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4Play: TV on the Radio, Telekinesis, PJ Harvey, Low

Kristi Kates - April 25th, 2011
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light - InterscopeBrooklynites
TV on the Radio offer up their latest and fourth album complete with production by David Sitek, who offered up his Los Angeles home studio for the recording proceedings. A bright record than previous efforts, Nine… weaves in more human musicians and less electronic samples, with frontman Tunde Adebimpe in solid form, buoyed up by plenty of groove-based elements from the syncopated horn lines to the galloping bass, layered high-pitched chorus parts, and funky beats. Top highlights include the uber-catchy “Second Song” and the undiluted jam-stream the band calls “Caffeinated Consciousness.”




Telekinesis - Telekinesis! - Merge
Helmed by Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, this projectof musical wunderkind Michael Benjamin Lerner finds the latter doing the ultimate in musical multitasking - that is, writing all of the songs and playing most of the instrumental parts on this set. The harmonies of The Beach Boys can be heard in several of the tracks, including the mournful “Awkward Kisser” and the brighter “Tokyo,” while songs like “Look to the East” and “Rust” combine analog processing with acoustic guitars. “Coast of Carolina” offers perhaps the most upbeat vibe, although all of these tunes are interestingly propellant and poppy.




PJ Harvey - Let England Shake - Vagrant
While Harvey can sometimes be a bit too avant-garde for her own good, other times her quirky approach to songcraft makes her one of the most interesting underground singer-songwriters of the time. Many of her most notable song accomplishments occurred early in her career; this album harkens back to those times with a more focused, thematic (wartime) sensibility. The writing is distinctively Harvey, but there are other flourishes that make these songs unique, from the bugles on “The Glorious Land” to the modernized sampling on “Written on the Forehead” and the poetically maudlin yet challenging title track.


Low - C’mon - Sub Pop
Perhaps best termed as “rocking folk music,” Minnesota band Low’s first release in four years or so finds them in a somewhat experimental mood, inviting in Wilco guitarist Nels Cline to add his work to a couple of tracks (including standout “Done”) and putting much of the focus on darker, more thoughtful songs like “Especially Me, “$20,” the epic staging of “Nothing But Heart,” and the pretty, floating pair of tunes that are “Nightingale” and “Try to Sleep.” This Low set is absent the usual production of Mercury Rev/Flaming Lips cohort Dave Fridmann, but that’s almost a bonus as it seems to push them into newer ground.
 
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