TV on the Radio at Pitchfork Music Festival 2011
  • Leor Galil
  • TV on the Radio at Pitchfork Music Festival 2011

I’d originally envisioned writing today’s 12 O’Clock Track about “War on Drugs,” the new Sun Kil Moon song that’s been at the center of more than enough indie-rock blog conversations to discourage me from adding to the heap. “War on Drugs,” a metacommentary track wherein front man Mark Kozelek sings about (among other things) his recent faux-rivalry with the Philadelphia band referenced in the song’s title, has certainly been on my mind, but what really made me decide to hold off on writing about it is that I can’t quite figure out how I feel about the tune.

I admire Kozelek for subtly criticizing the Internet’s addiction to controversy by mining some comments he made at a couple recent concerts that turned him into an unexpected target of the 24-hour music-news cycle and flipping it back around in a song. Kozelek’s stripped-down folk and logbook-style lyrics are in keeping with Sun Kil Moon’s heavy Benji, and it’s a hell of a way for the singer-songwriter to take back ownership over some ill-advised comments that have been thrown back at him (I won’t repeat them here, but Goggle can show you the specifics in no time). But some of Kozelek’s searing lyrics on “War on Drugs” aren’t all that praiseworthy, which Perfect Pussy front woman Meredith Graves got deep in a thoughtful, persuasive Pitchfork post on the song and the language of male violence (Graves’s points are part of the reason I decided against writing the full title of Sun Kil Moon’s “War on Drugs”). All of that’s to say I’m still figuring out how I feel about Kozelek’s audacious “dis track,” and I’m sure some of Koz’s most ardent fans are probably trying to make sense of it too.

Anyway, on to the number I’ll recommend in lieu of “War on Drugs” for today’s 12 O’Clock Track: it’s an exceedingly more likable new entry from TV on the Radio called “Careful You.” It’s a taut bit of art-rock made with a throbbing bass and brittle electronic percussion, and it features front man Tunde Adebimpe busting out a little French. “Careful You” is the second single TVOTR has released from its forthcoming fifth album, Seeds, which Harvest Records will release next month. Stream the track below:

YouTube video