Collapse Into Now

New Releases 2.8.11 - Charlie Pride?

 

So this week brings us couple of good (hopefully) releases, a couple of your typical weekly entries into the pop-o-sphere and one giant turd a new release from one of rocks most revered bands, R.E.M. (read the review here). I've heard a lot of good things about Kurt Vile's new album, Smoke Ring For My Halo, so excpect a review of that to show up shortly. Also be on the lookout for review of Wye Oak's latest effort, Civillians, which I am listening to RIGHT NOW! While I'm finding it a bit more refined than the bands previous efforts, I gotta say that I'm really digging it and I'm very much looking forward to seeing them Friday night at The Black Cat playing with fellow Baltimore natives, Lower Dens. So that's about it....except for a brand spanking new Charlie Pride record. Yep. That exists.

Until next week, get out there and put this stuff in your earholes.

 

Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata - The Hills Are Alive (Canal, March 8, 2011)

Buffalo Tom - Skins [MP3 Download] (Scrawny/The Orchard, March 8, 2011)

Exene Cervenka - The Excitement of Maybe (Bloodshot, March 8, 2011)

Bruce Cockburn - Small Source of Comfort (True North, March 8, 2011)

Dinosaur Bones - My Divider (Dine Alone, March 8, 2011)

Early Winters  - Early Winters [MP3 Download] (Early Winters, March 8, 2011)

Riley Etheridge Jr. - Powder Keg (Rock Ridge Music, March 8, 2011)

Sara Evans - Stronger (RCA Nashville, March 8, 2011)

Aaron Gillespie  - Anthem Song (Tooth & Nail/BEC Recordings, March 8, 2011)

Jag Panzer - The Scourge of the Light (SPV/Steamhammer, March 8, 2011)

Avril Lavigne - Goodbye Lullaby (RCA, March 8, 2011)

Matt Lowell - Swan Lake [MP3 Download] (Matt Lowell, March 8, 2011)

Lupe Fiasco - LASERS (1st & 15th/Atlantic, March 8, 2011)

Ian Moore and The Lossy Coils - El Sonido Nuevo (Spark & Shine/Burnside Distribution, March 8, 2011)

Morning Teleportation - Expanding Anyway (Glacial Pace Recordings, March 8, 2011)

Alex Murdoch - Towards the Sun (Zero Summer, March 8, 2011)

Charley Pride - Choices (Music City, March 8, 2011)

Raekwon - Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang (Ice H20, March 8, 2011)

R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now (Warner, March 8, 2011)

Ringo Deathstarr - Colour Trip [MP3 Download] (Sonic Unyon, March 8, 2011)

Rival Schools - Pedals (Photo Finish/Atlantic, March 8, 2011)

Lee Rocker - The Cover Sessions (leerocker.com, March 8, 2011)

Starfucker  - Reptilians (Polyvinyl, March 8, 2011)

TRUSTcompany - Dreaming in Black and White (E1 Music, March 8, 2011)

Various artists - Glee: The Music, Season Two, Volume 5 (Columbia, March 8, 2011)

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo (Matador, March 8, 2011)

Wye Oak  - Civilian (Merge, March 8, 2011)

 


Reviews: R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

 

With just the slightest bit of finesse
I might have made a little less mess
But it was what it was
Let's all get on with it now

It is with those words from “Discoverer”, the opening track of their latest Bill Berry-less effort, Collapse Into Now, that R.E.M. practically writes this review for me. I grew up a super-fan of this band. My license plate for at least 10 years read “BBMSTYP”. I have every single, every B-side, and practically every other piece of recorded material that the band has ever released. In saying this, please understand that I don’t presume that the band owes myself or anyone anything. I’m just saying this to point out that I have a history with R.E.M. A LOT of people have a history with R.E.M.

Now I think it’s time for that history to end.

I’m going to keep referring to Berry in this review not because I think his return could fix the giant musical mess that the bands catalog has become but to delineate and differentiate between the “good” R.E.M. and whatever the f@#@ this crap is we’ve been being fed for the past decade. Look, everyone gave the band a pass when they recorded Up and if I’m honest with myself, I really enjoy parts of that record. It was definitely a departure for the band but it treads familiar enough ground and while shaky at times, was at least lyrically strong enough to hold my interest. And, I didn’t want the band to be over.  So there was that. In my mind R.E.M. hadn’t ever produced a bad album up till this point (say what you will about New Adventures In Hi-Fi, but 15 years later album still sounds pretty relevant, even if it is arguably the weakest album in their catalog to feature Berry) and all that goodwill was simply transferred onto Up and it got a pass. Had I been more logical about it I probably would have abandoned the band right then and there, because all of the seeds that would further ruin the band’s music for me in the future were planted right there. I just never expected them to try and follow through on it. From then on out, each album has defied imagination and actually been worse than the last, until by the time they got to Around The Sun they were producing albums so unlistenable that they could only be described with the phrase “s@# sandwich”.