post-punk gems, v. 60 — R.E.M.

With the post-punk gem series, I’m usually looking for something a bit more obscure, but Pandora’s algorithm cued up this gem yesterday, and it reminded me of all the cool sounds of “alt rock” circa 1982, and the imprint of Mitch Easter’s touch on so many tracks of the Americana sound: Let’s Active, Pylon, Marshall Crenshaw and, my perennial favorite, Game Theory.

The Chronic Town EP came out in August 1982 and, as you can imagine, some folks adored it — “This headlong tumble proves them the wittiest and most joyful of the postgarage sound-over-sense bands” (Christgau) — and others didn’t.

Peter Buck’s guitar work still sounds completely fresh. I also recall a TV appearance by R.E.M. shortly after, in which they recounted how many fans were submitting lyric sheets with the hopes of verification. In some cases, R.E.M. liked the fans’ lyrics better than the originals, and started performing them. So charming.

And, on this theme, here’s fun evidence of youtube’s omnivorous character:

Enjoy!

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