Luna’s Dean Wareham tells us about his favorite things of 2018
Luna frontman Dean Wareham and Cheval Sombre (aka Chris Porpora) teamed up this year for a collaborative album of cowboy songs, both traditional and modern, that they call "western dreampop." While still being very much in Wareham's wheelhouse, the twangy, lonesome vibe makes this record a nice twist on a familiar sound, and you can stream the whole album below.
We've also got the premiere of the video for "Bend in the River," written by cowboy song great Marty Robbins, which is one of Dean's selections on the album. "My filmmaker friend Matthew Buzzell shot this video in Athens and Augusta, Georgia," says Dean. "We’ve worked together before, as he directed the Luna documentary Tell Me Do You Miss Me and also a wonderful documentary about the jazz singer Little Jimmy Scott." Mixing vintage western footage with a ghostly image of Wareham on an even more vintage television, its an eerie and effective clip. Watch that below.
Dean & Cheval will be playing NYC's Le Poisson Rouge on Friday, December 7 (tickets), Los Angeles' Zebulon on January 25 (tickets), and San Francisco's The Chapel on January 26 (tickets).
Meanwhile, we also asked Dean for a Top 10 of 2018, and he obliged with a list of music and books. Check out his picks, including commentary on them all, below.
DEAN WAREHAM's 10 FAVORITE THINGS 2018
The End of Eddy by Éduard Louis — a best-seller in France, a violent and funny novel about a boy growing up gay in a small French town but somehow this novel speaks to the conditions of working class life in decaying towns from France to Ohio.
The Only Story by Julian Barnes — a devastating novel about a love affair between a teenager and an older woman:
When she was talking about Joan, she’d said “We’re all just looking for a place of safety.” I pondered these words for a while afterwards. The conclusion I came to was this: maybe so, but I’m young, I’m only nineteen and I’m more interested in looking for a place of danger.
Astral Weeks — A Secret History of 1968 by Ryan Walsh. In this the 50-year anniversary of the turbulent 1968, this book’s focus is on Boston, Van Morrison (I had no idea he was there, working on Astral Weeks), Zabriskie Point, the Fort Hill Community, the Velvets, Jonathan Richman, Alan Lorber and James Brown. Among other things.
The Perfect Nanny - A Novel by Leila Slimani. Another French best selling thriller, it discusses race and class but entertains at the same time.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Super funny novel by Moshfegh, delves deep into the nature of sleeping pills. I saw her read at Skylight Books in Los Angeles and someone asked why is this novel set in 2001? “Read the book,” she said, “you’ll figure it out."
Fish Have No Feet by Jón Kalman Stefánsson — a Bildungsroman about a poet, set in Iceland.
Alex Cameron live at the Regent Theatre in Los Angeles. His Forced Witness album was my favorite musical discovery this year. Live in concert he delivers the music, the banter, and the saxophone solos.
Sparkle Hard by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. I don’t necessarily like ranking an artist’s albums by number but this is my favorite Malkmus release ever, stellar lyrics as always but beautiful arrangements too.
"This Time Around" by Jessica Pratt. There is a Luna song with this title too but hers is better, I can’t wait for the rest of this album.
William Tyler — live at Zebulon in Los Angeles. William Tyler, tasteful guitarist who used to play with Lambchop, now lives in Los Angeles, did a residency at Zebulon this year. I caught just the one show and it was much more than I expected.