One of the best things about old records is the liner notes. Pick up a jazz or pop LP of a certain vintage and you’re damn near guaranteed to run straight into a wall of hyperbolic poetry on the back of the sleeve. Nobody on this earth hard-sells as shamelessly as old-school liner-note writers. Their copy is ecstatic and over-the-top, desperate to convince you that whatever you’re holding in your hands is It, The Absolute Hipness, Today’s Tomorrow, The Sound Of Our Young Future, so Go Catch The Fever, You Freaky-Deaky Kool Kats.

The liner notes to Galaxie 500’s 1989 masterpiece, On Fire, are reminiscent of those old flop-sweat-drenched testimonials. Penned by Mark Kramer, the album’s producer, the notes rave about the Great Chicago Fire, Nero burning Rome, and Kramer watching Disney on TV. It reads like a feverish prose poem, one that doesn’t mention music or the band at all until the very end when Kramer finally invokes the trio with a tagline that those old liner-note writers would have killed for: “Come ride the fiery breeze of GALAXIE 500.”

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When On Fire breezed through 1989, it landed at No. 31 on the Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop poll, sandwiched in between Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814and the Batmansoundtrack. Much like its heroes, The Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500 was a band whose critical success and influence vastly outweighed its commercial success. Its spot on the Pazz & Jop list is the closest the band would ever come to being in the same room as Prince and Janet; you weren’t in any danger of hearing “Snowstorm” after “Batdance” on the radio.

But you can hear On Fire everywhere now. The band’s signature mix of reverb-heavy, dreamy guitars and slow, languorous tempos has cast a wide shadow over indie-rock bands like Beach House, Deerhunter, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and Broken Social Scene. They also helped kick off the slowcore scene, whose sound was defined by groups like Low (also produced by Kramer), Red House Painters, Codeine, and Bedhead. Slowcore guitars didn’t shred; they seeped through speakers like water spreading under a flooded bathroom’s door. That glacial-pace approach to rock music would end up inspiring heavier bands like Jesu and Thou—subgenres like doom metal and post-metal owe their existence just as much to albums like Codeine’s Frigid Stars and Red House Painters’ Down Colorful Hillas they do to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.