Published May 20, 2014Following this past Record Store Day's Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions release, R.E.M. have just offered up an even more expansive glance at their back catalogue by unveiling a couple of digital album bundles and a monstrous trove of rarities.
Today (May 20), the group repackaged a number of tracks and LPs for iTunes, which are all available separately and in bundle form. First up is the Complete I.R.S. Studio Albums, a self-explanatory package that collects R.E.M.'s debut EP Chronic Town (1982), Murmur (1983), Reckoning (1984), Fables of the Reconstruction (1985), Lifes Rich Pageant (1986) and their label swan song Document (1987).
The jump to the majors is preserved on Complete Warner Bros. Studio Albums, Vol. 1, which packages Green (1988), Out of Time (1991), Automatic for the People (1992), Monster (1994) and New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996).
A Vol. 2 has not been put together, but the band's remaining albums, from 1998's Up to the group's final LP, 2011's Collapse into Now, are up in newly mastered form, though.
Meanwhile, The Complete Rarities - I.R.S. 1982-1987 offers up 25 "hard-to-find tracks," such as B-sides like "White Tornado" and "Voice of Harold"; spare tracks like "Windout," which appeared on the soundtrack for The Bachelor Party; and live-off-the-floor covers of Roger Miller and Andy Williams tunes, as well as the Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" and "There She Goes Again."
Even more expansive is The Complete Rarities - Warner Bros. 1988-2011, which features 23 years of live cuts, B-sides, covers, demos and more. All told, it weighs in at 131 tracks, including live appearances on Saturday Night Live, covers of artists like Iggy Pop, Leonard Cohen, the Troggs and Suicide, as well as a couple of different mixes of "Shiny Happy People."
Everything is up for grabs now on iTunes, where you can find the complete tracklistings to all the releases.