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Everybody Spends Money For Haiti Relief

It would appear that the Simon Cowell-Produced ‘Everybody Hurts’ has been a hit. The 453,000 copies of this single that were sold in the first week in the UK set a record.
For those fans out there very much upset about this, the entire single, etc. I just hope that you hang in there. All I can say is that everybody hurts. Everybody cries sometimes. So just hold on. That’s what I said, hold on.


Warner’s Retreat From Music Streaming Not Necessarily Bad

Spotify, for those that are not aware is a Peer-to-Peer service that allows for users to listen to streamed versions of approximately 6 million-plus songs that are contained within its library.  Think about it simply as going to iTunes, picking a song from it’s library and streaming it to play on your computer, over your cell phone, etc. Of course the big key to this service is that it is free.

New Facebook Fan Page

When I created a "Group" on Facebook, I really was not thinking. I think that a "Page" is much better because it will allow for you the user to follow.
So click here to access.
So please sign up, and even go as far as deleting the group as I would like to eventually remove that group. :)

Open Letter to Fans on 'Everybody Hurts' Tribute Song

For those that are not aware, Simon Cowell, of American Idol (and other reality entertainment show) fame has arranged to have R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts to be covered by a slew of all-star musicians and acts.
In reading the reaction on Murmurs left me pretty sick to my stomach.  It’s very difficult to pick out a winner from all the reactions from fans.
“Everybody Hurts may well be murdered by Cowell's ego”
“On a purely selfish note, this will probably bring REM a lot of exposure to a new generation of music buyers.”
“I'm very torn about this... do the ends justify the means??”
“I cannot help but think that the 'Stars' who have signed up for this are also doing it for their own egos.”
Of course there is plenty of reaction to the actual singers that are performing on this which I have chosen not to add. 
R.E.M., for all it’s said and done is a progressive act that for the last, what will almost be 30 years, has supported either publicly or not so much social causes both with their own money and to raise awareness for those causes. Putting their support behind a cause like this is noble and should not be taken any other way.

Being Shackled To Your Bed with R.E.M.

We have begun a new year and as I stare at photos of the lead singer known as Stipe, I am noticing that we have another thing in common and that is that we both have beards. His has a fair amount of gray in his; mine is still brown-black saving the gray for my temples. He is balding, I need a haircut. He’s wearing glasses. Mine are in a case somewhere. He is 50. I am 37. We both know the lyrics to Driver 8.

However, the staring is just staring and not any ‘longing’. Staring at him and then a white screen wondering what I am going to write about next.
It is not just any new year but the beginning of another decade (although not technically but that is for another site).
Of course if you have been reading this site in the recent past you would admit that things have been pretty quiet around here. If I was Johnny Rotten I might say, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
Honestly, I do too although I am not sure you can just sit to write. I do not get paid to be a fan, the home office is not on speed dial; I do not get backstage tickets, no free albums, no gimmes or anything,  but rather when I do this it’s my little place.
Hitting submit on an R.E.M. post is knowing that somewhere out there, a bot is looking for it and wants to respond with a Viagra advertisement and that I find pretty humerous that I am probably talking to more “Code” than anything.

NPR Streaming Live R.E.M. Album - Early Review

If there is any good reason to give money to a legitimate media source, NPR should be your choice. On top of being impressive on the news circuit, currently they are also streaming, R.E.M. Live At The Olympia.
For the past 15 years or so, R.E.M.'s willingness to dig deep in their catalog could be aptly compared to being shackled to your bed while your partner tortures you...sexually of course. Their live setlists often feature the songs at the shows you don't attend and jealousy persists when they talk about their former lovers (setlists of prior years). Of course, if the band chose to perform such an act it would result in premature ejaculation on your part which would offer no satisfaction to the band. In this release, the shackles are removed and we are graced with an amazing release.
As I have been listening to this album, I am finding very little wrong with it so far. The small errors in the performances give the album some heart, reminding listeners that in the early days, R.E.M. was not about precision but reckless abandon, while the "Whirling Dervish" Michael Stipe would parade onstage.  While Stipe is not the W. Dervish that he once was, the band does give listeners a glimpse into soundtracks of the misfits of Generation X. Sure, they are not the band from 1983, but the songs are not treated as some prepackaged tchotchke from China. They do not sound overly rehearsed but very fresh and unique. 

The Baseball Project / Minus 5 / Steve Wynn IV at Martyr's Chicago (Review)

Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey are not just two musicians who I appreciate for their talents on the stage but for their wealth of knowledge in America ’s Pastime; that being baseball. If you listen to the album, the ‘Baseball Project’ it is not filled with the familiar faces of baseball but offers a Ken Burn’s soundtrack into some of the stories and moments that make baseball such as rich part of our culture.
They are richly observant of the faces and names of baseballs past. I can imagine that someone probably threw away their baseball card collections at some point, and can tell the stories about how they owned a Mantle or Mays. One of the big concerns whenever you write an entire album about a sport is that it could turn out to be hokey. In some cases, the stories aren’t exactly happy, i.e. the story of Curt Flood or Mark McGwire were not stories that would seemingly be put on my lists of songs that bring joy and happiness to my life, but they also represent characters who are underappreciated, (see Flood and his role in Free Agency) and tarnished (see McGwire) and steroids.
Thus, Baseball is not the happy-go-lucky sport, but one filled with romance, with loss with pain and exhuberance. It is a sport that is not set by a clock but by outs, so you cannot be a pussy and run out the clock. Currently, teams bring in, a "Closer" for those pressure moments at the end of the game with the game on the line. Maybe this speaks to why I have always loved it, and yet at the same time get the butterflies going through my heart knowing that game is never over until the fat lady is singing.
Luckily there were no fat ladies singing on Friday evening.

39 Reasons To Be Happy: The True Live R.E.M. Experience

Several weeks ago, R.E.M. released a teaser EP of four songs the band played during their time in Dublin, Ireland in 2007. I have been listening to this performance in relation to ‘LIVE’, R.E.M.’s rookie entry into the concert album foray.  The first thing that I have noticed about the songs that were played, are their intimacy. We do not hear the emptiness of the concert venue but the thick nasaly voice of Michael Stipe as he serenades the paying audience with Mike Mills playing a mean bass and adding the essential backup vocals and Peter Buck, janglying his way to heaven.


R.E.M. Retro Singles Nothing To Get Excited About

EMI’s announcement of releasing these old singles will probably fall on deaf ears among most R.E.M. fans as there are several reasons why these fall short.

The subsequent songs and their accompanying B-Sides are listed below.
(A) Can’t Get There From Here
(B) Bandwagon

(A) Driver 8
(B) Crazy

(A) Fall On Me
(B) Rotary Ten

(A) It’s The End Of The World As We Know It
(B) Last Date

(A) The One I Love
(B) Maps and Legends (Live)

(A) Superman
(B) White Tornado

And while as much as I can appreciate the idea of the 45, the retro single does not work in this case because all of these songs have been released on several different formats already. For the B sides listed, Bandwagon, Crazy, Rotary Ten and White Tornado were all released on Dead Letter Office. Maps and Legends (Live) as well as Last Date were also on several releases most notably ‘In the Attic’ but also on a ‘Deep Cuts’ EP that was also released this year including other re-released tracks of ‘The One I Love’ and ‘Disturbance at The Heron House’ live acoustic versions from the infamous McCabes Show in 1987.

While the singles of these songs claim to be remastered there is no detail as to what the remastering process actually was. Listening to the samples I was not blown away one way or the other.

From a hardcore fans perspective, the singles are ideal for the collector that likes the cover art and vinyl for their collection, something that is lost on these digital recordings.
As the announcement states, these songs are currently available on iTunes and should be available currently in other digital outlets.

R.E.M. Shadows and Murmurs

Publication Date: 
July 1983

Oh how things have changed. Really great interview from the Murmur era describing some of the feelings that Michael has in regards to lyrics, politics, and emotion.   
R.E.M. Shadows and Murmurs
Jim Sullivan, Record
July 1983

Boston - Talk about rock 'n' roll bands-their public images and their music-and certain adjectives jump up and wave their hands in the air. Say the Clash and pretty quickly you the to "political." Mention the Cramps and "voodoo rockabilly" comes tagging along.

Talk about R.E.M., yet another fine band from Athens, Georgia, and these sort of words sift to the forefront: Oblique. Hazy. Vague. Look at their cover tof their debut LP, Murmur- a dark, murky, monochromatic shot of dried kudzu, a vine indigenous to ht south. Listen to the music and think of what you remember from the songs-you come up with these gorgeous, hook-laden, minor key melody lines sticking in your brain accompanied by lyrical snippets (and responses) like these-"Talk about the passion" (Which passion? Where?); "Boxcars, pulling out of town" (Why? Where are they going? Why is this important?); "Gardening at night" (a rock song about gardening?! At night?!!)

"House in order . . .wolves at the door" (Oh.) Fragments, shadows, murmurs.

This is confusing

"Good", says R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, with a pleased, mission accomplished tone.

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