K.D.’s 2019 (chronologically ordered in which I heard them) - May Edition:
Deerhunter - Why Hasn’t Everything Disappeared Yet?
Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
James Blake - Assume Form
Better Oblivion Community Center - Better Oblivion Community Center
Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken
Cass McCombs - Tip of The Sphere
Yak - Pursuit of Momentary Happiness
Nivhek - After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs
Angel Bat Dawid - The Oracle
SPELLLING - Mazy Fly Solange - When I Come Home
The Claypool Lennon Delirium - South of Reality
Little Simz - Grey Area
Stella Donnelly - Beware of The Dogs
Helado Negro - This Is How You Smile
Yves Jarvis - The Same But By Different Means
Aleksi Perälä - Sunshine 3
American Football - LP3
Flume - Hi This Is Flume
Avey Tare - Cows On Hourglass Pond
Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe The Caretaker - Everywhere At The End of Time - Stage 6
The Caretaker - Everywhere, An Empty Bliss
The Comet Is Coming - Trust In The Lifeforce of The Deep Mystery
Quelle Chris - Guns Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
KÁRYYN - The Quanta Series
Billy Woods + Kenny Segal - Hiding Places
New: Fennesz - Agora
Mdou Moctar - Ilana (The Creator)
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Krzysztof Penderecki/ Beth Gibbons - Symphony No. 3: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, Op. 36
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - Ancestral Recall
W.H. Lung - Incidental Music
Jards Macále - Besta fera
Waste of Space Orchestra - Synthoesis
Chemical Brothers - No Geography
Wand - Laughing Matter
Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel
Devin Townsend - Empath
Kelsey Lu - Blood
Aldous Harding - Designer Sunn O))) - Life Metal
TR/ST - The Destroyer - 1
Vampire Weekend - Father of The Bride Big Thief - U.F.O.F.
Empath - Active Listening: Night on Earth
Drahla - Useless Coordinates Jamila Woods - LEGACY! LEGACY!
Holly Herndon - PROTO
Tim Hecker - Anoyo
Inter Arma - Sulphur English
Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
The National - I Am Easy To Find
Tyler, The Creator - Igor
Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve
Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain Cate Le Bon - Reward
Flying Lotus - Flamagra
Steve Gunn - The Unseen In Between
Julian Lynch - Rat Spit
Future - The WIZRD
Swervedriver - Future Ruins Girlpool - What Chaos Is Imaginary Duendita - direct line to My Creator Mike Krol - Power Chords
The Twilight Sad - It Won/t Be like This All the Time
Juan Wauters - La Onda de Juan Pablo
Pedro The Lion - Phoenix
Tim Presley & White Fence - I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk
William Tyler - Goes West Tiny Ruins - Olympic Girls Beirut - Gallipoli Cherry Glazerr - Stuffed & Ready White Lies - FIVE
Xiu Xiu - Girl With Basket of Fruit
Sports Bra - Talk It Out
TOY - Happy In The Hollow Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock
Traffik Island - Nature Strip
CZARFACE & Ghostface Killah - Czarface Meets Ghostface Killah
Methyl Ethel - Triage Dawn Richard - new breed
Panda Bear - Buoys
Martin Frawley - Undone At 31 Julia Jacklin - Crushing FEELS - Post-Earth Sarah Louise - Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars
The Long Ryders - Psychedelic Country Soul Pond - Tasmania
Hand Habits - Placeholder
Spielbergs - This Is Not The End
2 Chainz - Rap or Go to the League Lomelda - M for Empathy Funereal Presence - Achiatus SASAMI - SASAMI Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1
SOAR - Forgotten Paths Blu & Oh No - A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night
Gray Clark Jr. - This Land Robert Forster - Inferno William Basinski - On Time Out of Mind
Hozier - Wastleland, Baby!
Half Japanese - Invincible
Kehlani - While We Wait
Stephen Malkmus - Groove Denied CHAI - Punk Motorpsycho - The Crucible
The Japanese House - Good At Falling Westkust - Westkust Ex Hex - It’s Real La Dispute - Panorama
Jenny Lewis - On The Line Strand of Oaks - Eraserland
New: Matmos - Plastic Anniversary
Lambchop - This (is what I wanted to tell you) Shana Cleveland- Night of the Worm Moon
Lady Lamb - Even In The Tremor PUP - Morbid Stuff
Priests - Seduction of Kansas Dave - Psychodrama
Frankie Cosmos - Haunted Items
Durand Jones & The Indications - American Love Call
Damien Jurado - The Shape of The Storm Anderson .Paak - Ventura Jess Ribeiro - LOVE HATE Sigur Rós - Variations On Darkness Orville Peck - Pony
Chris Cohen - Chris Cohen Drugdealer - Raw Honey Tallest Man On Earth - I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream.
Fat White Family - Serf’s Up! Billie Eilish - When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Heather Woods Broderick - Invitation
The Stroppies - Whoosh! Slauson Malone - A Quiet Farewell or Twenty Sixteen or Twenty Eighteen Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
Martha - Love Keeps Kicking
Ibibio Sound Machine - Doko Mien These New Puritans - Inside The Rose
Kevin Morby - Oh My God
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Fishing For Fishies
Foxygen - Seeing Other People
Local Natives - Violet Street
Guided By Voices - Warp and Woof
Reptaliens - VALIS Deradoorian - Disembodied Improvisations Vol. 1 Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky - Droneflower
The Mountain Goats - In League With Dragons Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats - Anger Management
SOAK - Grim Town
Tacocat - This Mess Is A Place Patience - Dizzy Spells
Versing - 10000 The Dream Syndicate - These Times Pile - Green and Grey
Kevin Abstract - ARIZONA BABY
Mac Demarco - Here Comes The Cowboy Jeff Tweedy - Warmer Alex Lahey - The Best of The Luck Club
Operators - Radiant Dawn Chris Forsyth - All Time Present
Steve Lacy - Apollo XXI
Hayden Thorpe - Diviner Amyl and The Sniffers - Amyl and The Sniffers
Sebadoh - Act Surprised
Faye Webster - Atlanta Millionaires Club Denzel Curry - ZUU Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble- Where Future Unfolds
Filthy Friends - Emerald Valley
Remo Drive - Natural, Everyday Degradation
Toro Y Moi - Outer Peace
FIDLAR - Almost Free Ariana Grande - thank u, next
Sun Kil Moon - I Also Want To Die In Ohio Offset - Father of 4
New: The Drums - Brutalism
Juice WRLD - Death Race For Love
Lil Pump - Haverd Dropout Schoolboy Q - CrasH Talk
Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Inspired To a Hellish Extent
Honeyblood - In Plain Sight
Royal Trux - White Stuff
Weezer - Weezer (The Black Album)
Weezer - Weezer (The Teal Album) _________________ Here's what's I’ve had on heavy rotation this year:
Why R.E.M.? Why now? Um... ok. This seems like a bit of a cliched to start. Even by your standards. Let’s try something else. I’m sure you could come up with something better. What the fuck?! Who the fuck are you?! That reminds me. Let’s try to keep the profanity down on this one too. It suffocates the writing of these and just shows an overall lack of ideas. Your... “review” for In The Wake of Poseidon in your last list was travesty. No one wants a repeat of that. (Hey! He’s already got me for that!) AND ME TOO!And that brings to the third thing; the amount of characters. How’s anybody supposed to follow or make sense of any of this? Especially newcomers. If there’s such a thing to this... “diary”. So I guess you’re another one of them, aren’t you? If you wish to demean me like that, then yes. I am a new character in whatever this is. Although it pains me to say. And what are you exactly? Are you like other one in the brackets? You know, the one that represents my inner degradation. No hahaha. Don’t embarrass me like that! (Oi!) So what, you’re just here to criticise in a passive aggressive way? Again, demeaning but yes. If we’re speaking in layman’s terms. (Oh god. This is some awful writing) Aye! Still not as bad as Game of Thrones Season 8, amirite fellas? (Oooh yeah) Foooorr suuurrreeDefinitely in agreement here Alright. So now that I know who you are and the role you play has been established - or hasn’t, I literally have no fucking clue at this point - can I get on with the actual matter at hand; reviewing R.E.M.? I certainly don’t see a reason to stop you. These are the reasons I exist after all. (Finally, jesus) Ok, grrreeaaatt. I think everyone reading this is already well aware of how wonderful - or at least, influential - depending on your opinion of the band or how much time you’ve actually spent with them - they are. So I just going to get it right out there. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you... I suppose.
Score: 9.2/10 Ah yes. This feels like the right place to start, thematically speaking. Thank you, again? I honestly have no clue what to say or how to approach you yet. (I’ve got an idea; how about fuck off?) Now, now. No need to be profane. Ok, ok, let’s please agree to not lose track again. I’ve not lost track once yet, so I don’t have to agree to anything. (Oh shut up you pretentious cunt. I’ll admit that I’m having trouble too, so I’ll agree.) It’s weird having you on my side but I’ll take what I can get at this point, thanks. (Yeah it is weird but you’re welcome I guess.) And since it’s an EP, you know I’m keeping this one short. Good idea. So for the band’s first ever release, they struck gold with Chronic Town. Clocking in with only 5 songs, it’s pretty much wall-to-wall bangers. “Gardening At Night” being the premiere example of this, opening with a riff that sounds like vintage New Order then launching into a beautiful rain of hard-hitting drums, jangles and earnest harmonies. Next comes the barrage of punches that “Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)” packs and “1,000,000” where Stipe doubtlessly proclaims that he could live as many years and I honestly believe it. But it’s the closer, “Stumble” that I feel best sets the foundation for the tsunami-like wave of what was to come on Murmur & Reckoning. The bass burrows & bobs buoyantly, the guitars swirl, duck, dive, bend & cut and Stipe just sounds wondrously Stipe. Far too much alliteration and commas, we need to come down on that Daniel. It’s not like its this benchmark above the rest on Chronic Town but like I said, the groundwork is there. As an EP though, it’s as mystical as the gargoyle pictured in blue on its cover. A near perfect introductory statement for a band with such promise on the horizon.
Score: 8.5 & 8.5/10 Really? Another “two-for-one”? How’s that faired for you in the past?Um... Well no-one’s ever really pointed it out or mentioned it. Ok then, proceed. (Ugh.) So after 1987’s Document, the band were going through a serious transitional period. Not only did that album represent a tectonic shift sonic wise that ripples onto their next two albums but now they had moved from their home at I.R.S. and now to the majors on Warner Bros. “The One I Love” & “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” were monumental moments for the band and now they had found mainstream footing. But... that doesn’t mean that they were fade from the limelight or cower under its pressure. No, R.E.M. rather achieved the seemingly impossible; obtaining chart-topping success while never betraying their roots nor alienating their original fans. And the band seemed so aware of that on these two records, that it’s almost smug. I mean the very first track on Green is titled “Pop Song 89” for Christ’s sake. A highlight from that record too. It’s an album that also boasts a band that knows their strengths and how they can guide you forward, a feat few artists have been able to see through. From the fiery and rallying “Get Up” to sweeping searchlight-like guitars of “Orange Crush” to the gorgeous sincerity of “Hairshirt”, the fact that they know this shows. On Out of Time they take this newfound confidence, expand upon what they had and take it to a new height. Let’s get the one I have the most to say about out of the way right off the bat; “Losing My Religion”. Are you sure it’s wise that the one you want to talk about is the song that’s most well known? Yeah sure. Why not? Well... it is your list. So to do what you like I guess. (Can you just leave him the fuck alone?) Anyway, “Losing My Religion” with its fascinatingly structured and effortless lyrics of torn obsessions was a big sign of things to come sonically. Almost perfectly predicting the baroque fixtures of 1992’s masterful Automatic For The People. I absolutely adore it and so damn repeatable that it’s pretty much a certainty that that’s the point since it’s gone down history as the most popular creation. “Shiny Happy People” does this to a similar degree as well. But their other metamorphosis to be found on Out of Time like the opener “Radio Song” which sees the most funk they’ve ever packed into a track, “Low” is Nick Cave-esque in nature and “Country Feedback” is their first true Americana moment, five years prior to New Adventures In Hi-Fi. To cap it off, both are as essential and as brilliant as each other, and the band wouldn’t be as legendary as they are today without them.
Score: 8.7 & 8.6/10 Yet another double up? Are you really sure you want to do this? Yeah, why not? This one doesn’t even make sense. Not even remotely. There’s an 11 year gap between the two and sonically they’re both so different. I mean Fables of Reconstruction has something southern to it but it’s miles apart from the Americana scapes of New Adventures.... Well I’m not going to say that you don’t make an excellent point because you do but both see the band in a state of reinvention. Even if the shift in style on Fables of Reconstruction is not as obvious. Um yeeaaaahh, sure let’s go with that... for the sake of this “discussion” at least. It’s still quite a big stretch, worse than your Grizzly Bear and Beach House crossover list. (I hate to say but he’s been quite right so far.) Having a change of heart? (Fuck no!) Face it Daniel, you aren’t going to stick the landing on this one. So maybe it’s not worth writing. I think it’s a bit late for that, so let’s roll with it. Ok but let the record show that I wasn’t board with it. (Hey, get used to it. They’re all dumpster fires.) Yeah I think the message has been read loud & clear. And again, jumping ship on me? (Fuck off! No I wasn’t. I have no side anyway.) If that’s what you want to call it. Ok. Priorities! Which one are you going to start off with here? Well ...Reconstruction came first, so I guess that makes sense chronologically speaking. Sure. It’s what I’d suggest anyway.Ah cooool? I still have no idea how to approach you. Eh. It’s a work in progress. I mean you invented me because you knew this whole meta thing got stale long ago. I’m basically like just putting make-up on a corpse and you know you’re gonna keep putting me in these stupid fucking things regardless. So you’ll figure some way to service this pointless dialogue.Fables of Reconstruction is the band’s 3rd record following the monumental Murmur & Reckoning which took the nation by storm through its college radios. The album also sees the band take their furthest dive into post-punk that they ever took. It’s a magical record that subverts more than a few expectations of what the band could truly pull off. I mean just listening to it, it’s the not entirely the next logical step for the band to make. “Feeling Gravity’s Pull” kicks off the record and immediately there’s a sense of blissful unease, like walking through an abandoned wooden house in the dark. But it’s about the only song that album instil a sense of motion like the railroads of “Driver 8” or the passing through small towns of “Good Advices”. Sure, it’s a murkier collection with a cover that would do well with Robert Pollard’s usual decor but that doesn’t mean it deserves to be as overlooked as it usually is. And finally, that brings me to New Adventures In Hi-Fi. I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t have much to say about this record other than the fact that it’s an excellent remodelling of the band post everything Monster and that the turn to the solemn really feels right. It comes with no small smile to see them back on the road, though unlike Fables.... “Electrolite” - among others - is a stunning pieces and the kind of end that saves the best until last. Kind of like driving a long home to greet an old friend. Alright, I think I’m finished. Tell me, how did I go? Not great.Eh. I’ll take it.
That last one was a slog, wasn’t it? (Which one of us are you asking?) None of you. I was addressing the reader, personally. (Oh... weird.) Anyway, I want to be completely straight with you all, this list has been a little bit of torture to write for me. I love R.E.M. so much and I’ve got so many albums that I want to include in here, that it’s taken me almost as long as I’ve been writing these to finish this one off. So yeah, about two years. And I’m still not satisfied with it. Plus add to the fact that I wanted to include a new character to this list and it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’ve got a Spider-Man 3 or Amazing Spider-Man 2 on my hands. (Wow. Sony didn’t know how to quit with those, hey?) No. No, they didn’t. But nonetheless, I just wanted to make that clear. This list has been a long time in the making and I think this is the best it’s going to get. As for Document, I don’t believe R.E.M. had the same problem I’m having now. By 1987 they had proven how prolific they could be, outdoing the competition and already underground legends. 1986’s Life’s Rich Pageant had shown off their political side but it’s year later where I feel like get to express their eclecticism. They dabbled with different styles before, like the various interpretations of post-punk and even with some country peppered in on Fables of Reconstruction, but here it was at the forefront more than ever. This was the loudest they’d ever get too, ending their I.R.S. golden era with a bang. “Finest Worksong” flaunts this right the fuck off from track #1, like a big middle finger to The Smiths. Even though that’s not what the track is intended to be. And with the aid of first-time but eventual long-running producer, Scott Litt the band tassels with jazz fusion on “Fireplace” and even sitars and sleigh bells on “King of Birds”. But that’s, of course, not why people come to this record. Trust me, I know that. This is where I - and most would agree with me, I’m sure - truly believe they became the godfathers of Alternative Rock. Because this album, in all its magnificence, is the one that houses “It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and subsequently “The One I Love”. The two tracks that would change the lives of Buck, Berry, Mills & Stipe forever. The two tracks that made them household names and not just around the dorm rooms. Personally, and I’m just saying this to air grievances, Stipe’s voice still annoys the fuck out of me on latter in some ways. As a kid I used to loathe it and the band’s existence solely because of it. So when I was a teenager and elected to go back to discover and make heads or tails these kinds of things for myself, it was a surprise on par with my love for the Beach Boys to find that I humanly could adore their records. It’s still the hit of theirs I’m least likely to put on. But I’m profoundly glad that the band realised that it was “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” was the song that got the biggest reaction because they might never have been able to evolve in all the ways they did. To change the future of music in all the ways they did. Pretty amazing for something recorded in only 3 days, huh?
Often touted as their “political album”, by the time of its release R.E.M. had proved themselves as not only prolific but consistent too. Going from strength to strength to strength. So that bit of swagger they have in their step on this record is well earned. And speaking of steps, Life’s Rich Pageant seems them to turn away from the darker habitats of 1985’s Fables of Reconstruction for the punkier and more grabbing soundscapes that made them in the first place. Uh. Getting a but clunky there, Daniel. Shut up. It’s not so much as a homecoming moment as it is a reaffirmation of why people loved them, at least then. That’s not to knock Fables of Reconstruction though, it’s a fantastic album but it’s pretty obvious why their I.R.S. days are so beloved. And that’s for songs like “Fall On Me” & “Superman” and records like these. This really does sound like the band presenting the full package of what they were, and it’s especially fitting since the next few albums saw them redefine themselves time and time again. Stipe sounds as earnest and uninhibited as ever and the band are functioning so cohesively with all cylinders on high. I want to come back to “Fall On Me” because the relationship of the acoustic and electric guitars is so crystalline that it almost makes Stipe’s lyrics of capitalism seem like a paradise. Mills vocals have never sounded better too and the rhythm section blends so effortlessly with the synth in the foreground. Even clunkier! Again, SHUT UP. Up until about year later, this would’ve been the band’s most pop-orientated album too, so it’s so amazing to see them remain this spirited, enigmatic and often satirical. I mean the cover, which features a distorted and obstructed photo of the drummer, Bill Berry, is a jab at industry disposition like an artist being featured front and centre on an album’s cover. They very much still felt like a band of the people, a band committed to giving back the faith they’d been given by the underground beginnings, a band still electing to making most creative and career-based decisions democratically. Which, thinking back on it with even the slightest reflection, must have been a fucking nightmare. I don’t know about you guys (if there’s anyone reading this) - yes, if there’s anyone reading this - but I’ve found when you put people together in a room to collaborate on something there’s a lot of tension, compromise and eventual dissatisfaction. Kind of like reading one of these fucking things. Ha-ha, how original. But back to the point I was trying to make. Way too clunky! And now you’re circling! For the love of god, shut the fuck up! I guess it speaks to the high standards of the band at the time that they were able to keep their head above water and churn out such masterpieces. And also why a political album for them just works this fucking well.
Score: 10/10 Oh? What is it this time? Well it’s just that you’ve put Automatic... so low... And? And it’s just that this site rates it so high... So? Don’t tell me you’re the one who’s going to pull this shit on me now. It was bound to be one of these fucking characters things you’ve half-assed-ly concocted up, I mean you’re the one writing this.Look. I love the utter shit out of Automatic For The People but it’s one of those “if it were any other catalog” scenarios. For a good year or two I thought it couldn’t be any better, but unfortunately did. And if the numerical order of this list - and honestly the whole point of why I do these things - is anything to go off, it happened twice. Do you think people will be unsatisfied with what you’ve chosen as your favourite? Most likely, at least at this point. But it’s just not their magnum opus to me. For the 90’s output, without a doubt but not overall. Ok you’ve made your point, now bring your emphasis back to the music itself True. In 1992, the days of old Jangle Pop/Post-Punk guard had gone and it was time to reinvent. Luckily this was a band that was well aware of how to do that and what came was their biggest and best one yet. Like the legend of the Phoenix, a new and hardened rose from the ashes, with a completely reimagined Michael Stipe to boot. Look, from what I understand about 90s pop culture, bald was exactly seen as chic. Add that to the fact that baroque pop was just about as relevant, throw in a cowboy hat, smash it all together and you get one hell of an iconic music video with “Man On The Moon”. All of it was a revolutionary move at the time, and I guess that it speaks to the genius of it that it still seems that way. “Nightswimming” comes along so gently, with such touching reflections on age, rather like Brian Wilson in a futile fight to reclaim to child-like innocence. But Stipe’s already knows the score, and the shift toward the baroque makes more sense than anything. “Drive” & “Try Not To Breathe” open the record and take the profuse melodies of Time Out of Mind then weave them into something even more arresting but harder to swallow. Things come to a close with “Find The River” which injects an almost a country style of energy thanks primarily to its church organs and acts as an idealistic capturing of the records melancholic themes of mortality and loss. For the most part, this album still takes place on the road or at least references but this feels like about the only track that’s moving on. And then of course you have “Everybody Hurts”, a Track so synonymous with the band’s name that I doubt need to say anymore. It’s a record that could easily be their saddest in their wider body of work but not hard to see why the users of this site have rated it above the rest.
Score: 10/10 FUCKING HELL! FIRST YOU INTRODUCE A NEW VOICE AND ITS LIKE YOU’VE JUST UP AND FORGOTTEN ABOUT ME! THEN SECOND YOU DO NOT ONE! BUT TWO! TWO SETS OF ALBUMS JAMMED INTO ONE REVIEW BECAUSE YOU CANT BE FUCKED TO CALL IT A FAVOURITE 10!!! BECAUSE GOD FUCKING FORBID IF IT CEASED TO BE 5 AND YOU COULD NO LONGER DOUBLE UP YOUR FS! THIRD YOU FUCKING SANDWHICH AUTOMATIC IN THIRD PLACE! WHAT THE FUCK?! I AT LEAST THOUGHT THAT IF YOU DID THAT THEN MURMUR WOULD BE FIRST LIKE ALL THESE CONTRARIAN CUNTS OUT HERE BUT NO! INSTEAD I HAVE TO DEBASE MYSELF AND GET BACK ON MY OLD BULLSHIT! I BET YOURE FUCKING HAPPY! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANTED! Well it is good to have you back. SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU SLIMY FUCKING PIECE OF GOAT SHIT! JUST GO AHEAD AND PUT RECKONING IN FIRST YOU WALKING AFTERBIRTH! THIS LIST IS A DISAPPOINTMENT TO EVERYONE, JUST LIKE YOU! DONT THINK YOURE BEING UNIQUE AT ALL! Cool. So yeah, Murmur is R.E.M.’s debut and it’s one hell of a one at that. In a lot of circles it’s considered to be their best and in others, it’s usually Automatic For People. And if you aren’t all clued in, I clearly fall into neither one of those camps. Keep your pitchforks down until I unveil my top pick. This wasn’t exactly the cultural touchstone you’d think that would be, even if it predated by The Smiths by almost a year. And The Go-Betweens had only just finished polishing off their own debut, Send Me a Lullaby. No, by the end of that year it had only shifted about 200,000 copies, which their label felt was under expectations. But, yes, eventually it & Reckoning would become the stuff of underground legends. (How many time have you said that now?) Don’t know, I do feel like I’ve said it at least once this list though. Don’t you think that’s something you should work out before you put in writing?. Maybe?Are you asking me or telling me? Does it matter? YES! Ah whatever. All that matters is the album at hand. Here we have a band standing so defiantly and self-assured in their own skin, especially considering the comparison to who they were on Chronic Town and this is their very first go around. Stipe no mumbles like on that aforementioned EP and no band sounded quite as unique at the time. Sure, I’ve used the phrase “Jangle Pop” to describe the sounds coming out here but the albums they released on I.R.S. do more than just that. Because no-one was thinking of taking the legacy of The Byrds and throwing it with the jittery & festering sludge of British post-punk attractions like Gang of Four and Public Image Limited. Seemingly unviable and frankly off-the-wall on paper but without it we wouldn’t have had Alternative Rock or a multitude of great musical works post 1983 as we know it. This the record of a young, ambitious band with sound pounding furiously in their head and knowing exactly how to beat it out. It’s exciting, it’s explosive, it’s even sombre and it’s the exact kind of passion that has me coming back to this art form every time. And after all, where else am I going to find it?
Yep, I think that’s it fellas. That’s all I have left to say, we can now pack up and go home. Wey-Hey-Hey! Hold on there pal. Why Reckoning? Why have you put it above the rest? Oh? I thought asking such questions was “cliched even by my standards”. Great. Use my words against me, even if you’re paraphrasing. You must feel so intellectually superior. I mean I don’t want to toot my own horn but... Eh. I think you should justify yourself at least, it’s the whole point of these after all. Oh so you’ve stopped sulking in the corner, have you? And since when did you care so much about what I had to say? I’m pretty sure I invented you to crack the shits over the scores and the placements. Gotta have a hobby. Otherwise I’d probably go insane. True that. Can’t really fault you there. (Well the floor’s yours. We’re waiting.) They’ve got you now too? (You betcha! And stop stalling!) Ok, ok. So the reason why Reckoning is my favourite R.E.M. record over Automatic For The People and over Murmur is how immediate it is. Especially in comparison. It’s like they’ve taken all the best bits and knowledge they picked from Murmur and just made it that much more captivating, if there even is such a thing. This, most likely, doesn’t relate to your experience with it but I honestly don’t know how else to explain it. The album starts off with “Harborcoat” and it just clicks. There’s no downplaying or flowery way of quantifying it, the track strikes hard and it strikes fast. Mills’ playing is at its best in my opinion, Buck’s is incredibly buoyant and Stipe’s vocals, even when backed, are just on point. It’s energy I feel like you find vapours of in The Smiths’ “Still Ill” but it’s not and it’s never going to be “Harborcoat”. That’s always going to be a thing for me. Then comes the almighty pair of “7 Chinese Bros” & “So. Central Rain”, the latter of which rightfully remains in the pantheon of alternative rock’s greatest tracks. It opens with a forlorn tale in line with the flavour of its time and eventually devolves, belts, buckles and winds into something I can only describe as beautifully sinister as Stipe cries “I’m Sorry” into an almost void-like space. What I love about it is that it puts among the ranks of his contemporaries of loveless saps like Morrissey & Robert Smith yet sets him totally apart within a single bar. It’s a beautiful thing really. All of it is in fact. Every song has a story to it, a grandeur to it. Exquisitely crafted products of their time and of the movement while being so aggressively unique and pregnable. And Reckoning works so perfectly as a compliment or a sister album to Murmur but has two of its own sturdy feet to stand on. I love to bits and that little bit extra to Murmur, even if it’s like I said and your relationship differs. Plus I know I usually strive to end with some grandiose statement or sentiment but I don’t feel like that’s applicable here. Instead I just want to offer up the knowledge that this album makes me happy, even if I don’t journey back to it as much as I should. And at the day, that’s all that really matters to me and that’s all that should really matter to you.
Favourite Track: Harborcoat
_________________ Here's what's I’ve had on heavy rotation this year:
If I wouldn't currently be in a Silkworm/Arcwelder frenzy, two fantastic nineties bands I only discovered now, I would do a complete review of all the R.E.M. albums as well because this was also n my list. But at this moment these are my favorites albums of theirs (and yes, I also love their most recent albums you seem to have forgotten :
16. Collapse Into Now (2011)
15. Dead Letter Office (1987)
14. New Adventures In Hi-Fi (1996)
13. Up (1998): Favorite: At My Most Beautiful
12. Lifes Rich Pageant (1986): favorite Fall On Me
11. Around The Sun (2004): yes higher than New Adventures and Lifes Rich Pageant especially because of Leaving New York
10. Monster (1994)
9. Accelerate (2008)
8. Reveal (2001)
7. Document (1987): It's The End Of The World is the top here
6. Automatic For The People (1992): Most of the tracks are minor key here but my favorite is the very optimistic sounding Man On The Moon
5. Out Of Time (1991): The jolly Shiny Happy People and Losing My Religion and the sadder Half A World Away are the top songs here
4. Reckoning (1984): yes only the 4th although with many classic tracks like Pretty Persuason and especially Don't Go Back To Rockville
3. Murmur (1983): this one is even more filled with classics: Radio Free Europe, Pilgrimage, Moral Kiosk and Perfect Circle
2. Green (1988): Get Up is my favorite here
1. Fables On The Reconstruction (1985): I think this is my favorite because of the fantastics harmonics on classics like Driver 8, Maps and Legends and Can't Get There From Here
Although we don't completely agree on the order I think we are both fans and as always this was a typical Komo review and I mean this in a very positive way.
If I wouldn't currently be in a Silkworm/Arcwelder frenzy, two fantastic nineties bands I only discovered now, .
Nice! Love those bands.
I really, really love REM's first three albums and Dead Letter Office. My favorite two would probably be Reckoning & Murmur but I love Fables too. Dead Letter Office/Chronic Town EP is essential stuff in my book. I had a cassette of both of those in the 80s and it barely left my car.
Although we don't completely agree on the order I think we are both fans and as always this was a typical Komo review and I mean this in a very positive way.
Glad to know my shit comes with a type now haha.
No haha. I get that no-one spouts our such psychotic stuff like I do. And honestly I did want to include more albums because I did feel like I was shortchanging their newer material and especially 1994’s Monster & 1998’s Up but looking at it now, it’s more jampacked than it ever needed to be. To the point where I almost regret it. But nonetheless, I always love seeing your thoughts, Di. It’s an honour too.
Same with you, Till. _________________ Here's what's I’ve had on heavy rotation this year:
Been a bit afk, haven’t I? Just been on a little weekend holiday to Sydney. First one in a longtime and not that it means much, but it was really good. Things in general are really good. You know I used to think it was bullshit but perception is key guys and comparison is the fuel of failure. I really hope y’all are going as well as I am or even better, feel free to tell me about it. And even though I don’t have as many insignificant obsessions as I did, it didn’t focus on finishing the Bill Callahan/David Berman fusion list for their new releases this week. I’m sorry for that. I do have more in the works though, but for now I really think y’all should hear this. The whole Natural Sciences label in fact is a goldmine for it. I desperately want this sound to take off. It’s perfect for chilling out and driving. It’s been a weird few years guys but I’m incredibly grateful you guys stuck it out with me. _________________ Here's what's I’ve had on heavy rotation this year:
On the back of my current DJ Sacred infatuation, I’ve been getting stuck into the work of Lil Ugly Mane - specifically the first two volumes of the Three Sided Tape series - and I’m loving it. Travis Miller is his own brand of disgusting genius. The third and final side is cracked up to be the best and I keenly await the opportunity to dig into it on Saturday. But first comes the new releases and it’s Springsteen’s Western Stars, Baroness’ Gold & Grey and Bill Callahan’s Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest I’m most excited for. All long-awaited returns and all I’m sure will be worthy of posting about. I figure I owe you guys anyway when it comes to Callahan since I was supposed to produce a list. So I guess I might see you then. _________________ Here's what's I’ve had on heavy rotation this year:
Look, I know it’s not Callahan or Baroness reviews like I promised - even though I’ll say that people need to let up on the mixing of the latter’s new album, its fuzzy and fucking fantastic - but I just want to let my newfound adoration for the sounds of Katie Dey known. She is phenomenal and I think she’s the exact something I’ve been looking for on the days when simply listening to Animal Collective is not enough. Sure, she might be a jarring or too weird for some with her penchant for the hypnotic and glitchy but man does she have the signature sound thing down pat. I only heard her 2016 breath-stealer, Flood Network and it just might be better than this year’s Solipsisters, which is brilliant and one of the year’s most fascinating records on its own. And that’s not even mentioning the best part; SHE’S AUSTRALIAN!
Seriously, if this sounds like it would be for you, then please dive straight in. _________________ Here's what's I’ve had on heavy rotation this year:
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum