Friday, May 15th, 2009

CONTEST – Dean Wareham's Black Postcards: A Memoir

Photo By Autumn de WildeAutumn de WildeIt’s appropriate that I’m putting this up whilst in the Big Apple because more than any other band, Luna represents what I think of when I try to frame New York in musical terms – weird and wonderful and lightly hallucinogenic. And full of awesome guitar solos.

One of Dean Wareham’s first post-Luna projects was the writing of his memoirs, Black Postcards, which was released in hardcover form last year and in softcover last week. I reviewed it last year, remarking how candid and forthcoming Wareham was in its pages about his career and personal life and how at odds that was from the decidedly cryptic persona he’d cultivated over the years. It was an engrossing read and I recommended it wholeheartedly to anyone who is or was ever a Luna fan, or just found the life (and death) of bands that never quite break through fascinating. Maybe you took my advice and grabbed a copy, maybe you didn’t.

But if you didn’t, your procrastination has been rewarded. Courtesy of Penguin Books, I’ve got five – 5 – paperback copies of Black Postcards to give away. To enter, leave me a comment noting your favourite song from any of Wareham’s projects – Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean & Britta – and why. Essays not required, just a little thought. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you. And because I’m feeling generous, this contest is open to residents of anywhere. But it will close in a week at midnight, May 23.

Wareham talked to Daily Finance about some of the economic realities of rock’n’roll and creates a playlist to soundtrack his book for Largehearted Boy.

MP3: Luna – “Friendly Advice” (live)
MP3: Luna – “The Slow Song (live)
MP3: Dean & Britta – “Words You Used To Say”
MP3: Dean & Britta – “Singer Sing”

By : Frank Yang at 8:51 am
Category: Contests

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RSS Feed for this post47 Responses.
  1. Paul says:

    I have to go with California (All The Way), a song that I loved to begin with, but gained a whole new appreciation for the first time I saw Luna live. It was at Massey Hall, they were opening for Lou Reed. Awesome.

  2. Rick Smith says:

    Freakin’ and Peakin’, just have great memories of cruising in my car with the roof open

  3. ryan says:

    Gotta be Tugboat… not surprisingly, it always makes me thing of my time as the “captain” of a little tugboat on a dredging site in Eastern Canada… good times.

  4. mercer says:

    My favourite Galaxy 500 song is “strange”…what can I say, I like the pop.

  5. Paul says:

    When Will You Come Home because it is such a beautiful sound, so plaintively stating that he’s “Watching Kojak On My Own” waiting for the subject’s return

  6. A Head Full of Wishes » Blog Archive » Win a copy of Black Postcards @ Chromewaves says:

    […] over at the very wonderful music blog Chromewaves has three copies of Dean Wareham’s memoir Black Postcards to give away – and all you have to do is a pick a fave Wareham track (and way why). So… of you go […]

  7. Chris says:

    That would actually be “Words You Used to Say”, despite the uncanny ability of every Galaxie 500 album to take around two years to get under my skin. Words is a single that, I think, really refines what he’s been doing for decades: simple, stripped down songs, with every instrument doing exactly what it should. And that synth line is truly baller.

  8. Michael says:

    Moon Palace…beautifully written, exquisitely recorded, epically performed live.

  9. Hugh says:

    My pick is Tiger Lily by Luna. I discovered Luna within the last few years and no doubt was encouraged by the sheer influence of your love of all things Wareham, Mr. Yang. Without knowing the titles of the some songs at first, Tiger Lily (especially the glorious chorus) crept into my brain until I HAD to find out the name of the song that altered me so. My biggest regret was when Dean and Britta did a radio instudio set last year to unveil the world premiere of 13 Most Beautiful in Pittsburgh, they were walking past me to set up and I kill myself that I didn’t request the tune.
    They are coming again in June to the Warhol Museum to do a one off (?) performance in celebration of a new exhibit and it would be great to have a copy of the book for him to sign.

  10. Michael says:

    My favorite would be Ginger Snaps, by Dean & Britta. It’s just a really pretty song. It’s great for dancing slowly with my wife around our living room.

  11. Tommy Wharton says:

    Too many to pick….but a killer track is “Knives from Bavaria” from the L’Avventura project. Britta is aces in my book, she basically whispers this entire song. When I first heard this cd, I realized that even if Luna ever broke up (tragic…..they did) there was a future with Dean and Britta. I could rest easy. No duo like them in my book.

  12. simon says:

    For me it has got to be Sorry – I was 14 year old falling in love then getting my heart broken while listening to this, what more can you say.

  13. Luna-tic...ha! Get it? Luna...tic. No? Yeah. Ok. says:

    Love ’em all truly…tough choice, but I’m going to go with Romantica…mostly because I’m especially fond of the line “how can I know what I think ’til I see what I say?”

    And because I think Dean was kind of an ass to slag off Sean the way he does both throughout the book and Tell Me Do You Miss Me, I’ll note that Still at Home and Broken Chair might have been my favorite songs on Rendezvous.

  14. Matthew M says:

    Mine would be Chinatown. Something about the lyrics and tone hit me just right the first time I heard it.

  15. scott says:

    Hard to pick – big Tugboat fan (British Sea Power also do an ACE version)… also really like Blue Thunder. I think “On Fire”was the album that sold me on the band in the first place, and that lead-off was GENIUS!

  16. ryanc says:

    “This Time Around” has been a late edition to my Wareham favorites, probably because it always eluded proper attention coming after the excellent title track of Bewitched. The scene of a typically mellow Dean teaching it to Britta in Tell Me Do You Miss Me is a neat conflation of the art and life situations that Black Postcards details. It has the cities–“You spent the night in a steel hotel”–and the personal–“Don’t make her crazy/Don’t make her sad”–but the tone and message of the chorus always linger. Not to mention it being an appropriate signpost to the depth of the catalogue. (I may be twisting this some in my memory but my favorite part of the book was him mentioning Tony Visconti wearing a tie the day the horn players were coming in. It makes you think these guys not only respect what they do in work and life, but also what other people do. This is one of the things that lifts it out of “rock memoir” in my estimation.)

  17. Billy Sugarfix says:

    My choice, after much thought, would have to be Galaxie 500s “Oblivious”. The entire “Today” album is so full of innocence and energy that despite its technical flaws, in fact because of them, it is my favorite Galaxie 500 album. It has such a distinct feel from start to finish-happy go lucky and melancholy at the same time. I love the Velvet Underground, but always wished they would do one record that consisted entirely of their pretty stuff such as Sunday Morning and Stephanie Says. Galaxie 500 hundred did it for them. Borrowing elements from the New Seekers and Pet Clark, filtering them through rich guitar sounds and cathartic delivery. “Oblivious” is the song that stands out the most from this fine collection. The lyrics are raw and pure. The chord pattern pleasant yet haunting, the bass line shouldn’t fit but it does. Then there is the harmonica solo, the flawed yet somehow perfect rambling that typifies the ever present imperfections that made Galaxie 500 seem so human.

    One time I thought I had lost my ipod. I had accepted that it would be a while before I could replace it and would erstwhile do without it. But, it showed up in a very unlikely place. The first thing I listened to upon its return was “Oblivious”. I had my bike with me, but walked home and listened to the song over and over again on a gray day that threatened rain.

  18. paul schuster says:

    I am going to go with tugboat. my nine year old daughter has learned to play this song on guitar and then she taught me as well. and btw, I still don’t want to go to your party and I still don’t want to talk to your friends.

  19. TJ says:

    Knives From Bavaria is such a wonderfully mysterious song. I’ve always loved Britta’s delivery on this song, and seeing the band play it live at the Silent Movie Theater really brought it all home to me.

  20. Gary Annable says:

    “Isn’t It A Pity” from Galaxie 500’s sophomore LP On Fire, remains my favourite, first heard on the late great Brave New Waves.

  21. Pablo says:

    “Tracy I Love You” is a great song, especially live. It really brought out what Luna was as a band: awesome. The drum beat is addictive, the lyrics are cool, and Sean’s guitar playing in this one is amazing. It also helps if you love a girl named Tracy…

  22. Cassio says:

    Fourth of July – the first Galaxie 500 song I heard, the world changed afterwards.

  23. Judy says:

    Its so hard to pick just one, and it changes a bit with my mood, but I would have to say “I want everything” is tops right now, just because I almost want to cry when I hear it.

  24. michael says:

    “City Kitty” great imagery and wordplay wrapped within a nice, slowly developing musical structure, that kicks in about halfway through the song. “Promises don’t grow on trees”…wait “Beautiful View” no, no, no…”Beggars Bliss”…shit! I can’t pick just one you evil bastard! Luna live strong forever!

  25. Gindy says:

    D&B – Moonshot (Myths Of Heaven)

    is a scream. ;) I had a great experience with this one.

    Well, if D & B hadn’t taken time to listen to me before a show in Atlanta — that “Moonshot” was getting heavy rotation on my iPod —- then I wouldn’t have made such a FOOL out of myself AND simultaneously broken down — in one go (!!!!) — my intense anxiety and fear of crowds when Dean dedicated “Moonshot” to me during the “NO APPLAUSE” set —- I started to scream, like a banshee over, over and over. Oh, I admit it was an obnoxious outburst. I also maintain IT FELT FANTASTIC TO LET GO LIKE THAT! At the end of the song, EVERYONE applauded, whistled, we were all in it together. NOTHING could shut us up. It was beautiful.

    I loved, I DO love, the simplicity of that bit of rebellion, especially when it turned/turns positive and lovely. And however it went, it was in the name of music. “Moonshot (Myths of Heaven)” was the song I needed to hear and have to become at one with the rest of the human race, even for a few minutes. I thank Dean & Britta for their tolerance of my outburst, but they seemed to get it.

    And by the way, “Moonshot” is a hell of a song.

  26. Matt Chez says:

    it’s a perfect song and it perfectly sums up the great early 90’s sound that so many bands had.

  27. Derek A. Friday says:

    The blend and variety of sounds (and moods) Wareham (Britta & the band most certainly) have composed make it nearly impossible for me to chose just one. However, If I may be permitted, I would like to submit a hybrid entry, representing all (o3) memorable and not yet complete musical points in all of their collective history.

    Galaxie 500: Ceremony
    Luna: Black Postcards (acoustic Broken Chair)
    Dean & Britta: Ginger Snaps

    I’m enormously happy for the success each and every member of the band has experienced post Luna, but I have a feeling the band isn’t done yet. It’s time to reverse the stigma of “The greatest band you’ve never heard of” once and for all.

    Thanks for all the great sounds everyone.

  28. Alex Bates says:

    I think the song that sort of symbolizes Luna for me is 23 Minutes in Brussels. The interplay of guitars and drums, pretty sweet. It was only fitting that it was the final song that they played.

    I have several bootlegs from the shows on the final tour readily available as MP3s, so I can catch them on the train to work. Such great energy, and a the wonderful movie capturing the spirit of the band.

    I’m sorry I missed Galaxie the first time around (where was I?). I hope they can reach some level of rapprochement and make a go of a reunion tour.

  29. Jim says:

    So many magical Luna moments, and so hard pressed to choose among them. It seems like the first time I really heard each Luna album, it’s linked to some vivid moment in my past, now far enough away that the memories take on a certain tinge of sadness just from the perspective of distance they bring.

    It’s springtime again, and that was always my favorite time of year in NYC, you can finally leave your windows open at night and feel the cool breeze flow in and rustle your blinds, smell the leaves on the trees, feel the warm chill in your lungs. I somehow always found a way to put Bewitched on the cd player at such moments. I could see the twin towers off in the distance from my front window, and always just loved that gentle paean, Going Home, imagining the Twin Towers talking to each other and listening to that gently undulating guitar riff

  30. Andy says:

    (Frank, I have two copies of Black Postcards so this isn’t a competition entry – but I felt left out)

    Snowstorm by Galaxie 500
    In 1990 I was travelling around Poland. While sitting in the back of the car with my Walkman and On Fire I realised that I had nothing in common with the people I was with. Snowstorm was the point at which I realised that my life was ready for change.

  31. Roy says:

    I have to choose “Tell Me” from G500 On Fire… that was the album I took with me to India, and while traveling there for 6 month, i was trying to learn how to play my guitar, and that song and album just kept me going, practicing every freaking day . those simple 3 chords of each song were just a whole world to explore and learn from.
    Allot of travelers came to me and asked me what was that cool and strange music that was playing on my cheap speakers, and i spread the word about G500. hopefully someone kept it with him (:

    So now , 6 years later, i still owe to that song and album so much of my guitar playing technique…

    Thank you Galaxie 500, Thank you Dean Wareham

  32. Faith says:

    My favorite song is Dean and Britta’s Moonshot.

    The first time I heard this song I was listening to an online radio station playing in my room and I was in my bathroom brushing my teeth and when I heard it I just stopped. It was like seeing a beautiful flower and stopping to stare at it for a minute or two, or stopping to look at a little kid playing with bubbles or running in the grass. You dont know what makes the flower so beautiful, or why you feel like running with the little kid in the grass, you just know that there is something perfect about it. When I heard Moonshot and
    “see all the wonders that you leave behind
    enshrined in some great hourglass”
    well the whole song actually, it just felt really nice.

  33. Peter says:

    “When Will You Come Home” (Galaxie 500) … it comforts me.

  34. MM says:

    My favourite Galaxie 500 song would have to be “When Will You Come Home.” All of On Fire is gold, but this one is dearest to my heart. Blissfully repetitive, the song peaks as Dean’s guitar takes over in lieu of vocals. Genius.

  35. Patrick Mc. says:

    tough one… I’d have to go with Chinatown from penthouse I think… In my opinion Luna provides a soundtrack for hanging out and drinking and chinatown kind of makes you feel like it’s ok to be doing that … totally brings me back to my younger days when yeah i “was out all night chasing girlies, late to work and went home earlies” and there was nothing wrong with that … I think you gotta love Luna’s cover of Everybody’s talkin though … anyone that can work a kazoo solo into a song has skills

  36. The Warden says:

    Well, my fave is 4,000 Days, b/c that’s the song that got me into the band in the first place. It was actually an in-studio version I heard them doing live on the Vin Scelsa show back when the album still wasn’t released. Saw them live just a month before 9/11 at a free show in the courtyard of the World Trade Center of all places. Would love to read the book, so put me in the running.

  37. MT says:

    Hmmm, very difficult indeed but I have to settle for “4th of July”, nostalgia kicking in here STOP That was the first song I ever heard of Galaxie 500 STOP Must have been 1989 or 1990 on “City Limits” (Much Music), some friday after midnight (this makes it Sat. I guess, coz I was having milk and cake! STOP Was literally blown out by the music, the video STOP Particularly love the drums at the end of the song, sounding like a military march STOP Felt that I have discovered the music that will accompany me for the rest of my life………

  38. jay says:

    so many songs from one of my favorite dudes of all time. i’ve been listening to him since the early 90s, and i have no idea how i have not read the book at this point. maybe don’t want to destroy the mystique a little bit.

    anyway, from galaxie 500 the song ‘summertime’ has the line ‘the heat is just delicious’ which to this guy living in phoenix is so perfect right now early in the summer.

    but then, ‘the slow song’ from the days of our nights is just *that song*. slow. in german. dead simple. dead gorgeous. i’ve always wondered about the lyrics, and i read something once about there being something about an old couple and a dance (the tennessee waltz, the only lyric i can understand), but ultimately the melody, the performance, just speak. and the lyrics being in german, well, mystique, right?

  39. JTodd says:

    Axl – Schmaxl. Dean got the real essence of Sweet Child of Mine!
    When that one pops up on the shuffle, time to sit, stare and wonder.

  40. juepucta says:

    “Chinatown” (Luna). The whole notion of being up all night chasing ass, coming late to work the next day, etc. I kinda lived like that for a while. Probably not as cool as the song might make it sound but…

    Still to this day puts a bittersweet smile on my face.


  41. Michael says:

    I know you said one, but come on…Math Wiz, Black Postcards, Me and My Babies, When Will You Come Home, Another Day. This is just a start.

    I already have the book. Give it to someone who doesn’t. Thanks.

  42. Soundtrack2 says:

    Tough one. But I’d have to say “Sideshow by the Seashore” or “Tiger Lily Girl,” both by Luna.

    I was at Lee’s Palace in 2001 when Luna completely brought the house down

  43. Henrik says:

    The obvious choice is a G500-song, but I don’t think that’s fair to where DW is now in his life… but I do have to stay in the past though, with Luna – and probably disqualify myself by having to choose two songs:

    23 minutes In Brussels – for the song as a whole, the guitars, the drive…

    Bobby Peru – mostly for the words

    “I don’t mind you keeping secrets from me.
    But please don’t keep them from yourself.”

    -h :o)

  44. Todd says:

    Black Champagne. While Wareham claims, “If I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t!” in Black Postcards, he responds to his own despondency in Black Champagne: “The battle brings me life!”

  45. Josh says:

    G500 – Flowers

    Pumping through my headphones on the bus ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh, during a perfectly pitiful grey rainfall on one of my first days ever in the UK.

  46. Modin says:

    I like Dean and Britta’s version of “Bonnie and Clyde”, I’m a sucker for that song

  47. shoegazer says:

    My favorite song of Dean’s is the same one it’s always been… what ever song he is going to write tomorrow.