10 Things I Learned From the New R.E.M. Documentary

Categories: Lists

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flickr/vipa
R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe didn't know Peter Buck's first name for quite a while.

This week, R.E.M. put out a massive, six-DVD box set called REMTV, the latest in a steady stream of archival releases the band has offered fans since "calling it a day" in 2011. It includes the 110-minute documentary R.E.M. by MTV, which is the first film to tell the entire story of a group of Athens, Georgia 20-somethings who started as a party band and finished as one of the most revered groups in music history.

Using archival interviews and live clips instead of a narrator, it's a linear trip through this classic "local boys make good" tale that, despite a lack of hardcore drugs and inter-band lawsuits, should have any music fan on the edge of his/her seat.

I have read six books about R.E.M., listened to every song available from the band and, on a recent trip to Winnipeg, dropped my grocery money for the week on a box of magazines that featured R.E.M. on the cover. Going into REMTV, I thought I had an Encyclopedia Brittanica-level knowledge of the band, but perhaps I was more like a Wikipedia page that hasn't been updated in a few months. Here's a list of 10 things I learned watching the new R.E.M. documentary.

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The 20 Best Drummers of All Time

Categories: Lists
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Photo by Jim Summaria via Wikimedia Commons
Keith Moon circa 1975.

As anyone who's ever started a garage band knows, you can get away with only knowing three chords and two basslines -- but if your drummer can't keep a beat, you're never making it out of that garage. Behind every great band lies an even greater drummer, and hidden away behind all those cymbals and high-hats, many of the greatest ones never get their due.

So in the words of the immortal James Brown, let's give the drummer some! Here are our picks for the 20 greatest drummers of all time, in any genre.

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The 10 Most Underrated Guitarists in the History of Rock

Categories: Lists
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Asylum Records/Wikimedia Commons
Joni Mitchell: One of history's most underrated guitarists.

While traveling a few weeks ago, I could not stop listening to Mutiny on the Bay, the searing collection of '80s Dead Kennedys performances released in 2001; East Bay Ray, it occurred to me, is one of the most underrated guitarists in the history of rock.

To me, being underrated doesn't mean that a musician has missed out on accolades and commercial success. It means that, for whatever reason, millions of music lovers probably haven't been exposed to a certain musician's talents and thus haven't had the chance to enjoy him or her. So here -- up for potential enjoyment and probably heated discussion -- are ten guitarists I believe are history's most underrated.

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10 Reasons St. Paul Is an Underrated Music City

Categories: Lists
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Photo by Steve Cohen

When you're trying to assert yourself as a premier Midwestern city that celebrates music, it's not ideal to have a shouting match with the folks just across the river. The case for Minneapolis's musical greatness is nothing new -- First Avenue, Prince, Paul Westerberg, etc. -- but don't count out St. Paul.

Minneapolis has stolen much of St. Paul's musical thunder ever since this Twin Cities storm started brewing, leading many to assume that our capital is all politicians, hockey, Keillor, and minor league baseball. St. Paul is for music lovers, too. Here are 10 reasons St. Paul is an underrated music city.


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10 Things We Love About the New Turf Club

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Photo by Hannah Sayle

After letting the new Turf Club sink back into the grand scheme of the music scene here, we decided to take a look at what really is great about the new space. Yes, everything, still, kind of, but some of the new stuff is still really, really great, while the other stuff has been relinquished to the "pretty good to great" category.

If you haven't been to a show (or just gone to hang out) since the grand reopening in August, do it ASAP. Sure, it's not going anywhere, but you're missing out and it's fun to see a space that was transformed into something fantastic. Here are 10 reasons why.

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Six Reasons Bands Break Up

Categories: Lists
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All illustrations by Curtis Tinsley

While Aerosmith still flail around in a body without bones, propped up by the hot air of their backward-cap-wearing fanbase, most sensible bands know when to call it quits.

Sure, reunion tours are still a thing, but those tend to happen on the stinking fumes of nostalgia, and they serve to fuel the now-meager drug habits that were once respectable addictions.

Everyone calls it quits at some point. Being in a band is hard work -- coordinating schedules, dealing with flakes, and actually hammering out a tolerable song or two is a damn near miracle for some. But those who break through are still destined to quit at some point, and here's why.


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Here Are 10 Products for Sneaking Alcohol Into Concerts

Categories: Lists
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winerackbarflask.com
The Wine Rack bra
It's easy to drop serious cash on booze at shows -- especially if you're buying several rounds. What's even more frustrating is that many venues don't have the best selection, either.

But there are multiple products that will help you get around this issue. While we would never condone violating venue policies to avoid paying $12 for a beer, we present here, for your amusement and edification, 10 of the best items for sneaking booze into a concert.
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10 Best Videos From the Gangsta Rap Era

Categories: Lists
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Mark C. Austin for the Houston Press. Full slideshow here.
Bushwick Bill of the Geto Boys still goes hard.
Gangsta rap, where have you gone?

About 20 years ago at this time we were in the middle of an unprecedented run of gangsta rap greatness, with Death Row, Bad Boy, Ruthless, Rap-A-Lot and others all functioning at high levels. 

And while the songs and albums from this era continue to get shine, let's not forget the videos, which constitute some of the most visually arresting (and funniest) ever made.

Here are the 10 greatest videos from the gangsta rap era.   More »

Six Reasons You Need to Flyer Your Shows

Categories: Lists

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Philip Kromer/Flickr
So easy, even a monkey can do it.

Social media takes the heat for a lot of things. Some people insist that it's responsible for diluting activism and killing personal interaction. Others may recall the recent viral Craigslist post about the restaurant that blamed their slowing service on social media and smartphones, while some scientists have even drawn a connection between Facebook use and depression.

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The best indie musicians to follow on Twitter

Categories: Lists
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Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen
You've seen Grimes at the Entry, now follow her on Twitter

Way back in 2006, I bet the founders of Twitter had no idea the social-media platform would become the force it is today. Sure, you can interact with your friends and whatnot, but perhaps the coolest, most intriguing part of Twitter is the way it makes us music lovers able to connect with what our favorite musicians are up to.

Just think about it. Your favorite artist -- whether some nobody musician who makes beats in his or her basement or even a legend like Cher -- is most likely active on Twitter. It allows us to make a personal connection with our idols. Looking around Twitter, we've found that some less-popular acts totally triumph in the tweeting game against those with 40-plus million followers like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

So, we've compiled a list of 12 indie artists who you should probably think about following on Twitter below. So go on, do a quick unfollowing spree and do what you gotta do to make some room on your timeline for some fresh 140-character goodness from artists who are contributing some new sounds to the music world.


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