Saturday, 26 October 2013

Galaxie 500 - Today/On Fire

It was the morning after my birthday party. I was cleaning up the clutter in the apartment I shared, when I first happened upon Massachusetts dream-pop trio Galaxie 500. We'd made space cakes the night before - added food colouring to the mixture turning them a deep blue. They were potent. Streaks of vomit decorated the bathroom floor by the time the last guest crashed out.

A friend had left a bunch of records for me to check out, including the first two Galaxie 500 albums Today (Aurora, 1988) and On Fire (Rough Trade, 1989). I played both on loop for hours. I was an instant fan of their distinctive, dreamy, reverb drenched soundI was in the right state of mind to discover them - make sense of their blissful, tripped out drone. To me they'll always sound like the morning after. The perfect soundtrack for piecing things back together again - lush soundscapes, like a comfort blanket. Like a hug. I listen and I'm vaguely sure that everything's going to turn out okay. There are layers of depth to their sound but on the surface their music appears unconvoluted, which I adore. Produced by Kramer, their studio albums have a live and spacious feel, like they were recorded in an aircraft hanger. They sound organic. 

Dean Wareham's voice is distinctive, you'll either love it or hate it. His guitar playing is more strummy than riffy and peppered with fiery, melodic solo bursts. Naomi Yang's bass guitar anchors the more fleeting, improvised elements of their sound. Her singing voice is high and sweet, pairing well with Wareham's and a neat alternative when taking the lead. Damon Krukowski's drumming is jazz influenced. He has great feel and his pulsing style shifts dynamically within songs preserving their momentum. It's this unique blend of ingredients and off-kilter musical skill set - well honed sense of style and character that sets them apart. No-one manages to sound quite like them. Their music still sounds fresh and appealing today.

Dean Wareham plays The Ruby Lounge, in Manchester's Northern Quarter, Wednesday 4TH December 2013. Support comes from Jason Quever (Papercuts) and my band I SEE ANGELS.

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