Galaxie 500 and Luna while critically adored, tend to be overlooked and in this music lover’s opinion, remain two of the most under appreciated bands of my lifetime. Frontman Dean Wareham moved on from Galaxie and then from Luna with his lovely bandmate, Britta Phillips, married her and the two began recording as Dean & Britta. Sort of a rock and roll Bonnie and Clyde — I mean that in the most French way possible.
Their latest project, endorsed and by invitation of the Andy Warhol Museum, is a collection of soundtracks made to accompany 13 of Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” Boring or brilliant, they were originally conceived by Warhol as portraits, portraits on film rather than canvas, and feature some people who are ridiculously famous. It’s all in the eye of the beholder of course, if you’re fascinated by Bob Dylan or Edie Sedgwick you’ll want to ogle their “Screen Test.” Either way Dean & Britta livened the silent films up with these songs. “13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests” is a cool project by two extremely cool musicians dealing with subject matter that, really, could not be cooler.
Check out this Warhol piece of Lou Reed, coolest man in the world, drinking a crisp Coca Cola (back before it was just some high fructose corn syrup bullshit) set to Dean & Britta (covering Lou Reed).
I’ve always associated Wareham with Reed and I’m sure I’m not alone in keeping my Luna records alongside my Velvet Underground records (organization by feeling, not alphabet, feels right). Wyndham Wallace in a huge interview for The Quietus asked Wareham about the connection and if he ever worried about being too closely associated with the Warhol/Velvets camp upon the release of this new project.
“This is what Harold Bloom called ‘anxiety of influence.’ I don’t worry about it too much, the Velvets are an influence on my life but so are the Bee Gees, Lee Hazlewood, Jonathan Richman, Talking Heads,” Wareham said. “And the critics will say what they want, they compared Galaxie 500 to the V.U. at the time but if you listen today those Galaxie 500 albums sound like no one else at all, and I would say the same for Luna.”
It’s true, and not only because of Wareham’s strange voice. In any case he was certainly the natural choice for these soundtracks. The newly released double CD includes the 13 soundtracks plus eight remixes by the likes of Sonic Boom.
More Dean & Britta.