Thursday, August 12th, 2004
This Is Our Music
Glory be – Splendid has an interview with Dean Wareham and Damon Krukowski of Bostonian slowcore/shoegaze/indie legends Galaxie 500 about their former band’s place in history and their new DVD retrospective Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste (link from The GPC). The interview is a nice compliment to the DVD liner notes/interview, wherein all three G500-ers are interviewed by Yo La Tengo’s James McNew. While the interviews make it seem as though the acrimony that resulted when Galaxie 500 split has receded somewhat, things aren’t necessarily mended. Damon says, “We haven’t been in the same room since the band broke up. We are extremely estranged but it’s receding rapidly into the past”, while Dean is quoted as saying, “Damon, Naomi and I are on better terms than we have been, which is nice. We still don’t really speak — they were really angry when I quit — but I think it’s hard to say angry at someone.” Seeing as how all three have gone on to forge respectable solo careers (Dean with Luna and Damon and Naomi as, uh, Damon & Naomi), it’s nice that they can look back on their former band’s accomplishments with pride and affection, if not their interpersonal relationships.
As for the DVD itself, it’s an interesting document of the band’s short career. It comprises their three appropriately arty videos and a bunch of live performances, most culled from bootlegs and amateur videographers. The quality runs from pretty damn decent to pretty damn laughable (watch for the basketball hoop in the gymnasium). The only bit of commentary comes from an interview for some unidentified UK television station wherein the band talks about their perceived “wimpiness”. Still, the music and performances are great and it’s fun to see just how absurd Naomi’s earrings got over time and how much mileage Dean can get out of a single Spacemen 3 t-shirt (To which Dean says, “It didn’t occur to me that there would be a DVD later — otherwise I would have had different outfits and I wouldn’t have worn the same thing twice”).
Besides the DVD, a new/old compilation called The Uncollected Galaxie 500 was released just last week. Featuring live and unreleased tracks, it was originally the bonus disc in the Galaxie 500 box set that came out in 1996 and but is now available on its own, obviously for fans only. For the unconverted but curious, check out The Portable Galaxie 500, a compilation released the same time as the box set. It’s as advertised, a good introduction to the underground legends pulling together tracks from their three studio albums and the live Copenhagen disc. Finally, there’s a tribute album – Snowstorm – featuring a bunch of bands I’ve never heard of and a handful that I have. No idea if it’s any good.
And to close the topic, one little fun bit of G500 trivia: when the band first formed in university, they had some trouble rounding up the necessary gear to perform. They ended up borrowing their kit from a fellow Harvard freshman, name of Conan O’Brien.
It’s funny how the Splendid interview touched on the topic of Galaxie 500 living in the shadow of fellow Beantown indie gods the Pixies during their original lifespan, and now more than a decade later when they’re getting some posthumous recognition, the Pixies come back from the dead for a reunion tour and cash grab. Some bands can’t catch a break, not even in this blog – all that G500 love and I have to follow up with a Pixies bit: Frank Black has just revealed exactly what his next solo record Frank Black Francis will comprise – one disc of pre-Pixies demo material and one disc of Pixies material re-recorded as “this sort of freeform, not jazzy, but kind of new-age-y weirdo thing” with members of Two Pale Boys. There’ll also be a new album of original material coming out next year called Honeycomb, which was made in Nashville with session musicians.
So I got my TIFF coupon book in the mail yesterday. It’s literally a sheet of ten perforated coupons that say “This coupon is valid for one Toronto International Film Festival film ticket”. Um. What? I have no idea what to do with these, nor was the accompanying letter of much use. Seriously, if someone can explain to me exactly what the Hell I’m supposed to do with these, I’d really appreciate it. They look like I should be able to trade them in for beer. Really really expensive beer.
np – Old 97’s / Too Far To Care