Best tunes of 1992: #15 Luna “Anesthesia”

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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.

Vinyl love: Piroshka “Brickbat”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Piroshka
Album Title: Brickbat
Year released: 2019
Details: black vinyl, hand screen-printed sleeve, signed postcard

The skinny: Just this past Tuesday, I started counting down my favourite albums of the year with my traditional ‘honourable mentions’ post, focusing on albums ten through six on my list. At the top of that post, I did a bit of a cheat by sharing a photo of four records that didn’t quite make the top ten, but that bore mentioning nonetheless, and one of these was this very album: “Brickbat” by Piroshka. Fans of Lush, Moose, Modern English, and Elastica should take note, that is, if they already haven’t. This is a supergroup, though the members would have you believing otherwise, made up pieces of those very bands, and this resulting debut sounds a bit like each and like none of them at the same time. For me, the album was a grower and am now glad that I pulled the trigger early, ordering a vinyl copy direct from Bella Union, and doing so early enough to get the limited edition hand-printed sleeve and autographed postcard. Yeah, a sweet score all round.

Standout track: “Everlastingly yours”

Best albums of 2007: #2 The New Pornographers “Challengers”

So The New Pornographers have hit these pages a few times in this blog’s inaugural year. The Canadian indie power pop supergroup is a great band that has defied the odds and last for well over the predicted one or two albums. In fact, “Challengers” is the group’s fourth album and have since come up with three more since 2007.

This album was a bit challenging (pardon the pun) for the group’s long time fans because there was less power in the pop here. All the other elements we have grown to love, the big and interesting instrumentation and arrangements, the turn taking and melodies on vocals by all four principal vocalists, and the way the different elements come together so cohesively are still prominent but just muted. For some, this meant requiring more listens to accept the new record but I had no issues at all.

For me, “Challengers” was love on first listen. Interesting, then, that many critics considered this more the natural sequel to AC Newman’s quiet debut, “The slow wonder”, an album I didn’t much care for, rather than the bombast of The New Pornos’ third record, “Twin cinema”. I thought the toned down approach allowed for the all the pieces room to grow and the results were quite stunning. I don’t know if it’s fair to call this my all time favourite of their albums, given that they are so consistently good, but it just might be.

If you’re not familiar with this stellar group or just this album (or even if you are), have a peek at my three picks for you below and let me know what you think.


“Mutiny, I promise you”: I’m not sure I know what this song’s all about but I just love the idea of promising a mutiny, usurping the captain on the high seas like a pirate. And not just warning in advance but promising it. The song is one of the more upbeat and energetic of the bunch on “Challengers”. It’s like all the instruments are turned up to eleven and their players are at them like crazy. The vocals, too, gang-like, are almost an all out shout, except they’re so beautifully harmonized between Newman and Kathryn Calder. And when they briefly pause their playing to sing “And here is the mutiny I promised you” at the bridge, it’s oh so sweet.

“Myriad Harbour”: This is easily my favourite Dan Bejar penned and sung track. He is so weird but on this track, it works. His almost whiny voice is singing conversationally, for some reason, reminding me of Lou Reed, and he’s glorifying Manhattan too, which is perfect. “Stranded at Bleeker and Broadway, looking for something to do.” The way the guitar climbs up and down, Bejar rejoins and the rest of the band responds, the harmonica flourishes, it all just makes me smile, over and over again.

“All the old showstoppers”: That Carl Newman, he’s quite the lyricist. His songs are rife with wordplay that twist and turn our normal ideas and always leave things open to interpretation. I’ve tried to untangle this one, the meaning seemingly just there beyond reach, but I’ve decided to give it up and just enjoy the tune. And “All the old showstoppers” is a fun one. A verse melody that feels very mechanical while Newman sings a call and answer with Neko Case and Calder. It all comes together joyously for the chorus though, instruments and voices in one sweet harmony.


For the rest of the albums in this list, check out my Best Albums page here.