I’ve been very fortunate as of late when it comes to finds in the bargain bin. I’ve been able to walk away with Paul McCartney’s Ram for insanely cheap, and mix that with the brilliant Moby Grape self-titled album in the same spot. I found Dave Von Ronk’s great 90’s collection of odds-and-ends, Going Back to Brooklyn, for dirt over at Kim’s. But the best find is one that flies under radar, and that distinction belongs to the newly relocated Earwax Records in Williamsburg. I’ve never been a fan, frankly, due to their tendency to overprice for both new and used records, but their bargain bin contained a gem I’ve been desperate to find ever since committing to my love for Television since their eponymous third album. While Television certainly had it’s flaws, I am willing to look back on it fondly at times, and even, maybe, find the need to go back and redo my own review of that record. But there’s a missing link between Television’s second album, Adventure, and their third. That missing link is somewhere in Tom Verlaine’s solo records, and there is no better individual link than his second solo album, Dreamtime.
After the Jump: TV’s greatest hit.
No, I couldn’t make it to the CBGB Festival this year for the very same reason that I only went to three shows at Northside this year. For a first time out, CBGB has proven to be quite the wonderfully curated event, and I hope in the coming years it becomes something that even the certain other blogs/networks/show news posting sites can grow to love.
Well, to make it up to y’all: here’s some choice cuts from a widely circulated Television bootleg, “A Season in Hell” — cleverly titled reference to Rimbaud and the fact that Richard Hell was their bassist at the time of these recordings. If you’re interested in the full deal, leave a comment and I’ll let you know what’s up.
After the Jump: Television: Then with 50% MORE Richard Hell!
Posted in Garage for Beginners
Tagged A Season in Hell, bootleg records, Brian Eno, CBGB, CBGB Fest, demos, Double Exposure, live recordings, live shows, Richard Hell, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Television, Tom Verlaine
After the release of their second album, Adventure, 70’s art-punks Television split up for good in 1978. Between the differing visions for what their music could be, and Richard Lloyd’s own drug use, one of the seminal bands of the original CBGB scene (or, hell, according to Will Hermes’ book, the band to start the CBGB scene) suddenly went away. Lead singer, guitarist, and principle songwriter Tom Verlaine remained productive through the 80’s, but to as little prevail as his material with Television. After 1991, the ‘year punk broke,’ after Nirvana’sNevermind, Television, perhaps inexplicably, reunited. On one hand, it could be to bask in the the afterglow of the bands doing precisely as they did, and as well as they did, suddenly finding sales and success where Television originally could not. On the other hand, it could have been the band’s attempt to cash in on the generosity of the bands of the time so willing to name-drop their influences as points of reference to understanding their music. Either way, 1992 saw the release of Television’s third album, their self-titled effort, fourteen years after their unfortunate disbanding.
Since 2001, Television has toured on-and-off, and rather than sticking to the classics from Marquee Moon and Adventure, they’ve incorporated many of the tracks from Television, perhaps to many of their fans’ chagrin. But what lay beneath questionable intentions behind why the album exists in the first place lies something that is, at once, a cash-in, and a simplified essence of the band’s own influences. And in releasing Television, the band, whether they realized it or not, fit in perfectly with the era, despite being elder statesmen to the punk scene of the the 90’s.
After the jump, an explanation of what, exactly, a Marquee Moon is.
Posted in Another Spin, Whisky Tango Foxtrot.
Tagged 1880 or So, Adventure, art-punk, Billy Ficca, Bowery, CBGB, Fred Smith, Jimmy Ripp, Marquee Moon, Patti Smith, punk, Richard Lloyd, Television, The Dream's Dream, The Ramones, Tom Verlaine
Moreso than the fans who are equally aware of the era’s greatness, music critics have somehow made the 1970’s a hardfought discussion time and time again in terms of who were truly great and who are worthy of pedestals in each genre’s respective Hall of Fame. That would perhaps be true, if not for our current state of everyone and their mother being able to form a band, create a Reverbnation page, book a show in a tiny puissant venue, and hope that the money will roll right in. So the consensus seems to be that the most significant contribution to music from this time is that these bands were all creating impressive works that are so exciting, less for their own artistic merits and more for how these records were made. This was conventional wisdom (with certain exceptions, like Bruce Springsteen) to any critic if you asked them closer to the era than those who’ve picked up on the records of the era second-hand.
That last part is emphasized in the book’s epilogue, where Hermes muses on how bands are still doing it themselves, and more willing to explore the possibilities of crossing-over genres so that we can have things like electro-punk and dance-rock. But where Hermes does an excellent job of recreating a sense of community so important to the arts scenes in the book’s middle, the book begins and ends in legendary (and widely common knowledge at this point) coincidences pointed in obnoxious matter-of-fact narration, and an epilogue that is more interested in putting the author into the story where he could not before and interviewing some of today’s artists who offer halfhearted musings on what a similar sense of community means to them today.
Still, there is much to love here, whether you are familiar with these stories already or not.
After the Jump, what started as love will go to a building on fire.
Posted in Book Review
Tagged 1970's New York City, Blank Generation, Blondie, Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, David Byrne, David Johanson, Debbie Harry, Einstein on the Beach, history of rock and roll, Horses, Iggy and the Stooges, Iggy Pop, Lenny Kaye, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, Marquee Moon, Patti Smith, Phillip Glass, punk rock, Richard Hell, Richard Lloyd, Steven Reich, Syl Sylvain, Talking Heads, Television, the E Street Band, The Heartbreakers, the New York Dolls, the Voidoids, Tina Weymouth, Tom Verlaine, Will Hermes