R.E.M. Murmur

R.E.M. Murmur
There are few records that can justifiably be called "era-defining" but R.E.M.'s 1983 full-length debut unquestionably fits that bill. Just as pop was bracing for the first shots in the MTV revolution, the Athens, GA quartet were providing the exact opposite: an honest sound that somehow bridged the gap between '60s folk rock and the first wave of punk, held together by the arcane, poetic visions that Michael Stipe could summon at will - even if most of it was barely discernable upon first listen. Sure, there was an irresistibly catchy single ("Radio Free Europe") but repeated spins quickly revealed the finely honed interplay between Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry that countless other bands immediately tried to emulate. That list of bands should be enough evidence to show that the American alternative rock scene was effectively established with the release of Murmur. Apart from the usual sonic upgrade, this deluxe edition also includes the well-known 1983 Larry's Hideaway tape - originally broadcast on Toronto radio station CFNY - in its entirety. The band's raw side is on full display here and fans will appreciate early versions of a few songs ("7 Chinese Brothers" and "Just A Touch") that would appear on subsequent albums. (IRS/Universal)