Thursday, September 22, 2011 • 2:55 PM Comments ()

Music news in brief: R.E.M. break-up, "Nevermind" lives again, and Pearl Jam look back

posted by Michael Cimaomo

R.E.M.

Nostalgia? Must be a catchy disease lately.

During the past week alone, a collection of musicians from years past have begun popping up in the news as various anniversaries and events have seemingly started to collide with one another in order to vie for fan’s attention.

So let’s recap shall we?

First off, after 31 years the band that defined ‘80s college rock and brought underground music to the masses years before Nirvana did has surprisingly announced its break-up.

According to a statement posted on their official website Wednesday the members of alternative rockers R.E.M. said, “We have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

While many critics had lamented R.E.M.’s status in recent years as a group that had lost its way, the suddenness with which their end was announced still comes as quite a shock. After all their 15th and last record “Collapse Into Now” was just released in March, and rumors had been circulating that the boys from Athens, Ga. were already spotted back in the studio working on new material.

Sadly listeners will have to wait for a career-spanning retrospective before any of the new tracks are released. However, until then, solace can still be found in the band’s impressive back catalogue.

“As long as they kept running on, R.E.M. were an inspiration,” said music writer and author Rob Sheffield after hearing of the band's demise.

Let us continue to cherish the memories.

Watch the video for R.E.M.’s song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” here:

For more information on R.E.M. please visit www.remhq.com.

***

Speaking of other underground pioneers who paid a price for their trailblazing, the 20th anniversary celebration surrounding Nirvana’s seminal record “Nevermind” has been in full swing.

First came the hype surrounding the upcoming deluxe reissue of the iconic album itself, along with a bevy of other assorted Nirvana goodies including DVD’s, remastered recordings and vinyl editions.

Then, word was released that former band member Krist Novoselic would participate in a concert that not only honored the album, but also benefited Seattle music veteran and band friend Susie Tennant, who is currently battling ovarian cancer.

The concert, which took place on Tuesday at the Experience Music Project’s Skychurch in Seattle, Wash., appears to have been a success. Besides Novoselic, who performed with Northwest rockers the Presidents of the U.S.A., the bill included appearances by the Fastbacks, former Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, and the Foo Fighters' own Dave Grohl (via video) amongst others.

Though audience reactions to the various bands’ interpretations of such classic songs as “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Lithium” and “On a Plain” were mixed, there was no denying why many in attendance were there in the first place.

“I want to remember somebody. I want to hear a cheer for Kurt Cobain,” Novoselic said shortly after taking the stage.

And after being met with a resounding cheer that echoed off the walls of the building, the former Nirvana bassist couldn’t help but smile.

“I could have said a lot of things about Kurt,” he said. “But I think you just said it all.”

Watch video of the whole “Nevermind” benefit concert here:

nevermindlive on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

And for more information on Nirvana and “Nevermind’s”20th anniversary please visit www.nirvana.com.

***

Last but not least, also on Tuesday, fellow Seattle grunge icons Pearl Jam finally released their career-spanning documentary “Pearl Jam 20.”

Directed by Cameron Crowe, the movie – which “chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon-after their rise to megastardom, their step back from center stage, and the creation of the trusted circle that would surround them,” – will receive a limited one-week run in select theatres nationwide starting September 23.

A soundtrack album was also released to accompany the film and will feature rare and unreleased tracks from throughout the group’s existence.

Watch the trailer for “Pearl Jam 20” here:

Pearl Jam Twenty from Pearl Jam on Vimeo.

For more information on Pearl Jam or to find out more about where the documentary “Pearl Jam 20” is playing near you please visit www.pearljam.com and www.pj20.com.

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