The Pequod Review:
Dean Wareham was the founding member of two extraordinary 1980s-2000s independent bands (Galaxie 500 and Luna), and his informative memoir Black Postcards covers a lot of ground: the music production process (Galaxie 500’s Today “was made for $750, including 60 minutes’ worth of one-inch tape”), the economics of record advances and TV commercial licensing, the grind of touring even for a moderately-successful rock band, the hazards of signing with small independent record labels (when Rough Trade filed for bankruptcy, Galaxie 500 lost back-due royalties and their back catalog), and especially his band’s relationship with major labels during the post-Nirvana era when everyone was looking for the next big crossover hit.
He has other good observations throughout the book:
U2 routinely spent a year in the studio. I don’t know if they played Scrabble or Ping Pong while they were there but they were millionaires — they could afford to let the days tick by, experimenting to their hearts’ content. Trying this, trying that — essentially writing the record in the studio with the aid of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite. I have a theory: if you put four monkeys into the studio for a year with Lanois and Eno and Lillywhite, they would make a pretty good record too.
Wareham also talks about his earliest musical influences, which included hearing The Seekers' "Georgy Girl" at a very young age:
If we spend our whole lives trying to recapture some of the magic of childhood, then perhaps I have spent mine trying to re-create the feeling that I got from hearing "Georgy Girl" — beauty and sadness and ecstasy all together.