Between Galaxie 500 splitting up in 1991 and me receiving my first email from a Galaxie 500 fan in 1994 or ’95, I thought I was the only Galaxie 500 fan in the world. My friends who’d come to the gigs with me didn’t seem to love them the way I did. Discovering that there were people who missed them as much as I did was a revelation, the Internet opened up to me doorways I could never have imagined, and the key to those doors was Galaxie 500.
Luna also recorded a session for KEXP:
In February the great Tom Rapp passed away, my encounters with Tom were brief, spread out and mostly online - but he always treated me like a friend not a fan. Here he is with Damon & Naomi at the first Terrastock festival in 1997:
The results of the 2018 A Head Full of Wishes survey are in - thanks to the 100 folk who responded from 19 different countries. I have been in touch with the two whose names were pulled out of the hat - if you haven't heard from me... better luck next time!
Once again On Fire topped the album poll getting well over half the total votes cast making its lead more emphatic than ever. In the votes for favourite track and just like last year there was a tie for first place between Tugboat and Fourth of July. Perhaps interestingly in light of Damon's analysis of Galaxie 500 streaming trends from this year (song streams by Galaxie 500, about Galaxie 500 streaming), Strange has moved above Blue Thunder into third place (in 2016 Strange wasn't in the top five).
First three tracks on a typical cold Boston day. Nothing says slow motion like thinking of Dean’s car and an impending snowstorm.
No surprises in the Luna votes as 23 Minutes in Brussels was comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack for favourite track and Penthouse topped the album poll. This year however saw Bewitched giving a strong showing in second place, finishing just three votes shy of Penthouse (last year it was a distant 20 votes off the pace) - maybe were heading for a surprise next year!?
Because it’s so perfect. It was hard, because Pup Tent and Rendezvous are close seconds, but Penthouse is a masterpiece.
Damon & Naomi
More Sad Hits topped the album poll but this year saw a stronger than usual showing in the following pack - with With Ghost getting almost a quarter of the votes, and Wondrous World and Playback Singers showing better than in previous years. This Car Climbed Mt. Washington topped the track poll, as it always does - with E.T.A. pushing up behind.
I just simply can’t get over how perfect E.T.A. is.
Dean & Britta
L'Avventura took two thirds of the album votes for favourite Dean & Britta album and Night Nurse was again a long way ahead of the competition.
Dean's eponymous album topped the album poll. The new Dean Wareham vs. Cheval Sombre album put in a string showing for an album arriving so late at the starting line. Holding Pattern came out top in the favourite track poll (which has a different winner every year). Wayfaring Stranger from the new album found its way into the top 10.
Thanks again to everyone for contributing - and thanks for so many nice things that were said in the comments box - I don't do it to fish for compliments but it is lovely to get them all the same! This one struck me...
I've been filling this survey out since I was in my 20s. That's surreal.
And just to back up that here's a chart showing how we've aged - from 2003 when 18% of us were over 40 to 2018 when over 80% of us are!
Thank you to you all - it's been an absolute joy growing old with you!
It's that time of year again - the AHFoW survey has been running annually since 1995 - back then you only had to decide which of three Luna albums was your fave, and your Damon & Naomi choice was between just two! Things are a bit more complicated now ~ so get your thinking caps on!
Damon Krukowski's award winning podcast series Ways of Hearing is now available on Bandcamp and a book version will be released in the new year.
Earlier this year Damon wrote and presented an excellent six part radio series inspired by the themes explored in his book The New Analog. The whole of Ways of Hearing is now available to listen to and buy from Bandcamp and is well worth throwing a few dollars Damon's way to get to hear it in a lossless format for the first time.
Each chapter of Ways of Hearing explores a different aspect of listening in the digital age: time, space, love, money, and power
[…]. Music has been dematerialized, no longer an object to be bought and sold. With recommendation algorithms and playlists, digital corporations have created a media universe that adapts to us, eliminating the pleasures of brick-and-mortar browsing. Krukowski lays out a choice: do we want a world enriched by the messiness of noise, or one that strives toward the purity of signal only?
In the evolving story of Luna v2.0, the band continues to entertain in new ways. While last year it was the eclectic and meticulously curated covers album A Sentimental Education, this year’s tour seems to be an exercise in finding the deep cuts that haven’t been performed in more a decade. Its been three years now and as we’ve chronicled umpteen shows, but at this Industry City show in August we saw Luna perform four songs for the first time — “Math Wiz”, “I Can’t Wait”, “Broken Chair” and the Galaxie 500 number “Strange”.
Up early and on a train to Stockholm at 8:15. The train is a treat, comfortable and relaxing and pretty quick - not as quick as flying but so much more comfortable. We left Copenhagen in the rain and arrived in Stockholm to blue skies and blustery winds. It made the city so much easier to love.
Checked into the Airbnb, grabbed some food, and filled the afternoon with a visit to Skogskyrkogården (a cemetery).
Debaser was on the waterfront, it didn't have the character of Copenhagen's venue but it had air and space, it had high ceilings and a high stage. Also, when I arrived, it had almost no punters.
Confuse-Ray opened the show with punchy guitars, but never really grabbed my attention despite that.
The venue slowly started to fill but it didn't seem like the show was going to pull a crowd. Then, all of a sudden it had. The audience was suddenly decent and enthusuastic and Luna made it worth their while. Tonights surprises was the first live outing for Luna's cover of Roy Orbison's California Blue; and a blinding Fuzzy Wuzzy to close the show (thanks to Mike's efforts).
… and then it was all over. Thanks Luna and thanks to all the Luna fans I met over the week - you make it better.
We took the train from Copenhagen to Aarhus sharing the carriage/journey with Joakim and Ulrika. We arrived in the rain and went looking for, and eventually finding, food. Always the priority on arrival in a new city.
Luna were playing in Loppen in Freetown Christiana, a strangely bohemian part of the city. We wandered through the drugs stalls and ate falafel and drunk lemonade ~ I'm not sure Freetown was ideal for my uptight-ness. Motorhead's Killed By Death played on a nearby radio.
The venue was low ceilinged and oddly laid out, it had the charm of rock venues of the past - the sort of charm that was better in nostalgia than in reality. It filled up, and heated up.
First up were Echo Ladies, whose recent Pink Noise LP on Sonic Cathedral is a gem, and who I'd managed to miss on their recent visits to London. It was good to get to see them.
Luna played I Want Everything which I was hoping to get to hear on this tour but hadn't turned up in the two shows so far. I noticed that Fuzzy Wuzzy had been crossed off the set list. That was a bit sad (luckily Mike also noticed the crossing out and took steps to rectify that in Stockholm).
The band were tight and the crowd were fans - Chinatown almost drifted into sing-a-long territory. It was a good show - but the heat and the crowds meant when the ending arrived it came as a bit of a relief.
Having taken the hard (and regrettable) decision to skip the shows in Bristol and Hamburg Monday morning was spent traumatically crossing London in rush-hour to get to Stansted and thence to Aarhus for my second luna show of the year.
I knew nothing of Aarhus but it was in the right direction if we wanted to end our tour in Stockholm. After the RyanAir flight (never again) to Aarhus we arrived, grabbed some food and snoozed the afternoon away in our Airbnb.
We arrived at the venue while The Telenovelas were rattling through a sweet and faithful cover of The Go-Betweens Right Here. The stage was low and the room was spacious and airy. It was more comfortable than London which made for a more relaxed feeling show.
Aarhus's surprise was a fantastic Black Postcards, a song that took on a life on Luna's farewell tour of 2004/5 but had pretty much slipped out of the repertoire since their 2015 reunion. "It's never the same twice".
After soundcheck it was off to Euphorium for the pre-show meet-up which was well attended and nice to catch up with the Luna-tics, we then headed off for the show to catch great support slots by Gaygirl and Fear of Men - some top DJ-work from Sonic Cathedral and find that Luna were, unsurprisingly, in top-form.
The Academy isn't a particularly nice venue (although the boy found a comfy seat on the mezzanine) but the sound was good, the audience were enthusuastic and the band in good spirits.
Nice surprise was hearing that Math Wiz was getting an outing on this tour - The Days of Our Nights has always been very under-represented in Luna live shows but this and Superfreaky Memories have been added to the repertoire for this tour (although I wasn't lucky enough to hear the latter).
Show over we were unceremoniusly herded out of the venue and decamped to a nearby pub for a little post-show gathering.
A nice start to my Luna tour and nice to see so many familiar faces, and to meet a couple of new ones.