Aside from seeing them in a very intimate space, two things made KCRW’s Apogee Sessions show with TV on the Radio extra special:
They played a bunch of songs from their forthcoming record “Seeds” that none of us had heard before and frontman Tunde Adebimpe is now a certified Angeleno (residing in Silver Lake, close to bandmate Dave Sitek and his Federal Prism studio, where they produced the album).
There is something to be said for LA pride and this band, which was once defined as a product of Brooklyn, made this album in our backyard and it’s one of their most instantly accessible to date, starting with the frenetic first single “Happy Idiot”.
They kicked off the set with that track and another single, “Careful You”, before heading into two older hits that made their diehard fans incredibly happy — “Golden Age” and “Wear You Out”, a lesser known cut from their 2004 debut.
TV on the Radio are a true collective, with four incredibly talented individuals contributing in their unique ways, and FULL of personality at every turn;
I love Tunde’s restrained theatrical flair as he sings, Dave in his glasses and black t-shirt, a mastermind in plainclothes disguise, the way Kyp Malone’s beard hides his lips so you can’t even see them moving when he sings but you can certainly hear those high notes, and how Jaleel Bunton rarely changes expressions, but holds down a mean bass line or plays a beautiful acoustic guitar, whatever the song demands.
Host Jason Bentley asked if they had a lot of material heading into the making of the album and Dave said it was an “enormous” amount.
How did they choose which ones made it?
“All the songs that were amazing we just picked,” he said jokingly, before adding that the rest are relegated for “when we have a gambling addiction” and just have to push out new tunes.
Tunde said this was the most fun he had making a record and he was simply glad “we got to team up and fight crime another time.”
Kyp got deep in talking about what he was exploring in “Could You”, saying it’s easy to say you love someone but showing love to people is very challenging. Meanwhile, the punk-like feel of “Lazzeray” was written after Tunde walked to a coffee shopped and downed a double expresso.
I love that they ended the session with another newbie, “Trouble”, with the chorus:
Everything’s gonna be ok
I keep telling myself
TV on the Radio have never followed any fads or done anything too simply. They are thoughtful musicians with a lot to say and I’m glad, 10 years in, that they still want to share their worlds with us.
The session will air on Morning Becomes Eclectic on Thursday, November 20.
KCRW’s Apogee Sessions featuring TV On The Radio – Set List
Careful You *
Happy Idiot *
Wear You Out
Could You *
*Songs from the new album “Seeds”
ALL PHOTOS BY ETHAN SHVARTZMAN