Tom Verlaine borrows his name from the 19th century French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine, and nowhere in his 20-year catalog does Tom Verlaine's music more closely follow his namesake's poetic philosophy than on Warm and Cool.
Warm and Cool was recorded with the help of Television band-mates Fred Smith and Billy Ficca (also of Verlaine's earlier band, Neon Boys), as well as Jay Dee Daugherty (The Church) and Patrick A. Derivaz, who helped engineer Television's 1992 self-titled album. Verlaine and his collaborators created the album mostly by improvisation and recorded the tracks with a minimum amount of rehearsal.
Unlike most of Verlaine's work, Warm and Cool is entirely instrumental, with guitars often filling the traditional role of a voice in the melody. For instance, speaking of the track "Harley Quinn", Verlaine says, "I had a vocal melody for that but liked it more without a voice. And 'Boulevard' that one is a song played faster than if it had someone sing on it. And actually I think 'Spiritual' might be at least partially an old Irish song." The bonus tracks were produced with Fred Smith at Punjab Studios. Fred also played bass on the recordings. "They're improvised mostly, like everything else. They're pieces that could have been much longer but for me had a charm being brief."
The album was initially released in 1992 in the wake of a short-lived Television reunion and the rise of Nirvana into a musical environment that clearly favored loud guitars and walls of sound. Warm and Cool's sparse sound scapes represent a clear rebellion from that. Now in 2005, Warm and Cool is being reissued in the midst of another Television reunion and a music scene overstuffed with Television wannabes.