Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
It Happened Today
R.E.M. return (to form, to past, with new record, whatever)
Anton CorbijnR.E.M.’s new album Collapse Into Now is finally out today, and the talking points around it say that it’s their best record since Bill Berry left the band, their best in a decade and a half, their best in five efforts (not counting live records), whatever. All of which, incidentally, was said about their last record Accelerate, and all of which was true in that case and is true in this case.
But while Accelerate probably tried a bit too hard to reestablish the band’s rock credentials, Collapse feels much more natural and relaxed and has a real vintage R.E.M. air about it. Sporting a good balance of rockers, ballads and more experimental compositions, it feels like they’re pushing out creatively because they’re curious and want to, and not because they feel like they should, and it just so happens that the results sound pretty familiar. While song for song, there probably aren’t any future classics in here, it’s as lively, melodic and interesting a record as they’ve made in ages and confirms that not only are they still creatively vital, but they’re legitimately into a new fertile period. And that, I will happily take.
Matthew Fluxblog ranked R.E.M.’s entire catalog from best to worst for Nerve. The Guardian and Dazed have interviews with Michael Stipe, while The Wall Street Journal talks to Mike Mills and Beatweek to Peter Buck. The New York Times also talks to Stipe about the Collapse Into Now Film Project, wherein a different director will create a video for each of the twelve tracks from the album. Three of them are already out:
Magnet has a Q&A with Buffalo Tom, which can only mean that the Bostonians are taking over the editorial chair for the next week. The Boston Herald and Writers On Process also have interviews with the band, whose new record Skins is out today.
The first MP3 from Alela Diane’s new record Alela Diane & Wild Divine is now available to download. The record comes out April 5.
And if you missed the morning updates to yesterday’s Brit-centric post, there were a couple of major show announcements to start the day. First, Arctic Monkeys will be at the Kool Haus on May 21 and secondly, Beady Eye will make their Canadian debut at the Sound Academy on June 20. Exclaim and Billboard also just posted interviews with the latter’s Liam Gallagher and The AV Club one with Gallagher and Gem Archer.
Tags: Alela Diane, Arctic Monkeys, Asobi Seksu, Beady Eye, Bright Eyes, Buffalo Tom, Built To Spill, DeVotchKa, Dismemberment Plan, Flaming Lips, Foster The People, Grouplove, Head & The Heart, Iron & Wine, John Vanderslice, Joy Formidable, Ladytron, Mountain Goats, Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, R.E.M., Strokes, Yuck