PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Luna: Live

Dave Heaton

Luna

Live

Label: Arena Rock Recording Co.
US Release Date: 2001-02-13
Amazon
iTunes

Live albums can put you "in the moment" of a stunning performance, or they can be astoundingly redundant, unnecessary recreations of superior studio recordings. Luna's first live album, Live, is one of the former, and thus is perfect not only for diehard Luna concertgoers or for Luna fans who have yet to see them play live, but also for the uninitiated who want to get a taste of Luna's music.

The cover art of the quintessential Luna album, 1995's Penthouse, consists of black-and-white photographs of New York City skyscrapers at night. To me, those pictures have always been the perfect summary of the mood of Luna's music. Their songs evoke both the dreamy, absurdly quiet nature of late nights/early mornings and the hectic yet mysterious quality of the biggest cities. Lead singer Dean Wareham sings of late-night taxi rides, after hours bars and suspicious strangers, while the rest of the band helps him lay down guitar-heavy surround-sound, like the Velvets stumbling onto a quiet groove.

On Live, their sound is both more choppy and more relaxed. On several songs they stretch out and improvise, and Wareham sings in a more casual, loose way throughout. The tracks are pulled from three shows, in New York City and Washington D.C. One is the band's last show with bassist Justin Harwood, the others are their first with new bassist Britta Phillips, who also lends backing vocals to a few tracks and fills Stereolab vocalist Laetitia Sadier's shoes on the band's cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie and Clyde", which originally appeared on Penthouse.

With the documentation of the lineup change, it seems that the album could be a historical marking of a transitional period in Luna's career. Yet musically they sound as Luna-like as ever. Plus the songs come from throughout their career, from their first and second LPs ("Anesthesia", "Tiger Lily", "Bewitched", "Friendly Advice") through their third and fourth ones ("Chinatown", "Sideshow By the Seashore", "23 Minutes in Brussels", "Pup Tent"), to their latest studio album, the fine The Days of Our Nights ("Hello Little One", "4000 Days"). They even stretch further back to Wareham's roots on one track, a straightforward but beautiful version of Galaxie 500's "Fourth of July".

Luna encountered enough label troubles with their last album to drive them to the indie world; this release is on NYC's Arena Rock Recordings. A release like this makes me cherish the fact that Luna is persistent in getting their music out one way or another. Their music sets a certain midnight mood like no one else's. Live is both a perfect distillation of that mood and a great reminder of the wondrous songs they've released over the last decade or so.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.