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Thread: Television - Marquee Moon

  1. #1
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Television - Marquee Moon

    Couldn't find any threads on this album. I didn't really expect to, but I wondered, as my son turned me on to the album, and it seems sort of borderline proggy in a similar way to some Talking Heads. In fact, I remember first being told about both bands in the same sentence around 1980 or so, and Talking Heads is the one I followed up on. But Marquee Moon is a great little album, probably well known among people here, just not brought up much.

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    A classic. I saw these guys at CBGB probably 77/78. I assume they must have played some of these songs but who remembers?
    No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful. - Kurt Vonnegut

  3. #3
    I loved it on first hearing back in 1989 when I was 18, and still count it among my list of 50 finest populat music records of all time. There's a tension of genuinely poetic grace to the whole album's delivery of finesse and artistic "destination" completely unlike anything ever in rock.

    It differed essentially from most developments in rock/pop at the time, and didn't really resemble much that preceded it either - although outspoken influences from not only the usual suspects (i.e. Velvet Underground, The Monks, Stooges etc.) but indeed also Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Allman Brothers Band were extremely rare and "rock-politically" uncorrect in 1976-7.

    You either give or take Verlaine's vox and words, but some of the guitar interplay between him and Richard Lloyd remains sensationally creative within a perimeter of fairly standard junctions in 70s rock. The almost ecstatic enthusiasm and lust-for-life eagerness of improvisational dynamic and energy in that classic title track is still unique today. Many listeners who encountered this in 1977 had never heard anything near intricacies such as the melodic chordal progressions in the bridge/chorus of the "Marquee Moon" title track.

    The UK music press of the day derided them as "Punk's answer to The Grateful Dead" and basically hated the band. When I saw the reformed Television at the Roskilde festival in Denmark in 1992, their entire encore consisted of tunes by the Chocolate Watch Band, Count Five, Standells and Moby Grape. Being a rock-music historian and record collector myself, I stood there laughing throughout the whole ordeal.

    Great days.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  4. #4
    Well, the title track is a post-punk classic in my book. I don’t think I ever listened to the whole album, though. And I ought to give Adventure a chance one of these days, in spite of the mixed reviews.
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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    I never owned the album but I did see them live several years ago and they were really great. I know they are labelled punk but what I heard the night when I saw them was much closer to prog imo.
    You can't take a photograph of Uzis on a street corner.

  6. #6
    ^ I really dislike Adventure, I have to admit. It basically retains little of the overt dreamlike adolescent spirit and treat of accomplishment so frontally evident in the debut, and the songs are, well, merely dull and soulless to my ears.

    The romantic conception of a tune like "Guiding Light" on the debut emanates partly from motifs and themes secluded from apparent drives of form, meaning that it basically all comes down to simple texture and detail in immediate arrangement (like, purportedly, the creative process of punk rock as a whole). From the fake solo section at 02:45 (introducing theme) onto the gorgeous levelling of otherwordly halfnotes at 03:09 - this is sincere realization of feature riches in the smallest tense. Which again nods to the holy conundrum of inspiration itself.

    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    populat music
    Brand new genre.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  8. #8
    Yikes.

    Outside the obvious classics, Adventure is the better album. Sure it’s polished and Marquee Moon isn’t, but, in its jaded wisdom, Adventure has more to say.

    A knowing aggression. A resigned frustration. And, yes, a willing adventure.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  9. #9
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Brand new genre.
    The compromat of Popular music.

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    This band and album were the darlings of the American Rock Music press in the late-ish 70s. IIRC, Trouser Press was especially enthusiastic.

    Apart from snippets or a song here or there, I've never listened to it.

  11. #11
    Marquee Moon is a fantastic album! Lots of great guitar playing from Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd on this album. There's a cool live album called The Blow Up, which came out in the 80's, but recorded on the band's last tour before their original breakup.

    I also dig Richard Lloyd's solo albums, in particular Field Of Fire. Also, Lloyd has one of the coolest Stratocasters:
    51pjDEzmUGL._SY355_.jpg

  12. #12
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    I bought it, but never understood what the fuss was all about. This album often turns up on greatest albums of all time. I don't hate it, but it never blew me away.

  13. #13
    ^ I'd dare say that one of the truly remarkable facets of purely musical strength on the album is the sheer tightness of performance and plan, especially as concerns dynamics between the voices of each instrument. Verlaine and Lloyd hardly ever resort to plain power-riffage or doubling of traditional roles as guitarists, they usually complement each others' structural function in webs of melody and harmony which may appear rather basic on first hearing but eventually emerge as several layers of "fiber". And Ficca's drumming perfectly underlines as well as enhances the overall effect of variation needed for this stuff to come alive as something genuinely special.

    Their songs are fundamentally about the impact and principle of texture itself, rarely bettered than in that title track and the part with the "release" or fulfilled high and closure of intensity when a gentle handful of faint piano chords make way at 08:42.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  14. #14
    Member Piskie's Avatar
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    Superb. One of the real classics of the punk/new wave era. I remember picking up the 'Venus../ Prove It' single - the best two tracks in my opinion. I got the album much later. I know Adventures has its advocates but the tunes aren't so good in my view.
    'I would advise stilts for the quagmires"

  15. #15
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    I bought it, but never understood what the fuss was all about. This album often turns up on greatest albums of all time. I don't hate it, but it never blew me away.
    Heard it a few times at release times, because I had a buddy who was quite into it.

    Borrowed a few times throughout the years to see if I could crack it, but never understood the hoopla either.
    I can see it for Patti Smith or Talking Heads, but never for Television.
    I never hear the band getting into their music (I mean getting involved with a passion) - as if going thru the motions in a laissez-faire or don't-give-a-shit attitude
    This band reminds me too much of musical boredom that Lou Reed often seemed to display in its "artistc grandeur" (which I think is a poseur attitude)

    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    Apart from snippets or a song here or there, I've never listened to it.
    I have tried a few times, but when listening to it, I feel like "I could be listening to something more gut-wrenching or more intellectually stimulating, instead of this musical/emotional numbing stuff"
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  16. #16
    For me, Television was first and foremost a fine guitar band, perhaps one of the most influential of the era. What they presented with Marquee Moon was actually nothing new. After all, they "only" drew from the same pool of rock and pop music from the 50s to the early 70s. However, the presentation was quite unique. The guitar duo Lloyd and Verlaine produced an interesting tension. The contrasting approach of Verlaine and Lloyd is quite interesting: Verlaine went all out and played "from the gut", while Lloyd did compose / gloss his solo contribution.
    To my ears, "Torn Curtain" is the most impressive song on the album. Somewhere I read that Verlaine wanted to write a ballad that would contrast with the 50s-like ballad "Guiding Light". In any case, he succeeded.



  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    never understood the hoopla either. [...] I feel like "I could be listening to something more gut-wrenching or more intellectually stimulating, instead of this musical/emotional numbing stuff"
    You haven't been really listening, to put it like that.

    Like Andy Partridge or Steve Harley or Tim Finn or to a somewhat lesser degree David Bowie, Tom Verlaine is one of very few in Angloamerican rock who actually managed to channel a definite intellectual level of cultural reference in almost everything he accomplished - through subtle means of language.

    AND he was a fine instrumentalist to boot.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  18. #18
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    I remember buying this after reading Verlaine's interview in Guitar Player Magazine and hearing all the hype about the album. Never did anything for me; I'll have to listen again.

  19. #19
    Member Piskie's Avatar
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    "I fell right into the arms of Venus de Milo' is a great line
    'I would advise stilts for the quagmires"

  20. #20
    I have to admit I first bought Adventure in 1979. There are some wonderful tunes on that one. But someone who was also into progressive rock told me Marquee Moon was a lot better, with a lot of "hidden" keyboard-passages. Well, I bought that one in 1980 and think it's the more dangerous one of the two. Especially the contrast between the two guitars does it for me.
    To give an idea of the things I bought those days: On the same day I got me Adventure I also bought David Bowie's Stage and Cords by Synergy, while Marquee Moon was accompanied by The Doors' first LP and Do They Hurt? by Brand X.

  21. #21
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    ^ I liked the "Torn Curtain" track posted above. The vocals are a touch wobbly, but I can live with that. I'll have to give the whole album a listen on YouTube one of these nights.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    ^ I really dislike Adventure, I have to admit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    You haven't been really listening, to put it like that.
    Maybe?
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  23. #23
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Glad this thread has sparked some interesting debate! What I’m wondering is why 20-year-old Dr Zaius didn’t buy this album when he was buying a stack of records every week. Probably because because the cover was so ugly!
    Primary procreation is accomplished…

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Maybe?
    We'll see.

    No evil.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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