May 12, 2009

Iran: "Buddy, what's wrong?"

I first heard TV on the Radio through actress Juliette Lewis's iTunes celebrity playlist in 2005. One of the five songs was "Staring At The Sun." "Epic chorus," she said. "Makes me think of water and glaciers." I hit the preview button and the deals been sealed ever since.

My love for the band's walls of guitars, unpredictable and experimental vocals, and aggressively original style of pop music first led me through the normal fan route of live shows and record collecting. Eventually, I youtubed MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch claymation show which singer Tunde Adebimpe animated; I watched the film Rachel Getting Married which Tunde costars in and sings an a cappella version of Neil Young's "Unknown Legend"; I listened to the bare-bones rock of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson which singer/guitarist Kyp Malone produced. But most recently, I found myself listening to the low fidelity Iran, the band Malone played in before joining TV on the Radio.

In February, the group released its third LP, Dissolver. While Malone contributes on guitar and background vocals, the band is primarily the work of Aaron Aites (above right). Aites started Iran in 1998 in his San Francisco bedroom with a four-track. Now with Dissolver, the group's first release since 2003's The Moon Boys, Aites is leaving behind some of his well-worn grit and fuzz for a cleaner and more accessible sound. The album's standout track "Buddy" is the best place to start: a melancholy and doo-wop-tinged layering of sonic goods, complete with the light pattering of a piano, crashing symbols, splattered guitar chords and the frenzied pluck of its strings, and the deep-throated tone and quivering cadence of Aites.

Iran - "Buddy" (from Dissolver)


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