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Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

It Happened Today

R.E.M. return (to form, to past, with new record, whatever)

Photo By Anton CorbijnAnton 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:

Video: R.E.M. – “Mine Smell Like Honey”
Video: R.E.M. – “Überin”
Video: R.E.M. – “It Happened Today”

Pitchfork has the latest edition of “What Kind Of Whacked Out Shit Are The Flaming Lips Up To Now” – and in this month’s edition, edible life-sized gummy heads with three new songs embedded inside.

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.

Crawdaddy offers a beginner’s guide to The Mountain Goats. Their new record All Eternals Deck is out March 29, they play The Opera House on April 3.

Dismemberment Plan frontman Travis Morrison discusses reissues and reunions with Glide while guitarist Eric Axelson chats with This Is Fake DIY.

Spinner interviews Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. They play The Sound Academy this coming Sunday, March 13.

The Quietus talks to Doug Martsch of Built To Spill.

Spinner talks to John Vanderslice, who will be at the Drake Underground on May 10.

The National Post, Georgia Straight and American Songwriter have feature pieces on DeVotchKa, who play The Mod Club on March 30.

Pitchfork interviews The Strokes. Their new record Angles is out March 22.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Iron & Wine.

Spinner has an interview with Asobi Seksu’s James Hanna.

The first MP3 from Alela Diane’s new record Alela Diane & Wild Divine is now available to download. The record comes out April 5.

MP3: Alela Diane – “To Begin”

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s Kip Berman talks to Spinner about their new record Belong, due out March 29.

The Head & The Heart have released a video from their self-titled debut, coming out in physical form on April 16.

Video: The Head & The Heart – “Lost In My Mind”

Los Angeles’ Foster The People have made a date at Lee’s Palace on April 3, accompanied by Grouplove. Spinner interviews the band, whose album Torches will be released May 24.

MP3: Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
Video: Grouplove – “Colors”

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.

MP3: Beady Eye – “The Roller”
Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Brick By Brick”

NPR is streaming the whole of The Joy Formidable’s debut The Big Roar in advance of next week’s release. They play The Horseshoe on April 2.

Stream: The Joy Formidable / The Big Roar

Spinner has an interview with Yuck. They are at The Phoenix on May 1.

Drowned In Sound talks to Reuben Wu of Ladytron. Their Best of Ladytron: 00-10 is out March 29.

By : Frank Yang at 8:32 am
Category: General

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