Monday, November 24, 2008

TV On The Radio, Restored

Blogger spiked a post I wrote on Saturday. Not sure why - the only music links were to songs freely broadcast over the radio. I thought about reposting it via screen grab from the google cache, but I'll just repost it text-wise, without the tunes. Stupid blogger.

Another record I've been slow getting to this year is the new TV On The Radio. I loved Return to Cookie Mountain, but barely even heard about Dear Science until about a week after it came out. Then I didn't even unwrap the disc after I'd bought it for about another week. Kinda shameful, and certainly a far cry from how excited I used to be whenever I'd buy a new album. But I just wasn't going to get to it right away given how busy I was. And I'm definitely making up for it now.

Dear Science is unmistakably TV On The Radio - few rock bands can merge so many genres so seamlessly. At this point, I'd say I like it even better than Cookie Mountain, but it's a close call. What's so exciting about the band is that neither records sounds like a masterpiece, and I'm pretty sure there's going to be one coming.

I just came across the band's BBC recordings from earlier this month, three incredible live in-studio tunes that are a pretty sharp departure from the album. It's fascinating to be discovering these songs about the same time as the album itself.

The live version of "Family Tree" has a far more menacing tone, as if the band is from Manchester, rather than Brooklyn. What's amazing is they don't lose the melodic quality of the song, instead just sort of enveloping it in a gloom created by the insistent, echoing drum beat. The band even said they kept it faithful to the "pre-mixed" version, rather than the cut that made the final record. I actually prefer the BBC version, especially considering the context.

"Golden Age" also has a Manchester sheen to it, turning the album version's disco bounce into more of a mid 80s dance sound. It doesn't translate quite as well as "Family Tree," but it's a fascinating sort of stripped-down sound.

"Stork & Owl" seems to me like the Dear Science song most like TVotR's earlier albums, and it's the song of this live set that sounds closest to its album version. Perhaps this new record from TV On The Radio is a bit more of a departure for the band that it sounds like at first?

(No downloads in the repost, but anyone interested can probably find them in the google cache.)

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