Aquarium Drunkard releases ‘L’Aventure,’ a tribute to Television, talks to Pop & Hiss

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The red-covered stepchild of the slim Television discography ‘Adventure,’ the band’s sophomore album, has always been overlooked in favor of its groundbreaking predecessor, ‘Marquee Moon.’ Until now -- with the release of the Aquarium Drunkard compilation ‘L’Aventure,’ which assembles some of L.A.'s best young bands to cover different tracks from the 1978 post-punk classic.

A sequel of sorts to 2009’s Drunkard-curated take on Paul McCartney’s ‘Ram,’ called ‘Ram on L.A.,’ the album finds local favorites Local Natives, the Deadly Syndrome, Foreign Born and the Henry Clay People greeting Tom Verlaine’s compositions on their own terms, with each outfit putting a unique spin on the originals. The lone non-L.A. guest comes on Imaad Wasif’s rendition of ‘The Fire,’ with backing vocals from Swedish pop star Lykke Li. All proceeds will go to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

In honor of it’s release today, Pop & Hiss spoke with Justin Gage, the owner of the Aquarium, to understand why an L.A.-based blog would enlist L.A.-based musicians to cover songs from such a quintessentially New York band.

Out of all the albums you could choose, what made you decide to choose ‘Adventure’?


I knew I wanted to do a follow-up to ‘Ram on L.A.’ and still focus on L.A. musicians, but I also understood that I had to take a different angle -- one that came from a different place than ‘Ram.’ This came out in 1978, and it’s obviously a cornerstone post-punk landmark. I figured the right move was to tap into L.A. artists that would fall into that head space -- some of the artists on ‘Ram on L.A.’ wouldn’t have made sense and vice-versa.

Why do you think ‘Adventure’ got so much less attention than ‘Marquee Moon’?

I love ‘Marquee Moon,’ but it seemed obvious. Besides, ‘Adventure’ also raises the question of why did it not reap the same praise and adoration as its predecessor? It’s a great album -- maybe it’s just one of those cases where it’s impossible to satisfy everyone when you drop a groundbreaking debut. Maybe releasing ‘L’Aventure’ was my subconscious way of trying to answer the question.

Was every band on the compilation familiar with ‘Adventure’?

Every band was both familiar with and a fan of ‘Adventure.’ Several groups that I’d approached were not familiar with it, but I felt that it was key to have artists involved who really loved the source material.

What other albums did you consider doing?

I initially thought of David Crosby’s ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name,’ but I ultimately decided that it would be too similar to the vein of music on ‘Ram on L.A.’

How did you settle on donating the proceeds to the Silverlake Conservatory rather than No Land Mines (where the proceeds from ‘Ram on L.A.’ were donated)?

Giving to No Land Mines made sense because Paul McCartney had been involved with them. We raised $500 the first time, but we learned a lesson, in that paying for it was voluntary. This time we partnered with Topspin in Santa Monica and have buttons set up where you can give $5 or $10, or whatever you can afford. You can opt to give nothing too. I think that the fact that it’s a local-based charity will probably be an incentive for people to give.

You also have your own Autumn Tone label. What’s the next release on the horizon?

The Futurebirds have a record coming out on July 27. Recommended if you like the Band and the first two My Morning Jacket records. Rootsy vibe, cool harmonies, weird in a good way.

MP3: Local Natives -- ‘Careful’

MP3:Imaad Wasif w/ Lykke Li -- ‘The Fire’

-- Jeff Weiss