Having recently rediscovered Galaxie 500, it's amazing to find how undated their music still sounds, and how little known they remain.
As has often been remarked before, Galaxie 500 were "criminally overlooked" during their brief lifetime in the late '80s. Influenced by The Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3, they created three albums of seminal dream pop, full of slow-motion guitars and morose, world-weary lyrics, which would in turn influence a whole generation of shoegazers. After that, singer Dean Wareham went on to form Luna and Galaxie 500 was all but forgotten until their albums were rereleased some years later.
It's hard to say which is their best, or most lasting, album. While 'This Is Our Music', more mellow and spacious, may be their strongest collection, both 'Today' and 'On Fire' contain more of their incredibly catchy songs. (Between those, Bagatellen makes an eloquent case for 'On Fire', calling Galaxie 500 the "non-Pixies".)
Picking a favorite song is even harder. 'Parking Lot', 'Tugboat', 'Blue Thunder', and 'Listen, The Snow Is Falling' (a Yoko Ono cover) all come to mind. But 'King of Spain', with its self-delusional lyrics (inspired by Gogol's short story 'Diary of a Madman'?) and sad-but-smiling tone, might best sum them up.
No I'm the King of Spain, I'm smiling to myself
I'm laughin out aloud, I'll never cry again
Yeah I'm the King of Spain, I'm smilin to myself
I'm laughin out aloud, cause I'm the King of Spain
Youthful despair never sounded so whimsical again until Belle & Sebastian.
Check Head Full of Wishes for some demo and live mp3's.