Tag: Peter Buck

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

Music
When I started this series I honestly had no idea R.E.M. was on the threshold of releasing yet another studio album, Collapse Into Now. And as much as I would love to check out the new album, I think I'm going to hold off for a bit. I'd like to continue down the path I started in order to get a better perspective of their output so I can approach the new record with more than an outsider's mindset (unlike what I had when I reviewed Accelerate). We're up to album number five, Document. It's the last studio disc R.E.M. released on the I.R.S. label, and it is the group's first major commercial hit. My first thought as "Finest Worksong" got underway -- HELLO big rock production! My second thought -- Hey, so that's what Michael Stipe sounds like when he faces the microphone! Document ...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 3

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 3

Music
It seems like a totally foreign concept now, but there was a time when bands managed to tour and release albums on a regular basis. An album per year was standard for most acts, and some overachievers managed two per year. Now fans are lucky to get a new record every three years or so. I don't know how this started or why, but it sucks. I'd rather get a new release every year, with eight or nine songs, than these 14 or 15-song monstrosities that come out whenever a band gets around to it. Anyway, we're knee-deep in my journey through R.E.M.'s discography in case you hadn't noticed. They kept up an old-school release schedule throughout the 1980s, with a new studio recording every year from 1982 through 1988. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. We're up to LP number three right now, Fa...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 2

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 2

Music
Welcome back! In today's installment of my musical journey through R.E.M.'s discography, I tackle the first two full-length albums from the Athens, Georgia quartet. The first one, 1983's Murmur, pops up in just about every list of the greatest pop/rock albums ever made, so I was really curious to hear what all the hype was about. And then it's on to next year's Reckoning and the first major stylistic change for the group. While the two records were released almost exactly one year apart, they really are very different artistic statements. So anyway, Murmur.  Hey I recognize that first song! It's a re-recorded version of the band's first single, "Radio Free Europe." Well one thing's for sure, this new version is a lot cleaner-sounding and much more professional. Too bad it doesn't quite
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 1

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 1

Music
Hello from Athens!  So to speak anyway.  This is the first leg of my journey through the discography of alternative rock heroes R.E.M. If you want a little more historical background on the band and their roots, well, I guess you can hit up Wikipedia. I'm going to focus as much as I can on just the music for this series. So I know that in the introduction post I said I'd only be hitting the main albums and EPs in my writeups, but I would be doing everyone a disservice without mentioning "Radio Free Europe." Released in 1981, it's R.E.M.'s first single and was largely responsible for landing them a record deal with I.R.S. Listening to it 30 years later it's easy to figure out where it fits in the history of alt rock, although there are some strong New Wave sounds going on as well. Her
Album review: The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Album review: The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Music
The term progressive can have rather dangerous effects on music. For starters it makes the typical music fan cringe with ideas of long-winded guitar solos and lyrics about gnomes fighting dragons. Second, it can cause musicians to try to make albums that actually match those ideas. When coupled with other words like “19th century sea-faring folk ballads” it has to be questioned whether anyone would even bother listening. And yet here we are witnessing the sixth studio album from the Decemberists more than a decade into their career. After having built a sizable following with what seems like a rather niche take on indie rock, perhaps it is those potential trappings that forced Colin Meloy and company’s hand towards taking a more stripped-down and straightforward approach on The King is