Posts Tagged ‘R.E.M’

Warner Bros.

R.E.M will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its hit Automatic for the People LP with a deluxe reissue later this year. Following the successful release of Out Of Time, their first album with Warner Bros. Records, R.E.M. began work on their eighth studio album Automatic For The People which was to be an album full of faster, more upbeat songs . The end result, however, was music that frontman Michael Stipe described as “very mid-tempo” and “pretty fucking weird”. But those weird songs, including “Drive”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”, would help the album go platinum four times in the US, six times in the UK, and be considered one of the best albums ever released by the band.

The band broke the news via social media, telling followers the Automatic anniversary edition should arrive this autumn. Although we’re still waiting on specific details regarding the set’s contents, it’ll presumably follow the pattern established by last year’s deluxe 25th anniversary reissue of Out of Time, which added demos, live tracks, videos, and new liner notes to the remastered LP.

Automatic for the People‘s reissue is being supervised by the freshly launched Craft Recordings imprint under Concord Bicycle’s label umbrella. As recently announced via a Concord press release, Craft was established to help the company place a greater focus on its large and expanding vault of catalog recordings by a variety of artists and labels, with an emphasis on the deluxe packages that have surged in popularity over the last several years.

“Using the original analog masters whenever possible, the company will create thoughtfully produced, detailed packaging with a commitment to preservation and a meticulous devotion to quality,” reads the company’s press release. “Further, Craft Recordings will continue to partner with artists and estates to preserve and enhance the musical heritage of these landmark recordings and compositions.”


R.E.M. / Automatic For The People super deluxe edition

This November, Concord Music’s Craft Records imprint will reissue a 25th anniversary super deluxe edition of R.E.M.‘s 1992 album “Automatic For The People”.
We knew this was coming (it was mentioned when Craft Records was launched) and the super deluxe edition very much echoes the content of last year‘s Out Of Time super deluxe, if not the presentation.

R.E.M. is excited to announce the reissue of their landmark album Automatic For The People to commemorate the record’s 25th Anniversary. Due November 10th via Craft Recordings, the remastered album will be available in a variety of formats, the most extensive of which is the Deluxe Anniversary Edition, which will feature the album in its entirety mixed in Dolby Atmos. The album (plus bonus track “Photograph,” featuring Natalie Merchant) was remixed in Dolby Atmos by Automatic’s original producer, Scott Litt, and engineer, Clif Norrell. This technology delivers a leap forward from surround sound with expansive, flowing audio that immerses the listener far beyond what stereo can offer. It transports the listener inside the recording studio with multi-dimensional audio – evoking a time when listening to music was an active, transformative experience, and reigniting the emotion you felt when you first heard the album in 1992. R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People is the first album to be commercially released in this expressive, breathtaking format. In addition, the 4-disc Deluxe Edition will offer a wealth of previously unreleased material. The band selected 20 never-before-heard demos from the LP’s sessions, including the fully-realized, unreleased track “Mike’s Pop Song” and the oft-mused about song, “Devil Rides Backwards.” “Mike’s Pop Song” is available NOW as an instant great track with preorder of the reissue.

The first CD features the remastered (‘from the original analogue tapes’) version of the original album, while disc two offers 13 tracks performed live at the band’s Greenpeace benefit concert at Athens, Georgia’s 40 Watt Club. This performance was about five weeks after the original album release and features four tracks from Automatic For The People.

Twenty demo recordings fill up the third CD and many of them have placeholder titles such as ‘Peter’s New Song’ and ‘Bill’s Acoustic’, although where applicable, the titles of the songs they became are indicated! There are also a couple of previously unreleased tracks, ‘Mike’s Pop Song’ and ‘Devil Rides Backwards’. As with Out Of Time, expect a fair few instrumentals.

The fourth disc is a blu-ray which features a ‘Dolby Atmos’ surround sound mix of the album (plus bonus track ‘Photograph’ featuring Natalie Merchant).

The blu-ray on this super deluxe also contains videos for the singles (including two versions of Nightswimming) and the EPK (Electronic Press Release) issued at the time. Incidentally, this disc also includes a hi-res stereo version of the album.

Craft Recordings have gone for a bigger, square-shaped book this time around and haven’t replicated the same packaging as used for the Out Of Time super deluxe. You will see from the image above that the cover features a variation of the 1992 album artwork (only the vinyl reissue maintains the original) and the 60-page book will feature photos (some unreleased) taken at various sessions by Anton Corbijn and Melodie McDaniel in 1992 and 1993, along with expanded liner notes by Tom Doyle who conducted new interviews with all four band members. The book sits in a 12” x 12” box.

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Back in June,  R.E.M members Mike Mills and Peter Buck traveled to Norway for the Sun Station Vadso Festival, featuring performances by a series of intertwined bands including newly reformed The Dream Syndicate , Filthy Friends , The Minus 5 and The Baseball Project.

Peter Buck plays in most of those bands, and Mike Mills has rotated in and out of The Baseball Project, a — as the name suggests — baseball-themed band that also features Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate and latter-day R.E.M. sideman and The Minus 5 mainstay Scott McCaughey.

During the Baseball Project’s set at Sun Station on June 23rd, the group performed R.E.M.’s breakout 1987 single “The One I Love,” with Mills taking lead vocals , with Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Taylor who plays with Buck in Filthy Friends — taking on Mills’ usual backing vocals.

During the festival, the band also played the R.E.M Out of Time album track “Texarkana,” which Mills introduced by saying, “Peter and I used to be in a band together a few years ago, and this is a song that we never did.” And, during his own set, Mills, along with Buck on guitar, played the  R.E.M. classic “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville.”

Thanks to Slicing Up Eyeballs

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In what’s believed to be the earliest pro-shot footage of R.E.M in concert: a 50-minute live set filmed on October. 10th, 1982, for broadcast on TV by a South Carolina station about six months before the release of the band’s debut, Murmur.

As you can see below, the setlist, to no surprise, is heavy on songs from the Chronic Town EP and Murmur, and includes “Ages of You,” which wouldn’t surface until the Dead Letter Office compilation was released in 1987.  Watch for the band’s producer, Mitch Easter, and future fifth member Peter Holsapple to pop on stage, and certainly stick around for the reggae-like jam labeled as “Skank” that closes the set.

Watch the full performance from The Pier in Raleigh, N.C.

This was filmed less than two months after “Chronic Town” was released on I.R.S.Records and it’s an outstanding document. It is also the earliest known professionally show footage of an R.E.M. show.
The setlist:

1. Wolves, Lower 0:52
2. Laughing 5:41
3. 1,000,000 9:46
(NOTE: Mitch Easter, who produced “Chronic Town” as well as “Murmur” and “Reckoning” (with Don Dixon), joins the band on guitar)
4. Moral Kiosk 13:07
5. Catapult 16:25
6. West of the Fields 20:14
7. Radio Free Europe 23:15
8. Ages of You 27:59
(NOTE: Originally intended for “Chronic Town”, replaced by “Wolves, Lower” at the request of Miles Copeland, later turned up on “Dead Letter Office”)
9. We Walk 31:45
10. Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars) 35:38
(NOTE: As identified by peechpanda in the comments section, Peter Holsapple appears to join the band on guitar for this song)
11. Skank (Jam) 40:25

In the summer of 2007, R.E.M. set up camp for five nights at Dublin, Ireland’s venerable Olympia Theatre to explore new material, test out arrangements, and rehearse songs for their 14th studio album, Accelerate, later released in 2008.

The 39 tracks on the 2-disc set, recorded over the course of the 5-night stint, cover a wide range of material from R.E.M’s back catalogue including deep cuts and fan favorites not performed live in years. In a moment of candor upon entering into unchartered territory, vocalist Michael Stipe dubbed it “an experiment in terror,” but “the terror was for nothing “Live at the Olympia” one of the best non-studio records released this year.”

Select songs from the performances would later be on the 2009 live album Live at The Olympia. The album is a two-CD release, and contains a total of 39 songs. In addition, a DVD with a documentary entitled This Is Not a Show directed by Vincent Moon is included.

All this is to say that if you missed a chance to pick up a copy in 2007, here’s your second opportunity to get what’s been called “the best R.E.M. record you never heard.” This must-have release has just been reissued on Craft Recordings and should suit the tastes of both longtime fans and the uninitiated alike.

The 39 tracks on the 2-disc set, recorded over the course of the residency, cover a wide range of material – digging deep into the band’s earliest tracks, and eschewing the obvious hits. This is a must-have for fans of R.E.M.: Aside from the thrill of hearing a legendary band working through raw material, Live at the Olympia offers the chance to re-live a wealth of deep cuts that R.E.M. rarely performed over the course of their career.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Award-winning band R.E.M. is one of the most revered bands to emerge from the American underground. Singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry helped originate college rock during the post-punk scene of the ’80s. The Athens, GA-based group toured relentlessly for the first decade of their career, refining their idiosyncratic blend of brash tunefulness, poetic lyrics, chiming guitars and evocative vocals. By the early ’90s, R.E.M. had become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bands in the world. With an extraordinary three-decade-long run of creative vitality, R.E.M. have established a powerful legacy as one of the most enduring and essential rock bands in popular music history.

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The majority of us first heard “Superman” in 1986 as covered by the Athens band R.E.M on their fourth album, Lifes Rich Pageant. The first cover on a R.E.M. album was an early example of a hidden track, unlisted on the jacket and buried at the album’s end. The jangly guitar in the original no doubt appealed to R.E.M., but it wasn’t enough to make Michael Stipe enthused to sing lead. So Mike Mills cheerfully handled that job (his debut as lead vocalist), with Stipe on background. The R.E.M. version was actually recorded a couple years prior during sessions for Reckoning and features a screeching intro which came from pulling the string on a Japanese Godzilla doll.

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So why do we know the R.E.M. cover better than the Clique’s original? Put it down to quality, popularity, and novelty. The Clique was regional and obscure to begin with, while Lifes Rich Pageant marked the advent of R.E.M. breaking out of college-radio-darling status and into the mainstream. R.E.M. also featured greater instrumental prowess than the Clique, thanks to the work of guitarist Peter Buck, drummer Bill Berry, and bassist Mills. The polish of Pageant‘s lead single “Fall On Me” and the power pop feel of “Superman” captured new listeners who may not have been moved by Stipe’s mumbling obscurity on earlier albums. Also, the original comes off feeling a bit stalkeresque, while the cover is more confident and powerful – just like Superman, no doubt. Add in the novelty components (weird intro, Mills lead vocals, hidden track, obscure cover) and there’s a lot of interesting angles to view the R.E.M. version . R.E.M. – Superman (The Clique cover)

White Whale was one of the great independent record labels of the 1960s. Their flagship band was the Turtles, but they also had an interesting support cast, including Dobie Gray, Nino Tempo and April Stevens, and Warren Zevon, who wrote some of his earliest songs as a member of White Whale’s staff. White Whale also signed Houston “sunshine pop” band The Clique and turned them into a studio project, replacing all but lead singer Randy Shaw with studio musicians and providing Shaw with songs to sing. One of those songs was “Superman,” written by producer Gary Zekley, who also cranked out hits for The Grass Roots, Spanky and Our Gang, the Mamas and the Papas, and Jan and Dean. The Clique found “Superman” too bubblegum for their liking, but followed the label’s desires and recorded it in 1969 for their only White Whale release. “Superman” was the B-side to the Clique’s biggest hit, “Sugar On Sunday,” but was pretty much forgotten until 1986. A quartet from Athens, Georgia plucked one of their B-sides from obscurity seventeen years later.

The Clique – Superman (original)

The original songs that are not nearly as well known as their cover version(s) and to analyze what factors combined to make the cover more popular than the original. Oftentimes the cover is simply better than the original. Sometimes it’s a generational thing; put 25 years between an original and a cover and it’s no surprise when Generation Y doesn’t recognize Generation X’s original. A cover version of an old, semi-obscure song featured in a new hit movie or TV show can also explain how a cover can overwhelm an original.

R.E.M. has made it quite well known that they dislike Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. When Trump used “It’s The End of the World as We Know It” during a campaign rally last year, Lead Vocalist and songwriter Micheal Stipe released a statement on Twitter saying, “Go f—- yourselves, the lot of you—you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for you moronic charade of a campaign.” As if that weren’t enough, bassist Mike Mills said, “Personally, I think the Orange Clown will do anything for attention. I hate giving it to him.”

So needless to say, R.E.M fits right in with the rest of the artists participating in “30 Days, 30 Songs,” the anti-Trump protest song project.

Unfortunately, since the band parted ways back in 2011, they aren’t contributing a new song to the project. Instead, we get a previously unreleased version of the song “World Leader Pretend,” taken off of their album “Green”. In their statement with the song, the band simply said, “A perfect song for these strange times.”

To combat apathy, entertain the citizenry, and provide a soundtrack to resistance, over the next four years, the producers of 30 Days, 30 Songs will assemble a playlist of 1,000 songs. One song every day to get us through what promises to be a tumultuous and frequently dispiriting and certainly bizarre presidency. The playlist will feature original tracks, unreleased live versions, remixes, covers, and previously released but relevant songs that will inspire and amuse and channel the outrage of a nation.

Despite the results of the election, we still believe it’s possible to build a more inclusive, equal, and just America. The world will not end on January 20th. It will continue to move forward, and it is up to us to chart its course. In the coming weeks, we plan to raise money for this endeavor through a crowdfunding campaign.

An array of famous Big Star fans which includes members of R.E.M, Wilco and Yo La Tengo  united to pay tribute to the group’s music in a new live film and album “Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live…and More”.

The 90-minute concert movie, which is scheduled to make its theatrical debut at this year’s SXSW Film Festival on March 16th, is just one part of a package that’s being made available April 21st in multiple configurations. In addition to the deluxe two-CD/Blu-ray package, which bundles the songs and film together with liner notes by esteemed critic Anthony DeCurtis and the dB’s member Chris Stamey, fans can also pick up an audio-only CD version.

Having recently made its worldwide premiere at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival, this concert film (plus 2-disc companion album) celebrates the musical legacy of one of rock’s most influential bands – Big Star – and their legendary THIRD album. Experience this classic of late ’70s power pop through a collective of immensely talented fans, who assembled at Glendale, CA’s ALEX Theatre in April 2016 to record and film an epic performance.

The fabled group’s sole surviving original member, Jody Stephens, heads an amazing cast, whose membership includes latter-day Big Star alumni Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies, R.E.M’s Mike Mills, Let’s Active’s Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey of the dB’s, and others. Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone of WilcoIra Kaplan of Yo La TengoRobyn HitchcockDan Wilson of SemisonicBenmont TenchJessica PrattBrett HarrisDjango Haskins, and Skylar Gudasz are among the guests who are joined by a full chamber orchestra helmed by the Kronos Quartet, performing scores created directly from the original multi-track tapes from Ardent Studios for this event. Carl Marsh, who wrote the original orchestrations, conducts.

A tribute gig that quickly came together in the wake of Big Star co-founder Alex Chilton’s untimely passing in 2010 and performed several times since ,the Thank You, Friends performance honors Chilton’s legacy in general as well as Big Star’s classic “Third” LP in particular. Filmed in April 2016 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Calif., the set featured a lineup including a number of Big Star acolytes.

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone joined the ensemble alongside Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Robyn Hitchcock Dan Wilson from Semisonic , and longtime Tom Petty sideman Benmont Tench and singer Jessica Pratt,all supported by a full chamber orchestra led by the Kronos Quartet and conducted by Carl Marsh, the arranger responsible for putting together the album’s original orchestrations.

Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live…and More is available soon.

“Thank You Friends: Big Star’s THIRD Live…and More” celebrates the musical legacy of one of rock’s most influential bands –Big Star– and their legendary THIRD album. Experience this classic of late ’70s power pop through a collective of immensely talented fans, including members of Wilco, R.E.M., Yo La Tengo, and, of course, Big Star.


Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness
For fans of the early work of Leonard Cohen, Vashti Bunyan, Joni Mitchell and Cat Power. American wanderer Julie Byrne’s second album Not Even Happiness comes 3 years after her debut. A more confident beast, Not Even Happiness adds atmospheric instrumentation and electronic flourishes to Byrne’s unusual guitar tunings and fingerpicked melodies, moving the songs from the front-porch into subtle anthemia. Julie Byrne has counted Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans and Northampton, Massachusetts as her transient homes in recent years. For now, she’s settled in New York City, moonlighting as a seasonal urban park ranger in Central Park. Whether witnessing the Pacific Northwest for the first time (Melting Grid), the morning sky in the mountains of Boulder (Natural Blue), or a journey fragrant with rose water; reading Frank O’Hara aloud from the passengers seat during a drive through the Utah desert into the rainforest of Washington State (The Sea As It Glides), Not Even Happiness is Julie’s beguilingly ode to the fringes of life. Her debut album was released back in January 2014 on Chicago based DIY label Orindal after initially being as two separate cassettes releases. Rooms With Walls and Windows went onto become a true modern-day word of mouth success story (it would have to be for an artist who shuns all forms of social media) and ended the year being voted number 7 in Mojo magazine’s best albums of the year, with the Huffington Post calling it “2014’s Great American Album”. A collection of hushed intimate front porch psych-folk songs, that unknowingly recalled the greats, but felt very much for our time. The album is the first release on a new record label Basin Rock, based in the Lancashire / Yorkshire border town of Todmorden.

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The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody

The Flaming Lips release their long-awaited new studio album, entitled Oczy Mlody, via Bella Union. Produced by the band and their long-time producer Dave Fridmann, the highly-anticipated LP is the follow-up to their globally acclaimed 2013 album, The Terror. On Oczy Mlody, The Lips return to form with an album no less experimental in nature, but perhaps more melodically song-oriented, recalling the best parts of their most critically applauded albums The Soft Bulletin and the gold-certified Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

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The Big Moon –  Formidable

Limited edition standard 7” vinyl with outer sleeve. Mostly, when bands talk about bringing something to their recorded output, they’re on about capturing the ferocity of their live performances. The claustrophobic sweat of the circuit stage, the immediacy of the moment. The Big Moon don’t have to worry about that. They’ve captured something even more magical. The best bands, see, are a gang. It’s them against the world. They’ve got their own personalities, their own sense of humour. Open up the door and they’ll drag you into their world. It’s that which runs through the core of Formidable. Even when not going for the sugar spun funhouse of Silent Movie Susie or Cupid, there’s still that nudge, wink and held hand into their magical kingdom. Switching between swooning verse and firmly planted chorus, there’s a steely defiance to Formidable, The Big Moon’s latest offering. Like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, it’s the sound of something clicking. What was potential before is realised now. Supermoons be damned, this is one lunar cycle that’s going interstellar.

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Brian Jonestown Massacre –  Groove Is In The Heart

Limited Green Vinyl 10″. Groove Is In The Heart is the first of 3 singles from the forthcoming album Don’t Get Lost released in February 2017. Both tracks (Groove Is In The Heart and Throbbing Gristle) feature vocals by Tess Parks, these tracks give an idea of the changing rhythms of The Brian Jonestown Massacre for the new album. Heavy hypnotic beating drums, with smoky vocals provided by Tess Parks.

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R.E.M  – Radio Free Europe: Live From The Capitol Theatre, Passaic, Nj. June 9Th 1984

Live album from 1984 when they were just starting to really grow in stature. Tracks include Pale Blue Eyes, Radio Free Europe and another 11 tracks.

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R.E.M – Pretty Persuasion: FM Broadcast live in Orlando, Florida, April 30th, 1989

Another great radio show recording from 1989 – and they are on top form, playing Orange Crush, Crazy, Gravity and another 10 tracks.

The other day I was listening to an old Mark Mothersbaugh interview (well, technically it was a “Booji Boy” interview, ) and at one point, in talking about the Krautrock band Neu!, he threw a bit of shade at David Bowie, saying Bowie had ripped off Neu! for a song he produced for Iggy Pop. This peaked my interest so I quickly googled “Bowie, Iggy, Neu!” and the first search result was the wikipedia page for Iggy’s “Funtime.” According to that post, “Funtime” bears marked similarities to “Lila Engel” by Neu!

Funtime” is a song written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop first released by Iggy Pop on his 1977 album entitled The Idiot  It reflects Iggy and Bowie’s growing fascination with the German music scene, It has been covered by numerous others.

I found most interesting was how often the song had been covered by so many different other artists.

I was previously unaware of any other versions of the track, and very quickly I found several. And really, they’re all pretty great in their own way—definitely worth sharing.

First up, check out The Cars’ cover of the tune. This was cut during the Shake It Up sessions with Ben Orr on vocals. According to the liner notes for Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology, Iggy was present at the recording session and complimented Orr’s vocal impersonation, telling him “you sound more like me than me.”

I hate to admit it, but I like this cover better than the original: