Thursday, July 11, 2013


Galaxie 500 sputtered to life with the shimmering velvet simplicity of this underground classic.  The trio of Dean Wareham, Naomi Yang, and Damon Krukowski met in high school and all went on to study at Harvard University.   Yang recalls:  "I met both Damon and Dean in ninth grade, 1978. They are both a year older, and were cool 10th graders. It was a small school, so you pretty much knew everyone...As high school went on, we kind of all hung out with the same group of people-- the ones who were interested in listening to punk rock, the people who participated in the school theater. Damon and Dean were both acting-- I was designing posters and sets."

Wareham reveals: "I met Damon in my ninth-grade history class. He borrowed my notebook when he missed a few classes due to illness. And then he lost it...Naomi was a really lovely person. I got to know her much better after she started dating Damon."

Krukowski remembers: "We all went to the same high school, on the upper east side of Manhattan...It was a school that valued arts more than sports, so her skill always earned her a lot of respect. We started dating the spring of my senior year...After graduation, Dean and I entered Harvard together and started hanging out more then. Music and politics were shared interests from the start. In college I joined the socialists, and Dean joined the communists. I think we may have been the only ones in those two groups who hung out together! And we started a band, Speedy and the Castanets. That seemed clever at the time!"

Yang says: "I wasn't in Speedy and the Castanets. It was after college-- when I was in my first year of architecture school and miserable-- that Damon and Dean started talking about reforming a band. I thought that sounded like fun and volunteered to play bass. I had been listening obsessively to Joy Division and realizing my favorite parts were the bass lines."

Krukowski considers: "When Naomi joined, all the things Dean and I had been trying to do started to work."

They called themselves Galaxie 500 after the car of a friend and began playing gigs around Boston and New York.  They recorded a demo and sent it to Mark Kramer at Shimmy Disk.   Yang recounts: "Dean read a fanzine interview with Kramer that said he did production work for hire. I think we just called him up. We wanted an alternative to the studio in Boston where everyone was going. We didn't identify with that sound. All three of us felt more tied to New York. So it felt natural and more interesting to go there to record."

Krukowski offers: "We had been listening to a Half Japanese record produced at Noise ['Music to Strip By']-- it sounded very spacious. All the other Boston bands were turning out a very heavy, dense sound. We were looking for something else. We weren't a heavy band after all. We called to ask the rates-- they were cheap! So we booked time. That's how we came to record the 'Tugboat' single at [his studio] Noise, and how we met Kramer. It turned out he was the only employee."

Kramer produced the sessions that yielded two singles which were included on their first album.  'Today' was released on Aurora and never charted; but it went on to become a major influence on the slowcore and shoegaze musical movements that would follow.  Wareham looks back on the band's enduring legacy:    "I think we were quite surprised when we discovered that at least half of the first session we recorded with Kramer sounded really good. Before that we were just working on songs in a little room, learning how to play our instruments together. We were aware that Galaxie 500 were different from all the other bands in Boston, and I'm sure on some level we felt superior to them (it takes a certain youthful arrogance to form a band anyway) but I know I didn't consider us to be important. It's hard to see your own music that way; at least it is for me."


"Parking Lot"

"Don't Let Our Youth Go to Waste"  (Jonathan Richman)

"It's Getting Late"




full album:

Flowers 0:00 
Pictures 4:27 
Parking Lot 7:53 
Don't Let Our Youth Go Waste 10:50 
Temperature's Rising 17:35 
Oblivious 22:43 
It's Getting Late 26:02 
Instrumental 29:31
Tugboat 32:38 
King of Spain 36:32

live at the Middle East in Cambridge, Ma

00:39 Oblivious
04:00 I Can't Believe It's Me
07:55 Back In Your Life (Richman Cover)
11:40 Buzz In My Head

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