TV on the Radio performs Sunday, March 21 at Hailey's, with the Wrens and the Panthers.
Tunde Adebimpe's voice wavered in and out when we spoke last week, but cellular phones weren't entirely to blame. The lead singer for Brooklyn's TV on the Radio took our phone interview to-go, so between questions about the band's debut album, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, I had to compete with the ambient noise of New York City. Still, the interview seemed to fit his musical mind-set. "I'm walking around the Lower East Side right now," Adebimpe tells me, "and it's such a collage and a mishmash of things. Anything can be next to each other, like this hundred-year-old bank sitting next to the Mercury [music club]. Whatever you throw into [the city], it works. I think that's a large part of what works on the album." And he's right: The unlikely combination of sample-driven noise, churning percussion and soulful, layered vocals melds into a large and attractive sum. It's not often that a band gets buzz in the underground scene for gorgeous singing, but that's the case with TV on the Radio's harmonies and background vocals, which stand in stark contrast to the noisy nature of the group's music. "The only instrument I can use with any efficiency is my voice," says Adebimpe, who often composes instrumentals by simply singing them. TV on the Radio began when Adebimpe and Yeah Yeah Yeahs producer David Sitek met and shared each other's four-track recordings, and the band has since grown into a five-piece. Even so, samples and loops are still a huge part of their live show, which comes to Hailey's in Denton on Sunday with fellow Brooklyn rock outfit Panthers and headliners the Wrens, who broke a seven-year drought with The Meadowlands, the best straight-out rock album of 2003. TV on the Radio, meanwhile, promises to be far from straight-out come Sunday night. "We've become...good at listening to each other even when we're making a fucking awful racket," Adebimpe says. "It will always sew itself back into something. It becomes cohesive. "