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R.E.M. - Monster
(Warner Bros 9362-45763-2 Ger-94 125:-)

MONSTER is indeed R.E.M.'s long-promised "rock" album; it just doesn't rock in the way one might expect. Instead of R.E.M.'s trademark anthemic bashers, MONSTER offers a set of murky sludge, powered by the heavily distorted and delayed guitar of Peter Buck.

Deleted special limited edition release 12-track CD presented in a 6" x 9" deluxe 52-page hardback book featuring exclusive artwork and photographs
R.E.M. - Up
(Warner 2-47151 US-98 200:-)

The departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1997 no doubt unsettled his former R.E.M. -mates, who found themselves straddling not only creative, but personal crossroads. Rather than giving up, the remaining members of R.E.M. reinvented themselves and released UP, a stunning, eloquent album of dark vulnerability and experimentalism. The emotional disquiet Stipe evokes is nearly shocking in its plainspoken lyricism.

Scarce 1998 US limited edition box set which includes a spiral bound book, exclusive photograph/postcards and complete lyrics. All housed in a 6" x 10½" box which is still in the original 'REM UP' printed shrink.
Ramones - Subterranean Jungle
(Warner WPCR-12728 Jap-07 200:-)

Tentatively returning toward punk, or at least new wave, the Ramones turned in their most enjoyable record since ROCKET TO RUSSIA with SUBTERRANEAN JUNGLE. Producers Ritchie Cordell and Glen Kolotkin were the heads of the edgy power pop and punk label Bomp!, so they steered the Ramones back toward the '60s pop infatuation that provided the foundation for their early records. It's a strategy that pays off well — for the most part, the group's originals are so punchy and catchy that they make the pair of covers superfluous.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 7 bonus tracks - Remastered.
Ramones - Too Tough to Die
(Warner WPCR-12729 Jap-07 200:-)

With the Ramones' original drummer, Tommy Erdelyi, producing, the group returns to simple, scathing punk rock on TOO TOUGH TO DIE. The group takes the big guitar riffs of SUBTERRANEAN JUNGLE and makes them shorter and heavier. The Ramones' rhythms are back up to jackhammer speed and the songs are down to short, terse statements. The results read like a reaction to hardcore punk, but the Ramones are more melodic than any hardcore band, as well as smarter than most.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 10 bonus tracks - Remastered.
REO Speedwagon - You can Tune a Piano
(Sony EICP-1488 Jap-11 175:-)

YOU CAN TUNE A PIANO, BUT YOU CAN'T TUNA FISH was a breakthrough album for REO Speedwagon in a sense, gelling the guitar craft of Gary Richrath and the vocals of Kevin Cronin with songs that rambled and rolled and never stopped for air. Richrath's style finally formed some catchy hooks, and Cronin's songwriting is solid, while his voice sounds rejuvenated and downright fiery.

40th Anniversary; Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Rundgren, Todd - Something/Anything
(Victor VICP-75036/7 Jap-12 350:-)

After two albums, Todd Rundgren had one hit and a burgeoning cult following, plus growing respect as a hitmaking record producer. There's no question he was busy, but as it turns out, all this work only scratched the surface of his ambition.

He had decided to abandon the Runt pretense and recorded a full double album by himself (save for one side). Others had recorded one-man albums before, most notably Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, but Rundgren -- without borrowing musically from either artist -- captured the homemade ambience of McCartney with the visionary feel of "Music of My Mind", adding an encyclopedic knowledge of pop music from Gilbert & Sullivan through Jimi Hendrix, plus the crazed zeal of a pioneer.

Listening to "Something/Anything?", is a mind-altering trip in itself, no matter how many instantly memorable, shamelessly accessible pop songs are scattered throughout the album.

K2 HD Mastering; Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
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