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TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio
TV on the Radio performing at the 2008 Treasure Island Festival
Background information
Origin Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Genres Indie rock, art rock[1]
Years active 2001–present
Labels Federal Prism, Interscope, 4AD, Touch and Go
Associated acts Celebration, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, David Bowie, Dragons of Zynth, Nine Inch Nails, Antibalas, Blonde Redhead, Nevermen, Iran, Maximum Balloon, Rain Machine, Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band
Members Tunde Adebimpe
David Sitek
Kyp Malone
Jaleel Bunton
Past members Gerard Smith

TV on the Radio are an American indie rock band formed in 2001 in Brooklyn, New York.

The group has released several EPs including their debut Young Liars (2003), and five studio albums: Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (2004), Return to Cookie Mountain (2006), Dear Science (2008), Nine Types of Light (2011), and Seeds (2014).

For most of the band's existence, the core TV on the Radio lineup has been Tunde Adebimpe (vocals/loops), David Andrew Sitek (guitars/keyboards/loops), Kyp Malone (vocals/guitars/bass/loops) and Jaleel Bunton (drums/vocals/loops/guitars) as official members. Gerard Smith (bass/keyboards) was with the band from 2005 until his death in 2011.

Other contributors have included David Bowie, Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Martin Perna of Antibalas, and Katrina Ford of Celebration.


  • History 1
  • Appearances in TV & Film 2
  • Style and influences 3
  • Line-up 4
    • Current members 4.1
    • Touring members 4.2
    • Former members 4.3
    • Former touring members 4.4
  • Discography 5
    • Studio albums 5.1
    • Demo albums 5.2
    • EPs 5.3
    • Singles 5.4
    • Other 5.5
    • Remixes 5.6
    • Videography 5.7
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The first release from TV on the Radio (initially just founding members Adebimpe and Sitek) was the self-released OK Calculator (the title being a reference to Radiohead's album OK Computer[2]). They were later joined by Kyp Malone, and released the Young Liars EP in 2003. This was followed by the full-length Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes which earned the band the 2004 Shortlist Music Prize. They released a second EP, New Health Rock, later that year.

Their third album, Return to Cookie Mountain, leaked in early 2006 and garnered pre-release praise from Pitchfork Media[3] before its official release in July overseas. U.S. and Canadian release was in September on Interscope. Spin magazine named Return to Cookie Mountain its Album of the Year for 2006.[4] The album features guest appearances from David Bowie, Omega Moon, Celebration, Dragons of Zynth, Martin Perna and Stuart D. Bogie of Antibalas, Blonde Redhead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner. Bowie contributed back-up vocals on the song "Province". In promotion of the album, the band performed " Wolf Like Me" on the Late Show with David Letterman, which has garnered over 2 million views on YouTube.[5] During the U.S. tour, the band performed a few covers with Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor.

The band's fourth album, Dear Science, was released September 23, 2008 on Interscope. It was made available for streaming on their Myspace page and subsequently leaked onto the internet on September 6, 2008. The album was named the best album of 2008 by Rolling Stone,[6] The Guardian,[7] Spin magazine,[8] The Onion AV Club,[9] MTV,[10] Entertainment Weekly,[11] the Pitchfork Media's readers poll[12] as well as the Pazz and Jop critic's poll.[13] It was also named the second best album of 2008 by NME and the fourth best album of 2008 by Planet Sound.

On September 22, 2008, TV on the Radio performed "Dancing Choose" in the setting of a flight of outer apartment stairs on the Late Show with David Letterman.[14] They also appeared on Later... with Jools Holland on September 30, 2008, performing "Golden Age" and "Dancing Choose", which were the same songs they performed on Saturday Night Live on February 7, 2009. The band performed "Dancing Choose" on the February 9, 2009 episode of The Colbert Report.

On September 3, 2009, Tunde Adebimpe announced that TV on the Radio would be taking a year-long hiatus.[15] Guitarist Kyp Malone's solo album, under the name Rain Machine, was released on September 22, 2009 on ANTI-.[16] A solo album by Dave Sitek, Maximum Balloon, was released August 24, 2010 on Interscope, featuring a variety of guest vocals by many of his musician friends such as Karen O, David Byrne, and both of his TV on the Radio vocalist bandmates, and numerous others.[17] In addition, Sitek produced Holly Miranda's album The Magician's Private Library, which also featured fellow TV on the Radio members Jaleel Bunton and Kyp Malone.

In March 2010 the band's lead vocalist, Tunde Adebimpe, designed a charity T-shirt for the Yellow Bird Project to raise money for Haiti Relief via Partners in Health.[18]

On February 7, 2011, the band announced an end to their hiatus, along with their upcoming album Nine Types of Light.[19][20]

On April 12, 2011, the album Nine Types of Light was released along with a one-hour film under the same name containing music videos for all the songs on the album as well as interviews with various New Yorkers. The film was directed by various directors under the supervision of Tunde Adebimpe.

It was announced in March 2011, that the band's bassist, Gerard Smith, was diagnosed with lung cancer. On April 20, 2011, the band announced the death of Gerard Smith on their homepage: "We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer. Gerard passed away the morning of April 20th, 2011. We will miss him terribly."[21]

In May 2013, the band headlined and curated the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival held at Pontins holiday camp in Camber Sands, England, at which they debuted the new song "Mercy."[22] The band began streaming the studio version of "Mercy" online on July 30, 2013 and released the song for sale on digital music outlets a short time later. The band also made the multitracks from Mercy available to fans so they could make their own remixes. The next single "Million Miles." was released digitally a few months later. Both songs were later released physically on either side of a 12 Inch single, released through Dave Sitek's Federal Prism label.

On November 8, 2013, via their Facebook page, the band announced they were at work on a new album. The band made an official announcement July 29, 2014, that this new album, titled Seeds, was scheduled for a late 2014 release.

In early 2015, it was announced that the band would perform at the Shaky Knees and Boston Calling Music Festivals in May 2015.[23] On April 9, 2015 they announced a 2015 North American Summer Tour to promote the new album. The tour begins in May & run through a concert in Morrison, CO at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 27.[24][25]

Appearances in TV & Film

TV on the Radio's song, DLZ was featured in Season 2, Episode 10 of AMC Network's 'Breaking Bad'.

Tunde Adebimpe had a cameo appearance in Season 4, Episode 1 of IFC's 'Portlandia'.

TV on the Radio's song, Wolf Like Me was featured as the credits rolled for the movie 'Detention (2011 film)' and during the closing credits the FX/Denis Leary NYC Firefighter hit show Rescue Me during the Season 4 Episode "Tuesday".

TV on the Radio's Trouble appeared in Season 3, Episode 4 of NBC's The Blacklist.

Style and influences

TV on the Radio has said that their eclectic music is due to their liking of very diverse bands, including Bad Brains, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nancy Sinatra, Serge Gainsbourg,[26] Brian Eno,[27] and the Pixies. Adebimpe covered the Pixies song "Mr. Grieves" under the TV on the Radio moniker at the beginning of his career, layering his voice over forty times. The band has also cited Prince's "Purple Rain" as a classic.[28] TV on the Radio also named post-punk acts Wire[26] and Siouxsie and the Banshees.[29] Sitek stated: "I've always tried to make a song that begins like [Siouxsie's] "Kiss Them For Me" [...] with that element of surprise mode where all of a sudden this giant drum comes in".[29]


Current members

  • Tunde Adebimpe – Lead vocals, backing vocals, programmer, sequencer (2001–present)
  • Kyp Malone – Backing vocals, lead vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer, strings (2003–present)
  • David Andrew Sitek – Lead guitar, programming, sampler, bass, synthesizer, horns, percussion (2001–present)
  • Jaleel Bunton – Drums, percussion (2005–present in studio; 2005–11 live); guitar, Rhodes, organ, synthesizer, backing vocals (2005–present); programmer, strings (2008–present); bass (2011–present)

Touring members

  • Dave Smoota Smith – Trombone, percussion, Mellotron, Moog, bass (2011–present)
  • Jahphet Landis – Drums (2011–present)

Former members

  • Gerard Smith – Bass, organ, piano, sampler, programmer, Rhodes (2005–11; deceased)

Former touring members


Studio albums

Year Name Charts




2004 Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes 175
2006 Return to Cookie Mountain
  • Second studio album
  • Released on: July 6, 2006 (world)
    September 12, 2006 (U.S./Canada)
  • Label: Interscope, 4AD
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
41 50 90
2008 Dear Science
  • Third studio album
  • Released on: September 22, 2008 (world)
    September 23, 2008 (U.S./Canada)
  • Label: Interscope, 4AD
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
12 26 26 33
2011 Nine Types of Light
  • Fourth studio album
  • Released on: April 11, 2011 (world)
    April 12, 2011 (U.S./Canada)
  • Label: Interscope
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
12 25 33
2014 Seeds
  • Fifth studio album
  • Released on: November 18, 2014
  • Label: Harvest Records
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
22 42 78

Demo albums

Year Name Charts




2002 OK Calculator
  • Self-released demo
  • Released: 2002
  • Label: N/A
  • Formats:


Release date Title Label
July 8, 2003 Young Liars Touch and Go
June 25, 2004 "Staring at the Sun" 4AD
2007 iTunes Live Sessions Touch and Go
March 27, 2007 Live at Amoeba Music Interscope
April 14, 2009 Read Silence Interscope


Year Song Peak chart positions Album

2004 "Staring at the Sun" Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
"New Health Rock" 76 non-album single
2005 "Dry Drunk Emperor"
2006 "Wolf Like Me" 89 37 Return to Cookie Mountain
2007 "Province"
2008 "Golden Age" Dear Science
"Dancing Choose"
2008 "Crying"
"Family Tree"
2011 "Will Do" 34 48 Nine Types of Light
"Chemical Peels" non-album single
2013 "Mercy"
"Million Miles"
2014 "Happy Idiot" 27 42 Seeds
"Careful You"
2015 "Trouble"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.



  • Bumblebeez 81 "Pony Ride (TV on the Radio Remix)" (2004), 81 Records
  • Fischerspooner "Never Win (TV on the Radio Hoof-Hearted Mix)" (2005), FS Studios
  • Gang Gang Dance "First Communion (TV on the Radio Remix)" (2009), Sinedín Music


  • "Staring at the Sun" (March 2004, directed by Elliot Jokelson)
  • "Wolf Like Me" (September 2006, directed by Jon Watts)
  • "Province" (January 2007, directed by Jeff Scheven)
  • "Me - I" (May 2007, directed by Daniel Garcia & Mixtape Club)
  • "Golden Age" (September 2008, directed by Petro Papahadjopoulos)
  • "Dancing Choose" (September 2008, directed by Brad & Brian Palmer)
  • "Will Do" (March 2011, directed by Dugan O'Neal)
  • "Nine Types of Light" (April 2011, multiple videos directed by varying directors)
  • "Second Song" (May 2011, directed by Michael Please)
  • "Million Miles" (August 2013, directed by Natalia Leite and Kyp Malone)
  • "Mercy" (September 2013, directed by Dawn Garcia)
  • "Happy Idiot" (October 2014, directed by Danny Jelinek)
  • "Lazerray" (December 2014, directed by Atiba Jefferson)


  1. ^ Phares, Heather. "TV On The Radio - Biography".  
  2. ^ Harrington, Richard (April 13, 2007), "TV on the Radio: Coming in Loud and Clear",  
  3. ^ Dahlen, Chris. "Return to Cookie Mountain". Pitchfork Media, July 5, 2007. Retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  4. ^ "The 40 Best Albums of 2006". Spin, December 14, 2006. Retrieved on November 2, 2007.
  5. ^ Wolf Like Me" on YouTube""". YouTube. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2008". Rolling Stone. 2008-12-25. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  7. ^ Jonze, Tim (December 12, 2008). "No 1: TV On the Radio – Dear Science". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  8. ^ "The 20 Best Albums of 2008". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  9. ^ "The best music of 2008". The A.V. Club. December 10, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  10. ^ Montgomery, James (2008-12-17). "The Best Albums Of 2008, In Bigger Than The Sound". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  11. ^ "10 Best CDs of 2008: Leah Greenblatt's Picks". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  12. ^ "2008 Pitchfork Readers Poll". 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  13. ^ "New York Pazz and Jop". 2009-11-10. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  14. ^ "TV on the Radio - Dancing Choose on Letterman". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  15. ^ Montgomery, James (2009-09-03). "TV On The Radio To Go On Hiatus". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  16. ^ "Rain Machine". ANTI. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  17. ^ Billy Jones (June 14, 2010). "an interview with Dave Sitek of Maximum Balloon (the TVOTR guitarist/producer's new project w/ many guest vocalists)". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  18. ^ Matheson, Whitney (2011-03-30). "'"Cool book alert: 'Indie Rock Poster Book. USA Today. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  19. ^ "TV on the Radio Return!". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  20. ^ "NEW ALBUM, Nine Types of Light, COMING SPRING 2011 – BAND TO PLAY RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL APRIL 1". Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "TV On The Radio's Gerard Smith dies at 36". Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "ATP curated by TV On The Radio". Retrieved 12-10-2014
  23. ^ Ollman, Jonah. "Boston Calling Announces May 2015 Lineup". Sound of Boston. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  24. ^ "TV On The Radio 2015 North American Tour Schedule". April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  25. ^ "ANNOUNCED: TV On The Radio East Coast Tour". April 9, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b Harris, David. "TV on the Radio (David Sitek): Interview". September 2008
  27. ^ "SoundToys Fanatic – David Sitek"
  28. ^ Keyes, J. Edward. "TV on the Radio".
  29. ^ a b "Icon: Siouxsie", The Fader Magazine, The Icon Issue 67, April/May 2010. Page 74
  30. ^ "((( TV on the Radio > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Interscope Records profile
  • Interview (November 2008) at Webcuts
  • Nov 2008 Interview with L.A. Record
  • Interview with Gerard & Tunde Brooklyn Rail 2008 – contains details of band's formation.
  • Kyp Malone discusses his favorite songs with NPR Music
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