Funny you mention Ramones and Televison as obscure over those other three, as I see Ramones t-shirts everywhere over here, I'd say anybody who's been to indie/rock nightclubs and pubs would know a handful of their songs. I see Marquee Moon in shops all the time (never listened to it) and I saw Television play live last week (festival, I wandered off about 4 songs in). Those other three bands though.... who are they? I can't even say with any certainty if I knew bands by those names existed before now. Maybe that's another US/UK thing.
Good point about building a fanbase in absence. I watched Sleater-Kinney play live earlier this year, I've only been listening to them whilst they've been inactive. I didn't hear about them until they broke up, that's the whole reason they came to my attention. This was only about a year or so after they put out The Woods, which is a staggeringly good album in my view, but it took them splitting up to generate enough news for me to hear about them. For about 8 years I obsessed over this perfect back catalogue that they had, all the while with this picture of them as the perfect band, completely seperate from anything else I listened to because there was this complete narrative across the course of their records, and the mystique surrounding this bank who I could never see live. So when they reformed I did worry that they'd tarnish the feelings I had about them, because they couldn't live up to it, luckily their new album and the gig I saw them play were both brilliant (the show, in particular, was fantastic). I don't remember hearing a lot of press about them when they were inactive, apart from asides in articles about the other projects they were working on, but when they announced the return there seemed to be more stuff around about them than I'd ever seen before. I heard their songs played on the radio. The crowd at the show I went to looked like the majority were around my age and most likely were too young to be into them first time around. So I think the acts of breaking up and reuniting can put an artist in the spotlight and get a lot of attention, and not only does absence make the heart grow fonder in the eyes of the public, but there's an element of excitement for people to delve into a complete body of work they can follow from start to finish, and build up their own feelings towards.