After some early dabbling with the irreverent album-exercise “Ok Calculator” and the promising-but-raw “Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes,” TV on the Radio hit their stride in 2006 with “Return to Cookie Mountain,” where their wailing falsettos and rhythmic, instrumental layering found a home — and climbed numerous “Album of the Year” lists.
The Brooklyn band has risen to newer, more dazzling heights with their recent followup, “Dear Science,” a calculated, beautiful mess. Dreamy static-scratch overlays a meaty instrumental lineup chock full of horns, strings, and percussive elements both lo- and hi-fi, yet the production is more seamless and slick than any of their past projects.
The band returns tonight to the Brooklyn Masonic Temple for the last of three sold-out shows. While we can’t offer you any tickets (wish we could!), we’ve got a pretty sweet alternative: a taste of the music that influences TVOTR.
Below, bassist Gerard Smith (second from right, above) shares the band’s own personal playlist as of late. From Aaliyah’s “Try Again” (a damn good dance track we’d nearly forgotten) to Grizzly Bear member Daniel Rossen’s excellent side project, Department of Eagles, it’s an eclectic assembly of old and new that reminds us just how much TVOTR defies the usual indie-rock taxonomy.
1. “Little Brother,” Grizzly Bear
2. “Spectre Serenade,” Pure Horsehair (Bushwick’s beautiful indie folk duo offered this mp3>>; they play Union Pool tomorrow night>>)
3. “No One Does It Like You,” Department of Eagles (available for download>>)
4. “The Ship Song,” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
5. “The Not Knowing,” Tindersticks
6. “La Chasse aux Papillons,” Georges Brassens
7. “Ballad of a Thin Man,” Bob Dylan
8. “Try Again,” Aaliyah
9. “Carnival Celebration,” Small Island Pride
10. “Say it to Me Now,” The Frames
11. “Love Hangover,” Diana Ross
Sent by Nicole and Jocelyn. TVOTR photo by Michael Lavine.