R.E.M. “Chronic Town”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#501 in the Series) is R.E.M., Chronic Town

OK, who remembers Trouser Press?  Actually, it’s still around. Maybe it’s just online now, I have no idea actually.  If you remember the magazine, do you remember when they used to have “flexi discs” in the issues?

Who were most of the bands on those discs, no Idea, but I do remember one. That was R.E.M. and the songs that appeared on the flexi discs were from their Chronic Town EP.

My good friend Terry took a bunch of those discs and took a bunch of the better songs from these bands and put them on a Maxell or TDK or “something” cassette tape. Two 90 minute tapes for about $8. 1982, those were the days huh! Now you can get about 25 CD-Rs for that price.

One day we were headed to a concert or a maybe a Wednesday Night “XRT” Party at Erik The Reds? (Free watermelon shots if you went down the slide!)  He popped that tape in during the drive. Once again, I have no memory of most of it, but the REM songs just flew out of the speakers. It sounded like nothing else I ever heard. Yeah, jangly Rickenbacker’s. Was it a later day Byrds sound? Maybe, but it was so new so fresh. I can still hear it like it was yesterday. A new genre was almost being invented right as we drove. There really wasn’t much like this at the time. Jangly, guitar pop with cool harmonies. I couldn’t get enough of it. I know I loved it. I had no idea that this band would end up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The EP was only five tracks. It would whet your taste just enough that you just could not wait until what would come next.  That would be their masterpiece, Murmur.

“Wolves (Lower),” “Gardening at Night,” “Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars),” “1,000,000” and “Stumble.”

Five songs that would change rock and roll and would change me.

— Larry Carta 

Track listing

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe.

Side one 

  1. “Wolves, Lower” – 4:10
  2. “Gardening at Night” – 3:29
  3. “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” – 3:54

Side two 

  1. “1,000,000” – 3:06
  2. “Stumble” – 5:40



  • Bill Berry – drums, vocals
  • Peter Buck – guitar
  • Mike Mills – bass guitar, vocals
  • Michael Stipe – vocals


  • Greg Calbi – mastering at Sterling Sound, New York City, New York, United States
  • Mitch Easter – production
  • Kako .n. – graphics
  • Curtis Knapp – cover photography
  • R. A. Miller – artwork
  • R.E.M. – production
  • Ron Scarselli – design


Here is the album in its entirety

Here’s a full 45 minute show from 1982!

Posted by Larry Carta

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