TV on the Radio, Noisettes

TV on the Radio, fronted by Brooklyn artiste Tunde Adebimpe, is simultaneously progressive and regressive—a forward-looking throwback that's defined by its ambiguity. Unlike all but a few recent albums, Return to Cookie Mountain, the outfit's latest full-length, is less a collection of songs than an overweening sonic statement whose whole is infinitely more impressive than its parts. To release such a recording smack dab in the middle of the downloading age takes a great deal of confidence, and the TV types have it in abundance; as evidence, note that guest star David Bowie's vocals on "Province" are thoroughly incorporated in the mix, not placed front and center as a way of boasting that a famous rocker is a fan. Granted, maintaining such an uncompromising stance while recording for a major label like Interscope, which put out Cookie, will be difficult over the long haul. Right now, however, TV on the Radio is tuned into something special. Don't change that channel.