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Friday, August 6th, 2004

Fables Of The Reconstruction

R.E.M are touring this Fall in support of their new record Around The Sun and will two nights at the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto on November 10 and 11. I’m curious who the openers will be – they’ve had a habit of bringing very good openers with them on tour, so good that it makes going to the show worthwhile. Not that R.E.M. on their own aren’t worthwhile, it’s just that their ticket prices will no doubt be fairly steep. More than the last time I saw them, anyway – their free show on Yonge St. in Toronto back in May 2001. 10,000 people in a canyon of glass, stone and steel, it was fantastic.

REM and I go back a long ways. I first started getting interested in music back in 1991, and when everyone else was singing the praises of Nevermind, I was wearing out copies of Out Of Time and Document (literally – I borrowed the Out Of Time CD from a friend at school for months on end, making more than a few cassette copies on better and better quality tapes. In hindsight, I shoulda just bought the damn thing). It should be telling that while most others were unleashing their suburban angst to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, I was ruminating to “Country Feedback” and “Texarkana”. Yeah, even then I was a freak. They probably weren’t very cool thirteen years ago and almost certainly less so now, but REM were the first outfit that could unequivically lay claim to being my favourite band. I read every news article, bought every magazine, caught every television appearance. I stole a copy of Musician from the public library with Peter Buck and Neil Young on the cover and read it over and over again (two very very large guitar influences for me, it should be noted. And I still play “Driver 8” when I’m just messing around). It was my first experience with pure, unabashed fandom and while my tastes and scope of music listened-to have expanded exponentially since then, the band remains a watershed for the evolution of my musical tastes.

Through the 90s, my interest in them held for a while, but inevitably began to wane as my musical spectrum grew. Automatic For The People cemented my devotion to the band (and pegged me as a sucker for slow, sad songs) while Monster was and still is a disappointment (guys, you’re not a rawk band). My faith was renewed with New Adventures In Hi-Fi but that would but prove to be the last hurrah. Maybe it was to do with Bill Berry leaving the band but I just lost interest after that. Up and Reveal had a couple decent songs a piece but couldn’t compete for rotation time with the stuff I’d discovered more recently. The first time I got to see them live was in August of 1999 at the Molson Amphitheatre. It was a big fancy stage show in support of Up and while I’m sure I enjoyed the concert, I couldn’t really connect with the arena rock show laid before me. But the openers that night? Wilco. Call it a passing of the torch, perhaps. I’ll no doubt be picking up Around The Sun eventually, completist that I am (though I still don’t have Dead Letter Office on CD. Even if I don’t listen to them much anymore at all, they’ll always be an incredibly important band to me. And yeah, I’ve only talked about their Warner Bros output. Of course critically speaking the IRS stuff was much better, but I wasn’t there for that, I was there for this. But now I do want to go listen to Murmur again.

Oh, and have you noticed yet that when I get on extended tangents about things not topical at all, like bands I listened to religiously in 11th grade, it means that I can’t find any other content for the day? Think of it as one of those ‘clips’ episodes TV shows do to fill up episodes. Except it’s nostalgic to me and me only.

Everyone’s favourite musical soap opera The Libertines are going to try their damndest to be at the Opera House on October 15. I don’t really follow the band so I don’t know if that Pete fellow is technically in the band or not, but I wouldn’t put money on him being there, either way. It sounds like the boy has some issues.

ESPN has the answer to why the Blue Jays’ season has been such utter crap this year – their at-bat music sucks. Creed? Someone trade Chris Woodward now. From LHB.

Spent about four hours last night recording a 25-second passage for our slowly yet steadily forthcoming record. I’m not the most efficient player when the tape is rolling to begin with, but this time the excuse was that we tried three or four wholly distinct ideas before settling on something. And technically, it was 50-seconds of music – we double tracked. Either way, I’m just thankful we’re doing this digitally. It would have cost about $500,000 (give or take) in blown takes if we had done this to tape.

np – Bob Dylan / Bringing It All Back Home

By : Frank Yang at 8:55 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. RSL says:

    "driver 8" has one of the most awesome guitar riffs. as well as is [that sounds odd but i think it’s correct] "come as you are". just to continue your compare/contrast with nirvana. around 91 it was pixies and lush for me. oh lush…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Four hours? Does it "rawk"? I was over at Inaam’s house the first night of Brad transferring files to his ProTools system. Of course Brad picks a song that noone is on but him as the starter track to work with so I haven’t got as clear a picture of what the album will sound like, but it was nice to see someone "carving" out a sound. Can’t wait to hear something with someone else playing on it too.

    And as for your mid-nineties posts. I think it’s just proof you’re getting old.

    Take a look at your CD collection and remove all the artists who released their very first album after 1995 (doesn’t count if they were in another band before, and it doesn’t count if you down own the first album).

    Create pie chart of bands by "era"

    Carefully analyse data noting all music made after you were born, after you hit high school.

    Create list of CDs by chronilogical purchase dates (to the best of your ability).

    Note last time you bought an album that hit the charts, note what charts (British, US, College).

    Generate report.

    Even if you don’t make the report, I’ll bet you thought about it, and thought it *might* be interesting to see the results. That means you’re old.

  3. Frank says:

    it’s niec to know that anytime I’m starting to feel a little too geeky, I can just look at Five Seventeen and think, "there but for the grace of God go I".

  4. sam says:

    "country feedback" is one of my all-time definite gems.

  5. solace says:

    looks like our love/relationship w/ REM is pretty similiar.

    first interest in them was w/ Green in 1988, and followed them pretty closely up til Out of Time, where they kinda lost me a bit, but Automatic totally brought me back. i dug Monster for what it was, a big huge rock record, and totally ADORED Hifi (it’s actually probably in my top 3 REM records i think). but i too, was totally lost after Berry left. Up i tolerated some, a few really great tunes, but overall, nothing special. Reveal however, i didn’t like a single song on, and felt it was easily their weakest album. that said, i liked Bad Day (i realize it was a late 80’s era tune tho), and Animal, from that greatest hits deal, and have heard great things about this new album.

    i’ll at least give them a fair chance again, but no guarantees. as for their live show, i agree as well, great, but not worth the $ they charge. i may go see em on that Vote for Change tour w/ Bruce & Fogerty (fuck Bright Eyes, can’t stand Coner), if it’s like $50, but i doubt it.

  6. rob says:

    my sister had a copy of "pagent" that i would listen to on our family road trips and that alone sold me on REM. I’m with solace, HiFi is a great record too. Somewhat underrated, except among fans. I’ll be interested to see what the new album is like.

  7. toddc says:

    Here’s my "cute" REM story that also tells you how old I am. I saw REM tour with the Chronic Town ep, opening for the English Beat. Stipe passed out drunk after two songs. The next time I saw them (with Murmur)they were tremendous and I was hooked until Shiny Happy Crap made me hate them forever.

  8. james says:

    that must also explain why pat burrell can’t do anything. i’ve been to maybe a dozen phillies games and i’ve heard the same horrid song every time he goes to bat. (and it’s not that dio song that espn has listed, so that’s wrong.)

  9. Frank says:

    I hadn’t been a fan nearly long enough to feel betrayed by "Shiny Happy People", nor had my critical faculties developed enough by that point. I simply absorbed and accepted.

    Come to think of it, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually felt ‘betrayed’ by an artist. Maybe Liz Phair if I cared about her stuff enough, but I don’t.

    Life’s Rich Pageant is a personal favourite. And Reckoning.

  10. Frank says:

    And if I were a major league ballplayer, I would insist on having "Mogwai Fear Satan" before every at-bat. The whole. Damn. Thing.

  11. Eva says:

    Before I got my very first CD player, I was at a point where I didn’t have enough money to buy the actual CD player, but I did have enough to buy a CD. CD’s were really expensive (and still are in Holland, especially if you don’t have a job or money) and I was very picky about what I wanted to get, because it was such an investment.

    After much deliberation, I bought Automatic for the People. I had it for 5 months before I finally saved up enough to buy a CD player so I could LISTEN to it, but it’s still one of my favorite CDs. I’ve been in a "desert island" situation where I could really only bring 5 CDs on a 4 month trip (except, I was in Quebec, not on a desert island, but I didn’t have enough room to pack more CDs) and it was one of the ones I brought along. It might still be in the desrt island five now, but I’m not sure. It would be in the top ten though.