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Galaxie 500

Though criminally overlooked in their own lifetime, Galaxie 500 later emerged as one of the pivotal underground groups of the post-punk era; dreamy and enigmatic, their minimalist dirges presaged the rise of both the shoegaze and slowcore movements of the 1990s. The group formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986 and comprised vocalist/guitarist Dean Wareham (a transplanted New Zealand native), and bassist Naomi Yang and drummer Damon Krukowski, longtime friends who first met in high school in New York City before all three attended Harvard. Wareham and Krukowski initially teamed in the short-lived Speedy & the Castanets, which split after their bass player experienced a religious conversion; upon re-forming, the duo recruited Yang to play bass, although she had no prior musical experience.

Named after a friend's car, Galaxie 500 began performing live throughout Boston and New York before recording a three-song demo tape which they sent to Shimmy Disc honcho Kramer, who agreed to become the trio's producer. After bowing in early 1988 with the singles "Tugboat" and "Oblivious" (the latter track featured on a flexi-disc included in an issue of Chemical Imbalance magazine), they issued their full-length debut, Today, which highlighted the group's distinct, evolving sound pitting Wareham's eerie, plaintive tenor, elliptical songs, and slow-motion guitar textures against Yang's warm, fluid basslines and Krukowski's lean drumming.

After signing to the U.S. branch of Rough Trade, Galaxie 500 issued its defining moment, 1989's evocative On Fire, a remarkably assured and rich record including the superb singles "Blue Thunder" and "When Will You Come Home." After a limited-edition 7" release featuring live renditions of the Beatles' "Rain" and Jonathan Richman's "Don't Let Our Youth Go to Waste," the group returned in 1990 with This Is Our Music, a diffuse collection spotlighting the wry, sunny single "Fourth of July" and a haunting cover of Yoko Ono's "Listen, The Snow Is Falling." Following a subsequent tour, Galaxie 500 disbanded after Wareham phoned Yang and Krukowski to say he was quitting the group.

A few months later, after Wareham formed his new band, Luna, Rough Trade went bankrupt, and with the label's demise went the trio's three albums, as well as their royalties. In 1991, at an auction of Rough Trade's assets, Krukowski purchased the master tapes for the group's music, and five years later the Rykodisc label issued a box set containing Galaxie 500's complete recorded output. A previously unreleased 1990 live set, dubbed Copenhagen, followed in 1997. In the meantime, after first resurfacing under the name Pierre Etoile, Krukowski and Yang later recorded as Damon & Naomi; additionally, the duo served as the rhythm section for the Wayne Rogers-led Magic Hour until that band split in 1996. Wareham continued with Luna until their 2005 demise, after which he worked with former Luna bandmate Britta Phillips under the name Dean & Britta. In 2014, the duo went on tour where they played a set of Galaxie 500 songs. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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I can kind of agree with bobonnit. Shoegazer? Slowcore? I observe quite a few genres, but I can only observe so many. These guys are post punk.
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Hey bobonnit, wht don't you learn a litlle bit about music instead of living in the 70's! Galaxy 500 is awesome and better than any of the crap you listen to!
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Actually it's one if the last songs joy division recorded live if I'm not mistaken, the band new order (which formed from the ashes of joy division after the lead singer committed suicide) recorded it properly and put it on a album first
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It's by new order originally.. .
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WTF is shoegazer and slowcore ? Is that the crappy 90's music was called ?
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pgmacdon
I was about to comment how they sounded like the awesome house bands I heard in and around Somerville and Cambridge in the 90's-2000's, seems they helped define that :)
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The Sex Pistol's original version is superior due mainly to Johnny's sneering vocals. The Galaxie did a nice job, though.
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awesomeandre w 1 5
Dean's a great musical mind, but what a shame he had to call things off with Galaxie 500.
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Excellent review.
Among my favorite music. ** ** **
Too bad never got to see them live... :(
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i ya havent heard it already, down load Sex Pistols version of this....
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always thought this was a Pistols song....but I guess they covered it, what a great tune
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mbilodea
My friend and I were at a show in Cambridge when they auctioned off the
car Blue Thunder for 50 bucks!
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mantonation
I bought On Fire when it came out and listened to it every day for a year solid. Never saw Galaxie 500 live, but saw Luna a couple of times in the early/mid 90s. Amazing, evocative, mind-blowing , entrancing. The sountrack of my life when I was just trying to figure s**t out.
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two of those album covers are completely off
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steve when you said you were dating yourself, at first i thought....* w e l l , actually not sure exactly what i thought.
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<3
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brett_roper
I wanna be your Tug Boat Captain!!!!
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I love this band.
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aww, i love these guys
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This is by far my favorite band of all time. If I had one wish, I would wish to see them perform live just once if I could. Too bad they broke up right before I was even born. Their album On Fire has influenced me so much as a person.
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Love love love Galaxie 500. My favorite of all time, I was lucky enough to see them perform in the Boston area many times, ahh the heady days of hanging in Kenmore Sq and Harvard Sq.
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namaste1999
One of my all-time favorites. I'm dating myself but I bought all of their albums when they came out, believe it or not...but mainly the first album because I had a friend who actually owned a Galaxie 500 car and I liked the name.

"Listen I hear the Snow Falling" while originally a Yoko Ono song (!) is the ultimate melancholy winter song, to be listened to when home from college in one's old home town that first Xmas.
Report as inappropriate
Wrote a poem on a dog biscuit
and the dog refused to look at it.

I rather like that.
Report as inappropriate
I hate all the really good indie bands are not indie bands anymore, and haven't been for a teen's age.

Buggary looky the end is near~
Report as inappropriate
Like me that Tugboat song, said he that is him that is me this day, this moment.
Report as inappropriate
plaidsam2002
This is a great band, I learned of them through my father (suprisingly my Dad who barely leaves the house nowadays really has a knack for finding classic albums). In any case, definitely check this band out! Mellow, slightly melancholy, unique...you ' l l like it :)

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