Television

THE HARDEST OF THE HARDCORE!!!! PUNK FUCKING ROCK!!!!
*special introductory paragraph!
*Little Johnny Jewel 7"
*Marquee Moon
*Adventure
*I Need A New Adventure
*The Blow-Up
*Live At The Old Waldorf San Francisco, 6/29/78
*Television

Along with Patti Smith, the Talking Heads and Blondie, Television helped to originate 'NYHC,' a particularly brutal and violent form of hardcore thrash punk favored by gangs of working class 'Skinheads' dwelling on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late '70s and early '80s. While the Talking Heads were infamous for the stagediving, riot-igniting antics of incendiary lead screamer David "Razor" Byrne, and Patti Smith helped to advance the genre with her pioneering of the 'D'-beat, Television were best known for their 6-foot-tall mohawks, onstage mosh pits, and harmonious guitar interplay. Many critics refer to the music of Television and their CBGB's contemporaries as 'punk rock,' but that's fucking hilarious.

They were grindcore.


Little Johnny Jewel 7" - ORK 1975
Rating = 8

This is a strangey in that one of the guitarists purposely plays amateurish diddly-doo for the first minute or two of the song. You listen to him splankin' and thrappin' around and think to yourself, "Hey Mark Prindle, why is this guy playing his guitar so messily? You can hear every little 'thup' and 'twick' as he applies and releases pressure, and he doesn't seem to even care what he's playing! Is he just makin' shit up? And where's the reverb? There's no reverb!" But then as the song progresses and you get about three minutes in, you realize he's a genius. The extended instrumental section of this seven-minute track is beautiful, haunting and evocative, making it clear that the 'explorative' style of guitarwork has two different purposes: (a) to keep you confused and on your toes during the playful first half, and (b) to add unexpected layers of emotion to the darker second half. Whoever he is, this mystery guitarist approached the reggae-inflected rock song as "free jazz"!

Ridiculously the song is split over two sides, as if it were "American Pie" or some bullhorse. Hey buddy, if "Hey Jude" could fit on one side of a single, so could "Johnny Fucken Jewel"! And that's my opinion about Television.

But while we're on the topic, here are some great new television shows I thought up. Get these to the network heads ASAP:

AmERICan IDLE
The Vampire Serial Killers of Werewolf Town: Population Zombie
The Crying Game, with your host Wink Martindale!
Monday Night Footrub
The New Ropers
LEW & ALCINDOR: Special Victims Unit

There, that's six great ideas. What's holding up the process? I don't have all night to get rich off my TV show ideas.

Add your thoughts?


Marquee Moon - Elektra 1977
Rating = 8

All-Music Guide - 5/5
Blender - 5/5
Rolling Stone - 5/5
Pitchfork - 10/10
Christgau All-Vegetable Shortening - A+

Jesus people, did you not notice that "Prove It" is "Stand By Me" with different lyrics? Or that "Friction" sounds like Foghat with cleaner guitars? Sure, the other six songs are so beautiful it hurts, but let's not go nuts declaring something "The Greatest Album Of All Time" when a full quarter of it is no great shakes. And I like shakes a lot so I know what I'm talking about.

Not that I should complain when the Critical Community goes ape-nuts over an album solely because of its GUITARS! GUITARS! GUITARS! As you know, the guitar is my favorite musical instrument, particularly when used in combination with a second guitar. And that is the nom de plume of Television's raison de etre -- allowing Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine to create intertwining melodies, gorgeous notey hooks, and endlessly melodic solos on their two handy-dandy guitar instruments. Don't go asking me who plays what, but either one or both of these men know(s) his (their) way(s) a - let's start this over.

Television's Marquee Moon features some of the most melodic guitar solos I've ever heard. There is absolutely no directionless wankery here, even during the title track's five-minute closing jam. The fretwork is speedy, clean and expertly performed - and the songs are CATCHY! So you've got these hooky little riffs going the whole time, and then whoever's playing lead keeps throwing in other melodic guitar runs and asides until you're up to your ears in clean, perfectly tuned notes of wonder. It isn't even necessarily the guitar interplay that impresses; this isn't Polvo or Thinking Fellers going nutso-kooky here, and much of the time they stick to the basic rhythm guitar/lead guitar dichotomy. But the combination of clean ringing guitar tones, fluid playing, and melodic creativity results in some of the most ear-friendly material to pass this way since The Great Velvet Ear Cleaning Of 1872! Why, I remember it as if it was yesterday. Me and Maw were out in the yard playin' a round of "Grabass in the Crabgrass" when suddenly the obst

Even when the chord changes aren't the most unique ever (the 1-4-5 progression of "Venus," for example), they play them in unique and tonally pleasing ways (the circular arpeggios of "Venus," for example). And the guitars are separated in the right and left channel (often with a third guitar overdubbed in the middle, I'm pretty sure), so you can sit in the middle and enjoy Stereo Composition the way it was meant to be. (How it wasn't meant to be = the old Beatles records where all the singing is in one speaker and all the music's in the other. Come on, that's just stupid. The Beatles were so stupid.)

There is a slight late-'50s/early-'60s undercurrent to a lot of the chord changes and stylistic decisions, and most of the songs create a happy, warm, mesmerizing, beautiful, loving and (occasionally) nostalgic mood in the listener. However, the two tracks that vary from this emotional state - the eerie, strangely-accented "Elevation" and bluesy, sorrowful "Torn Curtain" - are excellent compositions that demonstrate blah blah okay done with this paragraph.

The really weird thing is that the band was originally formed by Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell and - though they quickly parted ways - they both have warbly, marble-mouthed singing voices that sound like somebody's punched all their teeth out. Could it be that as teenagers, they used to smash their teeth together for fun? If you think this might be the case, please alter the band's Wikipedia profile to reflect this 'fact.'

Perfect? Shit no. 3/4s perfect? GOD ALMIGHTY CHRIST YES IN A HEARTBEAT NO COMPLAINTS HERE

Reader Comments

velcrounderground@gmail.com
I'm pretty crazy 'bout this album, but even I gotta admit it's not perfect. I almost always skip "Friction," and "Torn Curtain" can be kind of a drag (even though it's cool that the guitar solo at one point sounds like a cat trying to get you to let it out the door). After listening to the shit out of this record for many years, I think a big part of its appeal is that it's more or less just really well-written classic rock that never got the chance to be laser-etched into everybody's brain by being played a billion times on the radio. Ya know, like Big Star (even though Chilton and [maybe] Chris Bell are way better conventional singers than Verlaine).

Robert.Greene@MuniServices.com
Ahh, Television, Marquee Moon. Fine, fine, fine, fine record. Very fine. Yea, Friction is just ok, but Prove It is solid. In all reality, the first 3 songs are good, but not anywhere as good as when the record moves into its groove. Well. then again, Venus is pretty gorgeous, so maybe just 2 out of the first 3 songs are average. It is impossible to overstate just how beautiful of a song Marquee Moon is. Absolutely amazing. Iím pretty sure itís my favorite of all time. My 4 year old loves it too. He canít wit for the ďbirdsĒ to come on (which if you know the song, you should no which part I am talking about, but if you donít, itís the chiming stuff right after the big climax). And I believe this was actually recorded in one take, or I could be completely wrong.

Then side 2 (or the last 4 songs on the cd if you prefer) is pretty much perfect. Iím thinking it is probably the record they wanted to make, with Elektra (right?) making them put all the poppy stuff first.

But here is one final point. The record cover bites. What was it with the 70ís and the penchant for bands having the band photo as the cover of the record? And these are some ugly dudes. Tom Verlaine is all sour faced, and the rest are about as ugly. The 70ís band photo record. 3 things ways: The V shot with the singer in front and the 4 other guys in a V shape looking serious (think any number of Styx records); the 4 piece with the guys looking serious. Arms folded a must for a couple. And then for the worst of all, the zany picture, usually with the singer preening for the camera with pouty lips, the drummer looking especially neanderthalic, and then the guitarist and bass player in some type of smirky- goof up- laughing look. Think Van Halen Women and Children First.

Great record, lame record cover. 10

rsrinivasan910@gmail.com
Thanks for pointing out that this album is not "perfect" as many fans and critics have labeled it. (And for pointing out that it's kind of annoying how those old Beatles records separate the vocals like that - those albums were much better mono.) Anyway, this album is still one of the best albums to come out of the punk era. I especially love "See No Evil"; the punk vibe of the song satisfies your primal emotions, and the guitar interactions satisfy your mind. It's the best of both worlds.

billy.barron@tx.rr.com
I had never heard of Television until they showed up on your 2007 reader survey. I listened to it. What I heard was one of the most generic unmemorable albums I've ever heard. There was nothing offensive nor anything particular good. I really think this is a case of critics convincing themselves something was great and just falling in line one after another.

In my book, this is a completely average album and I consider it no loss that I didn't hear it for 30 years after its release.

javierblanco1977@hotmail.com
Hi, Mark;

To some people, it may seem outrageous that "Marquee Moon" isn't praised in your site as one of the, say, 10 best records ever, or so. I, myself, wasn't very, very impressed when I bought it years ago (due to its inclusion in a Spanish magazine list, regarding the best 200 records of the 20th century, in the 7th position). Eventually, I liked it more, but never enough to place it to REAL classics in my book, like some records from the Sex Pistols, Clash, Led Zeppelin, Fugazi or the Pixies. Every other critic is hailing the thing as the ultimate record ever, so it's kind of refreshing to read a slightly different, well based, opinion on this, otherwise very fine record.

Other proto-Punk classics like Funhouse from the Stooges, or the New York Dolls debut mean a lot more to me.

Take care

james.greg@bigpond.com
I'm a bit of a sucker for this one. "Venus" just gets me, and Mr Title Track makes me sit down, when I should be getting up... to go somewhere (maybe the kitchen?). S'all right. I'll ask THE GIRL, who's sitting patiently beside me. For something. For some reason. God bless her.

newone88859@hotmail.com (Heath)
This is the first review that i've ever actually read of this album, so i'm pretty surprised that so many people don't like "friction"! Does that little snakey guitar part not mesmerize other folks as it does me? Anyways, I love this album to pieces. I don't listen to it very often, but every time I do, the record influences how i play guitar for about a week. Makes me want to sell my overly big marshall amp and get a little fender clean amp. And gig around New York. And write poetry. And change my name. And smoke cigarettes and stare at the camera mysteriously.

I also appreciate how different the record sounds from others of its era--totally focused, clean, and undistorted. I first bought this album when I was in the 10th grade, so it also stands as a defining little moment in my quest for good music. I don't have much else to say about this record. It's good.

I read record reviews all the time, but i'm continuously surprised at the points they make. The allmusic guide gave Fugazi's "End Hits" three stars? There's a great damned record, but I suppose we don't all have the same ears.

OSLANE@student.gvsu.edu
I agree with you, it's overrated. I don't agree with you that the six other songs besides 'Friction' and 'Prove It' are that fantastic. This album comes on all the time when I'm at the bar and all I can think when it comes on is, "hmm, this is pleasant enough conversation music." My friend told me that I can't get into an album unless I'm instantly gratified by it when I actually was. Then after five or six listens, it just got too trite for my ears. All that fluffy poetry, clean pretty guitar interplay, lack of any energy at all... it's the difference between being "arty" and making true art.

I think Richard Hell's 'Blank Generation' is head and shoulders above this one, even during the slower parts that sound like they could be Television songs.

I also read on a sticker on a vinyl re-issue of this album that said, "calling Television a punk rock band is like calling Doestoesvkie a short story writer." I think that says everything about the mindset from which this 'quintessential' album stems from.

nenemalotodojunto@yahoo.com.ar
Hi, Mark.

I just want to say that the Trotsky Icepick's version of "Venus", even though this band is not one of my favorite ones, is much much better that the original. It's on "The ultraviolet catastrophe" LP. Get it, you have the money, come on, get it. Just do it, OK?

And, to say something about Marquee Moon, is one of these albums you have to have. Just like "Never mind the bullocks", "Pink Flag", "Zen Arcade", "Oops, I did it again" and many others. You know, a classic.

OK, bye

oskar@fjarhitun.is (Oskar P. Einarsson, Iceland)
Whatwhatwhaaaaaat?!? "Prove it" the same as "Stand By Me"?!?

What about the "Thi-SSSSS Ca-SSSSSSSSS-e, Thi-SSSSS Ca-SSSSSSSSS-e. Thi-SSSSS Ca-SSSSSSSSS-e that IIIIIIIIIII"-chorus and the accompanying weird-ass chords, then? Didn't hear Sam Cooke sing any of that (and CERTAINLY not John f$%"#$%ing Lennon!).

This was actually their best song I saw them perform live in 2006, even if they did all the other great ones of "Marquee" too.

watta502@yahoo.gr
I really like that album, especially the guitar sound. I don't care if it's punk or whatever - it's a masterpiece. My favourite is the title track with its amazing solo, but "Venus", "Elevation" and "Torn Curtain" are all ear-candy. I also don't really care for "Prove It", I had noticed the "Stand By Me" similarity too, especially on the rhythm. Maybe they have a soft spot for oldies.

Add your thoughts?


Adventure - Elektra 1978
Rating = 7

If my gumline keeps receding at this rate, I'M gonna be needing Adenture soon too!! Heh heh heh.

Oh hang on there's a V.

A TV, that is! And I'm gonna call them TV from now on, because it's annoying. Adventure is another winner for TV (or "The Televisions"). The addition of piano and keyboards, as well as a (slightly) less guitar-focused mix, renders it a bit more '70s-radio-ready than its predecessor, but Verlaine is still writing a lot of smart melodic material. That warm nostalgic feeling is back, with opener "Glory" going so far as to feature a doo-wop bass line straight out of 1956, but once again the two darkest tracks - brooding reggae-bas(s)ed "The Fire" and genius mini-epic "The Dream's Dream" - are excellent compositions that demonstrate (*finishes sentence*).

I want to talk about "The Dream's Dream" for a second here. This song is a perfect example of TeleVista's fierce musical intelligence. After a little organ toot, it begins with a guitar riff comprised of an eastern-tinged up-down note pattern, a quick swoop, and two chords created from harmonics. That alone will make you go, "Hey, nice." But there's MORE. The song then launches into a simple basic little pattern of la-de-da 3-note up-downs -- one that will make you go, "Drat, what happened to the good part?' But HANG ON, BECAUSE THERE'S MORE. They then proceed to play these very same notes (in a higher octave) over a completely different mood/combination of chords. From there, the song rightfully returns to its awesome intro bit and just when you're like, "Dude, this is the greatest song ever," they throw in ANOTHER set of great moody guitar runs! When will it end???

(At the 6:44 mark.)

"Ain't That Nothin'" is a pulse-splashing creative rocker too, with a unique, optimistic chord sequence weaving its way around a one-chord guitar/bass pulse. Ditto my positive feelings for the lovely arpeggio/note-run interplay of "Days" and catchy-as-dick little guitar hook of "Glory." These are fine, fine songs created by human beings who want you to enjoy the harmonic discoveries of their hearts, minds and stringed instruments. Well, not the drummer.

Unfortunately, "Foxhole" takes the dumb macho rock of "Friction" to crotch-rottingly new lows, "Carried Away" sounds stolen from Bruce Springsteen's Outtakes Bag, and "Careful"'s great singalong chorus is compromised by a complete nothing of a verse. Incidentally, am I the only one who noticed that the first two songs are called "Glory" and "Days," and that "Carried Away" sounds so much like a dull Springsteen ballad that it might as well be called "Wild Kitty's Asbury Park Incident Serenade (Sandy, Jr.)"? I demand information on this incestuous relationship between 'The Boss' and 'The Skinny Heroin Users.'

By the way, I haven't mentioned TV's lyrics yet because a lot of them are so poetic that I don't understand them. But here are a few from Adventure that I get:

"I need that girl more and more
Cuz when she whispers in my ear it gets so hard
It gets so hard to get out of bed"
HEY! IT'S AC/DC!

"I feel the shells hit - Moonlight web
Goodbye arms, so long, head."
Great phrasing, terrible song.

"The elevator called me up.
She said you better start making sense."
And how!

Television disbanded after touring for this record. Tom "Thomas Miller" Verlaine went on to record 8 solo albums, Richard Lloyd 5 solo albums, Billy Ficca drums and Fred Smith.

And now for some hilarious Television jokes!

Richard Lloyd: "Hey, I'm on heroin. Who was our original bassist again?"
Tom Verlaine: "Richard, hell if I know!"

How many members of Television does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
They don't use light bulbs. That's neon, boys!

What do you get when you cross the members of Television with an actual television?
A bunch of shitty TV shows, but with a melodic guitar solo in the middle.

Why did Richard Lloyd cross the road?
To blow some guy in a car.

Yes, it's always Hoedown Time at the Mark Prindle Comedy Rodeo!*

* Television's original name was 'Neon Boys,' and Richard Lloyd was reportedly a male hustler in his youth. These pieces of information are vital in order for you to enjoy the humorous fare featured in today's Mark Prindle Comedy Rodeo. Please read this section before proceeding to the preceding jokes.

Reader Comments

Ron Heck
If I were to run my own music criticism website, I'd call it Ron's Rockin' Record Reviews From Heck. I'd also rate both Marquee Moon and Adventure as 8's. Since I don't, I'll justify my opinion on your page and save myself the time. Marquee Moon, I think of as a nine, but a nine that I almost never listen to. I think of Adventure as a seven, but a seven that I listen to all the time. Therefore, Marquee gets docked one point and Adventure gets one more.

I enjoyed the "dumb macho rock" of "Foxhole," not only because I like songs about holes, but also for the really weird guitar work throughout. I really liked "Days" a lot, too. "Carried Away" is good. This is really more of light casual album for a crappy day than anything else. Marquee Moon just screams "Hey listen to me, I'm awesome!" Adventure finds a nice relaxed groove in the afternoon. The only song I found off-putting was "The Fire." It sounds like the background music on a seventies soap opera. EERR eeeooo EEEEEEE UUUUU uhhhhh. I count the song "Adventure" as part of the album, since it's on the CD. It's very Wings-like, and by Wings, I'm referring to Steven Weber's side project after he was in the Beatles. Damn it, I've been reading your reviews for way too long, so I start imitating/copying it poorly.

Brad.Saltzberg@serebra.com
Kudos for mentioning the Television song ďThe Dreamís DreamĒ-originally titled ďCairoĒ by Verlaine. This is their best studio recording in my opinion, and Adventure is every bit as great as Marquee Moon, if not greater

Add your thoughts?


I Need A New Adventure - Punk Vault
Rating = 5

I'm yawning and bringing down the forest. Here's a horrible song I made up this morning:

"If you've got eggs
All over your legs
Then Easter's a holiday you've been hatin'!

If you've got eggs
All over your legs
Then you're a woman who's menstruatin'!

Second verse, same as the - oh."

See, I sleep way too much on the weekends, so then I can't fall asleep on Sunday night, and here I am at work on Monday with my brain oozing down the side of my face. The result is an exhaustion that feels like depression. You know that Beatles song "I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink"? It's like that but with a real job. Lucky for "Lazybones Lennon," his songwriting/homosexual partner Paul McCartney has worked hard in that shoe factory every day of his adult life. How has he found time to record so many great albums like Liverpool Oratorio? I guess we'll never know, but thank goodness for McCartNIKEy Shoes with the 'Swoosh' on the side handpainted by Paul himse christ i'm fucking tired

This is a bootleg CD you can probably find on the Internet but don't need to. It includes demos of every Adventure song, though some are so similar to the album versions I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's a little chicanery going on. Regardless, two of the songs are included twice and "Glory" scores three appearances - only two of them unnecessary! Seven of the sixteen tracks are instrumental. The only possible reason you might have for purchasing this muffled mess is the inclusion of four HoTTT RaRRRe TrackSSS: the apparently discarded Adventure title track and three half-written instrumentals. So let's discuss these four songs in excruciatingly microscopic detail.

But first, there's this awesome headline on Yahoo! right now: "Stunned Bear Stearns investors eye legal claims." Now read it again, but with the idea that it is about a bear that has been stunned.

Isn't it great? It makes NO SENSE AT ALL if you read it like that! It's just a bunch of random words strewn together! It makes me picture an on-the-scene reporter (surrounded by zoo investors) calling in his headline to editor Mr. Stearns: "Stunned bear.... Stearns? Investors! EYE!!!!!....... legal claims....." Heh heh. Good old zed and two noughts.

Hey! St. Patrick's Day was last week! Get that GREEN AWAY from my PE i'm depressed

"Adventure" is now available on a CD reissue of Adventure, so you may already know that it's a catchy bouncy little Jackson Browne-type tune with piano chords and and a nice uptempo beat. But DID YOU KNOW that "Up All Night" is another uptempo one with a catchy down-and-up guitar sequence, "Grip Of Love" is a goofy wank-funk song, and "Last Night" is a pretty piano/guitar song reminiscent of Automatic For The People-era R.E.M.?

If so, now you know it twice.

See, one of the problems with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is that you feel you MUST review every record you own by the artist under discussion - even if one of those records is a stupid bunch of asshole demos on a CD-R that somebody mailed to you like five years ago. Another problem is that the question "Who should I review next?" comes up far FAR too often. "Should I just go in alphabetical order from 'A,' reviewing all the artists that interest me?" Sure, if you want to get stuck in yet another compulsive pattern. "Should I stick to artists with 10 or fewer albums so that I can update at least every two weeks?" Sure, but only if you admit that you're doing it out of obsession. "Should I stop thinking about it so much, and just review whomever I want whenever the time comes to pick a new artist?" NO IT'S TOO IMPORTANT. As explained in the recent book The World Without Us and accompanying TV special Life After People, within 1,000 years of human extinction the only remnants of our civilization will be Mount Rushmore, the Hoover Dam and Mark Prindle's Interactive Record Review Guide For The Worldround. And it is absolutely crucial that the food-chain-leading flying rats and feral dogs of the future know how I feel about The Exploited. "'Punk's Not Dead' is a great song!" I'll shout from beyond the centuries to the coyotes wandering through the Empire State Building. "Death Before Dishonour is their entertaining attempt to play palm-muted thrash metal!" my immortal words will inform a nation of giant cockroaches subsisting on book glue. And sure my hilarious Kajagoogoo references may fall on deaf ears, but only because every living creature lost its hearing in the Atomic Apocalypse of 2009.

You know how some people call a butt 'buns'? That's gross. "Can I stick my weiner in your buns?" "Can I squirt some mustard (spoiled yellow semen) and ketchup (your anal blood) all over your buns?" "Can I put your buns in the toaster-oven for a few minutes so they'll be crispy?" But that's the problem with our permissive society; young people join frats and immediately turn into flesh-eating zombies. When I was a boy, it was different. We put too much Strawberry Quik in our milk and thought it was the height of revolution. Nowadays kids suck their mother's breast and a gun pops out the nipple. Come on society, think about the animals.

Reader Comments

dirtslurpee37@gmail.com
I haven't heard this album. Oddly enough, though I did watch The World Without Us and A Zed and Two Noughts on the same night. Are you spying on me?

adam@adamhammack.com
Howdy. It's been a moment, hasn't it?

Enough with the chit-chat, you fuck.

I'm the "ass-hole" that alledgedly mailed you the alledged copy of the alledged shitty cd of Adventure demos, Mr. Ungrateful-Pants. I figured that since I paid 15 bucks for it, if I sent it to somebody else it would mean that really we only paid 8 each, even though I, in actuality, paid for all of it.

Consider it a lone. (Prick.) A lone of a shitty worthless cd.

Moving on: Television is great. I think I pretty well agree with your assessments. They really were quite neat; completely unique, lyrically opaque riff-rock made by people on dope. (God, they look strung out on the album covers...)

Note to self -- Start shooting drugs. And practicing guitar.

Love and kisses to NY, Henry the dog, and your lovely wife with the funny rhyming name.

And you. I guess.

Add your thoughts?


The Blow-Up - ROIR 1982
Rating = 6

Television has live if you want them, stage-tackling 3/4ths of Marquee Moon, 3/8ths of Adventure, three cover tunes and their first single - a terrific two-part epic (first part light and playful; second part dark and feedbacky) about "Little Johnny Jewel." The covers include Devo's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," Guns 'N Roses' "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," and supposedly a 13th Floor Elevators song though they credit it to themselves so who knows. The crazy thing about my eyes is that they're about to close, possibly for several hours - yet I'm at work!!!

I only managed to 'score' two hours of sleep last night, but had the fortune of hearing my next door neighbors fuck at 5 in the morning - through a bedroom wall so thin that it sounded like she was moaning "Fuck me, baby! Fuck me, baby!" directly into my ear. I swear at Jesus Christ - sex is all they ever do! How I long for the old days with the fat lesbian, who only made love one time in the four years she lived there. Come on - 5 IN THE MORNING!? The only cock I want to see at 5 in the morning is a rooster saying "Cock-a-doodle-doo! Time to wake up!" Heh heh heh.

Wait a second -- that sounded GAY! Let me rephrase: I don't actually want to wake up at 5 in the morning. Feel free to serve up the pecker any time after 11 though.

Steve Huey of All-Music Guide reports, "Six songs from Marquee Moon and two from Adventure appear...," and he couldn't be more right, except that three from Adventure appear. So good work on the counting up to three there, Steve Huey. Frustratingly, two of the three ("Foxhole" and "Careful") are among the worst songs on that record! Further frustratingly, they piss-pump their way through the two weak Marquee Moon songs ("Friction" and "Prove It") while giving the bum's ignore to the awesome "Torn Curtain" and "Guiding Light"! Who came up with this set list anyway? The man with the worst musical taste in the world? If so, tell him to go back where he belongs, programming ClearChannel's playlists.

Presumably this was a bootleg audience recording, because the sound is far too muffled and bassy to be a professional label job. I suppose it's interesting to hear what were once crystal-clear studio tracks performed with loud distortion and messily off-the-cuff solos, but "See No Evil" is the only song that offers any revelations here; this tough, bassy rendition is seriously as 'punk rock' as anything by the Heartbreakers or Dead Boys! Un-ditto for the rest of the tunes though, which just sound like murkier versions of once crystal-clear studio tracks. On a related note, it's staggering to hear the note-perfect clean-playing boys of Television suddenly turn into The Band for a rootsy, bluesy 8-minute Bob Dylan cover.

Say, here's something interesting: Tom Verlaine can't sing.

Add your thoughts?


Live At The Old Waldorf San Francisco, 6/29/78 - Rhino Handmade 2003
Rating = 6

I know what you're thinking. You're saying to yourself, "Say, why did Mark post a MySpace bulletin on St. Patrick's Day entitled 'HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!'? And then, when I opened it, why did the text read:

'I just wanted to say 'Happy Father's Day' to all of you women. Happy Father's Day, women!

Also, stop dating rapists.

Best.'"

Well, there are many reasons for this phenomenon, chief among them the fact that HEY A LIGHTNING BUG!

Sorry, my attention was called away by a lightning bug. Back to the topic, Live At The Old Waldorf San Francisco, 6/29/79 is a live CD recorded by Television at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco on June 29th, 1979 -- unless the date was written "British-style," in which case it was recorded on May 6, 1981.

The disc includes nine live songs, eight of which were already featured on The Blow-Up. The only new surprise is "The Dream's Dream," still a great song even though the harmonics are a little quiet. The mix is much, MUCH clearer than on The Blow-Up - it sounds like they're right in front of you! The only letdown is that one of the guitars is quieter and treblier than the other, which negatively affects "Venus," "Ain't That Nothin'" and "Marquee Moon." Still, it's interesting to hear clear sonic evidence that Verlaine and Lloyd did indeed switch off between lead and rhythm guitar -- the quiet, trebly guitar definitely does play lead in certain songs and rhythm in others. It's also nice that the bass guitar is pumped way up, for a mean BALLSY sound with SMELLY BALLS.

Thanks, that was my little tribute to people who use 'balls' as a synonym for 'toughness.' If 'balls' are so tough, why can't you even slightly tap one without doubling over in pain? Come on Synonym People, think things through.

Just as on The Blow-Job (AHHAHHHAHAH!!! HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!), the guitars are much more distorted live. Also just as on The Blow-Job (less funny the second time), we are forced to sit through the stupid "Foxhole," a godawfully-sung version of the already weak "Careful," and an uncompelling cover of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." However, the "Marquee Moon" solo is so astonishingly gorgeous, your jaw will weep teeth.

4 Adventures, 3 Marquee Moons, a single and a cover. Sometimes the vocals are too loud. Another interesting HEY A ROLY-POLY!

Sorry, my attention was called away by AUGH! I'M COVERED IN TARANTULAS!

This whole 'insect gag' is really happening. I might have to start using it in every review.

Add your thoughts?


Television - Capitol 1992
Rating = 5

Hey, a shitbug!

Sadly, that comment is more than a mere 'insect gag'. This album has all the warmth and creativity of a dung beetle.

You'd think that after 14 years apart they'd really be cooking the breakfast with some hot jams, but instead this eponymous reunion album is as cold and soulless as an early Dire Straits album. Tom Verlaine's voice has calmed (dulled) down into a lifeless warbling cross between Lou Reed and Ric Ocasek, and they leave far too much empty space in the mix, as if the drummer took the tapes home at night and erased all the parts but his.

That was an exaggeration, of course, but it's surprising how often the guitarists are content to sit back and do a little bluesy swoop or light chord pluck instead of putting together an actual melodic line. Abstract pieces like "Rhyme" and "The Rocket" seem to be more about merely existing in time than presenting a memorable piece of music. Others, like "Beauty Trip" and "This Tune," just roll along on basic r'n'b rhythms until somebody finally decides to throw in a riff a few minutes later. I can see this type of arrangement appealing to some people; melodic guitar lines seem to appear out of nowhere and grow in stature as a song progresses. The problem is that the vocals are so bored/boring and the mix so cold, dry and empty that the 'hooks' often come across as just offputting and standoffish, if I may use two words with 'off' in them for a moment.

Misleadingly enough, three of the first four songs are terrific: "1880 Or So" is a very pretty, soft and gentle note run set to a pleasing uptempo beat; "Call Mr. Lee" a menacing Eastern brooder with an unforgettable guitar hook; and "Shane, She Wrote This" a driving anxious rocker with romantic breaks that predict Minus The Bear's sexier moments. But it's almost like these are the only three songs they bothered writing all the way through. The fourth of these first four tracks (3rd on the disc), "In World," begins with a tolerable surfy lick reminiscent of The Ventures' '80s sound, but quickly becomes the first in an ongoing series of songs that confuse 'songwriting' with 'a guy talking over a drumbeat and going 'diddle' on his guitar like once every 10 seconds.'

I'm not a synesthete, but this music looks completely white to me. Like ivory, toilet white. It sounds too clean -- antiseptic, pluckity, reverb-less and stiff. And somebody TURN THE GODDAMNED BASS UP!

On an entirely RElated note, I was REcently RE-REading some REader comments on my CuRE page, and quite enjoyed the one that begins like this:

"The 2004 self titled album is great. The only song I haven't completely fallen in love with off this album is The Promise. Don't get me wrong, I love it!"

So apparently he only loves it as a friend, whereas he'd honestly like to sleep with all the other songs on the album.

Here's a great riddle I read on a blog recently. I can't remember which one, so I apologize to whoever made it up:

Q: How many punk rockers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Trick question. Punk rockers can't change anything.

Check this out -- Sometimes I correspond with GUITAR GOD Helios Creed on MySpace, and it's not hard to notice that he has some problems with typos and keeping his train of thought and what-have-you (e.g. "I was checking out your cd it was pretty cool when an ice storm hit and I was in a black out with no power for a week. Now I can't find anything my place got un well messy lets just say hehe. I think you record did it,., are you a demi gog or some kinda voodoo child or what hehe"), but this example I'm about to provide is just ridiculous.

One day Helios posted a MySpace Bulletin requesting electrical help for his rig so he can move back to California. I responded that MySpace is mostly populated by teenagers who probably wouldn't be of much help, but that I'm happy to hear he's moving back to California.

Okay?

And here's the response I received from him:

"nad blocksot really looking to good have a lot of ro"

!????!!!!????????? What is that even SUPPOSED to mean???

In other MySpace news, Jay Bentley of Bad Religion recently posted this amusing bulletin:

---------------------------------

Jan 24, 2008 1:20 AM
Subject: okay... thats it!
Body:

"~J-Dizzle~

Jan 23, 2008 7:28 PM

u guys suk so bad u emo dousche bags u are penis munchers"

15 year old from california!!!!!

dear all,

this is the becoming far too frequent for my tastes. i am all for people expressing themselves, i don't expect anyone to like what we do, however... when notes like the one above become typical, i have to wonder if these are people who were simply left behind in george bushes wonderama of education.
nowhere in the english language does this even come close to making sense.
spelling, grammar, punctuation... i know i have my problems , but come on!!! really??? if you know anyone who uses this ebonics abortion of the dictation of english, do them and everyone a favor and tell them to stop. it's not cool or hip. it's lazy and far too easy to use as a reason to ignore what could have been a fairly decent insult... i.e., "you guys suck so bad! you emo douche bags! you are penis munchers..." well, i'm not sure about the emo part, but i can easily see the rest being reasonably effective.

that is all...

-jay-

---------------------------

I don't know if you've spent any time on MySpace, but people are constantly sending out bulletins that are just personal answers to stupid survey questions. Then some of their 'friends' will answer the same survey questions and send as a bulletin to THEIR friends, and so on and so on. I've no idea who the losers are who write the survey questions in the first place. At any rate, David Yow of Scratch Acid/The Jesus Lizard/Qui fame has recently become fascinated with these surveys and appears to be responding to every single one that he receives. Here are some of the best answers from the five that he has answered THIS WEEK ALONE (!):

-----------------------------

4. Name one word to describe your personality?
I'M GOING TO NAME THAT WORD: RUBBERYISHNESS

7. Where do you see yourself in 6 years?
I'M GONNA GO AHEAD AND SKIP TO THE NEXT QUESTION.

9. What type of service is your cellphone?
MOBILE(?) WHAT TYPE OF QUESTION IS THAT?

11. What kind of car is your dream car?
OK, YOU CAN LAUGH AND POINT ALL YOU WANT. I DON'T CARE. BUT I REALLY LIKE THE DESIGN OF THOSE DODGE MAGNUMS. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY ARE CALLED MAGNUMS.

12. Can you leave the house without makeup?
ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO FUCKING WAY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH!!!!

22. What is your favorite color?
PALE CLEAR YELLOWISH HERRINGBONE TAUP. GOOD QUESTION.

23. What do you want?
$

25. Do you talk to yourself?
NOT OUT LOUD.

30. Do you swear at your parent(s)?
MY PARENTS ARE NOT ALIVE.

31. Do you like anyone now?
YOU MEAN LIKE NOW? RIGHT NOW? THIS VERY INSTANT? THIS EXACT MOMENT IN TIME? YES.

32. When was the last time you lied?
#25

33. when was the last time you cried?
#30

35. What instant messaging service do you use?
iCHAT. YOU?

37. Did you have a nap today?
NOT YET YOU COCK SUCKER!

45. Do you use an alarm clock?
NO. I USE TOILET PAPER, JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

59. Do you believe the number 6 is the number of death?
I HAVE NEVER HEARD THAT IN MY LIFE. WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT?

----------------------------

++++What would you do if?+++

The President of the United States called you:
I'd cut his head off

MySpace closed:
Would no longer do surveys.

You lost your favorite possession:
Bleed to death.

You found 10 dollars on the ground:
Retire.

Your date throws up on you:
Finish cumming in her throat.

You were stranded on an island with nothing but the ability to make one phone call:
Hmm. Reckon I'd call somebody up.

-----------------------------

4. Take all your clothes off and go stand in front of your window for 5 Minutes. Did anyone see you?
I simply don't have that kind of time.

7. If zombies were attacking outside your house what is the first thing you would do?
Put on my favorite Neal Sedaka record and paint the bathroom.

9. If you could travel in time to anywhere to witness anything what would it be?
I'd go back in time to watch God build the grand canyon. I bet that was really a sight!

14. Have you ever been kicked out of a bar?
Who hasn't?

15. What for?
Murder

22. If your food talked to you and begged you to stop while you're eating it would you have a hard time eating?
Fortunately my hearing is poor. But that's a very good question Mr. Survey

28. What's the most you've ever eaten?
About a hundred

------------------------------------

9. Have you ever kissed anyone who's name started with a C?
OH C'MON, DON'T BE RIDICULOUS! OF COURSE I HAVE, JESUS, JUST PICK ANY LETTER

17. Can you play guitar hero?
I'M NOT COMPLETELY CERTAIN WHAT THAT IS. SO, NO.

24. What do you currently hear right now?
THE CONSTANT SCREAM OF TINNITUS

34. What do you currently smell like?
HEAVEN

----------------------------

1. Do you like blue cheese?
BLECH!!! YECHCHHHCHCCHHH. I'D RATHER EAT VOMIT.

13. What's your favorite store to shop at?
POONS-R-US

28. What year would you go back in time to and why?
BACK WHEN MAYBERRY RFD WAS FIRST STARTING SO I COULD HANG OUT WITH DON KNOTTS WHEN HE WAS REALLY KICKING ASS.

31. Would you be a pirate?
NO, BUT SOMEBODY OUTSIDE IS PLAYING DAVE BRUBECK!

33. Favorite girl's name?
SCHLOMO

35. What's in your pocket right now?
KEYS AND A LITTLE ZIPLOC BAG FULL OF TEARS.

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
THE TELEPHONE

37. Best Halloween costume as a child?
GAS MASK, LONG STRAIGHT BLACK WIG, GIGANTIC FISH SKINS STAPLED TO MY CLOTHES.

38. Worst injury you've ever had?
ABOUT 17 YEARS AGO I WAS IN THE SCHOOL YARD SMELLING A SHOE AND PAUL CAME RUNNING BY ALL EXCITED WITH A LITTLE PINK BONER AND ACCIDENTLY KNOCKED ME THROUGH THE FENCE AND INTO THE SIDE OF A DUMPSTER.

47. Favorite Sports Team?
THICK WHITE WINE.

-----------------------------------

Rumor has it that Richard Lloyd recently quit Television and they're now working on a new album with a replacement guitarist. That'll be fantastic. I give it a 10, sight unheard.

Reader Comments

tomosman@hotmail.co.uk
Oh damn some of those David Yow myspace comments were bloody hilarious! Thanks for putting that up Mark!

arp@slab.org (Ashley Mark Pomeroy)
You need to get David Yow writing for your site. If you ever take a holiday, get him to write some guest reviews. Or anything. Just get him to write something.

Perhaps you could do a kind of writing jam, where you write one sentence and he writes the next sentence.

You could write the "guitar" sentences, and he could write the "drum" sentences. I don't know what that means, but I can picture it in my head.

Add your thoughts?


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