In the wake of the rather acrimonious breakup of his previous band, Galaxie 500, singer/guitarist Dean Wareham issued a 1991 solo EP, Anesthesia, and appeared on the brilliant Mercury Rev single "Car Wash Hair" before announcing the formation of a new band, dubbed Luna, in 1992. Originally named Luna², the trio was a kind of alternative pop supergroup that also included former Chills bassist Justin Harwood and ex-Feelies drummer Stanley Demeski.
After signing with Elektra, they debuted with the LP Lunapark, which earned comparison to Wareham's Galaxie 500 output for his continued reliance on laconic, Lou Reed/Tom Verlaine-inspired vocals and minimalist songcraft. In truth, however, Luna employed more uptempo rhythms and sharper melodies than its predecessor, a point further driven home by the 1994 masterpiece Bewitched. Featuring new second guitarist Sean Eden, the LP also included a guest appearance from the Velvet Underground's legendary Sterling Morrison, who added his distinctive guitar presence to tracks like "Friendly Advice" and "Great Jones Street." Another guest, Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, turned up to duet with Wareham on a cover of the Serge Gainsbourg/Brigitte Bardot classic "Bonnie and Clyde" for the follow-up, 1995's Penthouse. Minus Demeski, Luna resurfaced in 1997 with Pup Tent.
Just prior to releasing their fifth full-length, The Days of Our Nights, Elektra dropped the band. Eventually landing at the Jericho label, Luna finally issued the album in the U.S. in the fall of 1999. The new millennium saw many changes for the band again. Founding bassist Justin Harwood left the band, moving back to his native New Zealand to spend time raising his baby girl. Ben Lee/Ultrababyfat bassist Britta Phillips replaced Harwood after touring with Luna during a spring 2000 tour. Their first concert album, Luna Live, recorded at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., in December 1999 and the Knitting Factory in New York in July 2000, was issued in early 2001.
Luna wrapped up recording their sixth studio album in late 2001 and prepared it for a spring 2002 release on Jetset Records. Entitled Romantica, it was mixed by Dave Fridmann (Mogwai, Mercury Rev, the Flaming Lips) and produced by Gene Holder. Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips recorded a duet album entitled Avventura that was produced by Tony Visconti and released in May of 2002 also through Jetset. In 2004, after announcing their impending retirement, the group released Rendezvous, their seventh and final record. To commemorate their tenure, Luna issued the 17-song retrospective The Best of Luna on Rhino in June 2006. A digital-only collection of covers entitled Lunafied as well as the DVD version of their Matthew Buzzell-directed tour documentary, Tell Me Do You Miss Me, both arrived in June. ~ Jason Ankeny