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Luna - Penthouse
Luna - Penthouse

Luna's 1995 masterpiece Penthouse will be getting a deluxe double album release for Record Store Day on 22nd April.

Legendary band's most revered album and one that was listed in Rolling Stone's list of Best Albums of the 1990s. After reforming in 2015, the band have toured extensively in the US, while being written about everywhere from the NY Times, Salon and The Washington Post to the New Yorker and Pitchfork. The band hae played a number of "Penthouse" complete shows, and plan to do more in 2017. The original album has been specially remastered for vinyl by Scott Hull at Masterdisk and expanded with a second disc of unreleased tracks, rare b-sides and demos, including covers of Wire's "Outdoor Miner", Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie & Clyde" (featuring Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab) and Talking Heads' "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel" most of which appearing on LP for the first time. Features five previously unreleased tracks, including an extended version of the classic "23 Minutes in Brussels".

Tracklist

LP 1 side A

  • Chinatown
  • Sideshow By The Seashore
  • Moon Palace
  • Double Feature
  • 23 Minutes in Paradise

LP 2 side A

  • Lost In Space
  • Rhythm King
  • Kalamazoo
  • Hedgehog
  • Freakin' and Peakin'

LP 2 side A

  • Chinatown (Salvati Mix)
  • 24 Minutes in Brussels
  • Rhythm King (Salvati Mix)
  • Tracy I Luv U
  • Thank You For Sending Me An Angel

LP 2 side B

  • Bonnie & Clyde (Clyde Barrow Version)
  • Bob Le Flambeur
  • Sideshow By The Seashore (Salvati Mix)
  • Freakin' and Peakin' (Salvati Mix)
  • Outdoor Miner

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The perfect shot, a clean shot (photo: Ulrika)
The perfect shot, a clean shot (photo: Ulrika)

I played the best pool game of my life that night. The guy we met at the bar didn’t stand a chance against my world class playing. The black 8 ball was just left and I was going to end the game in style, hit it hard, faster than a bullet. I pointed out where I was going to hit it, nothing could stop me. And her version of Drive makes me fall in love again. Again and again. Nothing’s wrong. Can’t go wrong. I swiped my face with my shirt, looked at Ulrika and Mike, my best friends, and I looked at the guy we met. He was in awe, couldn’t believe how good I was. I was good. I hit it hard. The perfect shot, a clean shot, but the 8 ball ended up in the wrong corner and I lost the game of my life.

Dean Wareham of Luna in San Francisco (photo: Joakim)
Dean Wareham of Luna in San Francisco (photo: Joakim)

“I wanna thank my awesome band”, she says, “who needs no introduction”. No I guess they don’t, it’s a pretty awesome band, and you are too Britta. Falling In Love. Britta is singing beautifully, ocean waves sounds in the background, that’s what I hear, the combination of pre-recorded tracks and live instruments works well. Just like many others I normally prefer no pre-recorded tracks, but Britta wants to do it her way, sound different from Luna, and that’s good. Her voice is so strong and her appearance is so captivating that seeing her fumbling with a laptop is frustrating when you just want to lose yourself in her eyes and her voice and her appearance. Her music. But that’s what she wants. That can’t be wrong. I followed her from Stockholm to Californ’.

We went to Brasserie Saint-James just like we always did, each night, Carly, Peter and Kelly came too, to say hello, Carly with her big beautiful sparkling eyes, I was was lost in her eyes, something in her eyes, didn’t I know it, and her big smile, and Peter is the nicest, he said we had met before and I hope so. Caught with a drink in my hand. Dean is up there again, tongue tied in the corner, no he’s not, really. It’s them again, this band that we’re following, travelling around the world to see. Tonight, they are playing the Bewitched album in San Francisco, from start to finish, and Friendly Advice is up next, I’m there with my friends, Frank and Marjorie, Mike, Giselle and Ulrika. And Lee is up there, hitting those cymbals, it crashes, like a storm, ocean waves crashing, and there’s nothing else to do, just be thankful, so thankful that they’re doing it again.

Read on…

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Luna Spanish tour poster - 2017
Luna Spanish tour poster - 2017

Luna are heading back to Spain for a series of shows in October. The dates are listed below and tickets for some of the shows are on sale now. No word yet of any other European dates… but, fingers crossed!

3 October 2017 Sala de Camara del Kursaal, San Sebastian, Spain
5 October 2017 Escenario, Santander, Spain
9 October 2017 Sala Joy Eslava, Madrid, Spain
11 October 2017 Bikini, Barcelona, Spain
12 October 2017 Ram Club, Valencia, Spain
13 October 2017 Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao, Spain
14 October 2017 Teatre Municipal Xesc Forteza, Mallorca, Spain

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The New Analog by Damon Krukowski
The New Analog by Damon Krukowski

Next month Damon Krukowski will be heading out on a solo talking tour to discuss and promote his forthcoming book The New Analog.

The book will be released on the 22nd April (Record Store Day - but suspect there'll be copies to buy at the dates before that) and during the tour he will be speaking to such vocal and opinionated luminaries as Amanda Palmer, former Steve Albini and Ian Svenonious (author of Supernatural Strategies for making a Rock 'n' Roll Group).

An early review of The New Analog appeared on Kirkus a few days ago…

The book is less a study of older formats’ current popularity and more a survey of the struggles between permanence and ephemera, as well as artists’ visions and the consumer marketplace, playing out over decades of technological and industry changes.

[…]

Krukowski’s writing is witty and generally accessible, though his detours into recording minutiae and avant-garde ideas about sound and art may lose some readers.

As a fan of both minutiae and avant-garde ideas I'd consider the last paragraph a selling point!

18 April 2017 Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
20 April 2017 KEXP, Seattle, WA, USA
22 April 2017 PopCon 2017, The Museum of Popular Culture, Seattle, WA, USA
24 April 2017 Powell's on Hawthorne, Portland, OR, USA
26 April 2017 City Lights Books, San Francisco, CA, USA
27 April 2017 Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes, CA, USA
30 April 2017 Book Soup, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2 May 2017 Quimby's, Chicago, IL, USA
4 May 2017 Civilian Art Projects, Washington DC, USA
6 May 2017 Rough Trade NYC, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Damon Krukowski
Damon Krukowski

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Within These Walls
Within These Walls

Damon & Naomi's beautiful 2007 album Within These Walls is getting a belated vinyl release this month.

In 2007, we conceived of Within These Walls as a DIY tribute to the great “mood” albums of Sinatra’s Capitol years, which we were listening to obsessively. So we recorded our new songs with real strings, real horns, real drums, and the very very real electric guitarist Michio Kurihara. It’s meant to be a chamber record with ebow and wah-wah.

And then we looked at our recent vinyl sales, and put it out on CD only. (Cue sad trombone, the one horn we neglected to include.)

The album is available to order from the 20|20|20 store, and should be available in your friendly, neighbourhood, bricks and mortar shop soon.

Within These Walls. In what is undoubtedly their darkest record ever, filled with emotional songs and highly personal lyrics, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang explore the depths of the human condition, its pain and loss and tragedy balled up with the quiet beauty of existence.

And, beyond life itself, where to look for inspiration on such solemn topics? Everyone has their own sources, but Krukowski and Yang took it directly to the Chairman of the Board. “We bought lots of Frank Sinatra LPs, cleaning out the local stores. He released one sad album and one happy album a year, you can tell by whether he’s smiling or frowning on the cover.” Inspired by the way Sinatra sustained a single mood across an entire LP, Damon & Naomi set about recording the most emotionally consistent album of their career. It is also their most elaborately orchestrated.

Within These Walls press release (September 2007)
Damon & Naomi, and Frank
Damon & Naomi, and Frank
Damon & Naomi - Within These Walls

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Luna's first London show
Luna's first London show

In 1991 Galaxie 500 split. I was heartbroken, and a little baffled. I had no idea of the ins and outs - I only became aware of the true sadness of the split many years later - but the brief Melody Maker news item was sad enough and hinted that things were not amicable.

A month or so later Damon & Naomi released the Pierre Etoile 12” and some time after that Dean's Anesthesia 12” arrived - and both started to put my mind at ease. While Galaxie 500 were no more - all three still had something special to offer.

On 27 February 1992 Luna played in London at the Underworld (a room in the basement of the World's End pub in Camden). Ken and Graham and myself went along. Arriving with a little trepidation, unsure of what Dean had to offer, and unsure if folk would turn out to see.

Now, not many shows stick in my head as clearly as this one - this is what I remember of the evening:

  • One of the support bands doled out free 7” singles - not their own, but some they'd obviously picked up in bulk in a second-hand shop somewhere.
  • One of the support bands (Winterset) had, I think, Gina Morris, journalist and one-time Stereolab member, guest on a track.
  • I had recently acquired a Sony Walkman Pro and this was the first show I taped with it - set-up all wrong, the recording was awful - except for the encore after I fiddled with the settings.
  • Grasshopper of Mercury Rev played guitar (this was before Sean joined the band)
  • Luna played Beat Happening's Indian Summer - I was unaware that Dean had a little history with the song so it came as a pleasant surprise!
  • Two Galaxie 500 songs!
  • I left reassured that things looked like they were going to be just fine.

I had my recording of the show, but rarely listened to it - it was sadly hard on the ears - I put Temperature's Rising (from the encore) online but apart from that it was left to my surprisingly full memory to keep the magic of that evening alive.

Luckily, it turns out I wasn't the only person recording the show, and one of the other recordings has recently been shared on DIMEADOZEN and sounds so much better than mine.

So today is the 25th anniversary of that show - so why don't you head over to DIME grab it and have a listen to LUNA in their very early days, see how they hit the ground running!

Here's my recording of Temperature's Rising while you wait for Joe's superior recording to download!

LUNA - UNDERWORLD FEB '92

Luna - 1992 promo
Luna - 1992 promo

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We had our first rehearsal on May 27, 1987.
We had our first rehearsal on May 27, 1987.
Galaxie 500 was born the day that Naomi volunteered to play bass guitar.
[…]
We had our first rehearsal on May 27, 1987.
Dean Wareham - Black Postcards pages 33-34

So, come the end of May, Galaxie 500 will reach the grand old age of 30 which seems an appropriate cause for a fan celebration and I thought it would be nice if that celebration had some fan-focussed physical manifestation - and I guess the standard form for that would be a fanzine.

For that I need contributions, that could include:

  • Words (reviews, opinions, memories, poems, etc.)
  • Pictures (art, photography, etc.)
  • Ideas
  • Offers of help with design/layout/distribution etc.

It's probably fairly clear that this idea can currently be filed in the "half-baked" category but I'd like to think there's enough of us, and enough love, to pull this off.

I have to admit, at this point, that the idea wasn't original and is ripping off this lovely Felt fanzine from a few years ago - that took a year and was very classy - we have less than three months so our ambition should probably be scaled appropriately.

Please get in touch if you can offer any of the above, or anything else to help make this happen.

2017-02-20-23-25-11-978

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Lee Wall of Luna (photo: Joakim)
Lee Wall of Luna (photo: Joakim)

Double Feature starts with Lee kicking the bass drum a little extra, it's a deep bass sound. Sean plays rhythm guitar, Dean leans down and increases the fuzz sound of his guitar. It sounds electrical. Sean takes over, playing an intense solo, then it goes back to Dean, “who you're gonna be, when you walk into my life?”. This is when the concert really starts. It's been on auto pilot before, or maybe it was just me, sometimes an extra kick is what you need to get things started.

Chinese crêpes are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Jiangbing in Chinese. I had it filled with pulled pork and cumin and cilantro. Ulrika with tuna and seaweed. In the area called Inner Sunset. What a nice name for a neighbourhood. Then we walked a short stroll on 9th Avenue and got into Golden Gate Park. The vegetation was deep green because of all the rain that had fallen the past weeks. And we reached the Japanese Tea Garden. We met Kelly and the three of us walked on the stone paths in the rain, across the ponds. Me and the girls.

"… the girls" (photo: Joakim)
"… the girls" (photo: Joakim)

The rain got more intense and we sat down and ordered Japanese tea, talked about trumpets and pedal steel guitars. We were surrounded by the leafs, the rain, the air so crisp and cold. Couldn't ask for much more at that time. But the girls where cold and I guess I was too. We went to de Young Museum close by and Ashley and Sean joined too. We studied the impressive paintings, American art from the 17th century to present. “Rainy Season in the Tropics” by Frederic Edwin Church from 1866 was pretty remarkable, most paintings were remarkable.

Read on…

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13 Most Beautiful in Philadelphia (photo grabbed from video by michaelfgioia)
13 Most Beautiful in Philadelphia (photo grabbed from video by michaelfgioia)

A live recording of Dean & Britta's performance of 13 Most Beautiful is now available to download from NYCTaper.

Dean and Britta performed 13 Most Beautiful as part of the Philadelphia Art Festival's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Velvet Underground's first appearance in the city.

The recording, another one by kubacheck and is exceptional, so head over to NYCTaper to stream or download it.

You can see a full list of full shows to download here.

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