Two years ago, the Brooklyn duo of Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips released an album called 13 Most Beautiful…: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests. Authorized by the Warhol Museum and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, this work is a soundtrack to 13 of the pop artist’s short silent film portraits from the mid 60s. On stage, Dean and Britta performed the songs while screening the films, whose subjects from the Factory era include Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, Billy Name, Dennis Hopper and Nico.
If you had previously missed out on those performances, there is another opportunity tomorrow, Saturday, October 6 in probably the most perfect of settings: at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whose current exhibit, "Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years," coincides with the 25th anniversary of Warhol’s passing.
It seems so fitting that Wareham would be involved in 13 Most Beautiful… His musical career spans 25 years, first as the singer/guitarist of the alternative rock band Galaxie 500, and then as the leader of Luna, which Phillips was also a member of. Certainly Wareham’s sound—whether it’s his singing, guitar playing or songwriting--reflects the influence of the Velvet Underground, the legendary band fronted by Lou Reed that Andy Warhol supported.
13 Most Beautiful… is a homage to the Factory period of the ‘60s, and yet the reflective music sounds contemporary thanks to a few remixes on some of the tracks. There are plenty of wonderful moments on the record—among them Phillips’ lovely singing on a tender interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep it With Mine”; a cover of a Velvet Underground bootleg “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore”; the haunting instrumental “Incandescent Innocent”; and the country twang of “Eyes in My Smoke.”
For generations too young to have experienced Warhol's ‘60s, this upcoming concert and the Met exhibit is a chance to relive the Factory era. In the hands of Dean and Britta, the show promises to be a wonderful celebration of Warhol's effect on the arts that lasts to this day.
Dean and Britta will be performing “13 Most Beautiful…: Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests” on Saturday Oct. 6 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, 7 p.m.; $35.