TV on the Radio's little-known side projects

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TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio

As you probably gleaned from our interview with TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe, TVOTR is not only an amazing group together, but its made of incredibly talented individuals who have their hands in all kinds of extracurriculars: Adebimpe started out as a Claymation master, pitting obnoxious celebrities against each other in gory fights for MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch; Jaleel Bunton plays with NYC fixture Reverend Vince Anderson (and if you're lucky you'll find him bartending at Max Fish). These guys are regular Renaissance men.

To learn about more of the lesser-known cool things these marvelously bearded Brooklynites do and have done outside their day job, check through nifty slide show below. Oh, and don't miss their Radio City Music Hall debut next Wednesday.

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    Aziz Ansari and Dave Sitek get Raaaaaaaandy
    You know how it is with comedians when they get hot, they subject their audience to a barrage of money-making projects to capitalize on their new-found fame before it fizzles out. Case and point: Seth Rogan's Green Hornet. But Parks and Recreation star and Williamsburg stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari has a different strategy--- release a rap record. It's working for Community star Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino, right? So, Ansari has linked up with TVOTR producer extraordinaire, Dave Sitek, to drop the highly anticipated Raaaaaaaandy mixtape. Sitek and Aziz have already posted some pretty hilarious videos on Funny or Die to hype up the mixtape, check them out here.

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    Gerard Smith and Shannon Funchess are A Rose Parade
    Our hearts go out to TVOTR's bass player Gerard Smith, who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Smith has played a crucial role in TV on the Radio's signature sound, laying down some of the funkiest bass lines of the last decade--- just listen to "Golden Age" from 2008's Dear Science.

    In his off-time with TVOTR, Smith launched A Rose Parade, an excellent side-project with Shannon Funchess of !!! and Light Asylum. Although, the group remains unsigned and has only held a handful of live performances, Smith's minimal mix of drum loops and guitars with Funchess unmistakable howl left a great impact on those lucky enough to see this band play. Their active Myspace page is a great place to explore the early works of this duo. Let's all hope Smith starts feeling better so we can hear more of what A Rose Parade has to offer.

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    Tunde Adebimpe starring in...
    In the 2001 indie comedy Jump Tomorrow, Tunde Adebimpe plays a character not unlike himself. Although the main character, George, does not front an experimental rock band; he offers that endearing and humble charm that we all know Adebimpe for. Like so many of the best TVOTR songs, the core of Jump Tomorrow is concerned with that insatiable yearning or search for true romantic love. Predating TV on the Radio's first album by a year, Jump Tomorrow was major artistic accomplishment for Tunde. The film garnered 4 British Independent Film Award nominations including best picture and can totally be added to your Netflix Instant Queue right now.

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    Jaleel Bunton shreds for Rev. Vince
     Although Jaleel Bunton is known for manning the drums for TV on the Radio, he's actually a master at funky minimal guitar licks. You can hear them on TVOTR's records, or live in concert with Rev. Vince (pictured) and his Love Choir every Monday night at Williamsburg's Union Pool, where the soulful group has a residency. Vince is a real minister, so the group's concerts at the Union Pool are as spiritual as their are raucous. With Bunton's help, the Rev.'s sets have the energy of a Baptist church revival and the frenetic bombast of a punk rock show.

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    Kyp Malone's band before Blood Thirsty Babes
    Back in the early oughts before TVOTR was a even a concept--- much less a full fledged band, Kyp Malone's main music gig was collaborating with songwriter and film director Aaron Aites on militantly lo-fi recordings under the moniker Iran. In 2002, the duo released the gorgeously noisy LP The Moon Boys. It took 6 years for Iran to release another traditional album. In the meantime, Malone got with a sick ass clique and went all out. While Aites filmed Until The Light Takes Us, an intimate documentary on Norwegian black metal. Iran returned in 2009 with Dissolver, an album that flexes the bigger budget and studio know-how learned and earned by Malone and Aites over the years. Although, no official dates are set; Iran is a project that both Malone and Aites are committed to and will likely yield new music in the future.

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    Tunde Adebimpe makes art with his mouth and his hands
    With obnoxious "celebrities" like UCLA's Alexandra Wallace and Charlie Sheen running around, the world could use a little comedic relief from MTV's gruesome and sadly defunct late-90s claymation show, Celebrity Deathmatch. Tunde Adebimpe, who graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, contributed to this landmark television series as an animator before he became a big time rock star. We always knew underneath that affable exterior was a sick and twisted mind.

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    Kyp Malone howls for Ginsberg
    The Beat Generation has cast a long shadow over every major youth movement in its wake, including the exciting scene of artists and musicians that thrived in post-9/11 Williamsburg. TV on the Radio was a major part of that Williamsburg scene, which is often associated with the term hipster--- a term that was originally used to describe a 40s-era jazz-subculture of blacks who were worshipped by the Beats in the 50s. So, it made perfect sense that Malone, who rocks the coolest Ginsberg beard in the 'Burg, was asked to inaugurate the National Gallery's exhibit of photographs by beat poet Allen Ginsburg (pictured) called "Howl in the City" in the summer of 2010 with a rousing free solo performance. As forward thinking as Malone and company are, endeavours like this show their reverence the past.

  • Photograph: Rob Sheridan

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    Tunde Adebimpe's getting movie-d
    Although Anne Hathaway was the only actor from Rachel Getting Married to nab an Oscar nod, Tunde Adebimpe's incredible a Capella rendition of Neil Young's "Unknown Legend" at the climax of this film was our favorite scene in the movie. Similar to Jump Tomorrow, Adebimpe's role as Sidney---the guy Rachel is getting married to---didn't require him to get his method actor-on like Deniro and only eat cheese doodles upside down for six month. Instead, he played a guy much like himself: an awesome, likable musician. We wouldn't have it any other way.



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    Jaleel Bunton takes on Shakespeare
    The Internet Movie Database is a great tool for tracking down your favorite film stars and discovering what bit parts they played before they made it to the big time. Thanks to IMBD we know that in addition to taking part in the explosion of musical creativity that was happening in Williamsburg in the early oughts, TVOTR drummer Jaleel Bunton made ends meet as a set-jockey. In addition to some film internships, he worked as a scenic artist for Michael Almereyda's 2000 adaptation of Hamlet featuring Ethan Hawke in the procrastination-plagued leading role. Alas, Jaleel. We thought we knew you well.

  • Photograph: Diane Jones

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    Tunde Adebimpe's rumored alt-rap supergroup
    In 2008, Tunde Adebimpe dropped a bomb on experimental hip hop fans everywhere when he announced in an interview with the Onion's AV Club that he was working on a record with Mike Patton of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle and Adam "Doseone" Drucker (pictured) of Subtle, cLOUDDEAD, 13 and God. Adebimpe stated that the three were, "working on a project that I'm thinking will congeal toward the end of the year. It came from an idea that Adam had, to have the three of us just, basically, mess around vocally and see what comes of it."

    These three histrionic vocalist in the same in the same recording booth could either spawn the most amazing off kilter melodies this side of Ponytail, or it could be front-man overkill. We're still impatiently waiting for this project to see the light of day. Anytime won't do. We want it now.

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    Kyp addresses police brutality
    Sean Bell (pictured) was supposed to be married on Nov. 25, 2006. Instead, the unarmed 23 year old was executed in a barraged of 50 bullets shot by 5 police officers on the morning of his wedding day after a night of celebrating at Queens strip club. Unfortunately, Sean's story is one of innumerable instances of police brutality that specifically afflict black men in this country. Kyp Malone, never a afraid of political expressions, has been vocal about this tragedy in its wake and even used it as fodder for his opus "Smiling Black Faces" from his first solo album, Rain Machine. Learn more about Sean Bell here.

     

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    Dave Sitek produces Karen O and Co. 
    Everyone knows that TV on the Radio and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will always be inextricably connected. As famed groups that sprang from that glorious Williamsburg scene in the early 2000s, their collaborations are probably old news---but totally worth mentioning. Producer and guitarist of TV on the Radio, Dave Sitek, produced YYY's insurmountable debut, Fever to Tell, and their latest Blondie-biting, Itz Blitz!

    There is little doubt that Sitek is a wizard in the studio. His production credits include great bands like Liars, Celebration and his own project, Maximum Balloon. But like a lot of other guys great with gear such as Prince and Trent Reznor, he seems to save his best stuff for himself, or in this case his band.

    However, the work he has created with the Yeah Yeah Yeah's is incredible. Fever to Tell and Itz Blitz! are crucial records for YYY, the former because it introduced the world to their scathing new no-wave sound and the latter because it proved Karen O and company can make us dance just as much as they can make us howl.

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Aziz Ansari and Dave Sitek get Raaaaaaaandy
You know how it is with comedians when they get hot, they subject their audience to a barrage of money-making projects to capitalize on their new-found fame before it fizzles out. Case and point: Seth Rogan's Green Hornet. But Parks and Recreation star and Williamsburg stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari has a different strategy--- release a rap record. It's working for Community star Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino, right? So, Ansari has linked up with TVOTR producer extraordinaire, Dave Sitek, to drop the highly anticipated Raaaaaaaandy mixtape. Sitek and Aziz have already posted some pretty hilarious videos on Funny or Die to hype up the mixtape, check them out here.

 

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