Jul 15, 2015

RhoDeo 1528 Aetix


Blondie may have had a string of number one hits and Talking Heads may have won the hearts of the critics, but the Cars were the most successful American new wave band to emerge in the late '70s. With its sleek, mechanical pop/rock, the band racked up a string of platinum albums and Top 40 singles that made it one of the most popular American rock & roll bands of the late '70s and early '80s. While they were more commercially oriented than their New York peers, the Cars were nevertheless inspired by proto-punk, garage rock, and bubblegum pop.     .....N'Joy

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Television's roots can be traced to the teenage friendship between Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine. The duo met at St. Andrew's School in Middletown, Delaware, from which they ran away. Their first group together was the Neon Boys, consisting of Verlaine on guitar and vocals, Hell on bass and vocals, Bill Ayers (briefly) on guitar, and Billy Ficca on drums. The group lasted from late 1972 to early 1973. In late 1973 the trio reformed, calling themselves Television and soon recruiting Richard Lloyd as a second guitarist. They persuaded CBGB's owner Hilly Kristal to give the band a regular gig at his club which had just opened on the Bowery in New York. Television was the first rock group to perform at the club, where they quickly established a significant cult following.

Initially, songwriting was split almost evenly between Hell and Verlaine, friction began to develop as Verlaine, Lloyd and Ficca became increasingly confident and adept with both instruments and composition, while Hell remained defiantly untrained in his approach. This led Hell to leave the group and take his songs with him, and later forming Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Fred Smith, briefly of Blondie, replaced Hell as Television's bassist. Television's first album Marquee Moon was received positively by music critics and audiences, didn't do much in the US, but sold well in Europe. Meanwhile it's become a classic. This whole record's a mash note to guitars, the contrast between these two essential leads is stunning, Richard Lloyd chisels notes out hard while Verlaine works with a subtle twang and a trace of space-gazing delirium, a surrealistic version of garage-rock, with earthy riffs that spiral up into ecstatic guitar-solo jaunts.

 Television's second album, Adventure, was issued in 1978 to less fanfare. The distinctive dual guitars of Lloyd and Verlaine are still evident on Adventure, notably on the tracks "Glory", "Days" and "Foxhole". The band members had very independent and strongly held artistic visions, and this, along with Richard Lloyd's alleged drug abuse, led to the band's break-up in 1978. Both Lloyd and Verlaine pursued solo careers. Nearly 14 years after their breakup, Television re-formed in late 1991, recording an eponymous third album. They performed at Glastonbury in 1992, releasing Television a couple months later. The album received good reviews, yet Television disbanded again in early 1993, and have performed live sporadically thereafter.


Famed for his trailblazing work as the singer and guitarist for the seminal New York punk band Television, Tom Verlaine also carved out an acclaimed and eclectic solo career. Born Thomas Miller in Wilmington, DE, in 1949, Verlaine (who borrowed his name from the French symbolist poet) was trained as a classical pianist, but gravitated toward rock music after an encounter with the Rolling Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown." In 1968, he and bassist Richard Meyers (later Richard Hell) moved to New York's Lower East Side, where they and drummer Billy Ficca formed the group the Neon Boys. After the addition of second guitarist Richard Lloyd, the band renamed itself Television.

Beginning with their landmark 1975 debut single, "Little Johhny Jewel," Television became one of the most renowned groups on the burgeoning New York underground scene; though lumped together with the punk phenomenon, the band's complex songcraft -- powered by Verlaine's strangled vocals, oblique lyrics, and finely honed guitar work -- clearly set them apart from their peers. However, after only two albums, 1977's classic Marquee Moon and the disappointing 1978 follow-up, Adventure, Television disbanded, and Verlaine started a solo career.

He resurfaced in 1979 with a self-titled debut that featured the song "Kingdom Come," later covered by avowed fan David Bowie. 1981's dense Dreamtime earned significant acclaim, and even hit the U.S. album charts. Both 1982's diverse Words from the Front and 1984's Cover drew raves from the British press, spurring Verlaine to take up residency in London. After a three-year hiatus, he returned with Flash Light, regarded as one of his best solo efforts. Following 1990's The Wonder, Television briefly re-formed for a self-titled album and tour; the group again broke up, however, and in 1992 Verlaine issued his first instrumental LP, Warm and Cool. In 1994, he composed the score for the film Love and a .45. After that, Verlaine renewed his working relationship with Patti Smith (he played on her first two albums), playing shows and recording new material with her sporadically for the next decade. Also in the mid-'90s, sessions as producer for Jeff Buckley were scrapped (although the material was later issued as Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk) and Television continued to be an on-again, off-again live venture. It wasn't until 2006 that Verlaine finally released new solo material: Songs and Other Things and an instrumental follow-up to Warm and Cool, Around, for new label Thrill Jockey.

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Marquee Moon is a revolutionary album, but it's a subtle, understated revolution. Without question, it is a guitar rock album -- it's astonishing to hear the interplay between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd -- but it is a guitar rock album unlike any other. Where their predecessors in the New York punk scene, most notably the Velvet Underground, had fused blues structures with avant-garde flourishes, Television completely strip away any sense of swing or groove, even when they are playing standard three-chord changes. Marquee Moon is comprised entirely of tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory, which is achieved through the group's long, interweaving instrumental sections, not through Verlaine's words. That alone made Marquee Moon a trailblazing album -- it's impossible to imagine post-punk soundscapes without it. Of course, it wouldn't have had such an impact if Verlaine hadn't written an excellent set of songs that conveyed a fractured urban mythology unlike any of his contemporaries. From the nervy opener, "See No Evil," to the majestic title track, there is simply not a bad song on the entire record. And what has kept Marquee Moon fresh over the years is how Television flesh out Verlaine's poetry into sweeping sonic epics.

Television - Marquee Moon  (flac 496mb)

01 See No Evil 3:58
02 Venus 3:54
03 Friction 4:45
04 Marquee Moon 10:47
05 Elevation 5:10
06 Guiding Light 5:37
07 Prove It 5:05
08 Torn Curtain 7:10
Bonus Tracks
09 Little Johnny Jewel (Parts 1 & 2) 7:09
10 See No Evil (Alternate Version) 4:40
11 Friction (Alternate Version) 4:52
12 Marquee Moon (Alternate Version) 10:54
13 Untitled Instrumental 3:22

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Television's groundbreaking first album, Marquee Moon, was as close to a perfect debut as any band made in the 1970s, and in many respects it would have been all but impossible for the band to top it. One senses that Television knew this, because Adventure seems designed to avoid the comparisons by focusing on a different side of the band's personality. Where Marquee Moon was direct and straightforward in its approach, with the subtleties clearly in the performance and not in the production, Adventure is a decidedly softer and less aggressive disc, and while John Jansen's production isn't intrusive, it does round off the edges of the band's sound in a way Andy Johns' work on the first album did not. But the two qualities that really made Marquee Moon so special were Tom Verlaine's songs and the way his guitar work meshed with that of Richard Lloyd, whose style was less showy but whose gifts were just as impressive, and if you have to listen a bit harder to Adventure, it doesn't take long to realize that both of those virtues are more than apparent here, and while one might wish the sound had a bit more bite on "Foxhole" or "Ain't That Nothin'," the quieter, more layered sound is just what the doctor ordered for "Glory" and "The Dream's Dream." Sure, Marquee Moon is a better album, but Adventure has one of the greatest guitar bands of all time playing superbly on a set of truly fine songs, and albums like this come along far too infrequently for anyone to ignore music this pleasurable simply on the grounds of relative evaluation; it's not quite a masterpiece, but it's a brilliant record by any yardstick.

Television - Adventure  (flac 367mb)

01 Glory 3:11
02 Days 3:14
03 Foxhole 4:48
04 Careful 3:18
05 Carried Away 5:14
06 The Fire 5:56
07 Ain't That Nothin' 4:52
08 The Dream's Dream 6:44
Bonus Tracks
09 Adventure 5:38
10 Ain't That Nothin' (Single Version) 3:55
11 Glory (Early Version) 3:39
12 Ain't That Nothin' (Run-Through) 9:47

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Tom Verlaine scores a solid winner on his first solo release. Not surprisingly, many of the songs here suggest the music of Television, his former band, especially in the use of vibrant and full guitar textures and frequent solo break sections in which to feature them. Verlaine's fey vocals surprisingly do not detract from the gutsiness of these numbers. Several of the songs here utilize hooky initial guitar riffs in the tradition of 1960s bands like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Beatles, most notably on "Flash Lightning," "Kingdom Come," and especially "Grip of Love." Two selections, "Red Leaves" and "Mr. Bingo," show mild swamper influence; the former also has subtle psychedelic touches in the chorus, while the latter (when Verlaine's vocal enters) suggests a Lou Reed number. Even more Lou Reed/Velvet Underground-oriented is the lengthy and wonderful "Breakin' in My Heart." "Last Night" is a noble slow-tempo number with unusually noticeable keyboard usage. And "Yonki Time" is a daffy, loping, bluesy selection with bizarre tongue-in-cheek lyrics and quirky production touches -- a fun work to hear. This is a top-notch solo debut that bears repeated listenings.

Tom Verlaine - Tom Verlaine  (flac 228mb)

01 The Grip Of Love 3:58
02 Souvenir For A Dream 3:47
03 Kingdom Come 3:42
04 Mr. Bingo 3:56
05 Yonki Time 3:54
06 Flash Lightning 3:54
07 Red Leaves 2:51
08 Last Night 4:37
09 Breakin' In My Heart 6:07

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Tom Verlaine's second album as a solo artist after disbanding Television is not groundbreaking or innovative as much as it is consistent. What is distinctive about Dreamtime, aside from its thick guitar fortifications, firm stance, and unwillingness to modify a sound he believed in, are the issues surrounding the making of these recordings. The first session was marred by the usage of poor quality reel-to-reel tapes, barely yielding only half an album. Other songs had to be re-recorded with different players, due to the original band's unavailability. There's also a strong connection with Patti Smith, who Verlaine toured with when leading Television. First session bassist Fred Smith, also from the original Television group, keyboardist Bruce Brody, and drummer throughout, Jay Dee Daugherty, are major contributors to the uniform texture of the tunes. It's hard to pin down a single highlight, but several rank as distinctive. "Without a Word" is molded in the classic Television style, with repeat guitar lines from Verlaine and Ritchie Fliegler, "There's a Reason" is self-explanatory and prototypical, while "Fragile" revises Byrne's distant vocal foresight, with Verlaine claiming someone "stole my secret," and further adds the repeat guitar hooks. "Penetration" is likely the rave fave, at once propelled, strutting, and plodding with the sparest of diffuse guitar, and inferences -- sexual or otherwise -- galore. "Always" sports the kind of cooled, ambiguous message under no frills rock & roll, with Verlaine exclaiming he has a clue on "the best kept secret in town." Then there's the effeminate singing of "Down on the Farm," evocative of Dave Thomas and his stressed out style, the slow funky R&B elements of "Mary Marie" enhanced by the organ work of Bruce Brody, and a choogling Creedence Clearwater Revival ramble during the mainly instrumental jam "The Blue Robe." Perhaps the most advanced track, "A Future in Noise" epitomizes the disarmed CBGB's vibe with slightly built intensity, resolutely controlled. Not so much a set of tidy, trimmed concepts when one listens closely, as it is a vision of an artist laying it all out from the bottom of his heart. Many would easily admit Dreamtime is Tom Verlaine's shining hour.

Tom Verlaine - Dreamtime (flac 241mb)

01 There's A Reason 3:39
02 Penetration 4:01
03 Always 3:58
04 The Blue Robe 3:54
05 Without A Word 3:17
06 Mr. Blur 3:24
07 Fragile 3:27
08 Future In Noise 4:13
09 Down On The Farm 4:49
10 Mary Marie 3:25

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Anonymous said...

hello, please reup the both Television albums. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks, Rho, much appreciated.

To return the gift, I have been upping lossless rips of my collection of studio and live Television/Tom Verlaine to a Portuguese friend of mine's blog. The following are indispensable studio recordings - 1974-75 demos, Adventure outtakes and Flashlight outtakes, all links live as of today:


There are a ton of live recordings of both Television and Verlaine on circle's site: search at http://darkcircleroom4.blogspot.com/search/label/Television

Not to be missed are the following:
http://darkcircleroom4.blogspot.com/2014/03/television-bottom-line-new-york-usa.html (last gig before 1978 break-up)
http://darkcircleroom4.blogspot.com/2014/05/television-paradiso-amsterdam.html (1977 European tour)
http://darkcircleroom4.blogspot.com/2014/05/television-masonic-temple-auditorium.html (1977 American tour).

There's tons more on the site. Those interested in what happened to Richard Lloyd should check out his 2017 gig at http://southernshelter.com/category/richard-lloyd-group/.

Cheers and thanks, Dave Sez.

Anonymous said...

Been checking out your links Dave. The dave bascombe sessions links are now dead and I can't find this version of the Flashlight outtakes anywhere else...do you know of an alternative download please? Ian

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho can you please Re-post Television - Marquee Moon in flac. Thanks for the good music you post. Apanta

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the re-posts of Television. APANTA

Anonymous said...

Better late than never! Message received, Ian, and the Dave Bascombe Sessions will be re-upped. JUst a few days patience ...


Dave Sez.

Anonymous said...

For Ian and any other interested fans, Tom Verlaine's Flash Light demos (The Bascombe Sessions) have been re-upped in FLAC at http://floppybootstomp-ii.blogspot.com/2019/05/tom-verlaine-dave-bascomb-london.html. The tracklists are as given in the comments; the "224" link leads to Vanity Fair; the "flac" link leads to The Dave Bascombe Sessions.

Cheers, Dave Sez.

Anonymous said...

And the Dave Bascombe Sessions have also been re-upped in FLAC at http://darkcircleroom4.blogspot.com/2019/05/tom-verlaine-flash-light-demos-dave.html. Thanks for giving us them, reservatory!

Cheers, Dave Sez.