Now Playing: ON FIRE On Phawker Radio

From the now-defunct British ‘zine Bucketful of Brains, Issue 31, 1989:

I literally bumped into Galaxie 500’s singer/guitarist Dean Wareham and Marc Alghini of Boston based Aurora Records who’d just released Galaxie’s debut double-A side single “Tugboat”/”King Of Spain” and album “Today”, hoping to get some interest, and then saw the trio play CBGB ‘s Canteen. Both records became major obsessions for the rest of ’88, as they stitched together all my favourite influences – The Velvets, Television, The Feelies, The Chills, The Verlaines, Joy Division even – making up a new coat of ultra-vivid colours, blessed with an extraordinarily atmospheric, subdued sound. There was the blissful, primitive energy of 60’s psychedelia, married to those later new wave explorations too…here was my favourite guitarist since Tom Verlaine – not bad for someone who’s only been playing seven years. The YouTube ID of XqbZDt4mOpI&mode=related&search= is invalid.

Ironically enough, Dean was born in New Zealand, although he moved to Australia and then to New York when he was 14, so any connection with Flying Nun in NZ is coincidental, although the environmental theorists among us might say different. Certainly, there is that same fragile, slightly detached, faraway quality and primitive, purist touch that seems out of Britain’s reach because we’re so close to home. Dean met bassist Naomi Wang and drummer Damon Krukowski [playing a drum kit borrowed from Conan O’ Brien] at high school in New York but Galaxie 500 only formed when all three had graduated in Boston. Dean and Damon’s band Speedy & The Castanets (“our bass player’s idea”) had split and Naomi had taken up the bass. Galaxie 500’s name comes from the American Ford motor car but they chose it because, “it sounded like a late Seventies one-hit disco troupe, especially with the ‘ie’ at the end,” says Damon.
Galaxie 500 have the next album already completed; “On Fire” will be on Rough Trade and is equally stunning, for all the same reasons. After covering Jonathan Richman’s “Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste” on “Today”, there’s a cover of George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity”, saving New Order’s “Ceremony” and Red Crayola’s “Victory Garden” for a forthcoming EP. As for those influences, “we like the rhythms of those bands because they were more repetitive,” admits Dean. “I once read an interview with Lou Reed when he said that moving from one chord to another can be incredibly powerful, and that’s what a lot of our songs are about.”

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