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The debut album by Luna's Britta Phillips is now available to stream in full on WSJ. The album is released on the 29th April and can be pre-ordered from Pledgemusic as well as all the usual online and offline suspects.

Stream Luck of Magic on WSJ

Britta Phillips

The launch party for the album will be taking place on April 30th at Old Style Guitar Shop, 510 A N. Hoover St, Los Angeles at 8pm and will feature a full band and "very special friends" - Dean Wareham and Lee Wall of Luna, and Marte Solbakken. Free entry.

Britta will also be supporting Luna on their dates in Texas in May (and London in October). You can see all her upcoming shows on her Bandsintown page.

Pre-order Luck of Magic …

Britta Phillips - One Fine Summer Morning

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Damon & Naomi in Berlin Monday I headed home after work, grabbed a bite to eat and my son and we headed to Cafe OTO for Damon & Naomi’s London show of their short European tour - they’d played Stewart Lee’s ATP festival in Wales the day before and were heading off for a date in Spain and one in Berlin.

I was running a bit late but Chris messaged me at eight to tell me that the doors hadn’t yet opened - which seemed a bit odd but was fine because it meant I wasn’t going to miss the support act, Richard Youngs who once again was being joined by Damon on drums and voice.

We arrived not long after the doors had opened and shuffled in next to Chris who’d got a prime spot and nabbed us a couple of seats. It was heading to 8:45 before Richard and Damon took to the stage. We were told at this point that earlier in the day Damon had had a tumble down some stairs but, like a trooper, was going to take his place on the drum stool.

Richard Youngs with Damon Krukowski

The show went well, they were playing through Richard’s recent album Inside the Future and Damon’s contributions didn’t seem to be too hampered by his fall, although he did seem a little stiffer than usual - but it didn’t seem to have any negative effect on a good set.

With the album over Damon headed off stage and left Richard to play his way up the guitar neck with a number of one chord songs of varying lengths.

Towards the end of the set there was some shuffling noises over my left shoulder and Richard played the last song staring, with undisguised concern, into that corner of the room.

Set over, and after a short wait Naomi and Richard appeared on stage to explain that during Richard’s solo set Damon’s condition had taken a more concerning turn and that an ambulance had been called and Damon & Naomi wouldn’t be playing. Refunds were offered (although I suspect mostly not taken) and shortly after the room was filled with the blue flashing lights signifying the arrival of the ambulance.

Damon in the care of the NHS (Photo: nabbed from D&N's Facebook page)

Damon was rushed off to A&E at Homerton hospital where the NHS did their awesome stuff with tests and drugs. Adam, Chris and I hopped on the Overground for a slightly earlier night than anticipated.

I woke to an email from Naomi sent at 3am reporting that Damon was ok and had been given the nod to head to Spain for their show in Madrid.

On Tuesday morning Adam, Hazel and I headed to Berlin for a short break that coincided with Damon & Naomi visiting the city later on the week (not unintentionally of course).

Damon & Naomi played their Tuesday night show in Madrid, although Damon didn’t take up his part in the support band.

My first visit to Berlin was short and filled with lots of walking, lots of bread and (veggie) sausages. During the week I checked in with Damon & Naomi that the Berlin show was going ahead, and that I could cadge spots for the three of us on the guest list.

Friday evening we took the twenty minute walk from our appartment to the venue, stopping on the way to get sneered at by a sausage vendor for trying to buy the veggie currywurst he proudly advertised, but didn’t sell!

We arrived at the Grüner Salon and headed in, found some comfy seats and bought some drinks. Damon headed over to say hello and fill us in on their adventures in London (and give us a peek at the quite horrendous bruise on his back!).

Naomi also popped over and made some fanboy spill lemonade down himself - she was sweet enough not to notice but the event gave my family hours of entertainment mocking me!

Damon was retaking his position in the support act for this show and took to the stage with Richard Youngs to once again play through Inside the Future. However the venue had somehow failed to supply a drum kit so one had been fashioned from things found around the venue.

Damon playing his makeshift kit with Richard Youngs

Damon sat himself behind a wooden chair, a plastic bucket, and a chrome-effect pedal bin; he also made use of various items of crockery and cutlery. The kit was played seriously and beautifully, without any hint that it wasn’t a perfectly respectable instrument - this made the set beautifully unique and thoroughly enjoyable.

After Inside the Future Richard finished his set a capella with quizzing accompaniment from his son and vocal drone accompaniment from the audience.

Damon & Naomi took to the stage played a short prologue set of oldies, opening with Judah and the Maccabees, and including Turn Of The Century, Lilac Land, How Do I Say Goodbye, Helsinki - and sprinkled with Damon filling in the audience with the grizzly details of their London adventure.

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Then they played through Fortune - it was my third screening of Fortune and the film is still beautiful (and baffling) and the songs are gorgeous - the album stands beautifully on its own and The North Light is right up there with my favourite Damon & Naomi songs.

We were then treated to an epilogue of covers - firstly a blissful Listen The Snow is Falling and closing out the set with a divine cover of Sandy Denny’s No More Sad Refrains.

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We said our goodbyes and slipped quietly into the Berlin night.

Damon & Naomi - No More Sad Refrains (Sandy Denny cover)

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Poster for Galaxie 500's last show

25 years ago today Galaxie 500 played their last show. On Friday 5th April 1991 the band played at Bowdoin College in Maine.

The band played in a building called Moulton Union, in the main lounge. A band called The Wishniaks, from Philadelphia […] opened up. Galaxie 500 played for about an hour and really didn't seem to want to be there beforehand, although they put on a phenomenal and truly hypnotic show.

Dean drove a Dodge Dart to Maine. Damon & Naomi drove up in a blue Saab 900. Damon had a drum kit that said Galaxie 500 in silver on the bass drum. Naomi wore orange leggings. About forty or fifty people came to the show.

Dan Pearson (who booked the show). Personal letter (2003)
Galaxie 500 ad in the Bowdoin Orient, April 1991

We were scheduled to go on at nine that night, but the opening band played for an hour and a half while we waited in the green room that the students had set up for us. […] We sat in that green room getting more and more irritated. And that was our final show. An annoying evening at Bowdoin College.

I made it through the set, loaded my amplifier and guitar into the back of my blue '75 Dodge Dart and drove all the way home to New York City.

Naomi at Galaxie 500's last show (Photo: Dan Pearson)
Dean at Galaxie 500's last show (Photo Dan Pearson)

On the Monday morning (8th April 1991) Damon rang Dean about the planned tour of Japan…

Damon called me first that morning - to book plane tickets for a Japanese tour. I said I didn't want to go. Isn't that how people often leave a band? Someone is informed about an upcoming gig and they say, you know what, I'm not going

[…]

I regret it ended badly - but that's how things often end.

What happened was simply that Dean quit, more or less out of the blue, on the telephone one day […] in fact he didn't even place the call! It was after we had finished what turned out to be our last tour, which was an opening slot for the Cocteau Twins in the States; we had an upcoming tour to Japan […] so I called Dean to say "let's buy our tickets", and he said no, I quit. No explanation, just "there's nothing more to talk about" and that was it. A lot of years of friendship, not too mention the band, down the drain in a minute.

Damon called Dean to say he was going to buy our plane tickets to Japan for the tour we had booked there, and Dean said he quit.Damon asked why and Dean said he had nothing more to say to us. I couldn't believe Dean could just throw everything away so carelessly and not even want to discuss it. I got on the phone and did something I had never done before: I yelled at him and told him he was lazy and a selfish coward. Then I hung up.

And on that heartbreakingly sad note Galaxie 500 came to an end. A tiny news item appeared in the Melody Maker a month later and we were left with three perfect albums and the memories.

Galaxie 500 split
Damon's draft press release

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Luna
Luna at the Garage, Highbury & Islington in 2015

The Luna reunion arrives back in London in October.

The band will play at the Islington Academy on 7th October. The band will be playing their Penthouse albnum in full (the 99th best album of the 90s according to Rolling Stone) and no doubt some other choice picks from their back catalogue.

Support for the show will be a solo set from Luna's bassist Britta Phillips and Sonic Cathedral will be providing a DJ set.

Tickets are on sale now through O2's "priority" website and available to the rest of us on Friday.

Luna
Britta Phillips with Luna in London in 2015

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Britta Phillips - Making a record

It's been just over a month since Britta announced her debut album on Pledgemusic and she's been treating all the folk who've pre-ordered with a stack of updates.

The Pledgemusic store is packed with goodies including signed test pressings, t-shirts, rare vinyl, Luna posters, and handwritten lyric sheets - as well as, of course, CD and vinyl copies of the album itself - and with all the extras being posted (see below) you'd be silly not to head over to Pledgemusic and order something.

You can also check out this nice Q&A with Britta.

If you haven't put your order in you've been missing out on posts:

… about the recording process…

Then Dean played guitar on 3 more songs – we kept his original guitars on "Landslide" & "Fallin' In Love." I kept my original demo guitars on the 4 songs I play on. I especially like what I played on the song "Luck or Magic," but I’m not really a guitar player…

… stacks of downloads of full tracks, demos, snippets etc. Including both sides of teh Fallin' In Love/Hey Paula single; a couple of Jem era tracks; early demos of her cover of Drive (The Cars)

… and some lovely little video clips!

The cover of Drive is the 2nd single from the album and is available on iTunes if you prefer to work that way. It also has a video directed by Debra Scherer of The Culturecrush

Drive - Britta Phillips (Dir: Debra Scherer)

Britta has also been added as support to Luna's shows in Dallas, Austin and Houston in May!

See all Luna's upcoming shows.

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Damon & Naomi

Damon & Naomi's short European jaunt in April now includes a stop in Spain.

The duo will play Clamores in Madrid on the 19th April, following shows as part of ATP's festival in Prestatyn and a show at Cafe OTO in London and before finishing their tour up with a date in Berlin.

All shows will also feature Richard Youngs and Damon will be playing drums with Richard.

15 April 2016 All Tomorrows Parties 2.0, Pontins, Prestatyn, UK
18 April 2016 Cafe Oto, London, UK
19 April 2016 Clamores, Madrid, Spain
22 April 2016 Grüner Salon, Berlin, Germany

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Luna at the 9:30 Club, Washington DC (Photo: Shawn)

The fab NYCTaper have just shared yet another show from Luna's reunion tour of the US last October.

The show is another of kubacheck's recordings and is from the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on the 6th October. Here's how NYCTaper describe it:

This DC show is notable for the minimal amount of stage banter and for a real workman-like but very strong run through the best material from the tour. For a topper, Luna came back out a second time for an encore and delivered a bit of a rarity — a sharp cover of Donovan’s "Season of the Witch".

Head over to NYCTaper to download the full show as mp3s or lossless flacs.

More details, photos and videos of the show can be found here.

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Interview Magazine has a lengthy interview with Britta about her upcoming solo album Luck or Magic.

The article also includes the premiere of the video for Britta's cover of Drive. The video was directed by Debra Scherer of The Culture Crush who has previously made videos for a number of other Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips songs - check them out.

Britta Phillips - Drive
First of all, I never would have picked "Drive" and "Landslide" to cover. Those were Scott Hardkiss's choices. He picked all these really huge hits, which I try to steer clear of, but I was intrigued by the fact that he really wanted me to do these, so I gave it a go. I was surprised that it came out that way. That's part of the reason why we used the title Luck or Magic.

Luck or Magic will be release in April and you can pre-order the album (and buy lots of other goodies - including the fab poster below) on Britta's Pledge Music page

Britta Phillips poster by Darren Grealish

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Calvin Johnson postcard to Galaxie 500 (from a few months later)

At this Q&A with Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson he recounts the story of playing with Galaxie 500 at the YWCA Hall in Boston.

The Q&A took place with journalist Everett True at Rough Trade East in London in November 2015 - the Galaxie 500 question arrives about 4'30" in.

We thought the music was quite calming, but the lyrics were on the verge of hysteria, and we liked that. He was singing about being a tugboat captain in a context that it felt as though you wanted to edge away from him very slowly so that you wouldn't want to alarm him in any way, and this we found very attractive - we liked it.

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