this is the first part in our feature series this week on galaxie 500, in conjunction with the upcoming reissue of their discography.
my first encounter with galaxie 500 was with the rykodisc reissue of today (1988). the cover, featuring the whitewashed, romantic photography of eugene agtet, lay in elegant contrast to the understated immediacy of the album title. that, perhaps, foreshadowed the tension i was to love so much in their music, which invokes the dreamy nostalgia of an old photograph while sounding curiously straight to the point with its subtle exposition of the present.
album closer “tugboat”, the single that actually preceded the recording of the rest of today, captures that tension between dream and reality beautifully. the dizzyingly reverbed vocals of dean wareham starts off sounding rather detached from reality by rejecting an assortment of social expectations, but soon stretches out in all its surrealist glory, setting its sights on something higher and otherworldly: “it’s a place i’d like to be/it’s a place i’d be happy“. all too happy to oblige in sharing such lofty ambitions is the rhythm section of naomi yang and damon krukowski, which in turn keeps wareham’s dreamy guitars in tow towards that final destination.
a short-lived journey, though, lay ahead, but “tugboat” left a near perfect template with some rough edges to be refined over the next few years. – dan.
today will be reissued on vinyl for the first time on march 30 on ba da bing! records and 20-20-20, who are also releasing on fire and this is our music. in addition, cd and digital versions bundled with other rarities are available for online purchase.