TV on the Radio

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TV on the Radio
TV on the Radio performing in 2008
TV on the Radio performing in 2008
Background information
OriginBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
Years active2001–present
MembersTunde Adebimpe
David Sitek
Kyp Malone
Jaleel Bunton
Past membersGerard Smith (deceased)

TV on the Radio (TVOTR[2][3]) is an American rock band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2001. The band consists of Tunde Adebimpe (vocals, loops), David Andrew Sitek (guitars, keyboards, loops), Kyp Malone (vocals, guitars, bass, loops), and Jaleel Bunton (drums, bass, vocals, loops, guitars). Gerard Smith (bass, keyboards, loops) was a member of the band from 2005 until his death in 2011.

TVOTR has released 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), alongside several EPs.


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[4]). 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.[citation needed]

The band's second album, Return to Cookie Mountain, leaked in early 2006 and garnered pre-release praise from Pitchfork Media[5] before its official release in July. The record was released in the US and Canada in September on Interscope. Spin magazine named Return to Cookie Mountain its Album of the Year for 2006.[6] The record features guest appearances by David Bowie, Omega Moon, Celebration, Dragons of Zynth, Martin Perna and Stuart D. Bogie of Antibalas, Blonde Redhead, and 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 two million views on YouTube.[7] During the US tour, TVOTR performed a few covers with Bauhaus vocalist, Peter Murphy, and Nine Inch Nails frontman, Trent Reznor.

The band's third album, Dear Science, was released on 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,[8] The Guardian,[9] Spin,[10] The A.V. Club,[11] MTV,[12] Entertainment Weekly,[13] Pitchfork Media's readers' poll,[14] as well as the Pazz and Jop critic's poll.[15] It was also named the second best album of 2008 by NME and the fourth best by Planet Sound.

On September 22, 2008, TV on the Radio performed "Dancing Choose" on the Late Show with David Letterman.[16] 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" again on the February 9, 2009, episode of The Colbert Report.[citation needed]

On September 3, 2009, Tunde Adebimpe announced that TV on the Radio would be taking a year-long hiatus.[17] Guitarist Kyp Malone's solo album, under the name Rain Machine, was released on September 22, 2009, on ANTI-.[18] A solo album by Dave Sitek, Maximum Balloon, was released August 24, 2010, on Interscope, and featured a variety of guest vocals by many of his musician friends, such as Karen O, David Byrne, and both of his TVOTR vocalist bandmates.[19] In addition, Sitek produced Holly Miranda's album The Magician's Private Library, which also featured fellow TVOTR members Jaleel Bunton and Kyp Malone.

In March 2010, Tunde Adebimpe designed a charity t-shirt for the Yellow Bird Project to raise money for Haiti Relief via Partners in Health.[20]

On February 7, 2011, the band announced an end to their hiatus, along with an upcoming fourth album.[21][22]

Nine Types of Light was released on April 12, 2011, 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 different directors under Adebimpe's supervision.[citation needed]

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 Smith's death 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."[23]

In May 2013, TVOTR 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".[24] They began streaming the studio version of "Mercy" online on July 30, 2013, and released the song for sale at digital music outlets a short time later.[citation needed] They also made the multitracks from "Mercy" available to fans so they could make their own remixes.[citation needed] The next single, "Million Miles", was released digitally a few months later.[citation needed]

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

In early 2015, it was announced that TVOTR would perform at the Shaky Knees and Boston Calling Music Festivals in May.[25] On April 9, 2015, the band announced a 2015 North American summer tour to promote the new record. The tour began in May and included a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 27.[26][27]

Style and influences[edit]

TV on the Radio has said that their eclectic music is due to their appreciation for diverse bands, including Bad Brains, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nancy Sinatra, Serge Gainsbourg,[28] Brian Eno,[29] and Pixies. Adebimpe covered the Pixies song "Mr. Grieves" under the TVOTR moniker at the beginning of his career, layering his voice over forty times.[citation needed] The band has also cited Prince's "Purple Rain" as a classic.[30] TV on the Radio have also named post-punk acts Wire[28] and Siouxsie and the Banshees as influences.[31]

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

Tunde Adebimpe at Harvest Festival, 2011
  • Tunde Adebimpe – co-lead vocals, backing vocals, programming, sequencer (2001–present)
Dave Sitek in 2015
  • David Sitek – lead guitar, programming, sampler, bass, synthesizer, horns, percussion (2001–present)
Kyp Malone in 2009
  • Kyp Malone – co-lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer, strings (2003–present)
  • Jaleel Bunton – drums, percussion (2005–present in studio; 2005–2011 live); guitar, Rhodes, organ, synthesizer, backing vocals (2005–present); programming, strings (2008–present); bass (2011–present)

Touring members[edit]

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

Former members[edit]

  • Gerard Smith – bass, organ, piano, sampler, programming, Rhodes (2005–2011)

Former touring members[edit]



  1. ^ Phares, Heather. "TV On The Radio – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "TV on the Radio review – this one is for the fans…". November 2, 2014.
  3. ^ "How TV on the Radio Influenced Popular Rock Music". January 25, 2019.
  4. ^ Harrington, Richard (April 13, 2007), "TV on the Radio: Coming in Loud and Clear", Washington Post, pp. WE06, retrieved September 30, 2008
  5. ^ Dahlen, Chris. "Return to Cookie Mountain Archived 2007-07-14 at the Wayback Machine". Pitchfork Media, July 5, 2007. Retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  6. ^ "The 40 Best Albums of 2006". Spin, December 14, 2006. Retrieved on November 2, 2007.
  7. ^ ""Wolf Like Me" on YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  8. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2008". Rolling Stone. December 25, 2008. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  9. ^ Jonze, Tim (December 12, 2008). "No 1: TV On the Radio – Dear Science". London: Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  10. ^ "The 20 Best Albums of 2008". Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  11. ^ "The best music of 2008". The A.V. Club. December 10, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  12. ^ Montgomery, James (December 17, 2008). "The Best Albums Of 2008, In Bigger Than The Sound". Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  13. ^ "10 Best CDs of 2008: Leah Greenblatt's Picks". Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  14. ^ "2008 Pitchfork Readers Poll". December 12, 2008. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  15. ^ "New York Pazz and Jop". November 10, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  16. ^ "TV on the Radio – Dancing Choose on Letterman". YouTube. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  17. ^ Montgomery, James (September 3, 2009). "TV On The Radio To Go On Hiatus". Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  18. ^ "Rain Machine". ANTI. Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Matheson, Whitney (March 30, 2011). "Cool book alert: 'Indie Rock Poster Book'". USA Today. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
  21. ^ "TV on the Radio Return!". Pitchfork. February 7, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  22. ^ "NEW ALBUM, Nine Types of Light, COMING SPRING 2011 – BAND TO PLAY RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL APRIL 1". Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  23. ^ "TV On The Radio's Gerard Smith dies at 36". Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  24. ^ "ATP curated by TV On The Radio". Retrieved October 12, 2014
  25. ^ Ollman, Jonah (January 13, 2015). "Boston Calling Announces May 2015 Lineup". Sound of Boston. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  26. ^ "TV On The Radio 2015 North American Tour Schedule". April 16, 2015. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  27. ^ "ANNOUNCED: TV On The Radio East Coast Tour". April 9, 2015. Archived from the original on April 11, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  28. ^ a b Harris, David. "TV on the Radio (David Sitek): Interview". September 2008
  29. ^ "SoundToys Fanatic – David Sitek" Archived May 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Keyes, J. Edward. "TV on the Radio"[dead link].
  31. ^ "Icon: Siouxsie", The Fader Magazine, The Icon Issue 67, April/May 2010. Page 74

External links[edit]