Watch Mercury Rev cover Galaxie 500’s “Snowstorm”
As mentioned, artists have been covering Galaxie 500 songs all August in celebration of the vinyl release of the band's live album, Copenhagen, which is out this Saturday (8/29) for the first of three Record Store Day "Drops." Thurston Moore, The Magnetic Fields, Real Estate, Versus, and Mark Lanegan are among the artists who have shared covers so far.
The series is wrapping up, but they've saved a really nice one for today: Mercury Rev's take on "Snowstorm," from Galaxie 500's second album On Fire. "I moved to NYC in 1989 and the 2 cds that were a soundtrack to my first year on Avenue B were Don Cherry’s Art Deco and Galaxie 500’s On Fire," says the band's Grasshopper. "I ended up seeing both Don Cherry and Galaxie 500 play several times in 1989/1990/1991, pure magic every time. I truly love On Fire as a whole, but ’Snowstorm' has always been my favorite. Growing up outside of Buffalo NY, the lyrics and music have a special childlike resonance for me."
Mercury Rev performed their cover at the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock NY, which they describe as "hermetically documented," and where they were joined by John Ashton. Galaxie 500's Dean Wareham chimed in today, tweeting, "real nice noodling on guitar, thanks to old friends." Watch that here:
That was not the only G500 cover offered up today. There's also this version of "It's Getting Late" (from their debut album, Today) by Los Angeles band Holy Shit, which began as a duo between Ariel Pink and Matt Fishbeck, but is now just a Fishbeck solo project. As he notes in all-caps, Matt has a close connection to Galaxie 500:
I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, I WAS FIFTEEN, I WAS IN A GALAXIE 500 COVER BAND while they were still a band. (1990-1991.) WE WERE CALLED TUGBOAT. WE DID GIGS AND EVERYTHING!
I LEARNED HOW TO PLAY GUITAR BY LEARNING AND PRACTICING DEAN'S LEADS AND SOLOS, SO THE HEAVING, SPECTRAL MUSIC OF GALAXIE 500 IS IMPRINTED IN ME. IT'S PART OF THE VERY DNA OF MY MUSICAL SENSIBILITIES. I REMEMBER THE FIRST THING I EVER READ ABOUT THE GROUP. IT WAS A REVIEW IN THE NME (MELODY MAKER?) OF ONE OF THEIR FIRST LONDON GIGS. THERE WAS A LINE IN IT THAT I LOVED, AND REMEMBER: "THEY HAVE ONLY ONE SONG, AND THE FACT THAT THEY PLAY IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN MAKES IT NO LESS BEAUTIFUL." IT WAS THE FIRST MUSIC I'D EVER HEARD THAT SEEMED LIKE IT WAS MADE FOR PRIVATE LISTENING, THAT DIDN'T IMPLY AN audience. LISTENING TO GALAXIE IS SOMETHING WE DO on a kind of loop. RECORD ENDS + WE START IT AGAIN... THEN HAPPILY AGAIN, SO MUCH SO THAT WE ALL INEVITABLY FEEL LIKE WE HAVE A PERSONAL STAKE IN THEIR SONGS, THEY'RE ours. A CLEVER BARGAIN, MIND YOU, FOR IN THE SAME WAY THEIR SONGS HAVE A WAY OF "BELONGING TO US" (AND EQUAL TO THE DEGREE TO WHICH THIS IS THE CASE), THE SONGS ULTIMATELY ALSO MANAGE TO OWN us. WE ARE SEDUCED, WE SURRENDER, WE ARE SUSPENDED, WE ARE CAUGHT. WILLING CAPTIVES—CAN YOU DENY IT?
ANYWAY IT'S GETTING LATE. DEAN'LL BE THE FIRST TO CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG (WE'RE NEIGHBORS), BUT AS FAR AS I KNOW GALAXIE 500 (IN THEIR ORIGINAL, PERFECT LINEUP) NEVER DID THIS ONE LIVE. I'LL HAVE TO ASK HIM WHY.
THE VIDEO WAS MADE IN-HOUSE BY HEDI EL-KHOLTI FOR THIS RECORDING: STAN BRAKHAGE ANIMATING THE BLUE THUNDER 12" SLEEVE LIKE DR. FRANKENSTEIN DID HIS MONSTER.
Watch the "It's Getting Late" video below.
If you don't know, this whole tribute thing began because when Record Store Day was originally scheduled for April, there was going to be a live Galaxie 500 tribute at Rough Trade in Brooklyn with at least some of the groups involved in this covers series. (Dogfish Head Brewery also made a special Galaxie 500 beer.) When the pandemic happened, they did this, instead.
Rough Trade is now doing a few livestream performances on Saturday via their Rough Trade Transmissions Instagram series, with Surfer Blood at 7 PM, Hiss Golden Messenger at 8 PM and a best-of-the-Galaxie-500-covers at 9 PM.