The results of the 2020 A Head Full of Wishes survey are in - thanks to the 50 folk who responded from 10 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!
You can see the summary results.
I think that after 25 years I’ll probably wrap up the annual survey here. Voting numbers havee been tailing off over the last few years and the results don’t vary too much - althoiugh nice to see new releases turning up and getting votes.
I’ll try and think of some new way for an end of year celebration of all things AHFoW.
Anyway… on to this year’s results.
As always On Fire topped the poll, This Is Our Music rallied to tie with Today for second place, perhaps in the wake of people revisiting it on it’s 30th anniversary.
Because it starts magnificently and then keeps getting better.
The band hit a melancholy sweet spot that I love coming back to.
Luna’s first three albums take the vast majority of the votes again with Penthouse, as ever, winning out. 23 Minutes in Brussels is top track, as it pretty much always has been in recent years!
It was my intro to Luna/Wareham - and it turned out to be a great place to start. Tied with so many great memories of the time and the music.
The resonances it has for that time in my life when I listened to it a lot. Also I did listen to it a lot!.
Damon & Naomi
More Sad Hits topped the album poll as always - this year leaving the rest of the pack quite far behind. This Car Climbed Mt. Washington topped the track poll, as it always does - with E.T.A. pushing up behind.
Took the Galaxie 500 baton and dreamily meandered with it!
In 1993 I was searching for anything about Galaxie 500. News traveled slower then. This was like getting a letter from an old friend.
You can see the results for Dean & Britta and Dean solo here - Quarantine Tapes puts in a strong appearance but L’Avventura holds onto the D&B crown comfortably. And Dean’s eponymous album gets most of the votes in that poll.
Thanks again to everyone for taking part - and thanks for so many nice things that were said in the comments box. I always say I do this for myself – and that’s mostly true - but you lot make that easier!
Have a safe 2021!
Carrying on their long tradition of sneaking out seasonal treats Dean & Britta have just released a new digital single.
The single is a cover of John and Yoko’s Merry Xmas (War Is Over) and was recorded by the duo in Los Angeles and mixed by Sonic Boom in Portugal. The b-side (or whatever we call them on a digital single) is the cover of Little Altar Boy that was recorded with Sonic Boom in 2017 and previously only available via Amazon.
All profits from the release are being donated to The Sled an organisation that “assist[s] underprivileged NYC Public School students and their families, most of whom live in shelters or other temporary housing” - so feel free to chuck a few extra pennies in the pot.
The single is available for $1.99 or more over on Bandcamp.
Meanwhile Sonic Boom himself has also released a seasonal single on which he “enlists dear friends, Dean & Britta … for vocal harmonies.”
Twenty five years ago today Luna played The Garage in London. This isn’t just the anniversary of a show - it’s the anniversary of A Head Full of Wishes finding itself out in the real world!
In 1995 photography was analog and almost nobody took photos at gigs so I’ve never seen any of this show. People did record gigs though and a couple of weeks after the show someone (can’t remember who, sorry) sent me a recording - you can download the whole show here
A Head Full of Wishes (as a mailing list and website) had been running for about a year by then but this was the first show where I met internet friends in real life. I’m not a particularly social person but somehow in-the-flesh meetings with A Head Full of Wishes friends sort of pulls me out of that shell - and this was the first time I was pulled!
First up Trenton introduced himself to me in the queue outside the venue - I don’t think I handled this as well as I ought but, while I knew people I’d interacted with online where going to be there I didn’t really expect any to talk to me. So Trenton caught me off guard!
Next up Lauren, in the venue, who tried to convince me to speak to Dean after the show. I didn’t. It was a couple more years and a few more shows before I was brave enough to do that.
I thought I’d first spoken to Paul that night but a diary entry I came across recently suggests that I first met him at a Damon & Naomi show at the 12 Bar.
I think most times I’ve seen Luna they’ve finished the night with Indian Summer - here they are finishin that night in that way:
I’ve met lots of folk since, and lots of folk have met lots of other folk who aren’t me since. At least one couple that I know of started their relationship on the mailing list. I’ve met people in France, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and the USA.
This year I’ve met none of them (actually I did sit in a churchyard in Hammersmith, with a mask on chatting to Andrew so … maybe one!).
Lets hope 2021 is when we can get this show back on the road!
Dean & Britta have announced that they’ll be having a holiday party from their living room sofa on Saturday 19th December.
we’ll play some Christmas songs (including a new single coming very soon) and more. We hope to have Roger Brogan joining us on drums if the virus allows it.
The show will be at 6pm PST (9pm EST, 2am (Sunday) GMT) and will again be streamed using the VEEPS platform and will be continue to be available after the live event until 28th December.
Tickets are $11.50 you can also buy a ticket with a download for $23.00.
I’ll see you there.
It’s survey time again!
There’ll be a couple of entries drawn from the e-hat that’ll get a little bit of something - one from the US and one from somewhere else in the world.
If the form is a problem feel free to send in your vote in an email answering as many or as few of the following questions as takes your fancy:
- Age (feel free to ignore or be as vague as you like!)
- Fave Galaxie 500 album
- 3 fave Galaxie 500 songs
- Fave Luna album
- 3 fave Luna songs
- Fave Damon & Naomi album
- 3 fave Damon & Naomi songs
- Fave Dean & Britta album
- 3 fave Dean & Britta songs songs
- Fave Dean album
- 3 fave Dean songs
Also let me know if you want your name to be in the hat for a prize.
Dean & Britta are releasing a 12” EP containing four mixes of the recording of Neon Lights they made during one of their livestream shows earlier in the year.
Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk passed away this year. Britta and I recorded “Neon Lights” in his honor for a livestream show, and released it on a lathe-cut 7” single with a re-mix by Holy Shit (aka Matt Fishbeck, who lives around the corner from us in Echo Park). But Matt actually created three very different re-mixes for ecstatic/melancholy moods, and we’ve now put them together with Britta’s mix on 12” vinyl running at 45 rpm (the best-sounding vinyl format). This EP is limited to 700 copies and the cover image again is by painter Brian Calvin.
Head over to Dean’s shop to grab a copy
Because of the strangeness of 2020 I very nearly let This Is Our Music’s 30th anniversary pass by unheralded. But in the last week in August I decided that would just be like giving in to the shitshow of a year it’s been. So I put out a call, with less than two months to turn this around. The response was phenomenal.
This Music Is Ours features 10 fantastic covers of all the tracks from Galaxie 500’s This Is Our Music - plus the b-side of the Fourth of July single - and features bands from around the world putting their own unique take on the songs.
There is also a beautiful 16 page book with a piece of art representing each song on the album.
Galaxie 500 called their third album This Is Our Music. Which I suppose it was.
Within six months of its release the band had split up.
Maybe you can hear the end of the band on the album, but I never could. Maybe “way up high and going too fast” or “seems like everything is business” should have clued me in but I was never so astute.
All I heard was the band I loved still progressing, not necessarily getting better, or worse, but getting on.
When you have three near-perfect albums the very idea of ranking or rating them is ridiculous. But the internet loves a list, and music publications love a score, and when that happens with Galaxie 500 it’s This Is Our Music that invariably props up the list, and has the fewest stars.
But then you look at the track listing and you have to wonder how that can be. This is the album with Fourth of July, and Hearing Voices, and Summertime, and Listen, the Snow is Falling. It’s inconceivable that an album this strong could be anything but top of any list.
When Dean says that “half of it is good” or Kramer suggests that “it could have been twice as good” I think that they’re hearing more than the album. I think they’re hearing the making of the album, the friction, the frustration, the anger and impatience. Maybe they can hear the end of the band. I don’t hear that.
Perhaps the album’s title isn’t being said by the band - maybe it’s being said by us.
This music is ours.
Andy Aldridge - October 2020
A couple of rarely circulated Galaxie 500 recordings are currently being shared on Dimeadozen. You’ll need a Dimeadozen account to download these.
The first of which is a soundboard recording of the band at CBGBs in December 1988 - it’s been around a bit so isn’t crystal clear but for a nice early recording from shortly after the release of Today. The end of the tape also included a couple of studio outtakes, the fast version of Ceremony I’ve previously shared in a better sounding (but lossy) version, but the other track I’m not sure I’d ever heard before.
This was a benefit for See Hear, Ted Gottfried’s East Village basement zine-devoted shop over on East 7th Street, that had all of its inventory go awash in a flood. Mike McGonigal, who put out the zine Chemical Imbalance, was one of the employees, and he was the one who organized this benefit. Kramer was one of the members of B.A.L.L., and his connection to Galaxie was that he of course owned and operated Noise New York where he was the producer and engineer for all of the band’s recorded output before their breakup. He also recorded the Sonic Youth set this night which was mixed by Wharton Tiers, so there’s no reason to believe he didn’t also record this board tape.
The second recording is a really good audience recording from their last European tour.
Philipshalle, unlike the other small club recordings that have been shared so far in this series, had a seating capacity of 7,500 or so – probably 25 times the size of those other venues. Taking that into consideration, this is yet another magnificent recording. There’s a certain inescapable hollowed arena reverb but it plays up the atmospheric shoegazery of the band to full effect and expands it out into this much wider vista here. Being the sixth to last ever show they’d play in Europe, the short performance is something rather fierce and it’s up for debate whether that is a result of more polished playing over time or tensions within the band, but likely both. Hardly any flaws here, perhaps one could nitpick about some chatter over the quiet beginning of the Yoko song. The louder parts of that song almost evoke “Machine Gun” from the Band of Gypsys live at the Fillmore East with some Paul Kossoff licks thrown in for good measure.
Just put up for pre-order in Dean Wareham’s shop are some T-shirts with Brian Calvin’s lips design for “Quarantine Tapes”.
The T-shirts are available in black or light blue and cost $25 (and postage).
You can also pre-order a “Quarantine Tapes” tote bag for $15 (and postage).
If you haven’t already you should also buy the album which is available for $7 from Bandcamp and is well worth it!
On Saturday Dean and Britta played what they described as ther last live stream shows of “the season” (not entirely sure what this means but … more on that later).
They played two sets once again using the Veeps platform and, once again, were enhanced with the addition of Roger Brogan on drums, SFX and technical support. Both sets opened with a video of various clips of Dean & Britta (some I’d not seen before) playing while Roger DJ-ed for half an hour before show time.
On time, and without any noticeable technical issues this time (save for the slight annoyance of the video struggling with autofocus) - Dean and Britta took the stage - and, this time, the stage didn’t involve a sofa - the shows were to be played standing up.
The first set opened with The Incredible String Band’s Air followed by Night Nurse and Galaxie 500’s Pictures. The duo seemed relaxed and were on good chatty form and the periodic dip into the chat-room didn’t seem as intrusive as it sometimes did in earlier shows. That chat-room was lively and fun and added to the enjoyment of the show.