On our fourth episode we listen to Luna’s Penthouse, Laura Loe’s favorite album of the 1990s. We discuss lush recording, embarrassing lyrics, shameless Velvet Underground rip offs, and the absence of early rock shows for aging Gen-Xers.
Luna (extended thoughts from Laura Loe)
There are a lot of amazing things about doing our Hidden Jukebox podcast.
Tonight I'm listening to Luna's Penthouse for the millionth time with completely different ears--this is a super special rare gift.
Thank you Matthew Amster-Burton for this amazing opportunity to re-hear the music that is so central to me.
Some albums aren’t remarkable the first time you hear them. This is one of those albums.
Over the years I have become more and more and more obsessed with it.
From the first notes of Chinatown, I am transported to a particular moment in a person’s life when they think they are really fucking cool—I think this whole album mocks a certain New York rocker pretentious hipsterism…
The lyrics get funnier and funnier the more you spend time with them. And some lyrics which seem playful at first can turn sinister after the 50th listen.
Released in August 1995, this is the third album by Luna, produced by Pat MacCarthy who the interwebs tell me mixed Madonna’s Ray of Light.
On Hidden Jukebox we usually ask...
Where did you hear this album the first time?
I was living in Evanston, homesick for Santa Monica and also homesick for a version of New York City--where I had never lived--but I was increasingly realizing was out of my reach. I’d grown up in the suburbs of NY till I was 13 and in my mind my 20’s would be spent there…
Certain albums make me long for a New York that probably only exists in my daydreams. (The most obvious is probably Lou Reed's New York... but the most vivid for me is PJ Harvey’s Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea...)
The songs on this album all run together for me. I almost never don’t listen to this album start to finish. The tempo of the songs is all just a little bit slower than any “hit single” will ever be. It is languid af and all feels like it must have been written and recorded on an ecstasy come down.
The bass playing is exquisite and buried so deep in the mix. It is hidden. I didn't even pay attention to it till I became a bass player.... Another aspect of this album that requires many listens to really hear it.
I’ve tried over the years to get various people to fall in love with this album as hard as I have. Almost never succeeded.
This album makes me think about the times you call out of work or skip school or tell a lover you’re working late at the office but really what you’ve done is stolen a moment for yourself. Where no one knows where you are and it feels delicious.