Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dean & Britta - 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests (2010)


For fans of: Spiritualized, Yo La Tengo, Robyn Hitchcock

These songs are indeed beautiful. I haven't heard the originals of the cover songs that are here and I haven't seen Warhol's screen tests, but this stands up as an album greatly. It's spacey, arty, psychedelic, and at times has my spine tingling. They incorporate a wide range of instruments, keeping it from becoming boring, and even add electronic beats and bleeps to some songs. It all works really well and never annoys or tries to go beyond itself, just simple songs that hit the spot perfectly. - Matthew Foster

"Renowned pop artist Andy Warhol swapped canvas for celluloid and made 13 short black-and-white silent films between 1964 and 1966, all of which followed a single subject (person), usually within the confines of his Factory studio. Luna veterans Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips were commissioned by the Warhol Museum to provide a soundtrack for the film, and the resulting two-disc set, 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests collects all of those pieces, along with a handful of remixes. Tapping one third of the late-'80s pop outfit Galaxie 500 was a no-brainer, as Wareham’s made a career out of building dreamy, minimalist, Velvet Underground-style jams for over 20 years, and instrumental cuts like “Silver Factory Theme” and “Herringbone Tweed” feel like audio postcards of the late-'60s Factory scene. Phillips’ sexy, plain-jane voice dutifully echoes Nico on a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Keep It with Mine,” Wareham’s “It Don't Rain in Beverly Hills” (for the Edie Sedgwick screen test) rolls down the road on a foundation of spacy beats and blips, and a rousing take on the Velvets’ “I'm Not a Young Man Anymore” feels both sad and triumphant. 13 Most Beautiful ends fittingly with the languid “Sweet Jane” and the Paul America-inspired “Teenage Lightning (And Lonely Highways)”." - AMG

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