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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2014 | A&M

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 18, 2016 | Concord Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 2017 | Craft Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
There’s a ‘before and after’ Out Of Time in the life of R.E.M. This ‘before’ for Michael Stipe’s band is mainly found on university campuses where the group gained a cult following in the ‘80s… How then did R.E.M. manage to sell 12 million copies of Out Of Time to the world? The answer is that this record was both sublime and austere. An uncompromising album, like the chamber rock such as Nirvana and the Pixies that you’d blast out without caring about pissing off the neighbours in that year of 1992… Always virtuosic, Peter Buck goes from the mandolin to the acoustic guitar with great ease, John Paul Johns from Led Zeppelin sublimely arranges refined chords and Michael Stipe shines with his melancholic and tortured prose with the candor of a man with self-assured belief. Cinemascope ballads prevail, peaking with Everybody Hurts. It must be said, Automatic For The People is not the most easy-flowing album by R.E.M. but it is one of the most beautiful. Released in 2017, this 25th anniversary edition also offers, alongside the remastered album, a live recording from the 40 Watt Club in Athens on the 19th November 1992 with some cover versions like Funtime by Iggy Pop and Love Is All Around by The Troggs. © MD/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2014 | A&M

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R.E.M. abandoned the enigmatic post-punk experiments of Murmur for their second album, Reckoning, returning to their garage pop origins instead. Opening with the ringing "Harborcoat," Reckoning runs through a set of ten jangle pop songs that are different not only in sound but in style from the debut. Where Murmur was enigmatic in its sound, Reckoning is clear, which doesn't necessarily mean that the songs themselves are straightforward. Michael Stipe continues to sing powerful melodies without enunciating, but the band has a propulsive kick that makes the music vital and alive. And, if anything, the songwriting is more direct and memorable than before -- the interweaving melodies of "Pretty Persuasion" and the country rocker "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" are as affecting as the melancholic dirges of "Camera" and "Time After Time," while the ringing minor-key arpeggios of "So. Central Rain," the pulsating riffs of "7 Chinese Bros.," and the hard-rocking rhythms of "Little America" make the songs into classics. On the surface, Reckoning may not be as distinctive as Murmur, but the record's influence on underground American rock in the '80s was just as strong. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 1, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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A brilliant distillation of '90s alt-rock. A crass and noisy attempt to cash in on grunge. A band in need of rock tunes for an upcoming tour after six years off the road. The fact that R.E.M.'s ninth album Monster can after still inspire such polarities is proof enough that it's worth a fresh listen. New mixes by Scott Litt, a trove of demos and a 1995 live show from Chicago featuring mostly a post-I.R.S. years setlist fills out the portrait of the 25th Anniversary reissue of one of R.E.M.'s most contentious albums. With liner notes in which Peter Buck admits, "We wanted to get away from who we were," Monster 25 is the sound not only of Buck, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Bill Berry pondering what it means to suddenly be rock stars, but also of a band deep in one of those periodic left turns that artists need to pass through or call it quits. And while the lyrics are typical Stipe-ian jabberwocky mangled further by vocals buried in the original mix, it's Peter Buck's ever-present guitar, bashing out crunchy power chords bathed in delay, reverb and buzzsaw distortion, that remains the album's most controversial aspect as he ditches his former loyalty to acoustic textures and intricate arrangements for an overdriven, rocked up Cobain-life heft and snarl that's fiercely front and center in the mix. The remixed album is a very different experience from the original: the instrumental parts are now clearly delineated, instead of a blurry, roaring mix. "Tongue" drops the four beat count off in favor of a simple piano and loud tambourine. The organ, which was prominent in the original, has been lowered in the remix. "Circus Envy's" sizzling guitar distortion has been dialed back and Berry's drums have been pulled forward. Most noticeable of all are Stipe's vocals, some of which are entirely different takes from the original album's. "Crush with Eyeliner" begins with Stipe voicing an unaccompanied "la, la, la" and continues with a more stylized T. Rex and Iggy Pop-influenced vocal take than the original. Some of the changes are outright deletions. Buck's organ in "Let Me In," and his choppy guitar part in "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", and the percussion in "You" are completely gone. These changes are needed context, connecting the album to the band's musical progression and in the process making it seem less like an outlier. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 2017 | Craft Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2012 | Concord Records

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Rock - Released October 19, 2018 | Craft Recordings

Like many bands of their era, R.E.M. were no strangers to the BBC Studios. Perhaps they weren't beloved by the BBC's John Peel -- the station's grand patron of underground rock -- but R.E.M. did appear regularly on the BBC, logging their first broadcast in November 1984, when they were nervily plugging their second album, Reckoning. That concert is presented in full on R.E.M. at the BBC, a generous eight-disc box that chronicles all of the band's appearances on the British Broadcasting Company. A quick scan of the dates provides the real revelation of the set: while R.E.M. were college rock titans in America, they didn't crack the British market until 1991, when "Losing My Religion" and its accompanying album, Out of Time, turned the Athens quartet into superstars. R.E.M. scored their second BBC session around the album's release, playing a hushed acoustic set -- one that featured the non-LP "Fretless" and a Mike Mills-sung cover of the Troggs' "Love Is All Around" -- that crystallizes their warm, pastoral phase of the early '90s. The band is next heard in thundering, globe-conquering form in 1995, playing a full 25-song set at Milton Keynes. Fresh from Monster, this is R.E.M. at their loudest, filling arenas with sinewy ease. From there, the band disappeared from the BBC for three years, an eventful period that saw the group getting weird on 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi, then parting ways with drummer/songwriter Bill Berry after its supporting tour. Berry opted out after suffering an on-stage brain aneurysm, encouraging Mills, Michael Stipe, and Peter Buck to carry on without him. While the group's commercial fortunes wavered stateside, they turned out to be bigger than ever in the U.K., racking up six Top Ten singles there between 1998 and 2004. Given that success, that's the period when most of the music on R.E.M. at the BBC was recorded, which may seem to be an initial disappointment for fans who tuned out after the departure of Berry, but even a cursory listen to the group's Public Peel Session from 1998, their Glastonbury set from 1999, and their London Radio 2 show from 2004 shows that R.E.M. retained their Monster-era arena rock gestures while moving with a sense of grace and playing with no-nonsense toughness. This may be familiar to the dedicated whose allegiance never wavered, but for those who believed R.E.M. faltered after Berry's departure, R.E.M. at the BBC is a gateway into the band's last act. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2012 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2014 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2013 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 27, 2016 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 18, 2016 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 28, 1986 | IRS CATALOG MKT (I91)

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Fables of the Reconstruction was intentionally murky, and Lifes Rich Pageant was constructed as its polar opposite. Teaming with producer Don Gehman, who previously worked with John Mellencamp, R.E.M. developed their most forceful record to date. Where previous records kept the rhythm section in the background, Pageant emphasizes the beat, and the band turns in its hardest rockers to date, including the anthemic "Begin the Begin" and the punky "Just a Touch." But the cleaner production also benefits the ballads and the mid-tempo janglers, particularly since it helps reveal Michael Stipe's growing political obsessions, especially on the environmental anthems "Fall on Me" and "Cuyahoga." The group hasn't entirely left myths behind -- witness the Civil War ballad "Swan Swan H" -- but the band sound more contemporary both musically and lyrically than they did on either Fables or Murmur, which helps give the record an extra kick. And even with excellent songs like "I Believe," "Flowers of Guatemala," "These Days," and "What if We Give It Away," it's ironic that the most memorable moment comes from the garage rock obscurity "Superman," which is sung with glee by Mike Mills. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2014 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1987 | IRS

R.E.M. began to move toward mainstream record production on Lifes Rich Pageant, but they didn't have a commercial breakthrough until the following year's Document. Ironically, Document is a stranger, more varied album than its predecessor, but co-producer Scott Litt -- who would go on to produce every R.E.M. album in the following decade -- is a better conduit for the band than Don Gehman, giving the group a clean sound without sacrificing their enigmatic tendencies. "Finest Worksong," the stream-of-conscious rant "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," and the surprise Top Ten single "The One I Love" all crackle with muscular rhythms and guitar riffs, but the real surprise is how political the mid-tempo jangle pop of "Welcome to the Occupation," "Disturbance at the Heron House," and "King of Birds" is. Where Lifes Rich Pageant sounded a bit like a party record, Document is a fiery statement, and its memorable melodies and riffs are made all the more indelible by its righteous anger. In other words, it's not only a commercial breakthrough, but a creative breakthrough as well, offering evidence of R.E.M.'s growing depth and maturity, and helping usher in the P.C. era in the process. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 16, 2014 | Concord Records

Unlike its companion, Complete Rarities: IRS 1982-1987, the music collected on the 2014 digital-only Complete Warner Bros. Rarities 1988-2011 hasn't been anthologized often. Bits and pieces have been rounded up in singles boxes, and there was a "Rarities and B-sides" bonus disc added to the 2003 compilation In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003, but there was no Warner-era equivalent of Dead Letter Office, and the expanded editions of the albums often skimped on bonus tracks. So this mammoth collection -- 131 tracks, all instrumentals, alternate, and singles, mixes, covers, and live tracks that never appeared on albums -- is noteworthy for providing a service for dedicated fans who nevertheless stopped buying all those multi-part CD singles somewhere around New Adventures in Hi-Fi or Up. The eagle-eyed will notice there are a few songs missing -- usually, these are alternate versions from the early '90s -- but there are also a couple of live cover versions M.I.A., along with instrumental B-sides from Automatic for the People -- but the sheer heft of the set guarantees that almost all will take its title claim of "Complete" as factual; it's close enough to complete for most intents and purposes. Also, as it's a digital clearinghouse and not a sequenced compilation, it's designed to be cherry-picked and not listened to straight through (after all, it'd take many hours to finish). Unlike its I.R.S. cousin, there aren't many major songs tucked away here -- only the Automatic-era "It's a Free World Baby" and "Fretless" count, with the Accelerate flips "Redhead Walking" and "Airliner" also coming close -- which in itself suggests the shifting dynamics within the band and in the industry in the '90s and 2000s. Once Bill Berry left after 1996's New Adventures, R.E.M. worked harder to complete records, so there weren't as many rarities lying around, and that explains the lack of originals, but the real key to this absurdly large set is that the band was required to churn out B-sides for multi-part singles in every market in the world. The easiest way to do this was through live versions, covers and, for a brief moment, remixes (R.E.M.'s music never lent itself to dance mixes but 808 State did overhaul "King of Comedy"). It's flotsam and jetsam, and although it sometimes sounds like filler, there's enough enjoyable music here to make it worthwhile for those dedicated fans wishing to round out their collection. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2014 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2013 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 19, 2014 | Concord Records

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