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Everything's Swirling #2
Everything's Swirling #2

On Monday it will be the 30th anniversary of Galaxie 500’s last show - three days later a phone call brought it all to a sad end. So, it seemed time to publish issue #2 of Everything’s Swirling.

I opened the Melody Maker in the first week of May 1991 to the news that Galaxie 500 had split after “guitarist/vocalist Dean Wareham quit unexpectedly” - to be honest I don’t really remember noticing what was written, I don’t think I picked up on the undercurrent of bitterness in that news item. I maybe just noticed that headline, and that first sentence.

I think I was just sad that a band that I loved could do this to me. My past had seen me drifting away from my music loves - this was the first time one had been torn away from me. This was them breaking up with me, not me breaking up with them. Perhaps selfishly all I felt was my hurt. How could they do this to ME!

This is the second edition of Everything’s Swirling - the first celebrated the 30th anniversary of the band’s birth - it seemed only right to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its demise. To bookend the fans-eye view of Galaxie 500.

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So it’s been a year since the current shitshow kicked in good and proper and I have hardly been on a train since then. We had one trip to the North East in the brief period of relaxed restrictions in late Spetember but otherwise my primary mode of transport for a year has been my feet… and I LOVE being on trains - and over the years I’ve loved having my train journeys soundtracked by Galaxie 500.

Over tha past four years in my regular searches of YouTube for Galaxie 500 stuff - in amongst all the videos of cars being stripped down or rebuilt - have been Walter Carlton’s lovely videos. They have been shot through the windows of trains all around the world and have been soundtracked with Galaxie 500’s. I’ve loved them but somehow coming across one this week after a year of almost no train travel made them seem more beautiful than ever.

Departing Buenos Aires’ Estación Constitución southbound to the tune of Galaxie 500’s “Decomposing Trees.” Shot & edited on iPhone February 6, 2018.

Buenos Aries train ride

There is also…

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Cheval Sombre - Days Go By sleeve
Cheval Sombre - Days Go By sleeve

Sonic Cathedral have just announced that the promised second Cheval Sombre album of the year will be released on 28th May and will be available form pre-order from tomorrow (Friday) morning.

Like the first, Time Waits for No One that was released last month, this one Days Go By, was produced by Sonic Boom and will feature “appearances” by Dean Wareham - the nature of those appearances are as yet unclear.

Pre-orders will be up on the Sonic Cathedral shop tomorrow.

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The always excellent blog Doom & Gloom From The Tomb have shared a recording of Galaxie 500 playing at the See/Hear benefit at CBGB’s in December 1988.

Primal Galaxie 500! Thanks to Dan for passing along this new-to-me tape of Damon, Naomi and Dean back in the day. Sonic Youth released their Daydream Nation-era set from this evening on the Bowery as part of their live archive series, so this fills out the picture nicely. Like the SY recording, it’s a soundboard, but a wobbly/watery one … a tape flaw or was this how Kramer wanted the band to sound? I wouldn’t put it past him.

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A well thumbed copy of Black Postcards
A well thumbed copy of Black Postcards

Dean Wareham has just started reading Black Postcards (with occasional footnotes/asides) for his Patreon subscribers so for today’s artefact here is my first edition of Dean Wareham’s Black Postcards, which raises the question what should a fan’s copy of Black Postcards look like?

  • Should it be treasured, carefully read, and filed away in as near mint condition as is possible? Or better still not read at all, with a second viewing copy for use?[1]
  • Should it be a constant source of research so that the repeated reference to it wears it down? So it looks like an invaluable source!
  • Should it look like it’s been loved?
  • Should it look like it’s been cherished?

Mine, as you can see, fits into the repeated reference and been loved categories!

My copy of Black Postcards falling apart
My copy of Black Postcards falling apart

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While I loved hearing Dean & Britta playing Homeward Bound what I loved more was them doing this fab cover of Scott Walker’s Duchess - maybe because I love the song a tiny bit more than the Simon & Garfunkel one … (and that just reinforces what a great ear they have for a cover!

They played the song during both their early and late livestreams in September - this is from the evening performance. In the earlier one Dean explained how Luna’s Slow Song was “not accidentally”[1] similar to Duchess.

Dean & Britta - Duchess (September 2020)

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Britta Phillips has recorded a cover of Sleepy People which will be released on a new album, The Good Lyre, being release next month in aid of Sweet Relief.

During the shitshow of last year Wesley Stace (the artist formerly known as John Wesley Harding) started a project where “friends and fans suggested artists they would like to cover Wesley Stace AKA John Wesley Harding’s songs” - this developed into the Community Coronation Covers Project which was shared on Soundcloud.

Now those and other recordings, including Britta’s recording of Sleepy People are being released as The Good Lyre and will be available to buy on Bandcamp (in time for next Bandcamp Friday - 2nd April).

The project started purely as a way to lift spirits at the beginning of the lockdown; a way for musicians to cheer people up. Now we’re bringing it full circle: all the proceeds from this album will benefit Sweet Relief, and specifically musicians affected by the Covid pandemic. It’s a beautiful way to mark the end of the project’s journey. I immediately think of John Prine, Adam Schlesinger, Dave Greenfield, Matthew Seligman, Hal Willner and other friends and/or musical influences lost to complications from the virus.

Details here - there doesn’t seem to be a bandcamp link yet but I’ll post one as soon as I find one.

The Good Lyre
The Good Lyre

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Damon & Naomi promo postcard, front - 1999
Damon & Naomi promo postcard, front - 1999

This promo postcard was sent to me by Andrea Troolin with a copy of the single that Damon & Naomi had released on her label Grimsey Records. This is actually Andrea’s second appearance in the artefacts series as she was the person who helped make the Galaxie 500 box set a reality and sent me the promo of Copenhagen that featured in Artefacts #001.

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On Fire | 30

A 30th anniversary celebration of Galaxie 500's masterpiece

On Fire 30 CD sleeve (design: John Conley)
Buy On Fire | 30