In 1969, the Zombies landed their biggest hit with the moody, light psychedelia of "Time of the Season," but it was too late for the group to enjoy it much, as they had been broken up for over a year when the track from Odessey and Oracle belatedly took off on American radio. However, no one in the record business will ever pass on an opportunity to follow up a hit, and since original members Rod Argent (keyboards) and Chris White (bass) had been writing songs together with a new group in mind, it took only so much persuading to get them to cut a few singles under the name the Zombies, most patterned after the languid but artful tone of Odessey and Oracle…
R.E.M. began to move toward mainstream record production on Lifes Rich Pageant, but they didn't have a commercial breakthrough until the following year's Document. Ironically, Document is a stranger, more varied album than its predecessor, but co-producer Scott Litt – who would go on to produce every R.E.M. album in the following decade – is a better conduit for the band than Don Gehman, giving the group a clean sound without sacrificing their enigmatic tendencies. "Finest Worksong," the stream-of-conscious rant "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," and the surprise Top Ten single "The One I Love" all crackle with muscular rhythms and guitar riffs, but the real surprise is how political the mid-tempo jangle pop of "Welcome to the Occupation," "Disturbance at the Heron House," and "King of Birds" is. Where Lifes Rich Pageant sounded a bit like a party record, Document is a fiery statement, and its memorable melodies and riffs are made all the more indelible by its righteous anger.
Fables of the Reconstruction was intentionally murky, and Lifes Rich Pageant was constructed as its polar opposite. Teaming with producer Don Gehman, who previously worked with John Mellencamp, R.E.M. developed their most forceful record to date. Where previous records kept the rhythm section in the background, Pageant emphasizes the beat, and the band turns in its hardest rockers to date, including the anthemic "Begin the Begin" and the punky "Just a Touch." But the cleaner production also benefits the ballads and the mid-tempo janglers, particularly since it helps reveal Michael Stipe's growing political obsessions, especially on the environmental anthems "Fall on Me" and "Cuyahoga." The group hasn't entirely left myths behind – witness the Civil War ballad "Swan Swan H" – but the band sound more contemporary both musically and lyrically than they did on either Fables or Murmur, which helps give the record an extra kick. And even with excellent songs like "I Believe," "Flowers of Guatemala," "These Days," and "What if We Give It Away," it's ironic that the most memorable moment comes from the garage rock obscurity "Superman," which is sung with glee by Mike Mills.
R.E.M. abandoned the enigmatic post-punk experiments of Murmur for their second album, Reckoning, returning to their garage pop origins instead. Opening with the ringing "Harborcoat," Reckoning runs through a set of ten jangle pop songs that are different not only in sound but in style from the debut. Where Murmur was enigmatic in its sound, Reckoning is clear, which doesn't necessarily mean that the songs themselves are straightforward. Michael Stipe continues to sing powerful melodies without enunciating, but the band has a propulsive kick that makes the music vital and alive. And, if anything, the songwriting is more direct and memorable than before – the interweaving melodies of "Pretty Persuasion" and the country rocker "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" are as affecting as the melancholic dirges of "Camera" and "Time After Time," while the ringing minor-key arpeggios of "So. Central Rain," the pulsating riffs of "7 Chinese Bros.," and the hard-rocking rhythms of "Little America" make the songs into classics. On the surface, Reckoning may not be as distinctive as Murmur, but the record's influence on underground American rock in the '80s was just as strong.
Leaving behind the garagey jangle pop of their first recordings, R.E.M. developed a strangely subdued variation of their trademark sound for their full-length debut album, Murmur. Heightening the enigmatic tendencies of Chronic Town by de-emphasizing the backbeat and accentuating the ambience of the ringing guitar, R.E.M. created a distinctive sound for the album – one that sounds eerily timeless. Even though it is firmly in the tradition of American folk-rock, post-punk, and garage rock, Murmur sounds as if it appeared out of nowhere, without any ties to the past, present, or future. Part of the distinctiveness lies in the atmospheric production, which exudes a detached sense of mystery, but it also comes from the remarkably accomplished songwriting. The songs on Murmur sound as if they've existed forever, yet they subvert folk and pop conventions by taking unpredictable twists and turns into melodic, evocative territory, whether it's the measured riffs of "Pilgrimage," the melancholic "Talk About the Passion," or the winding guitars and pianos of "Perfect Circle." R.E.M. may have made albums as good as Murmur in the years following its release, but they never again made anything that sounded quite like it.
This two-in-one set features a pair of LPs by REO Speedwagon, R.E.O. Speedwagon and R.E.O./T.W.O., originally issued in 1971 and 1972. These 16 tracks include such original compositions as "Anti-Establishment Man," "Five Men Were Killed Today," "Being Kind (Can Hurt Someone Sometimes)," and the Chuck Berry classic "Little Queenie."
ESOTERIC proudly introduces a new series of re-master collection - A great Jazz collection from impulse!
The reissue of historical music masterpieces by ESOTERIC has attracted a lot of attention, both for its uncompromising commitment to recreating the original master sound, and for using hybrid Super Audio CD (SACD) technology to improve sound quality. These new audio versions feature ESOTERIC's proprietary re-mastering process to achieve the highest level of sound quality. Limited edition (3,500 sets).
From their earliest days as a band, the members of R.E.M. always had a Keen sense of how they wanted to be perceived visually, even when it sometimes seemed as if they didn’t want to be seen at all…
The longtime lead vocalist for Krautrock pioneers Can, Kenji "Damo" Suzuki was born in Japan on January 16, 1950. An expatriate street poet inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road, he spent the better part of the late 1960s wandering through Europe, and while busking outside a cafe in Munich in May of 1970 was discovered by Can members Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit; asked to replace the group's former frontman Malcolm Mooney, Suzuki joined them onstage that very night, making his recorded debut later that same year on the LP Soundtracks. With Suzuki in the lineup, Can produced its most enduring and innovative work, including classic LPs like 1971's Tago Mago, 1972's Ege Bamayasi and 1973's Future Days; however, upon completing work on the latter, he left the band to become a Jehovah's Witness. Absent from music for a decade, in 1983 Suzuki began showing up unannounced to perform at shows by the band Dunkelziffer, eventually joining the group full-time and recording a pair of LPs; in 1998, he founded the Damo's Network label, issuing a series of live recordings including V.E.R.N.I.S.S.A.G.E., Seattle and the seven-CD box set P.R.O.M.I.S.E..
Norwegian duo Röyksopp compensated for the cold climes of their native Tromsø by making some of the warmest, most inviting downbeat electronica of the 21st century, exemplified by early tracks like "Eple" and "Poor Leno." The pair, Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge, both grew up in Tromsø and began recording in the early '90s…