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Copenhagen

Galaxie 500

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Album Review

A presumably final punctuation mark on Galaxie 500's work, Copenhagen, released in 1997, is actually a recording from the last date of the band's late 1990 European tour, captured for radio broadcast in the Danish capital in front of a vocally appreciative crowd. One main reason to listen in is hearing how the band's studio approach clearly differed from the concert arena — while Kramer handles the live sound, the cocooning web of reverb familiar from the records isn't present here. As a result, the performances have a more direct approach, Wareham's voice a little more naked, his thoughts on emotional connection, and the oddities of life easier to capture. Yang's bass gains in prominence as well, almost more so than Wareham's guitar at points, while Krukowski as always keeps the beat well, adding subtle flourishes and touches as he goes. All this would be mere technical notation if the performance itself wasn't worthy, though, and that it is. Touring for This Is Our Music as the trio was, the set list is mostly focused on that, though a fine version of "Decomposing Trees" starts things off. Three of the band's favored covers close the set — Yoko Ono's "Listen, the Snow Is Falling," the Velvet Underground's "Here She Comes Now," and a version of Jonathan Richman's "Don't Let Our Youth Go to Waste" that provides a great final kick. For all the excellence of the show, one can hear a little more than once in Wareham's soloing what Yang and Krukowski later described as his tendency to play the big rock star toward the end of the band's life. It's not bad work, but the cracks were starting to show. Longtime Galaxie 500 fanatic Byron Coley provides the detailed essay in the booklet, a useful history of the group and its influence.

Biography

Formed: 1986 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Though criminally overlooked in their own lifetime, Galaxie 500 later emerged as one of the pivotal underground groups of the post-punk era; dreamy and enigmatic, their minimalist dirges presaged the rise of both the shoegazer and slowcore movements of the 1990s. The group formed in Boston, MA, in 1986 and was comprised of vocalist/guitarist Dean Wareham (a transplanted New Zealand native), bassist Naomi Yang and drummer Damon Krukowski, longtime friends who first met in high school in New York City...
Full Bio