Sunday, May 30, 2010

Music Library: Lucksmiths, Lucky Sperms, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Lula Cortes, Lullaby For The Working Class, Luna

The Lucksmiths - Happy Secret (1998) and Why That Doesn't Surprise Me (2001). This is a drummer-led Aussie indie pop band with that sort of twee 60s guitar pop feel that people inevitably compare to Belle and Sebastian.  It's about as conservative as guitar pop can be, with wry songs that pretty much could have been written at any point in the last 40 years.  There's some production flourishes that date it to the modern, but short of those, this is classic songcraft: winsome lyrics and big pop hooks.  Great stuff!  Hat tip to Self-Help Radio guru Gary Dickerson, who hooked me up with these.

Lucky Sperms - Ecstatic Peace 7" (1987). I think I have this mistitled. It should be self-titled and was released on the Ecstatic Peace label.  And yet I don't care enough to change it!  Think on that, will you.  Anyway I grabbed these mp3s from a few years back (and I'm really happy to discover it's still there).  This 7" has Mike Watt and Steve Shelley covering Daniel Johnston's "Walking The Cow" on one side and a fairly loose cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Glass Onion" all at once on the other side with the rest of Ciccone Youth joining in.  Cool, cool, cool.

Ludwig Van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9, "Choral" (1999). No idea who the artists are on this.  Nice to have a copy of this piece of music in my collection, though.

Lula Côrtes - Rosa de Sangue (1980). Garage rock-y Brazilian music. I'd bet my man Dan Sharp knows a lot more about Lula Côrtes than anyone else I know.

Lullaby For The Working Class - Song (1999). Lush, lush chamber-folk music more than a little reminiscent of Lambchop's theatrics.  I don't mean to imply that LFTWC is building on Lambchop's music, though.  Their work is roughly contemporaneous with Lambchop's early albums.  Gorgeous stuff, definitely worth a listen.

Luna -  Lunapark (1992), Slide EP (1993), Bewitched (1994), Penthouse (1995), Luna EP (1996), Pup Tent (1997), The Days of Our Nights (1999), Luna Live (2001), Close Cover Before Striking (2002), Romantica (2002), Rendezvous (2004), and Lunified (2006).  Has there ever been a songwriter as talented and yet lyrically lazy as Dean Wareham?  I mean, I love the hell out of Luna.  I love the hell out of Galaxie 500.  But Wareham's lyrics, while generally coming from a smart place, employ some amazingly lazy rhymes.  And here: has there ever been a band with a better indie rock pedigree than Luna?  It's not just Wareham, fresh on the heels of Galaxie 500, but Stan Demeski of the Feelies on drums and Justin Harwood of the Chills on bass.  Their first album, Lunapark, is produced by Lou Reed and Bob Quine's pal Fred Maher.  Sterling Freakin' Morrison plays guitar on Bewitched, my favorite Luna album and one of my favorite albums, period.  And then they bring in Tom Verlaine to guest on Penthouse.  Which includes a secret track that is a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie and Clyde" with Laetitia Sadler of Stereolab singing the female voice.  I mean, what the hell?

So Lunapark has the band as a three-piece (Wareham, Demeski, and Harwood), and is an ok album that's not quite as good as Galaxie 500's last album or Luna's next.  But it's a start.  The band took out an ad in the Village Voice and found Sean Eden to play 2nd guitar.  Eden's on the Slide EP, which has an album track, a demo, two excellent covers (Beat Happening's "Indian Summer" and the VU's "Ride Into The Sun," both of which appear on Lunafied), and the original "Rollercoaster."  Bewitched and Penthouse are both extraordinary combinations of VU-style guitar heroics and Wareham's pop sensibilities.  The Luna EP is the last release of the original four-piece.  Besides the album track and covers (Talking Heads' "Thank-You For Bringing Me An Angel" and Tom Rush's "No Regrets," which Lee Hazlewood also covered), the new originals include "The Moviegoer," presumably named after the Walker Percy novel, the rave-up "It's Bringing You Down" and the only-ok instrumental "The Enabler."  Pup Tent has new drummer Lee Wall, and it's not quite as strong as the previous two albums, although it's far from a bad album.  The Days of Our Nights is still a little weaker in the knees.  Luna Live is a remarkably entertaining live album with some exciting interplay between Wareham and Eden.  Justin Harwood quit the band to return to New Zealand while this was being recorded, but new bassist Britta Phillips provides a seamless transition.  Romantica is a great album, the strongest since Penthouse.  Considering that Dean and Britta were about to start releasing non-Luna albums together and then get married a few years down the line, Pitchfork's assertion that Wareham's improved songwriting had a lot to do with his proximity to the lovely Ms. Phillips seems retroactively justified.  Close Cover Before Striking is an EP with a killer version of  Kraftwerk's "Neon Lights." Lunified is a post-breakup collections of covers from throughout Luna's career.  None of the covered tunes are surprising choices (Suicide, Beat Happening, Wire, Talking Heads, Lee Hazlewood, and so on), but Luna plays them pretty damn well.


My photo
Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

About This Blog

From Here To Obscurity, founded ca. 2003, population 1. The management wishes to emphasize that no promises vis-a-vis your entertainment have been guaranteed and for all intents and purposes, intimations of enlightenment fall under the legal definition of entertainment. No refunds shall be given nor will requests be honored. Although some may ask, we have no intention of beginning again.

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP