July 31, 2008
1988 | Rough Trade
I surprised myself by picking up by Dean Wareham’s Black Postcards (Tell Me Do You Miss Me was a bit of a snooze) but it’s a love for Luna and a greater love for Galaxie 500 that inspired me to check it out. Admittedly, Black Postcards is a bit more rewarding than Tell Me, though it reads more like a grocery list than a memoir.
Galaxie 500’s Today quickly became (and still is) one of my favorite albums. Today was quite unique to the other music that was being released in 1988, more Velvet Underground or Modern Lovers inspired than the hair metal that was the disease of the airwaves. Rap was also making its way on to the mainstream airwaves. Thinking back to music of the late eighties (not that I paid much attention at the time or even knew who Galaxie 500 was; I was 10) I tend to think overproduction, i.e., Bobby Brown, so it’s kind of interesting to learn that Today cost only $750 to make. Another interesting point is that Bongwater’s Kramer either out of brilliance or laziness (Wareham remains unsure) allowed the band very few takes on each song, sometimes allowing Wareham one take on vocals and the guitar overdubbing. So it’s pretty incredible that this album is nearly flawless; of course it could just be all the reverb. But one of Today’s greatest strengths is its simplicity, the other strength being the fantastic backing of Damon Krukowski’s drumming and Naomi Yang’s dreamy basslines.
I worked six months at Guitar Center after dropping out of college in 1999. Fed up with listening to the alternative rock station, I asked if I could I put on Today. The album made it about a minute and half into “Flowers” when my co-worker asked me to turn it off, complaining, “Dude, this shit is boring. It’s making me tired,” I complied, resuming our regularly scheduled brand of shitty music (Buckcherry). I walked out of the job not long afterwards.
by Justin Weingartner