TV On the Radio’s ‘Seeds’ looks as good as it sounds

Of course, great things about collecting vinyl are the pleasures of shuffling through stacks at the record store or dropping the needle on the spinning wax, enjoying that wide range of sound.

Yet the thing that draws me to vinyl more than anything else is the artwork – something not really found on MP3s or other current forms of music distribution. Some artists and labels take advantage of the canvas that records present. Even basic black vinyl with a simple sleeve can be stunning, if it has a giant, eye-catching cover or label. Vinyl, unlike the MP3 or CD, can be a piece of art that blows consumers away.

TV On the Radio's new album “Seeds,” released in November, is a perfect example. The music is something else – another great offering from the Brooklyn band that continues to meld pop, rock and experimental music to a stunning degree – but it's the packaging that truly sets the release apart.

Housed in a gatefold sleeve, the release comes with two art books (one with lyrics and the other just with pictures), two colored LPs and a lenticular plastic sheet. The book and LPs are pretty common – many releases have deluxe editions with colored records – but the lenticular sheet is something different entirely.

The black film is used to animate the record's artwork. When the sheet is placed over the cover, back and the art books, the type and pictures start to move, making the art come alive.

TV On the Radio lead singer Tunde Adebimpe studied animation in school, and his touches are all over this packaging. It's amazing and interactive, a feature I hope I see again.

The animation is wonderfully complementary to the music. TV On the Radio has never been stagnant; its music is full of energy – and animation.

This new release is the band’s poppiest yet. For the first time, vocals by Adebimpe and Kyp Malone are front and center. Swirling instrumentals are pushed into the background, highlighting the singers’ hooks and choruses.

“Seeds” is not the band's best work – that still goes to 2008's “Dear Science” – but it's the group’s most immediate, sincere and heartbreaking recording. It's beautiful music highlighted by stunning artwork – a must-buy.

LISTEN

TV On the Radio, ‘Seeds’

Price: $25.98 on vinyl

artsOn The TurntablePop Music & JazzSeedsTV on the Radio

Just Posted

Salesforce Tower and several other buildings in downtown San Francisco can be seen through the fog; climate scientists report that The City’s beloved mascot may be on the decline. (Courtesy Engel Ching)
Is San Francisco losing its fog? Scientists fear the worst

This isn’t just an identity crisis for San Franciscans. It’s an ecological problem

London Breed, mayor of San Francisco, on May 26, 2021. Black women achieved a historic milestone as mayors of eight major American cities this year and political analysts say the record number points to “the age of Black women in politics.” (Bethany Mollenkof/The New York Times)
Eight Black women who run some of the biggest U.S. cities

By Jennifer Harlan and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio New York Times… Continue reading

The Bay Area is vying to be one of 16 communities,<ins> spread across the U.S., Canada and Mexico,</ins> to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer championships. Games would be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. (Courtesy Bay Area Host Committee, World Cup 2026)
Bay Area launches bid to host World Cup games in 2026

FIFA officials pay San Francisco a visit as they tour prospective venues

The sun sets over the Bay Area, seen from the Berkeley hills on Oct. 18, 2017. “The gauzy fantasy that we are so much better here in the Bay Area because of our diversity, because we are too focused on the future to get hung up on this region’s ugly past, because we’re so much cooler than everywhere else — lets white liberals pretend that the taint of racism can’t reach them here in this shining city on a bunch of hills.” (Andrew Burton/New York Times)
The Bay Area is far from a haven for progressive diversity and harmony

‘I’ve experienced more day-to-day racism in the Bay Area than in the last capital of the Confederacy.’

Most Read