April 11, 2006

Records You Should Own

April's Record You Should Own is a punk album of a different caliber.

When you think punk albums, you usually think three-chord anthems with the guitar amps on overdrive, right? You would, more than likely, dismiss a clean-sounding, almost mathematically-played album as not being "punk", but boy do I have news for you...if you like arty punk, then this month's selection - Marquee Moon by Television - is for you.

Coming out of the CBGB's movement in the 70's - the same movement that brought us the Ramones, mind you - Television played rock with a slightly jazzy inflection, engaging in twin guitar duels (between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd) with impressionistic lyrics. (If you dig U2, this is one of the albums that had a great influence on the Edge's guitar playing).

Eight tracks (thirteen in the Rhino reissue) that run the gamut - the bounding, almost Stones-y "See No Evil", the playful "Venus" (with the classic line, "I fell right into the arms/of Venus De Milo", from the rough-and-ready "Friction" to the gentle "Guiding Light", from the playful "Prove It" to the melodramatic "Torn Curtain"...this album is a guitar lover's dream.

(And no, I didn't forget the centerpiece - "Marquee Moon", ten minutes of guitar heaven. You have to hear it to believe it).

In all honesty, Verlaine's voice takes some time getting used to, and you might want to find a used copy (the Rhino reissue includes their first primitive, jazzy single, "Little Johnny Jewel" as well as three alternate and one unreleased track), but this is the kind of album that everyone, at least once in their life, has to listen to.

Plus, it makes great music to read comics by.

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