R.E.M. Listening Club


#1

Welcome to the R.E.M Album by album listening club!

One album per week, in chronological order, new album each Monday (ahem)…from Chronic to Collapse as some might say. An opportunity to rediscover forgotten tracks or pick up some you may have missed first time around, but mainly to provide an excuse to drone on about your favourites from Stipe & co with like-minded Dissers.

So, to begin the begin – this week’s selection is the Chronic Town EP (bundled in with the Dead Letter Office offcuts): Dead Letter Office tracks 1-15, Chronic Town 16-20.

Looking forward to giving this a proper listen myself. It’s a collection that’s sat largely unplayed on my shelf by to date despite the EP being a fan favourite. Peter Buck wrote liner notes for each track which I’ll photograph/upload this evening for the benefit of anyone streaming.

A bit of an odd one to kick things off before their debut proper maybe, but here we go:

Dead Letter Office/Chronic Town


#2

I would say I haven’t listened to this compilation in well over ten years. Looking forward to going back through it. I seem to remember loving ‘Voice Of Harold’, ‘Wind Out’ and ‘Ages Of You’.

Oh, and all of Chronic Town obvs. Still sing ‘Gardening At Night’ to myself a fair bit.


#3

Ah good, was hoping you would be starting with Chronic Town, such a strong first EP!


#4

Excellent. I didn’t know this was on Spotify. Chucking it on now.


#5

Peter Buck’s liner notes on Dead Letter Office… I remember buying this on cassette from Watford Market and sitting there listening to each track reading each one.

Darned excited about this, going to have a listen tomorrow morning when i get into the office.

Great job, @woweezowee


#6

Gonna join in as I have never really gone beyond the big singles compilations (which I love) for some reason.

Two of my fave podcasters have been doing a series on REM - not listened to it yet, but it’s here in case you’re keen.

https://www.fileunderwater.net/


#7

Haven’t listened to Chronic Town before, other than Carnival Of Sorts which is obviously great.

Fuck me, imagine this being your debut EP, this is fantastic.


#8

Great that there’s an appetite for this!

Gonna give Chronic a good blast on the commute home this evening, and will report back. Interested to hear the podcast recommended by @AphexTwinkletoes too :+1:


#9

This is a good podcast about REM too
https://www.earwolf.com/episode/staind-glass/


#10

Yeah, can’t vouch for the podcast itself, but I listen to several other shows the two presenters do (this thread should mean I finally get round to this one as well!) and they both seem like lovely gents.


#11

Gardening At Night into Carnival of Sorts is :ok_hand:

The latter is a proper nostalgia trip for me. My dad bought the first big ‘best of’ and I remember bloody loving that song when I was like 8.


#12

I’ll be in on this as best as I can. I am no writer and therefore unable to really give constructive appraisal.

I have never, to my knowledge, listened to Dead Letter Office and the Chronic Town EP, so looking forward to getting in on this.


#13

Lotta love for Dead Letter Office and I play it a fair bit. It’s one of those albums (collections, I guess) that a lot of the individual tracks aren’t so great (particularly compared to their later efforts), but I just like the vibe of the whole… that 90s jangle they real nail, as per Ages Of You. Probably a sacrilegious hot take, but I’d take DLO over the studio albums up to (not including) Life’s Rich Pageant.


#14

Will definitely give this a listen as I’ve just finished the R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: ME? podcast series so it will be good to go through this along with this listening club.


#15

really tempted to get some whisky in and do this properly


#16

definitely - I have a lot of these albums on vinyl (including a record store day repressing of Chronic Town) so I will be going full muso on this and spinning the EP tonight in a darkened room with a glass of whisky.


#17

Me neither, so I wouldn’t worry about it! I can’t compete with some of the lovely music writing in the electronic/drone listening club so I’m just going to write whatever strikes me as I listen.

And if you find yourself mumbling largely incoherently on here through the first few albums, then hey…so did they!


#18

I adore Chronic Town. It’s a shame it has been a bit lost in their catalogue. I’d like it to be officially elevated to mini-album so I can make it my joint favourite R.E.M. album.

Listened to DLO loads when I was younger and from memory was obviously a bit of a mixed bag but I loved it nonetheless. Will definitely join in and give it a listen. Incidentally the cassette cover for DLO is completely different to the vinyl&cd version for some reason.


#19

Haven’t really listened to DLO but Chronic Town is fucking dynamite, without even taking their infancy into account. Which version of Gardening at Night is on here? The slow one or the fast one I have on my Chronic vinyl?


#20

I shall listen and offer thoughts after cooking dinner. Long ago I separated Chronic Town from the rest of Dead Letter Office in my digital music collection (because I’m an R.E.M. obsessive spod) so I’ll play that first, then DLO.