Album: Wig out at Jagbags
. . .
When Rhino put out the CD reissues of the first two Television albums in 2008, outside of a couple of remixes and alternate takes of the songs we already knewthere wasn’t really a lot of extra tracks to be had. I guess the Eno demos with Richard Hell were off the the table, so for Marquee Moon, we got “Little Johnny Jewel,” the 7″ which preceded it, and for Adventure, we got the unreleased title track.
And while it might have seemed a very Led Zeppelin move to leave “Adventure” off of Adventure, it also made sense: it was the only song that Television ever recorded in the 1970s that sounded like a 1970s song, as it was basically an uptempo blues shuffle. Sure there was plenty of amazing Tom Verlaine lead guitar, but the rhythms and riffs were otherwise pretty generic, and didn’t really fit with a band that remains outside of space and time.
And so while it was a curiosity in 2008, it would have been a scandal in 2008.
That said, it’s also the song I instantly thought of when I heard “Chartjunk,” the highlight of Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks 2014 album Wig Out At Jagbags. And while it’s possible that Malkmus was going for a generic 1970s vibe with the song, you know, like, say, “Reelin’ In The Years,” you can’t tell me that he hadn’t heard “Adventure” by this time, either.
In any event with new drummer Jake Morris providing the shuffle beat, as well as some topsy turvy rolls and actual horns while Malkmus lays on the compressed guitar, “Chartjunk” establishes its mood before Malkmus even starts singing
I’ve been you
I’ve been everywhere you’re going
Know all that you’re knowing
(Boy, I’m gonna make you mine)
That might be true
But I don’t need your windbag wisdom
And all the restriction
There’s a cool bit here where Morris and keyboardist Mike Clarke sing “Boy I’m gonna make you mine,” and the internet tells me that “Chartjunk” is about the relationship between basketball player Brandon Jennings and his coach Scott Sikes, which is totally bourne out by the second verse, which happens after Malkmus takes his first solo, which is basically the melody line of the song.
Laying sweet feeds on my homies
No one can slow me down
(Boy, I’m gonna make you mine)
I won’t use the glass now
Baby, when I drive around and seize a little time
While you work out your schemes in D-League Wichita
If you flood the lane on me, brother
Watch out for my step-back three
I put the “I” in team like no other
Actually, I’m not contractually obliged to share
There’s some great band interplay on the final line, leading to a bit of a breakdown, after which Malkmus takes a twirly 1970’s style solo for the last minute or so, until the horns build to the end. It’s all fantastic, and as much fun as Malkmus has ever had on a record.
“Chartjunk” live on 89.3 The Current, 2014
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