Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Music Library: Tassilli Players, Tav Falco, Ted Leo, Teenage Fanclub, Television, Television Personalities, Tempos

The Tassilli Players - In The Fishtank 3 (1999). I don't know anything about this band, but this Fishtank installation is mostly dub. It's no King Tubby, but it's ok.

Tav Falco & Panther Burns - Behind The Magnolia Curtain (1981). Gustavo Falco is supremely entertaining. Unlike many rockabilly throwbacks, Falco and the Panther Burns have a serious dedication to anarchy and art, and pretty much anything can happen with this band. This album is from the period where one Axle Chitlin, a guy who sure looks a lot like Alex Chilton, was on guitar. Here, check out this burst of pure punk spirit.

Ted Leo - Treble In Trouble EP (2000), The Tyranny Of Distance (2001), Hearts Of Oak (2003), Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead EP  (2003), Shake The Sheets (2004), Sharkbite Sessions EP (2005), "Rock 'n Roll Dreams'll Come Through," Living With The Living (2007), Rapid Response EP (2008), The Brutalist Bricks (2010). The great Ted Leo approaches songwriting as if he is on a mission to rewrite the early singles of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe in the style of the Clash. He is guitar pop for now people. I love his music wholeheartedly. My favorite of these is Hearts of Oak, and "Rock 'n Roll Dreams," a joke for fans of Scharpling and Wurster, is exquisite. All of these albums and EPs, though, are excellent. Besides his top-notch songwriting and guitar chops, Leo has a lefty political bent and a well-defined sense of outrage which translates into political songs that are smart and catchy rather than the usual turgid and moronic political fare.

Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque (1991) and Thirteen (1993).  Both of these albums are flat-out brilliant power-pop that clearly and explicitly worship at the altar of Big Star and Gene Clark. Definitely of a piece with albums by Matthew Sweet and Velvet Crush. I've always meant to check out more of their work, but I've never gotten around to it.

Television - Double Exposure (bootleg, 1975), New York Stories (live bootleg, 1975-76), Marquee Moon (1977), Adventure (1978), Arrow (bootleg, 1978), The Blow Up (live album, recorded 1978), Live At The Old Waldorf (live, 1978), Live In Portland 1978 (x2), Television (1992), The Revolution EP (1992), Live At The Academy NYC 12.4.92Marquee Moon is the greatest guitar album ever. I don't know if it is possible to overstate how much I love Television. Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd created the mold for interlocking guitar from the elements of the Byrds' Fifth Dimension, Love's Forever Changes, John Coltrane's model soloing of 1961-64, lots of late 60s psychedelic rock, and a whole lot of garage rock. The two early bootlegs document the band coming together. Richard Hell is still in the band with the earliest demos on Double Exposure, which were recorded with Brian Eno. New York Stories has a lot of live tracks where the band sounds shaky, but by the time of Marquee Moon, everything was in its right place. Adventure is a slight step down, but not by much. The four live recordings from 1978 are extraordinary. Arrow, a bootleg, and The Blow Up, an official release, are from the same show and mostly overlap, but each has great tracks not on the other. Old Waldorf, a Rhino Handmade release, sounds amazing and may be the best live album I own. I have two copies of Live In Portland which, weirdly, were recorded by different people from different sources. One is someone's personal equipment, and it captures the room sound better. One is a soundboard recording, which is cleaner, but mixed to favor Verlaine at the expense of everyone else. They are also at slightly different speeds, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition to listen to them back-to-back. Like only a fanatic would, I suppose. The self-titled 1992 album is good but never great. The Revolution EP is pretty poor, and the live 1992 album is also good but not great. Anyway, here's the live version of "Marquee Moon" from the Old Waldorf album, with both Verlaine and Lloyd overdriving their guitars, a completely different approach than the spic-and-span clean album version.

Television Personalities - ...And Don't The Kids Just Love It (1980). Twee as fuck. Dan Treacy's outfit draws on VU and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers and points the way to Felt and Belle & Sebastian.

The Tempos - "Two-Timer." Garage-rock classic. Used to cover this with friends a million years ago.


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