Posts Tagged ‘R.E.M’

R.E.M.’s debut EP, “Chronic Town”, was released on August 24th, 1982. It’s safe to say music was never the same, upon the release of the five-song record.

That’s because “Chronic Town” EP feels as if beamed in from another planet — a planet shrouded in murky atmospheres, Southern mysticism and post-punk eclecticism. There’s a faint psychedelic vibe running throughout, notably shading the jangly, Peter Buck riffs coiling through “Wolves, Lower” and the wistful grooves of “Gardening at Night,” while the taut tempos of “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” and “1,000,000” give the songs vibrating velocity. The nearly six-minute “Stumble” feels like deconstructed dance music, as repetitive guitar embellishments do battle with Bill Berry’s percussion bursts.

Beneath the surface lurks layers of sounds and effects; these add barely perceptible, but mysterious, texture. Yet with the cryptic Michael Stipe’s lyrics and vocals. Phrases leap from the music here and there, giving off the air of a faded watercolour more than a crisp portrait. This is particularly effective in “Wolves, Lower,” which features quizzical notes-to-self (“Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don’t get caught”) and interesting arrangements. The verse is a call-and-response: a questioning chorus sings the phrase “House in order,” while Stipe follows with yearning, wordless crooning.

“Gardening at Night,” a song dating back to summer 1980 that is allegedly inspired by Buck seeing a man gardening while wearing dress clothes, is also a puzzle, as Stipe employs a vocal technique that’s gorgeous yet indistinct. And then there’s “Stumble,” which begins with a brief clip of Stipe laughing, saying “Teeth!” and then chomping his choppers. “Chronic Town” is such a compulsively listenable because listeners are compelled to try to figure out its secrets.

As per usual with R.E.M. in those early days, sessions for “Chronic Town” were quick and efficient. The band wasted no time getting back into the studio after the July 1981 release of its debut 7-inch, the Mitch Easter-produced “Radio Free Europe.” According to the R.E.M. Timeline, the group headed to Easter’s Drive-In Studio during the first week of October. “The instruments were recorded on Friday, vocals on Saturday, and it was mixed on Sunday,” Buck recalled in 1983. “We didn’t have the money to take any longer.”

On October 3rd, 1981, the band tore through close to eight songs, some of which appeared on “Chronic Town” (“1,000,000,” “Gardening at Night,” “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” and “Stumble”), and others which would later surface on “Murmur” (“Shaking Through”) or as early B-sides (“Ages of You,” “White Tornado”). R.E.M. also cut an abstract, collage-like song, later dubbed “Jazz Lips” or “This Is Jazz (Blow Nose),” that featured Stipe reading a 1959 magazine article above the cacophonous fray.

The EP’s lead-off track, “Wolves, Lower,” emerged after this initial session. The song was recorded twice in 1982, with R.E.M. tracking a fast version (heard below) in January, along with the take on “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” that made the EP and then re-cut a slower version in June.

Looking back in 2007 with writer Fred Mills, Easter had clarity on the “Chronic Town” sessions. “By now, I was a bit more comfortable with them so I threw in suggestions involving tape loops, backwards sounds, etc. and they loved it all. The sense that we were doing something good was really energizing. We even had the good sense and confidence to go back and re-do ‘Wolves, Lower’ at something less than the speed of light.

“Most of my sessions were so low-budget and rationalized according to the ‘Rules of Punk Rock’ that taking the time to reconsider something was really posh and unusual!” he adds. “It struck me that the band had actually gotten better — everybody sounded bigger and better and clearer, somehow.”

Still, around the release of 1983’s “Murmur”, Buck described a slightly more freewheeling experience saying the band made “Chronic Town” “for our own pleasure, as a learning process. We used lots of backwards guitars and weird sound ideas. We tried anything we’d ever wanted to try, so a lot of things on there are too busy. We didn’t edit ourselves the way we did on [Murmur].”

Part of that experimentation had to do with Easter and his love of Kraftwerk. In R.E.M.: Fiction: An Alternative Biography, David Buckley wrote that Easter was “always ready to try something more mechanoid in the studio. Part and parcel of this were to use rudimentary musical concrete techniques — any means to distort the fabric of time, or to layer slabs of ‘found’ elements.”

Among the experiments: The bridge of “Wolves, Lower” contained both backward elements and a tape loop, giving it a back-masked, disorienting sound. Stipe also recorded some of his vocals outside, giving his vocals an intriguing (if somewhat intangible) ambience.

Although “Chronic Town” came together fast, the EP didn’t see the light of day until August 1982, owing to the fact that R.E.M. was working out terms of a contract with I.R.S. Records. This deal wasn’t necessarily on the radar when recording began — “Chronic Town” was actually meant to be released on a new indie label called Dasht Hopes, run by an Athens transplant named David Healey. However, life intervened, and R.E.M. also did demo sessions for RCA Records with producer Kurt Munkacsi in February 1982 before signing with I.R.S. in May. (Healey, however, is dubbed as “ex-producer” in the “Chronic Town” credits.)



Radio Free Europe (2021 reissue)

R.E.M. will reissue their classic 1981 debut single, “Radio Free Europe” this summer, making it available in its original form for the first time in 40 years. “Radio Free Europe (Original Hib-Tone Single)” will be available as a 45-rpm seven-inch on July 23rd, pressed in Athens, Georgia, with the original sleeve artwork featuring Michael Stipe’s photography. The release kicks off the birthday celebrations for the Southern college-town bar band who turned the world upside down.

It’s the ultimate rock & roll origin story: Four guys walk into a garage to bang out a record. But when R.E.M. made “Radio Free Europe,” they also made history. They recorded it with rookie producer Mitch Easter, at his new Drive-In Studio (i.e. his folks’ garage) in Winston, North Carolina. The single came out on the tiny Hib-Tone label, with “Sitting Still” on the flip side, and went on to blow minds around the world.

“We were all just kind of finger-painting,” Easter says. “They weren’t super-deliberate about anything. I loved that about the sessions. Even when we did the LPs, nobody was really taking any orders from anybody. There might have been people advising R.E.M. on the business end of things, to do this, that, or the other. But they pretty much ignored all of them.”

As part of their 40th anniversary plans, R.E.M. will also release their 1981 demo tape, “Cassette Set”, which has never been commercially available before. It will be sold as a bundle with the single, in a limited edition of 1,500 copies, exclusively through the bands official website store. This release reproduces the original homemade cassette packaging, with Stipe’s hand-written labels and early versions of “Radio Free Europe,” “Sitting Still,” and “White Tornado.” R.E.M. will also issue a limited-edition custom cassette player, produced by Recording the Masters.

R.E.M. re-recorded “Radio Free Europe” for their 1983 debut album, Murmur, produced by Easter and Don Dixon. The new version of the single actually cracked the U.S. Hot 100, peaking at Number 78 — an unthinkable feat for a band like this. The 1983 “Radio Free Europe” is the famous one that everybody knows. But the original indie single has a raw, feverish rush of its own. For years, fans treasured it and passed it hand-to-hand on mix tapes. The 1988 collection Eponymous included Easter’s mix of the single — but the original Hib-Tone mix hasn’t been reissued until now.

Easter had never even heard the band before they walked into his garage. “I met them through a mutual friend — Peter Holsapple of the dBs,” he recalls. “He was living in New York, and the guys were playing their first shows up there, and they stayed at his place. They were talking about when they went home, they wanted to record something. Peter told them about my place, which had just started. I had seen a poster for them in a club in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the poster led me to believe they were going to be some sort of electronic band. But when they came in, they stayed at my house before the session, and we sat around playing records, and it was apparent they were not going to be an electronic band.”

Everything about the April 15th session was quick and cheap. It was only Easter’s third recording job. (As he quips, “It wasn’t like I’d just been working with Pablo Cruise.”) They emerged with a three-song demo. The “Cassette Set” tape captured their playful side, with a brief polka version of “Sitting Still.” The band came back a few weeks later to add a few overdubs to “Radio Free Europe” for the July single. The initial pressing was a thousand copies, which seemed ambitious at first but the song won them an intense cult following. Just last year, it made the top ten of Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest debut singles of all time.

Radio Free Europe” defied all the corporate-rock rules. For one thing, R.E.M. came from Athens, Georgia, off the media radar. “Everything had moved back to L.A. and New York,” Easter says. “At least it felt like it. So we were starting all over again with the garage-studio notion. Engineering-wise, it could’ve sounded more posh. But in terms of what they did, it was perfect. A few months later, we did the “Chronic Town” sessions, then we did the “Murmur” record, but they always kept getting better.”

Posh it wasn’t, but the band’s DIY energy came across loud and clear in the garage. Easter didn’t try to change a thing. “I had this band-centric idea: ‘What is it that you do, and what is it that you want to do? Okay, let’s maximize that.’ I didn’t come into it like, ‘Well, my sound is all about the organ.’ It was hard for bands in those days to find studios that they enjoyed working in. Because the guy that ran the studio — and I say ‘guy’ because it was 95 percent guys — he was some older person, set in his ways. If you’re a struggling band, you can’t afford to go to the Record Plant or the Power Station or whatever. For the first several years of me doing this, at least half the bands came in with some horror story about this terrible time they had someplace.”

He could sense some related apprehension when he joined R.E.M. at the Reflection studio in Charlotte, N.C. later to record Murmur: “There were people around that scene, other bands, looking at R.E.M. like, ‘Who are these guys? I don’t know about all this.’ There was this sense in the air that something was changing, and the old guard didn’t like it.”

But for artists around the world, “Radio Free Europe” was the start of a new era. “They were putting energy back into things,” Easter says. “I played enough shows with people standing at the back by the bar with their arms folded, but all of a sudden, something happened so that bands like R.E.M. had audiences right up at the stage, digging it. And I just thought, [it’s] about time. Because this is supposed to be fun, you know?”

Easter had success with his own acclaimed band Let’s Active — start with Afoot and CypressHe also produced classic albums for other art-pop eccentrics in the years to come, ranging from Pavement (Brighten the Corners) to Game Theory (Lolita Nation) to Helium (The Magic City). But there’s something special about “Radio Free Europe.” “Those guys just hit the right note,” Easter says. “There’s a lot of good stuff that falls through the cracks, or it’s discovered later and enjoyed briefly, then it goes away again. But this stuff, it just stayed alive.”

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. The 1981 limited pressing 45rpm single, which is now a coveted collector’s item, packaged in a black and white sleeve featuring original photography by Michael Stipe.

“Radio Free Europe” was later re-recorded for the band’s first album release on major record label I.R.S. records and went on to land the band their chart debut, peaking at number 78 in the billboard pop chart. that album, Murmur, went on to reach number 36 in the album charts, and set the band steadfastly on the path to college radio domination and critical acclaim. the band’s 1988 compilation album, eponymous, included what was called the original hib-tone single, but what was in fact Easter’s original mix, not Hibbert’s. this limited edition 7” pressing represents the first-ever re-release of the original hib-tone recording of “radio free europe,” and comes housed in a replica sleeve

Quivers make cathartic guitar pop that jangles and shimmers somewhere between 1980s Australia and 1990s America. Championing our favourite up-and-coming artists has always been the foundation of Turntable Kitchen. Over the course of more than 100 releases, we’ve released debut wax from bands like MØ, Arlo Parks, No Vacation, Gallant, Tei Shi, Cathedrals, The Record Company, Crumb, Tender, and so so many more incredible rising bands.

Rising Melbourne-based Quivers captured the attention late last year with a pair of incredibly catchy, captivating singles: “You’re Not Always On My Mind” and “When It Breaks.” Fully formed and with a knack for easy, upbeat song writing, we immediately knew they were something special. In fact, we’ve been “all in” on them since that first listen. Back in January we were honoured to release their first ever vinyl single (sold out) and now we’re proud to share their contribution to our SOUNDS DELICIOUS series.

They selected R.E.M.’s “Out of Time” for their contribution to the series, flipping the script on tracks like “Shiny Happy People” (a sprawling psychedelic vibe here); shedding off some of the jangle to reimagine classics like “Losing My Religion” and transforming the cult classic “Country Feedback” into a gorgeous and stripped down piano ballad. 

Quivers’ version of “Out of Time” is only available by subscribing to the SOUNDS DELICIOUS vinyl record club.

Quivers got to choose a ‘classic’ to cover for Turntable Kitchen’s Sounds Delicious vinyl series and selected R.E.M.’s Out of Time (1991) Album. We hope you like our re-imagining of the record and we hope Mike Mills doesn’t sue us (I had a dream he would, twice).

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releases December 4th, 2020

All tracks written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe. Turntable Kitchen has sorted the relevant license. Recorded over 4 days at Second World Studios Rehearsal Space in Fairfield with Matthew Redlich. Mastered for vinyl by John Ruberto.

Quivers are:
Sam Nicholson – sings, guitars
Bella Quinlan – sings, bass, guitars
Holly Thomas – sings, drums
Michael Panton – sings, guitars.

 

See the source image

Having made a ripple of acclaim flow out across the pond, a new American band were given their first UK television appearance on the acclaimed music show ‘The Tube’—that band was Michael Stipe’s R.E.M and they would go on to give a career-defining performance.

R.E.M. were ready to make the newly found glistening stage their own when they were invited for a three-song slot in 1983. The band would take two numbers from their “Murmur” album, ‘Radio Free Europe’ and ‘Talk About The Passion’, Stipe and the group would also give a sneak peek of the upcoming 1984 album “Reckoning” with new track ‘So. Central Rain’.

It culminated in an extraordinary performance in the bubbling creativity of Britain. In 1983, the nation was still reeling from the dissolution of punk and was struggling to find their new sound. R.E.M’s arrival alongside indie acts like The Cure and The Smiths would herald a new age of alternative rock and roll. No longer flash and fashion orientated—R.E.M. offered something new and heartfelt.

“We’re not from Atlanta… We’re from Athens.” – Michael Stipe  
On November 18th, 1983, R.E.M. made their first-ever UK TV appearance performing “Radio Free Europe,” “So Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” and “Talk About The Passion” on Channel 4’s influential but short-lived program, The Tube. The performance marked the beginning of three decades of tour stops, festivals, album recordings, TV & radio appearances, and a lasting admiration for the people and places of the British Isles.

R.E.M. live on The Tube 18th November 1983

Quivers release new single, 'Videostores'

Melbourne band Quivers have released the music video for their cover of R.E.M.’s ‘Losing My Religion’. The cover is the first track off Quivers’ complete re-imagining of the iconic group’s 1991 album ‘Out Of Time’. Quivers initially released the cover last week after being asked by Seattle label Turntable Kitchen to remake a classic album. The full album of covers will be released on vinyl later this year.

The music video was filmed by Ursula Woods in southern Tasmania earlier this month. Watch the clip below: “The middle era of R.E.M. is the one I grew up hearing through the next room – where this opaque angular jangle band becomes an MTV monster,” Quivers’ Sam Nicholson said in a statement. “We spent four days in a rehearsal studio with our producer Matthew Redlich (Holy Holy, Husky), and made it up as we went along. We all sang, and Bella [Quinlan] takes the lead on our next song out – ‘Texarkana’.”

As for the music video, Nicholson said the clip makes him feel “homesick” for Tasmania. Their dog looking at an albino wallaby is all I need to get through a few more weeks before we can hopefully record music together again.”

This is the 1st song from Quivers’ song by song re-imagining of R.E.M.’s classic Out of Time (1991) for Seattle vinyl label Turntable Kitchen. Out now through their vinyl club. https://www.turntablekitchen.com/2020…Their full album cover of R.E.M.’s “Out of Time” flips the script on tracks like “Shiny Happy People,” reimagines classics like “Losing My Religion,” and transforms the cult classic “Country Feedback” into a gorgeous and stripped down piano ballad.

Image may contain: 1 person, night

As the prospect of another lockdown looms, we’re all left desperate to find media to consume when our brains our too microwaved to sit through a movie and the idea of reading a book feels like an impossible task. R.E.M. have offered a cure to the pangs of boredom — the seminal band will rebroadcast their iconic 1999 Glastonbury Festival performance.

For the first time ever, the band will upload the concert to stream on their YouTube page 72 hours following its initial premiere at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, August 6th.

The performance took place on June 25th, 1999 on Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage. The headlining set followed performances by Bush, Blondie and Hole.

Hole did such a great set, I was like — I’ve got to ramp this up, I’ve got to be great,” Michael Stipe said in a statement. “I think it was maybe a moment for R.E.M. and the U.K. where we had kind of been forgotten or pushed aside by younger bands, and that was a particular moment at Glastonbury where I think we pulled ourselves back to the front of the line and actually proved, this is what we’re capable of. It was a great show for us!”

The set saw the band perform a trove of their most beloved hits including, ‘Everybody Hurts’, ‘Losing My Religion’, ‘The One I Love’, ‘Man on the Moon’, and ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).’

Stipe mused that the band, “felt triumphant every time we played Glastonbury.” Acknowledging that, “The band really stepped up. It’s such a beloved and legendary event that, y’know, whatever stars are aligned for us personally and as a group; we managed to show the best of ourselves at each of the shows we played there.”

Alongside the Artist Rights Alliance, artists such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Sia, Lorde, R.E.M., Green Day, Pearl Jam, Blondie, B-52’s, Steven Tyler, and Elvis Costello (many of whom have already expressed annoyance with President Trump using their music) are urging America’s major political party committees to “establish clear policies requiring campaigns to seek consent” of the desired tune-makers before hitting play on their songs.

Earlier this week, R.E.M. signed an open letter, alongside numerous music contemporaries, demanding that politicians seek clearance on the music they play at campaign rallies and other public events.

“As artists, activists and citizens, we ask you to pledge that all candidates you support will seek consent from featured recording artists and songwriters before using their music in campaign and political settings,” their statement, written in partnership with the Artist Rights Alliance reads. “This is the only way to effectively protect your candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public controversy and the moral quagmire that comes from falsely claiming or implying an artist’s support or distorting an artists’ expression in such a high stakes public way.”

Premiering at YouTube next Thursday, August 6th! Continuing the celebration of Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary, watch R.E.M.’s headlining 1999 Pyramid Stage set. Tune in with fans around the world at 8pm BST / 3pm EST. Subscribe here: https://found.ee/REM-Glastonbury99

“Driver 8” kicks off the strongest two-song sequence on “Fables of the Reconstruction” with a bluesy guitar riff that mimics the forward thrust of a locomotive. Add in the insistent repetition of “Take a break, Driver 8/ Driver 8, take a break” that carries over from the first verse into the chorus, and you’re left with the distinct impression of a train barreling through a Southern landscape with no brakes and a crew strung-out on lack of sleep. But something about the song’s mood or urgency shifts as it arrives at the second verse, where all of a sudden Michael Stipe pauses to soak in the imagery that surrounds him: a tree house on a farm, church bells ringing, children playing in the field. But just as the driving riffs give way to arpeggiated chords, so do these pastoral relics of the South give way to images of power lines and other vaguely sinister representations of modernity. Like many of the best R.E.M. songs, “Driver 8” doesn’t pick sides. Not quite sad and not quite celebratory, it keeps its quiet revelations close to the chest.

Fables of the Reconstruction contains plenty of wisdom — including this song, inspired by the title of the book Life: How to Live written by a local Athens character named Brivs Mekis. The lyrics are whimsical — they detail Mekis’ eccentric habits — but suit the bustling music. In particular, Bill Berry’s drumming bristles with spring-loaded energy, which pushes the song forward and highlights the urgency inherent in Peter Buck’s circular riffs and the water-falling backing vocals. R.E.M. dusted off “Life and How to Live It” occasionally even during their final tour, and it became even more galvanizing as the years passed.

Rolling Stone wrote: “Listening to Fables of the Reconstruction is like waking up in a menacing yet wonderful world underneath the one we’re familiar with. R.E.M. undermines our certitude in reality and deposits us in a new place, filled with both serenity and doubt, where we’re forced to think for ourselves.”

The band’s fourth LP – A concept album with Southern Gothic themes and characters
Released: 10th June 1985 – 35 years ago

In case you missed it, there’s a really excellent interview Michael did with the Current on the occasion of his 60th birthday and the release of his second single, “Drive To The Ocean,” which is now available at streaming services.

All of Michael’s earnings from sales and synchronization licensing of the song for the first 365 days will be redirected to Pathway to Paris, a non-profit organization dedicated to turning the Paris Agreement into reality through innovative public engagement, cultural events, supporting citizen driven initiatives and cities in developing and implementing ambitious climate action plans.

Watch the video for “Drive To The Ocean” .

Visit michaelstipe.com to download this video, the audio and other bonus items, and donate to Pathway to Paris

Michael Stipe

Eight years after R.E.M.’s breakup, frontman Michael Stipe is finally going solo. Stipe said he had 18 songs “already ready.” He explained, “Now I’m writing, composing and recording all by myself and for the first time.”

On Saturday, October 5th, Stipe is too release his debut solo single, “Your Capricious Soul”. The track will initially be available only for purchase through Stipe’s website for 77 cents, though there will also be the option to download the song for free digitally.

The release of “Your Capricious Soul” coincides with the International Rebellion climate justice protests on October 7th, and proceeds from the song will go toward Extinction Rebellion to help aid their work of non-violent protest of government inaction to the climate emergency.

In a statement, Stipe says, “I took a long break from music, and I wanted to jump back in. I love ‘Your Capricious Soul’ – it’s my first solo work. I want to add my voice to this exciting shift in consciousness. Extinction Rebellion gave me the incentive to push the release and not wait. Our relationship to the environment has been a lifelong concern, and I now feel hopeful—optimistic, even. I believe we can bring the kind of change needed to improve our beautiful planet earth, our standing and our place on it.”

A video by artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson will accompanying the single’s release

Iconic alternative rock band R.E.M. has shared a previously unreleased song, “Fascinating,” an unreleased song from R.E.M. out  with all proceeds going benefit global organization Mercy Corps’ Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas. Band members Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe recorded “Fascinating” in 2004 at Nassau’s Compass Point Studios

“Fascinating” was originally recorded for the 2001 album “Reveal”, but “it made the record too long… and something had to go,” Mike Mills says. This 2004 version — an ornate ballad with twinkly electronics, an oboe and flute arrangement and a psychedelic climax — was made at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas.

In fact, was singer Michael Stipe’s favorite song from the Reveal sessions (according to guitarist Peter Buck’s recollection, as chronicled in David Buckley’s R.E.M. biography, Fiction). The song was produced by Pat McCarthy and engineered by Jamie Candiloro. “It’s really beautiful,” bassist/keyboardist Mike Mills told Buckley. “It has a flute, oboe arrangement, but it made the record too long… and something had to go.” R.E.M. rerecorded the track in Nassau for 2004’s Around the Sun, but the lush ballad ultimately didn’t jibe with that spare, atmospheric album. Now this poignant outtake finally finds its fitting moment, as a means to aid the country where R.E.M. enjoyed over two months of creative retreat.

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“We first became aware of Mercy Corps around the time of Hurricane Katrina, and we supported their efforts to help in that situation,” says Mills . “I spend a lot of time every year in the Abaco Islands, which was literally ground zero for this disaster. I know a lot of people who lost everything — their homes, their businesses, literally everything they own is gone.”

“I have been fortunate to spend many weeks working and playing in the Bahamas, making friends and lots of music there,” Mills continues. “It breaks my heart to see the damage wrought by Hurricane Dorian. Please help us and Mercy Corps do what we can to alleviate the suffering caused by this catastrophe.”