Luna is cursed—cursed with such a wonderful, inviting, original approach to pop music that they will never be a commercial success, and cursed with a major label that thought they would one day catch on. They didn't.
After much deliberation and changing of minds, Elektra decided not to release the fifth album from Luna, The Days of Our Nights. The album was instead released Tuesday on Jericho Records, the label put together by Smiths producer John Porter and Andrew Lauder, ex-head of Silvertone Records UK (and the man who signed Elvis Costello and the Stone Roses).
What's laughable about the dropping of Luna is that this may be the best Luna album in more than five years. When you hear the talent the band displays on The Days of Our Nights, it makes you wonder how the industry works. It is nice to see a label release four albums from a band that never had anything close to a commercial single, but it's a little disturbing to see them give up on such a charming record. At some point, someone at Elektra must have just thrown up his or her hands and declared, "That's it! No single! Drop 'em!"
To be honest, I'm jealous. I only wish I had a label so gigantic that I could hear an incredible album like this and drop the band without missing a beat.
You can hear the new Luna and a bunch of other bands not on major labels anymore on the Morning Show, Monday through Friday from 6 to 10am on 90.3 FM KCMU.
Countdown: Worst albums of the millennium
George Harrison, Gone Troppo (Dark Horse, 1982) When my friend Eric and I first threw ourselves upon the altar of the Beatles, it was with a naive, youthful passion; little did we suspect the trail of garbage that made up their solo years. Only after the plunge was taken did we realize what a mess it was. John stayed great, but only for a while; Paul turned his appetite for cannabis into a whimsy-fest that lasted the better part of two decades. We knew better than to expect anything from Ringo.
George, however, took the cake: His solo output is the most reckless abuse of noblesse oblige in pop history. A conversation Eric and I had about which of George's albums was the worst devolved into a comedy routine: He'd name Living in the Material World, I'd say, "So that one's worse than Extra Texture?" and he'd go "Arrrgghh! No, that's worse!" Eventually we reached the bottom of the barrel: 1982's Gone Troppo. Coming just after a decade that everyone who'd survived was doing their best to forget, Gone Troppo is all that's bad about '70s rock: lousy songs, forgettable solos, weedy vocals by born sidemen, rinky-dink reggae played by clueless white people (the titular "troppo" means "tropical"—tee-hee, get it?). Harrison went into semi-retirement after Gone Troppo; he'd have done us a bigger favor if he'd made the same decision in 1971.—Michaelangelo Matos