplains, “It’s a song about the feeling you get sometimes when you’reexpressing how much you care about someone but resorting to these beautifulsounding lies. You’re the only one I ever loved? It’s a terrible thing to sayto someone because it’s most likely not true.”

2. Nine Types of Light is the fourth albumfrom TV on the Radio. You will want to refer to it as the “fourth properstudio album” from TV On The Radio; those albums were preceded by an EP, Young Liars, and an 18-track handmadeCD called OK Calculator, that isconsidered more like a demo tape (because it was “released” by beinghidden in random sofa cushions of New York coffee shops). Enhancing nearlyevery aspect of their Shortlist Prize-winning Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain was released to crazy universal acclaim. Rolling Stone said “It might be the mostoddly beautiful, psychedelic and ambitious album of the year,” with The New York Times agreeing: “It’s more experimental yet catchier, more introspective yet moreassertive, by turns gloomier and funnier, and above all richer in both soundand implication. ‘Return to CookieMountain’ is simply one of this year’s best albums.”

Nine Types of Light is the follow-up tothe band’s gorgeous, glorious 2008 release, Dear Science, and proved to be its breakout release. It was namedalbum of the year by Rolling Stone, Spin,Pitchfork, Entertainment WeeklyandMTV; and touring behind the album, the group sold out a year’s worth oflive shows across the world. This, however, did not prevent everyone fromreferring to TV On The Radio as a Brooklyn band. That is not a bad thing. Thegroup – Tunde Adebimpe, Kyp Malone, DaveSitek, Jaleel Bunton, Gerard Smith – are indeed from Brooklyn.

3. But sometimes it’s ok to leave. The band recorded Nine Types of Light in Los Angeles, thefirst time they have recorded outside of Brooklyn. In 2010, the group’smulti-instrumentalist, producer and sometimes beat-boxer, Dave Sitek, moved toLos Angeles because that’s where the money he wanted a change ofscenery. Nine Types of Light wasrecorded at his home studio. The experience of recording away from the friendlyconfines of Greenpoint and Williamsburg wasn’t such a pleasant one, however,but not because of any reactionary dislike of LA that sometimes comes from NewYorkers. “I actually like Los Angeles a lot,” says Jaleel. “Butif there’s a bohemian part of the city, a place that can be a creativesanctuary, we were staying in a place that was the opposite.”

“It was in a high-end mall down the street from Rodeo Drive,and a few blocks from the Modern Institute of Plastic Surgery,” saysTunde. “And they were doing construction on our floor the whole time wewere there. It wasn’t so much squalor as it was…if I were a door-to-doorsalesman, it’s where I would kill myself.”

Nine Types of Light was written andrecorded in about three months – slightly quicker than they’ve recorded anyprevious album.

4. TV On The Radio do not write traditional pop songs. Often, theychange direction two or three times in one song. Distorted guitars, saunteringand reverberating bass,

TVOTR tunes are just-barely containing an explosive amount ofenergy underneath itself – and that tension is nothing less than thrilling. Ithas become somewhat of a signature of the band, particularly matched withTunde’s serene and poetic vocals. On this album, the group takes an admittedlysimpler approach to some of their songs. “Will Do,” starts out withwind chimes before giving away to that trademark buzz, with Tunde singing aboutthe yearning for his ungovernable, unrequited love of another. “I thinkthe songs on this album, to me, maybe sound simpler,” Tunde says.”But it just might be that we have gotten better at what we do.”

Other songs on Nine TypesOf Light include more up-tempo post-rock jams like “No Future Shock”(vocals by Kyp) and the ’80s-rap-beat “Caffeinated Consciousness,”which sounds like it was influenced by Big Audio Dynamite.

TV On The Radio's new disc presents their most hummable melodies and enjoyable beats ever.

5. Nine Types of Light might sound like apeculiar name for an album. Perhaps a reference to a core scientific principleon the refraction of sunlight. Or a grand ideology of film or photographytechniques. But the album title actually isn’t a reference to anythingspecific, the band says. It holds no cryptic meaning. “It’s something thatkept circling around in my head,” Tunde says. “It struck me as oddthat that phrase, when you keep it to just nine types of light, it’s excludinga billion other types of light. I like how it’s a little slippery.” Thus,no one should ask Tunde to actually list the nine types of light he isreferring to.

6. There is a cycle that a band goes through with each release thatinvolves recording an album, releasing it and then touring behind it. For agroup with a loyal and growing fan-base like TV On The Radio, that cycle canlast about two years, which is an awful lot of time to spend with people in a highly-creativeenvironment. This is what happened after Dear Science. “After the lastshow (for Dear Science), I just wanted to do anything that wasn’t this,”Tunde explains. “It was such an intense experience – not bad or goodnecessarily, just intense. I spent a lot of time after that writing and drawingpictures.” Says Gerard Smith, “It allows us to do the other things wewant to do, or to just decompress, and then come back to the band with somefocus. We don’t ever want to feel like we have to do this, that it’s a job,necessarily.”

7. As celebrated and wonderful as TV On The Radio is, the entity isnot enough to contain the entire creative thirst of its members, and the band’sfive members accomplished in the time between albums. Tunde and Gerard wroteand composed music for “The Lottery,” a documentary that looks atpublic education through the eyes of Harlem’s Success Academy annual intakelottery. Tunde also worked on a series of short films that he says may or maynot ever see the light of day. He, of course, also starred in theOscar-nominated film, Rachel GettingMarried. Gerard spent time making music on his own, producing new musicfrom the NYC-based Midnight Masses. Jaleel spent the period in between recordsmoving out from behind the drums to playing guitar again, his first instrument.He also played in the blues and gospel band, Reverend Vince Anderson & HisLove Choir (“One of my favorite gigs ever,” he says), and continuedto periodically tend bar at legendary Lower East Side bar, Max Fish.

Dave Sitek released his own solo album under the name, MaximumBalloon (DGC/Interscope), which featured friends like Karen O, TheophilusLondon and David Byrne. He played with, collaborated with and produced artistslike the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wale and Holly Miranda. Recently he announced hewould be producing and playing bass on the new album from Jane’s Addiction. Kypreleased his solo album under the name Rain Machine, and embarked on a coupleof brief tours, including a recent one with his friend from San Francisco,singer-songwriter, Jolie Holland. One would think the last thing they’d want todo during a break would be more recording and touring, but Kyp feltdifferently. He says, “I feel like every concentrated experience of makinga record, touring a record, and playing with different people, dealing withdifferent social dynamics potentially increases my musicianship and how Iunderstand music.”

8. TV On The Radio plan an extensive tour beginning just before therelease ofNine Types of Light. Theywill headline Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 13, the day after thealbum’s release.

The Movie of the Album:

Find out more @ http://www.tvontheradio.com/


By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Half Hearted Hero [MUSIC]

Oh, pop punk.  Dearest friend, cruelest enemy, my poison, my mainstay, my first love and my mistress still. I’ve been writing almost a month and still have yet to disclose the nature of our relationship to the people.

The first time I heard “What’s My Age Again?” I was slain.  It was hands down the catchiest song I’d ever heard.  I probably should’ve been put off by how much of my mom’s old “Boston” records I heard in it, but, alas, I was too young to recognize cheese.  Doesn’t matter.  Even if I had I don’t know if it would’ve made a damn bit of difference.  Anthony Bourdain craves his street food, I crave those double time drums, shouted vocals and pogo pits (also, Troma movies and gummi bears – but that’s a blog for another time).

This craving lead me to NOFX, Green Day, Bad Religion, Lagwagon, New Found Glory, Jawbreaker, upward and onward into the early ‘aughts, emo, and acne.  Now I’m twenty-four and my horizons are broad, but I’m always looking for my new fix.

Enter Half Hearted Hero.  Right off the bat: minor quibble, but they’re losing points for the name.  I know, picky, picky, but c’mon- it kinda sounds like they’re playing a high school talent show, and nothing could be further from the truth.

How this band is not buzzed into space by now is one of the great mysteries of our time.  Did aliens crash at Roswell?  Where’s Jimmy Hoffa?  Who cares.  The real question is why haven’t we given these dudes the pop-punk crown and a nice big steak.

I know, I know, we’re in the midst of a pop-punk renaissance, what with The Wonder Years, Yellowcard, Man Overboard, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, and maybe even Blink (!) releasing albums at some point this year, there’s a lot of strong competition.  Many of these artists bring a fresh musical perspective to a tired genre, infusing it with elements from hardcore or indie (similar to what’s happening in rap, though there’s a good argument that rap itself never really got tired – just its hitmakers), but for my money, no one’s doing it as well as Half Hearted Hero.

Their new EP, Running Water, blasts through six tracks on the back of necksnapping drums and splintery, complex guitar leads, all held to earth by bass playing cast in concrete.  It’s a cocktail of Rufio’s intricate catchiness cut with Moneen’s passion and earthy emotion.  The back-to-back bullets of tracks four and five – “The Wheels” and “Mirrors” – capture the best of what HHH brings to the table.

“The Wheels” opens with one of the most angular, pleasurably syncopated riffs I’ve heard all year and never lets up – though I don’t know which guitarist Clinton Lisboa or AJ Mills to thank.  Vocalist Anthony Savino belts intelligent lyrics with passion (“Another empty page and I wonder what to lay upon it/Maybe an apology/A declaration of remorse”) and the acoustic outro lets the listener gulp some air before the band drops the mammoth jam that is “Mirrors.”

Holy.  Crap.

If Blink 182 are the big, shiny, mindless Michael Bay of pop-punk, Half Hearted Hero are Werner Herzog, blazing headlong into the wilderness with a passionate cry.  Call bullshit on the genre if you want, but turn this track up – even on some cheap headphones – and try not to get lost in the first twenty seconds.  The climbing riff, the pulverizing stomp of the kick twelve seconds in: it’s heavy music for light people.  The guitars don’t stop, but they never feel lost.  Bands that play this technical style of pop-punk often find themselves careening through songs lead by a handful of guitar parts that are repeated ad-nausea.  Not so much of that here –Lisboa and Mills play each note with precision and purpose, building on what came seconds before and driving the piece to one epic guitar solo and at least two climaxes.

Some would argue that this aversion to repetition will keep the band from crafting the hooks needed to get to the next level in their career.  For pop radio that relies on an unwavering verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure (and let’s face it, leans rather heavily on the “chorus” part of that equation) that’s probably true, but there are moments in each song that will wrap around your brain and not let go – see the outro of “Five Points” or :25 into “Start Where You Are.”

Catchy as their peers?  Maybe not.  Bad name?  Sure, but if those are the two biggest knocks against a band with this much skill, passion and intelligence they’re barely knocks at all.  Wherever Half Hearted Hero go from here (barring “hiatus”) I’ll be following.

Buy the album here!

By: Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC