Another Top Indie Album for 2014

3 Dec

TV on the Radio is a four-piece indie rock band out of Brooklyn, NY. The band formed in 2001 and has released four previous studio albums, plus a number of EPs. In mid-November, the band debuted its fifth studio album, Seeds. The album showcases everything from melodious, pop-rock anthems with a hint of 1980s bands such as Depeche Mode to really nice jangle rock and even high-energy punk. Together, this makes Seeds another outstanding album in a year that’s been full of them.

TV on the Radio was founded by David Sitek, who has also worked with bands such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, Celebration, Little Dragon, and Beady Eye; and Babatunde Omoroga “Tunde” Adebimpe, whose distinctive, warm tenor gives TV on the Radio’s vocals their unique quality.

The first single from the album was “Happy Idiot,” a jittery electro-pop number that could be the soundtrack accompanying one of those high-speed films that depict 24 hours of life in two minutes.

Another video that the band has released is for “Careful You,” a song that really harkens back to the synth-driven rock of the 1980s. The lyrics switch back and forth between “careful you” and “care for you” in this song of yearning for lost love.

“Ride” is an amazing indie-rock anthem that starts with an extended (more than two minute) piano-and-synthesized strings, ballad-type play-in — then shifts into a great rock and rock “ride,” with a strong backbeat and interesting keyboards.

“Lazerray” is the all-out punk number I referenced above, and the band does it really well. In lesser hands, this shift from 80s synth-rock to punk would feel forced, with a “Hey – we’re an 80s synth band trying to be punk rockers” vibe. But “Lazerray” is simply great, honest punk, worthy of some of the best punk purveyors.

Looking for jangle rock? Try “Could You” or “Trouble.” Both have well-written lyrics, again beautifully sung by Adebimpe.

The album ends with the title track, “Seeds.” The song is on the softer side, but with an ominous fuzz-bass synth that casts a shadow over the track, which focuses on trying to make a relationship work. Intricate layers are added as the song builds, making it a satisfying conclusion to the album.

Give Seeds a listen. Despite the quirky name, TV on the Radio is a fabulous indie band whose music has stood the test of time…with a new album that will make many year-end “best-of” lists.

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