Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 1992: #15 Luna “Anesthesia”

<< #16    |    #14 >>

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how I first met Luna for their entry at (coincidentally) #15 on my Best tunes of 2002 list. It was their sophomore album, “Bewitched”, with which I first fell in love with them and then I continued to follow Luna through each subsequent release from there. Their debut album, “Lunapark”, however, I didn’t actually hear until after they disbanded in 2005, and to be honest, it was after I first listened to a live version of our tune of focus today on their sole live album, the obviously-titled, “Luna live”.

I was a bit sore about their disbanding, perhaps more so because I was supposed to see them live on one of their last tours that hit Toronto but I missed it. (I’ll save that story for a future post.) I immediately began grasping at whichever of their albums to which I’d had yet to listen, starting with the aforementioned live album, which I had previously ignored because I’m not typically a fan of live records. I loved this one though on first listen, the sound is incredible and their live energy was palpably captured on the recording. One of the standout tracks for me, of course, was “Anesthesia”, which I had incredibly never heard beforehand. I tracked it down as appearing on the debut and so when I saw “Lunapark” sitting on my friend Mark’s CD racks one day, I asked him to borrow it.

Luna was still a trio when they recorded this debut. Ex-Galaxie 500 frontman Dean Wareham had just put together the group with drummer Stanley Demeski (ex of The Feelies) and bassist Justin Harwood (ex of The Chills), causing critics in the know to pull out the ‘indie supergroup’ label. The sound wasn’t super distant from Galaxie 500’s latter day work but Wareham’s two band mates definitely made their presence felt in the dream pop miasma.

On “Anesthesia” in particular, the bass is quite muscular, sinewy and organic and lots of heft, while Demeski’s drumming is impeccable, tight yet loose. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense but just listen to the drumming in the song and it will. And of course, there’s Wareham’s guitar work, at times dancing and shimmering, jangly finger plucking through the verses and then, he gets all rock and roll and radical after the choruses.

I’ve included the slightly shorter and cleaner original version from the album below but if you can find it, I’d also recommend having a go at the live version (from “Luna live”) as well. Both are great to get lost in for a few moments. You’re welcome.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1992 list, click here.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #15 Luna “Renee is crying”

<< #16    |    #14 >>

I first heard Luna in 1995. Their sophomore album, “Bewitched”, was loaned to me by my neighbour in university residence, Josh, who is better known in our circle of friends as Good Josh (as opposed to Bad Josh), but that’s another story. I was flipping through his CD collection one day*, he noted me looking at the album cover with interest, and highly recommended I give it a listen.

Luna has been one of my favourite bands ever since. I continued to listen to them long after I graduated, entered the adult workforce, moved away to Ottawa from Toronto, and gradually began to grow apart from most of my university friends. In fact, the last time I saw many of them, including Good Josh, was one weekend in 2002, when I took a Greyhound bus to Peterborough. A bunch of these friends were living there so the town was chosen as a central point to gather together to meet up with our friend Mark, who was temporarily back from an ESL teaching job in Japan. I distinctly remember bringing a copy of the latest Luna album, “Romantica”, along to listen to on the bus. I also pulled it out at one point on the weekend to share with Good Josh because he mentioned that hadn’t listened to them in a very long time. I don’t exact remember if he thought much of the album but it has become one of my favourites out of all their discography and was one of my first ever purchases for my vinyl collection, way back back on Record Store Day 2012.

Luna was formed by Dean Wareham in 1991 when his first band, the legendary dream pop outfit, Galaxie 500, disbanded. It was considered somewhat of an indie supergroup at the time because he had managed to gather a past member each from The Chills (Justin Harwood) and The Feelies (Stanley Demeski). Seven full-length studio albums, a live album, as well as a handful of EPs were released under the Luna moniker before the group disbanded in 2005, though the lineup was quite different then than when they had formed. Almost a decade later, Luna reunited as the lineup of Wareham, Sean Eden, Lee Wall, and Britta Philips, and they have since released a new album, an EP, and have toured pretty consistently since.

“Renee is crying” is track six on “Romantica”, an album that seems to me a rejuvenation for the band. Much of that can possibly be attributed to it being the first album with new bassist, Britta Philips, who, for you trivia buffs out there, was the singing voice Jem (of the Holograms). She also happened to be newly, romantically involved with our intrepid frontman and songwriter, Dean Wareham. Many of the tracks on the album have a bit more pep in their step, especially when compared to the previous couple of releases. “Renee is crying” isn’t as sad as the title suggests, but is actually quite upbeat and googly-eyed, though still with the band’s patented understated intricacies. For the guitar work, acoustic rhythms mesh with electric meanderings and the jaunty drums will have your toe-tapping all the way along highway seven on the Greyhound, perhaps annoying the passengers around you, who can’t hear the joyous music pumping through your earphones.

* Flipping through the CD collections of friends in university residence was how I discovered the music of a great many bands in the mid-1990s.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.