Widely considered to be one of the best albums of the 90s, 1992’s Automatic For The People features R.E.M.’s iconic hit singles “Nightswimming,” “Man on the Moon” and “Everybody Hurts.” Includes a brand new remaster of the original album on CD 1, remastered from original analogue tapes by Stephen Marcussen under the direction of original Producer Scott Litt. CD 2 features live tracks recorded at the band’s 1992 show at The 40 Watt Club in Athens, the year of Automatic For The People’s original release. This was the only concert that R.E.M. performed that year. The highly sort-after & acclaimed recording is remixed from the original multi-tracks by John Keane.
Following the critical acclaim and enthusiastic response to Heavy Sugar: The Pure Essence of New Orleans R&B, compiler Stuart Colman has dug deep into the city’s unique recording legacy to bring about a sumptuous second helping. In addition to the requisite sourcings, the net has been cast wider still in order to focus on material gleaned from such picayune outlets as Rustone, Pontchartrain, Athens, Winner and Spinett. There is a very good reason for this.
Over the course of time, Heavy Sugar has been the title of a song, the name of a radio station, an independent movie and the primary ingredient for a rapturous recipe. How fitting it is that this latter description also epitomizes the ingredients that go to make up Heavy Sugar: The Pure Essence of New Orleans R&B. Just think, if the celebrity chefs of New Orleans were to whip up Heavy Sugar until the peaks start to form, then the hostesses on Bourbon Street would go that little bit further and add any flavour necessary to achieve a creamy finish.
Recorded during and immediately following R.E.M.'s disaster-prone Monster tour, New Adventures in Hi-Fi feels like it was recorded on the road. Not only are all of Michael Stipe's lyrics on the album about moving or travel, the sound is ragged and varied, pieced together from tapes recorded at shows, soundtracks, and studios, giving it a loose, careening charm. New Adventures has the same spirit of much of R.E.M.'s IRS records, but don't take the title of New Adventures in Hi-Fi lightly – R.E.M. tries different textures and new studio tricks. "How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us" opens the album with a rolling, vaguely hip-hop drum beat and slowly adds on jazzily dissonant piano. "E-Bow the Letter" starts out as an updated version of "Country Feedback," then it turns in on itself with layers of moaning guitar effects and Patti Smith's haunting backing vocals. Clocking in at seven minutes, "Leave" is the longest track R.E.M. has yet recorded and it's one of their strangest and best – an affecting minor-key dirge with a howling, siren-like feedback loop that runs throughout the entire song.