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The best band you've (maybe) never heard of...
November 27, 2004 10:46 PM   Subscribe

The best band you've (maybe) never heard of... Dean Wareham, formerly of Galaxie 500, gives his top ten reasons for retiring the band. With sounds rivaling and reminiscent of Velvet Underground, Mojave3,and LLoyd Cole, Luna bids farewell.
posted by docpops (22 comments total)

 
Sorry, first post...try here,
scroll down to 10/05/04 update.
posted by docpops at 10:48 PM on November 27, 2004


wow. I didn't know they were still around. I first heard them in '89-'90, back in high school, right around the time I realized how good The Velvet Underground was. Loved them, but kind of fell out of it. Might be time for a listen again.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:04 PM on November 27, 2004


Better to leave while one is ahead, as it were. Wareham has all sort of other things going on, I believe. Unfortunately, his recent effort with bassist Britta Phillips (who was, incidentally, the singing voice of Jem) wasn't quite up to Luna standards.

And while the VU references aren't wrong, exactly, Luna is (was, I guess) a very different band. A die hard Velvets or Lou Reed fan can find some common ground, but might well be disappointed.
posted by aladfar at 11:25 PM on November 27, 2004


I first heard them in '89-'90,

You're misremembering. Their first album didn't come out until late summer, 1992. I remember it well as it was playing on my stereo at the exact moment I realized I was in love with S--- on May 5, 1993.
posted by dobbs at 12:09 AM on November 28, 2004


exlotuseater was probably referring to Galaxie 500. I listened to On Fire pretty much weekly through the late winter of '89 into early '90 -- now it always evokes overcast weather for me.

I also liked the first few Luna albums, though I'd fallen away from them in recent years. The new albun, though, is surprisingly good (despite titles like "Cindy Tastes of Barbecue").
posted by lisa g at 12:46 AM on November 28, 2004


As opposed to Zappa's The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life, which toured in 1988 and featured a superb five-piece horn section.
posted by booksprite at 1:26 AM on November 28, 2004


must.. resist... ... oh god, luna, please, no.
posted by Satapher at 1:43 AM on November 28, 2004


And if you're gonna read
your poetry aloud to me,
I'll have to show you to the door.
posted by xowie at 7:08 AM on November 28, 2004


IndierockFilter! Sweet!

Funny, I liked the Dean & Britta album a lot, but I always found Galaxie 500 and Luna to be kinda meh — pleasant, but not memorable.

Oh, and there is NO F'ING WAY they "rival" the Velvet Underground. That's just crazy talk.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:43 AM on November 28, 2004


Seeing Luna live was a genuine treat (and their Luna Live album is an excellent representation of that experience), but for the most part, I agree with myeviltwin's pleasant but not memorable assessment. Britta is one helluva bass player, which is all the more impressive considering the electric bass guitar she plays is almost as big as she is.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 8:16 AM on November 28, 2004


8. This is what bands do (with a few exceptions, like R.E.M. and Metallica, and the Rolling Stones). Those bands, however, are multibillion dollar corporations. You don’t break that up unless the government forces you to.
He's right, those outfits are more companies than they are bands.
posted by skallas at 8:30 AM on November 28, 2004


Britta has the stage presence. She could have been hired for her glamour alone. I saw Luna a few years ago shortly after Britta joined and guessed it would probably only be a matter of time before she and Wareham starting singing into the same mic.

I was never really impressed with Luna -- the tunes are so damn simple -- but Wareham always had a weird charisma; something to do with having lead the angst-ridden G-500, and then gone past that somehow to create the dippy, perfectly pleasant but rather shallow sound of Luna. Meanwhile Damon & Naomi somehow never got over it. They kept trying to be deep. Wareham was the practical one. He always knew when to quit.
posted by Hobbacocka at 8:46 AM on November 28, 2004


Luna's not my favourite band, but they have a place in my listening habits. Luna mellows me out. Something about those extended guitar meanderings just puts me in a good state of mind. Luna have never seemed to strain too far towards innovation or change, but they've kept a pretty steady output. I'm not trying to damn them with faint praise here, because I think their understated, modest rock has more strength and staying power than it might seem.

I do think they could've gone further though. I still find Bonnie & Clyde off of Penthouse pretty mesmerising, but unlike anything else I've heard by them. Maybe a couple more steps in odder directions would've given them more vitality.
posted by picea at 9:53 AM on November 28, 2004


yes, sorry, referring to G 500.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:28 AM on November 28, 2004


He's right, those outfits are more companies than they are bands.

He forgot to add U2 to the list.
posted by blucevalo at 10:42 AM on November 28, 2004


Just saw 'em last week. Great show, as usual, but obscenely overcrowded. Gotta disagree with aladfar on the Phillips/Wareham solo CD -- I love it. Once the tour is over, they say they're gonna make another one. Whoo hoo!
posted by spilon at 12:36 PM on November 28, 2004


I do think they could've gone further though. I still find Bonnie & Clyde off of Penthouse pretty mesmerising, but unlike anything else I've heard by them. Maybe a couple more steps in odder directions would've given them more vitality.

That song stands out because it wasn't written by them — it's a Serge Gainsbourg song. I will give them credit for picking a great song to cover, though.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:43 PM on November 28, 2004


That song stands out because it wasn't written by them — it's a Serge Gainsbourg song.

And the female vocal is by Stereolab's singer, Laetitia Sadier. Although Britta will fill in live.

I've heard comparisons between Luna and VU, but the comparison between them and Television always seemed a little more apt. Perhaps because they actually had Tom Verlaine play on a song from Penthouse?
posted by LionIndex at 3:07 PM on November 28, 2004


i read that luna was the backing band for neil diamond for a number a years on the road and in the studio! fascinating!
posted by Satapher at 3:59 PM on November 28, 2004


Perhaps because they actually had Tom Verlaine play on a song from Penthouse?

Pretty sure Sterling Morrison played on the entire Tiger Lily album, or produced it.
posted by dobbs at 7:09 PM on November 28, 2004


JunkMedia interview.

I wish more bands had the balls to call it quits.
posted by shoepal at 8:22 PM on November 28, 2004


I, uh, fail to see the comparison between Luna and VU at all. Unless all mellow, pensive, pop-rock owes its existence to VU.

I don't feel Luna's breakup is a bad thing. I have truly enjoyed Luna's work (since I first heard California (All the way) on DMX in college -- the cheap way to get cable back then) and likewise G 500, but I don't think things would change that much if Wareham showed up in some other incarnation.

Also, I think Hobbacocka sums up Wareham's genius quite well... Although I think I respect the output of his work a little more.
posted by Human Stain at 7:00 AM on November 29, 2004


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