With little notice, R.E.M. has given its fans reason for excitement today.
No, the Georgia-bred band isn't getting back together, but they did unleash a massive trove of rare and unreleased material to digital retail like iTunes and Amazon.
This includes two big compliations: 131 tracks for “The Complete Rarities: Warner Bros: 1988-2011,” and 25 songs from “The Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987.” On top of that, their MTV “Unplugged” set from 2014 Record Store Day has its digital release, from their 1991 and 2001 appearances on the cable networks' specials.
All in, that's more than 150 rarities, B-sides, unreleased, demo and live songs. That, on top of making all of their albums available in remastered versions for iTunes, plus the digital version of “Chronic Town,” their 1982 debut EP which was never released on CD.
Now go dig. Go looking for fun finds like “Voice of Harold,” soundchecks, covers of the Velvet Underground, early live versions of “Losing My Religion,” an instrumental version of “Orange Crush” and more.
R.E.M. broke up in September 2011, after about 30 years together and 15 studio albums.