Sunday, April 5
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Tag: R.E.M.

Road Trip! — Ten Songs Inspired by Real Places

Road Trip! — Ten Songs Inspired by Real Places

Featured Posts, Listcruft, Music
Many people are inspired by their favorite songs about places to visit the locations that inspired them. But don't bother looking for 22 Acacia Avenue or Xanadu on Google Maps -- they don't exist anywhere but in their songwriters' minds. Elsewhere, however, there are plenty of songs that were inspired by real places. Here are ten of them, should you feel the urge to make a pilgrimage. (You can also check out this list on my Spotify playlist.) #1. "Lakeside Park" -- Rush Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario and spent many youthful summers on the village's most popular beach -- Lakeside Park. Peart paid tribute in an atypically nostalgic song on Rush's third album, 1975's Caress of Steel. Peart later reminisced about his Lakeside Park experience
My favorite music: 1983

My favorite music: 1983

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1983. (Spotify users, check out the accompanying playlist and subscribe!) Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments -- While I would in no way claim that Robert Plant's solo output bests Led Zeppelin's music, a lot of times I simply prefer to listen to Plant. In fact I'd say that Plant has enjoyed one of the most artistically rewarding solo careers of any artist who was part of a popular band that I can think of. The Principle of Moments is probably my favorite Plant solo effort (next to Fate of Nations) -- he sounds freed from the constraints of creating larger-than-life rock and the music just crackles with energy. "In the...
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 ...
Here’s some stuff I enjoyed this week

Here’s some stuff I enjoyed this week

Internet, Links
Here’s a fresh batch of some quality interweb finds I’ve come across over the last 7 days: Very cool Super 8 footage of Elton John performing at Madison Square Garden, Thanksgiving 1974. Special guest appearance by John Lennon! (YouTube) Are you getting tired of Charlie Sheen too? Well read this great op-ed about his troubling history with women, anyway. (New York Times) For no particular reason, let's look at a state-by-state breakdown of U.S. passport ownership. (Grey's Blog) Ever wonder how long many different kinds of animals live? Wonder no more. (Clusterflock) For vinyl nerds like myself, this is cool. A random stacking of stereo label logos. (Stereo Stack) One of these days I'll have a use for that stack of Susan B. Anthony dollar coins. (Consumerist) Today is Na
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
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Introduction

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

Music
Several years ago (damn I've been doing this blog a long time) I posted a list of some of the biggest artists in music and confessed that I had not bothered to check them out beyond knowing some of their biggest hits. Last weekend I checked out several episodes of the 2007 BBC series Seven Ages of Rock on VH1 Classic, and got caught up in the one covering alternative rock. It covered bands like Nirvana and the Pixies, whom I've already auditioned and found wanting.  Another band heavily featured in the episode was R.E.M. And you know, the fact is I have never really given them a proper chance. I know how important they supposedly are in the world of alternative rock and of course I'm very familiar with their biggest hits, but as I was never all that much into alt rock I had little r
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