Posts Tagged ‘IRS Records’


On this day (August. 10th) in 1982: Athens, Georgia alternative rock band R.E.M. released the ‘Chronic Town’ EP, the first result of their signing with IRS Records the previous May; the tracks had been recorded with producer Mitch Easter back in October, 1981 when the group was considering setting up their own label; the disc provided the first extended illustration of R.E.M.’s signature musical style – jangling guitars, chords played in arpeggio, murmured vocals & obscure lyrics – & introduced such early, lo-fi classics as “Gardening At Night” & “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)”.

I.R.S. released Chronic Town in August 1982 as its first American release. Reaction to the EP varied; one I.R.S. radio promoter said that many of his contacts at universities radio didn’t know what to make of the record, but added, “The Georgia stations and some of the more together college stations across the country jumped on it.” The band filmed its first video for “Wolves, Lower” to promote the record. The EP sold 20,000 copies in its first year.

“Chronic Town” is five songs that spring to life full of immediacy and action and healthy impatience. Songs that won’t be denied.” NME praised the songs’ auras of mystery, and concluded, “R.E.M. ring true, and it’s great to hear something as unforced and cunning as this.

The debut 5 track EP from R.E.M. titled ‘Chronic Town’ was the beginning of a long love affair for many of us with the boys from Athens, GA. The original vinyl EP R.E.M. labeled the A side (tracks 1–3) as the “Chronic Town” side and the B side (tracks 4 and 5) as the “Poster Torn” side.


All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe.

Side one – “Chronic Town”
  1. “Wolves, Lower” – 4:10
  2. Gardening at Night – 3:29
  3. “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” – 3:54
Side two – “Poster Torn”
  1. “1,000,000” – 3:06
  2. “Stumble” – 5:40

rem reckoning

R.E.M’s “Reckoning” was the second album from the alternative rock band released this day in 1984, 30 years ago on IRS Records label, The five albums REM issued on IRS were among the best music ever of the 80’s. Produced by Mitch Easter and Don Dixon and recorded over a sixteen day period the pair who had also produced their debut “Murmur” stepped in after some 22 songs had been recorded with Elliot Mazer who had worked with Neil Young but Peter Buck wanted a more live and crisper sound.
The Intro into “Pretty Persuasion” even now is still magical, With its jangly, arpeggiated chords and driving rhythm section, “Pretty Persuasion” doesn’t seem out of place on 1984’s Reckoning, even though R.E.M. allegedly penned the song years earlier. There’s a clear power-pop influence here, and Peter Buck’s sparkly intro riff sets the tone for a darker, more ominous version of The Records’ “Starry Eyes” (released a year before R.E.M. formed, in 1979). Michael Stipe almost sounds like a punk singer as he rails against the “hurry and buy” impulse of consumerism, his anger intermingling with the jangly melody to create something odd and inexplicably captivating.

Other stand out tracks “Harbourcoat”, “South Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” are still as fresh as ever.
Micheal Stipe was exhausted after the 1983 tour and the sessions were difficult for him ,his vocal evolved after some of the mumbling on “Murmer” although Mitch Easter had to coerce Stipe to sing the songs in a more pronounced manner. The songs have a darker edge lyrically with Water a recurring theme. Peter Buck had wanted the album to be a double with some of the songs that had been played in the live set since 1980.