Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Kinds of Needles

Heroin, man.

Heroin is a fucked up drug. I've had my share of fun, but the idea of cooking up some chemicals and injecting them into my veins... NOPE NOPE NOPE. I refuse to touch the stuff, I'll stick with less destructive substances. That being said, there seems to be a correlation between heroin abuse and excellent music. The Mars Volta, Janis Joplin, Tommy Bolin have all fallen victim to the chase of the dragon. The band I will review today had their career cut short by the drug, but thankfully all seem to have recovered from the grips of addiction.

Television - Marquee Moon

This is a Four Men With Beards reissue. I fucking love their reissues; heavyweight vinyl, glossy jackets, and custom sleeves. They have been excellent without exception. This pressing was issued in 2003, correlating with a somewhat renewed interest in the band from the American audience. Television never really garnered a large fan base in the states, but were very popular in Europe. I find this hard to believe, their catalog, though small, is really good.

The front of the jacket features a photograph of the band. They are the definition of heroin sheik; skinny, pale, and exhibiting a certain hollowness in their stares. This is a faithful reproduction of the original cover art.

The back of the jacket features a design reminiscent of a spiral staircase. The track listing is displayed as well as the credits. The 4 Men With Beards logo also has a place in the lower right hand corner.

The interior of the gatefold really exemplifies what is great about 4 Men With Beards. The band's back story as well as some additional photography are present here. I consider this pressing to be superior in almost every way to the original. The sleeve is custom and displays the lyrics. The vinyl itself is 180 g with custom labels.

I purchased this record used and though the jacket had seen its fair share of use, the vinyl is pretty minty. Excepting some dust, I see no imperfections and I expect that it will sound excellent. Let us give it a spin.

The first half of this album really gives a good taste of what Television is all about. The guitar work is really, really interesting. Though credited as lead and rhythm, it is more a collaboration than a lead and follow. They interlock in curios and interesting ways, it is captivating. The feel of this album makes you want to jump up and down. The vocals are snide in that punk way without being overly nasal. You can still sing along without curling up one side of your mouth in a sneer. Side 1 concludes with Marquee Moon, the title track. It is an excellent track that really focuses on the interplay between the two guitarists.

Side 2 begins with Elevation. This track has a really great percussion track; loosely clenched high hat simmers and drives the movement of the music. Lyrically, this track focuses on the effects of television on the brain. All in all, side 2 seems a little darker than the first side. Thematically and musically, it has a tendency to set you on edge. The last track, Torn Curtain, is evocative of an old western soundtrack. The guitar melody is front and center, eventually decaying into cacophony. This track is really excellent.

Buy this record. If you can find the 4 Men with Beards pressing, snatch it up. I find it to be superior to the other pressing I have come across, especially the CD master. The bass lines come through much better and the muddiness present on some other versions is absent here. Unfortunately, this pressing can be hard to locate. Despair not though, there are many other well priced pressings with wider availability. If you have not listened to this record, do yourself a favor and check it out.

One more thing, I have been busy as fuck lately. That is more of an excuse though. My free time is getting sucked up by Magic the Gathering. The new set is fucking awesome and I can't get enough. I will endeavor to do a review at least every other day between now and when the release events finish. Shortly thereafter, deer opener kicks in. I'm gonna get me a buck this year and feast on its flesh. I'll post photos here if I do.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, where did you get all this interesting information about Television's heroin addiction? I would love to know. Now of course Richard Hell (a member of Television prior to Marquee Moon's recording) has talked quite a bit about his own heroin addiction, but that has not been so for the other members. Please direct me to your source. Also, the word you mean to use is "chic," not "sheik."