Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Paisley Underground Series, #6: R.E.M.- Murmur (1983) Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition (Bonus Disc) MP3 & FLAC

"Not everyone can carry the weight of the world."

Yes, I realize R.E.M. was not part of the Paisley Underground scene,  but it's impossible to ignore the major role they played in reviving the kind of Garage/Jangle/Power pop mix that became the staple of many American underground music scenes throughout the eighties and into the nineties, L.A. being no exception. With a sound comprised of Peter Buck's McGuinn-inspired jangle, Mike Mills' wonderfully melodic bass-work, Bill Berry's utilitarian drumming, and Michael Stipe's strange gravelly (and often indiscernible) backwoods preacher's vocal delivery, they transformed their myriad influences into a sound that would come to define alternative music throughout much of the eighties and beyond. On Murmur, their now-iconic debut, this sound is less polished and the production more murky than it would be on later recordings, which results in the album feeling quite untethered to its early-eighties context. While much has deservedly been written about brilliant tracks such as "Radio Free Europe" and "Talk About the Passion," the strength of Murmur lies in its lesser-known tracks, which are consistently first-rate because they rarely if ever conform to expectation. For example, "Laughing" starts out with Mills and Berry invoking some Dub-style rhythmic effects until Stipe's vocals come in backed by an acoustic guitar. While this song can certainly be labeled Jangle-Pop, it also boasts a dark minimalist feel that indicates a Post-Punk pedigree. This is even more the case on "9-9," which suggests Gang of Four as the main influence rather than The Byrds; this more abrasive, angular approach is an often overlooked component of R.E.M. 's early albums. Truly, Murmur's influence is incalculable, and taken on its own terms, the album itself continues to be revelatory nearly thirty years down the line.

Murmur (Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition)

Disc I: Murmur (2008 Remaster)
 1. Radio Free Europe  (4:03)
 2. Pilgrimage  (4:25)
 3. Laughing  (3:52)
 4. Talk About the Passion  (3:22)
 5. Moral Kiosk  (3:32)
 6. Perfect Circle  (3:23)
 7. Catapult  (3:54)
 8. Sitting Still  (3:07)
 9. 9-9  (3:02)
10. Shaking Through  (4:00)
11. We Walk  (3:04)
12. West of the Fields  (3:15)

Disc II: Live at Larry's Hideaway, Toronto, 1983
 1. Laughing  (3:52)
 2. Pilgrimage  (4:08)
 3. There She Goes Again  (2:44)
 4. 7 Chinese Bros.  (4:15)
 5. Talk About the Passion  (3:02)
 6. Sitting Still  (4:10)
 7. Harborcoat  (3:44)
 8. Catapult  (3:53)
 9. Gardening at Night  (3:33)
10. 9-9  (3:16)
11. Just a Touch  (2:27)
12. West of the Fields  (3:06)
13. Radio Free Europe  (4:57)
14. We Walk  (2:56)
15. 1,000,000  (3:05)
16. Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)  (3:58)


  1. Fantastic post! I can remember playing the Murmur LP over and over (and over) relishing in the beauty of its melodic sound and trying (so hard) to decipher the lyrics. Truly a classic and will absolutely stand the test of time. Thanks for the expanded edition. Kurt

  2. I hope you will be posting deluxe-versions of other early REM CDs.

  3. Nice! Thanks for the this one. Been looking for a quality dl of it for quite a while. Crossing my fingers that the deluxe edition of Reckoning is next.

  4. Kurt, to my ears, this is one of the most timeless records to come out of the eighties. An absolute classic from start to finish

  5. yvesdi & jAMESFROMOHIO, I do plan to post the deluxe "Reckoning" in this series at some point. Thanks for reading the blog and please hit the 'follow' button if you haven't already done so :)

  6. This is where it all started for them & for most of the 80's American indie.

    Therefor I totally agree it is right to place this post in the Paisley Underground Series.

    I never heard the live disc so I hope it is fresh & energized as a band at the start of their carer should sound like.

  7. Lon, thanks, that was my thinking for including this, although I will be including a lot of music from other underground scenes concurrent to the Paisley scene. The live disc is great- very well recorded and a nice performance

  8. I have to echo DK's comment. It will be a pleasure to hear it again after so many years. My played-to-death vinyl copy is gathering dust - no turntable - so this will sit nicely in the iPod. Thank you!

  9. Dr Hank, this 25th anniversary remaster is pretty nice as well. Enjoy!

  10. Thanks for this series! I'm looking forward to the Reckoning post. I have this and the Fables remaster and love the quality.

  11. Monkey RobbL, I read today that a deluxe "Life's Rich Pageant" will be out July 12


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.