Television are/were legendary ’70s art-punk avatars who staged dead French symboliste poets society seances at CBGBs and scored the metaphysical proceedings with blazing epics of six-string sorcery. As one half of the Television’s incandescent guitar duality, Tom Verlaine wielded his Fender Jazzmaster like a sculptor’s carving tool, chiseling Venus de Milos of sound out of thin air. Second guitarist Richard Lloyd would then knock the arms off. Together they constructed ringing spires of guitar incandescence, erecting a chiming cathedral of sound in the church of the clustered overtone. And they called it Marquee Moon. Unto to the world a late 20th Century sacred text was born. Woe be to the absolute beginners who forge a modern masterpiece out of the gate, for it is easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than it is to live up to or live down a classic debut album. Such has been Television’s curse and blessing. The vastly underrated Adventure suffered un-gladly the fools who repeatedly dragged it into the valley of the shadow of Marquee Moon, and within months of its release the band was dead. They re-activated in 1992 for an equally underrated eponymous third album — “Call Mr. Lee” distilled Marquee Moon‘s parnoramic vistas into a definitive radio song but by then the train had left the station — and infrequent intermittent festival circuit victory laps ever since. Hence their current string of live dates that includes tomorrow’s show at the TLA. There have been band-confirmed rumors of a nearly completed fourth album since 2011, but as of press time the status of said fourth album is remains a known unknown. (NOTE: Richard Lloyd departed the band amicably in 2007 and was replaced by highly regarded sideman Jimmy Rip.) We have a pair of tickets to give away to some lucky Phawker reader. To qualify to win you need to do two things: First, follow us on Twitter. Second, sign up for our mailing list by entering your email address in the window below our masthead and the words SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST. Trust us, you want to be on the mailing list, where you will get early warnings about must-read postings and groovy ticket giveaways like this one. Plus, we will never share your email address with anyone under any circumstances. Third, send a note to FEED@PHAWKER.COM letting us know that you are signed up for our mailing list and following us on Twitter with the words PROVE IT in the subject line. Winner will be notified by noon Monday December 29th. Good luck and godspeed!
RELATED: During his unfathomably productive 1970s, Brian Eno made an indelible mark on the New York City rock scene, most famously on the trio of visionary LPs he made with Talking Heads and the era-defining no-wave comp No New York. But Eno’s first encounter with the NYC scene remains unavailable: A five-song demo recorded 40 years ago with the then-fledgling Television. Not available officially, at least—the demos have been available through more subterranean channels for decades. After Television, Eno, Island Records A&R man Richard Williams and engineer John Fausty entered Good Vibrations Studio near Times Square in late 1974, the CBGB scene was abuzz with rumors about the “legendary Eno Tapes.” The recordings subsequently appeared on Italian vinyl in the late 1970s (with Eno’s name misspelled on the sleeve as “Bryan”) and then debuted digitally in the 1990s on the essential Television odds-n-sods bootleg CD, Double Exposure. For unknown reasons, the demos were bypassed when Rhino reissued Television’s catalog back in 2003. But of course, the curious can now check out these unreleased tapes on YouTube. MORE
TELEVISION PERFORMS @ THE TLA ON MONDAY DECEMBER 29th