Before, "indie-rock," before "alternative," there was "college rock" and four arty dudes from Athens, GA were its KINGS. On our latest episode, we're looking back at R.E.M.'s Murmur, one of the most influential "rock-and-roll" albums of all time, thirty-five years after it changed the music forever.
What do retired rock musicians do with their time? When you’re a former member of R.E.M., the answer is whatever you damn well please. When the band split in 2011, the question of what was coming next was on everyone’s mind, but few probably quite expected the results. Singer Michael Stipe has all but disappeared into eccentric hermitdom, having disappeared largely from the public eye beyond the odd (and usually unannounced) appearance at other artists’ shows. Guitarist Peter Buck, in addition to his involvement in R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey’s bands The Minus Five and The Baseball Project, has recorded a trio (so far) of vinyl-only, limited release garage rock albums. And bassist Mike Mills? He’s also been involved in The Baseball Project, and has played as part of Joseph Arthur’s band and as a member of the Big Star’s Third cover project. This year, though, he stepped back into the spotlight, in the unexpected direction of classical composer in a piece done in collaboration with a childhood friend, violinist Robert McDuffie. Mills came to the Strathmore last week along with McDuffie and Chicago-based chamber group Fifth House Ensemble (in a modified, all-string form) to perform his newly composed “Concerto for Violin, Rock Band & String Orchestra.”
All words/pictures by ace contributor Suzanne Wnek
Kevin here. Yesterday we heard all about the planning, today it's on to the MUSIC. And by the looks of it, there was a metric sh!@-ton to be had. So lets hop back on Suzanne's wild ride through 2012's SXSW and let's see where it takes us.
More NPR, at the The Parish. I loved La Vida Boheme and Sugar Tongue Slim. The first band was super lively and irresistible. Sugar Tongue Slim was smart and humorous and filled with hip-hop pageantry. I was again disappointed in Polica. She is beautiful and all that, but there’s not a lot of differentiation from song to song (to me) and her moves were very repetitious. I was also disappointed in Lower Dens. I thought I'd just missed the "good" stuff the night before, but all they played was the same, and nothing stood out to me at all. Must all be new. Next up was the legendary Magnetic Fields who made you laugh, cry, cheer, and sing with songs about death and weddings (according to them) and it was a great way to end the first portion of the day.