The cover series is called 20-20-20, and is being put on by Guided By Voices/Yoko Ono manager David Newgarden. Other artists it lists as participants include Circuit des Yeux, Deadbeat Beat, Rachel Haden, Hamilton of British Sea Power, Jeanines, Calvin Johnson, Kiwi Jr, Mark Lanegan & Dylan Carlson, Alan Licht & Rebecca Odes of Love Child, Barbara Manning, Mark Robinson of Unrest & Evelyn Hurley of Blast Off Country Style, Glenn Mercer of The Feelies, Mercury Rev, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, the Natvral a.k.a. Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Papercuts, Real Estate, Surfer Blood, Versus, Winter, Xiu Xiu and a few others that are left as surprises.
Galaxie 500’s sound involved a warm wash of loud guitar strumming, cascading drums, melodic bass lines and Dean Wareham’s unique vocals. They’re known as one of the pioneers of the indie rock subgenre called slowcore and “Plastic Bird” is from their most famous album, On Fire (1989).
Real Estate’s cover is more subdued than the original. They play a shimmering guitar line in lieu of the loud strumming in the intro and slowly build the song up with the bass, drums and rhythm guitar eventually taking over Martin Courtney’s dreamy vocals. It was released with a music video showing footage of old cars collaged with a vibrantly-colored spinning pattern of ridges.
Courtney commented on the cover, “In the early days of Real Estate, people often assumed that Galaxie 500 were a big influence on us. In hindsight, I can definitely hear it, but at the time, I for one had never listened to them. Anyway I’m glad for the comparisons because it led me to actually check them out, and they became a favorite band of mine. So now I can say unequivocally that Galaxie 500 are indeed a big influence on us. Not that it matters! Wonderful band. Have a nice day.”
In February, Real Estate released their latest album, The Main Thing. It occupies similar genres to Galaxie 500, but like with this cover, is a calmer take on the sound. The band does add plenty of differences, such as the disco-influenced lead single, “Paper Cup,” featuring Sylvan Esso.
Photo credit: Owen Ela