It’s the end of the World as we know it

The alternative rock band R.E.M have REcently announced that they are splitting up, which will come as a bit of a shock to many, including me. They first emerged in the early 1980s from the college radio scene. at first they were scrappy and lo-fi, abrasive but somehow beautiful, and the development of this sound would one day help them become bona-fide stadium-fillers later on in their their career.

The group – Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry – played their first gig in a church on 5 April 1980 under the name of Twisted Kites, they played a mixture of post-punk poise and jangly guitar which made them seem simultaneously cutting-edge and a romantic reminder of rock’s past and they soon became popular.

Their music was influenced by their small-town surroundings and is closer to real life stating that “It’s great just to bring out an emotion… better to make someone feel nostalgic or wistful or excited or sad.”

Commercially speaking, their breakthrough came when they released the single “The One I Love” which was taken from the 1987 Album “Document”. The next single “Freaks” saw REM outgrow the university centred underground music scene which had so-far sustained them, and they hit the big time, and Their next release 1988’s “Green” was released by a major label and was seen by many as their true peak.

The One I Love

Lyrically, the album saw the band dealing with a number of important issues – World leader Pretend is a deft criticism of the remote ruling classes, while Pop Song ’89 tackles claims the band had sold out by purporting to be, in Stipe’s words, “the prototype of, and hopefully the end of, a pop song”.

Losing My Religion

The next album “Out of Time” proved to be an even bigger hit. Featuring the career-defining singles Losing My Religion, which some regard to be the touchstone of alternative rock and Shiny Happy People, featuring fellow Athenian Kate Pierson from the B52’s. With this album it seems that The band were aiming to make a massively successful, mainstream record without embarrassing, or compromising, themselves – They certainly succeeded

Michael Stipe’s inner demons also came to the fore In the next album, 1992’s Automatic For The People, which is A more sombre, reflective album that features string arrangements by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. This album was also to yeild some wonderful songs like “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight” and “Everybody Hurts”

Sidewinder Sleeps tonite
The band’s next two albums Monster and New Adventures In Hi-Fi were largely recorded live – some tracks taken from soundchecks taken during the massive stadium tour, and featured some new classics, such as Let Me In, a tribute to the recently deceased Kurt Cobain.

Everybody Hurts

Unfortunately drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain aneurysm and quit the band in 1997, and things never quite returned to the giddy heights of “Out of Time” and Moments of brilliance, such as The Great Beyond or Imitation Of Life, became less frequently. Leading some band members to pursue side-projects, Stipe increasingly pusued his film work,while Peter Buck concentrated more on his country supergroup Tired Pony.

Despite this REM continued to be unbeatable live performers to the end and their final album, Collapse Into Now, was hailed, like many of its predecessors, as a return to form. Certainly, the band sounded rejuvenated and a lot more energetic than on some of the previous work which was released in the mid-2000s. In addition They also recently re-released an earlier album “Lifes Rich Pageant” which is also a great album.  REM will always remain one of the most influential bands of their generation

Mad ferret!

Liam Gallagher (Former front man of the band Oasis and now front man of Beady Eye) with his own clothing Range called “Pretty Green”, also celebrates his birthday on September 21st, so once more Courtesy of YouTube. (PS You can also find loasds of Oasis songs on this blog by typing Oasis in the search box on the left)

First we Take Manhattan

The Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen was born this day ( 21 September) in 1934 .

Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships.

Famously reclusive, having once spent several years in a Zen Buddhist monastery,  He possesses a persona frequently associated with mystique, (No not the X-Man character) he is extremely well regarded by critics for his literary accomplishments, for the richness of his lyrics, and for producing an output of work of high artistic quality over a five-decade career

To be honest I would rather listen to Leonard’s deep and meaningful lyrics deling with important issues, rather than any number of meaningless bouncy 3 minute bubblegum pop songs.

Happy Birthday Nuno Bettencourt

This morning I discovered that Portuguese Guitar Maestro Nuno Bettencourt, best known as the lead guitarist with Boston Rock Band Extreme, celebrates his birthday on 20th September, and after spending ages reacquainting myself with all of Extreme’s great songs, I thought I’d share some courtesy of YouTube

SuperHeavy – Superheavy

Superheavy’s new album SuperHeavy is released on Monday 19th September . It is a collaboration by a group of diverse musicians assembled by Mick Jagger, The band features Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, Ziggy Marley, A.R.Rahman and Joss Stone, and as you’d expect from such a diverse line-up of musicians the album features a wide range of different sounds, from Rock, folk and Bhangra to Reggae and soulful ballads. The result sounds great and They all sound like they had great fun making the album.


My favourite songs on the album are SuperHeavy, Miracle Worker, Energy, Satyameva Jayathe, Beautiful People, Unbelievable, I can’t Take it no More and World Keeps Turning. Anyway here is the track-listing

* Superheavy
* Unbeleivable
* Miracle Worker
* Energy
* Satyameva Jayathe
* One Day one Night
* Never Gonna Change
* Beautiful People
* Rock Me Gently
* I Can’t take it no more
* I Don’t Mind
* World Keeps Turning

Emperors Nightingale – Stereo MCs

The Stereo MCs new album Emperor’s Nightingale is released on Monday 19th September. I thought the other albums  like “Connected” and “Deep Down and Dirty” were incredibly groovy and funky, so I would like to get the new one.

Here is the Track-Listing

*Wooden Heart
*Boy (featuring Jamie Cullum)
*Phase Me
*Far out Feeling
*Sunny Day
*Bring it on (Path to the Mind and the Soul and the Spirit)
*Desert Song
*Wooden Heart (Reprise)

From what I’ve heard so far My Favourite songs off the album are : Phase Me, Far out Feeling, Bring it on, Sunny Day, Manner and Desert Song. It’s an awesome album apart from Wooden Heart, which I think is a bit depressing, still it might grow on me.

17th Bridgnorth CAMRA Beer Festival

In past years I have set myself the challenge of sampling as many of the beers as possible during the four days of the Beer festival  (at leas I think I did, My memory got a bit hazy after a couple of  pints  :D, Sadly this year I am unable to attend, although I did ask someone to bring back some Severn Gorgeous, which was really refreshing, tasted lovely and was voted Beer of the Festival last year. These are all the Beers people can sample at this years festival (Excuse the typo’s – I think the Severn Gorgeous has affected my typing ability lol

* ABC Heartland Bitter
* All Gates Petoria
* Amber Chocolate & Orange Stout
* Beartown Ginger Beer
* Beowulf Swordsman
* Blue Monkey BG Sips
* Blue Monkey Guerrilla
* Rowland Hen Harrier
* Coastal Merry Maidens Mild
* Corvedale Green Hop
* Derby Triple Hop
* Elgoods Black Dog
* Elgoods Greyhound
* Falstaff Good, the Bad and the Drunk
* Great Oakley Marching in
* great Oakley Wots Occuring
* Harwich Leading Lights
* Holdens Golden Glow
* Ironbridge Centennial
* Ironbridge Foundry Gold
* Kelham Riders on the Storm
* Leadmill Old Mottled Cock
* Milestone Raspberry Wheat beer
* Monty’s Mischief
* Nailsworth Alestock
* Northern Brewing Hit and Run
* Oakham JHB
* Oakham Citra
*  Prospect Silver Tally
* Purple Moose Glaslyn Ale
* SadlersMud City Stout
* SadlersHop Bomb
* SadlersMellow Yellow
* Shropshire Gold
* Lemon Dream
* Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby
* Sawbridgworth Mead Mild
* Sawbridgworth Dragons Blood
* Shires Ginger Cob
* Shires Severn Gorgeous
* Springhead Roaring Meg
* Slaters Top Totty
* Stonehouse Station Bitter
* Stonehouse Kingston Flyer
* Stonehouse Off the Rails
* Three Tuns 1642
* Three Tuns Clerics Cure
* Titanic Chocolate & Vanilla Stout
* Titanic Plim Porter
* Titanic Nine Tenthes Below
* Wibblers Apprentice