Music: TV on the Radio

I've been making a concerted effort the last few years to avoid being one of those graying sages that drift to life's distant finish line on fumes from the music they came of age with, writing off everything composed after age 20 or so as "crap".

Objectively, most music of any era sucks and separating the gold from the dross takes time and energy. This is easier when you're young, since opinions are not yet set in stone and you're surrounded by others investigating their own preferences, musical and otherwise. In military parlance, it's a "target rich environment".

Later in life, most people seem to view expending resources so precious on something so ephemeral as frivolity. My feeling is that music can stay as vital to a fogey like me as it was to my footloose younger self, and I see the cost of its unearthing as a worthy investment in spiritual wellbeing.

Without further ado, here is my favorite discovery of the past month or so;
TV on the Radio

Their songs are dramatic constructs, the best of them building slowly to a cathartic release that makes the hair on your neck stand at attention. Also important (to me anyway), their vocalist can sing the hell out of a tune. Nothing shatters my enthusiasm more completely than some ersatz Bob Dylan screeching off key, regardless of how passionate and searing the lyrics are. A singer who can't sing is the equivalent of a writer who can't spell...they may well have something to say, but I'm not going to hang around puzzling it out.

These cats combine loops and other conventions of modern electronic music with distorted guitar, fabulous lyrics and as mentioned a well developed sense of pace and drama that is unique on the modern scene. The overall impression is of traversing an alley in a seedy part of town, descending a partially hidden stairway behind an empty dumpster and ending up in a subterranean opera house with an orchestra that's grown up feral.

You absolutely can't lose with their EP, Young Liars. It's transcendental, flat out. Their a capella cover of the pixies Mr. Grieves is worth the price of admission, and it's probably the third best song on a 4 song release. The title cut is my favorite single tune so far this year, it's in heavy heavy rotation.
Their recent full length release Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes is a bit uneven, as if they surprised themselves with such a strong burst out of the gate and needed to find their footing on the straightaway.

But it boasts several excellent tracks, and if it's not as perfectly formed as the EP it's still monumental. The 7 minute plus closing opus Wear You Out spackles over and sands flat any earlier reservations and leaves you feeling happily complete.

so, check them out, however you do it these days.
The EP can be had for under ten bucks, your excuses are limited.

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