Having spent the last 25 years playing in different bands, singer and guitarist Dean Wareham has just recently started stepping out on his own. A few years ago he performed a series of solo shows devoted to the music of his late ’80s-early ’90s band Galaxie 500. Last month, Wareham released the six-song EP, Emancipated Hearts, and sometime next year, he will release his full-length solo album debut. And this Friday, Wareham will be playing at the Bell House, which is somewhat of a homecoming for him, since he recently relocated to Los Angeles from the Big Apple.
Wareham’s music has evolved throughout the decades, from the post-punk drone of Galaxie 500, through the Velvet Underground-influenced rock sound of Luna, the band he founded after Galaxie’s break-up, to the dreamy electronic soundscapes of Dean and Britta, his collaborative project with wife Britta Philips. His latest Emancipated Hearts, which was produced by Papercuts’ Jason Quever, showcases a folky side, augmented by his distinctly detached singing voice and guitar playing.
According to the EP’s press release, all the song titles were either inspired by movies or literature; the music itself possesses a moody, reverb-heavy sound that recalls ’60s psychedelic folk. “The Deadliest Day Since The Invasion Began,” with its march-like, droning feel is reminiscent of early Velvet Underground–a track that would have been so perfect for Nico to cover. Wareham also continues in his tradition of covering eclectic songs from the past– in this case, it’s his lovely and poppy rendition of “Air” by the ’60s group The Incredible String Band.
His show is advertised as his only New York appearance for the year with him performing both new and past material. And speaking as someone who has seen him play live several times–whether it was a Dean and Britta gig at Southpaw (R.I.P.) or Luna’s final show at the Bowery Ballroom almost 10 years ago – I can tell you he doesn’t disappoint on stage. This post-Thanksgiving gig perhaps is a precursor of what’s to come from the artist in the new year.
Dean Wareham will perform Friday at the Bell House, 149 7th Street, Brooklyn, 8 pm, $17-$20.