This Aint No Promo, This Ain't No Press Release

Here are two recently released favorites of mine:

Rub-N-Tug: Better with a Spoonful of Leather: Rub-N-Tug's second mix for aNYthing keeps sticking to the bottom of my brain, like the aural equivalent of primordial ooze. Hot tar! The tempos trudge rather than strut, guitar riffs strum and hang in the air before fading like puffs of blue smoke. If you prefer disco slow and low, with heavy helpings of sludgy vocals and drugged out atmosphere, then this is your record.

- Listen to "Slipps" (MP3)

R.E.M.: And I Feel Fine...The Best of the I.R.S. Years: I came of R.E.M. age at the end of their fruitful run on I.R.S. Records. Ushered into the cult by a top-40 radio hit, "The One I Love", and its respective record Document, I was unfamiliar with the glories of their preceding catalogue. So I walked slowly backwards, from Life's Rich Pageant all the way down the road to Chronic Town. From "Begin the Begin" to "Gardening at Night", an unforgettable journey I wish I could repeat again today.

Now I can in a way, with And I Feel Fine..., a compilation of R.E.M.s pre-major label greats. The songs may not be surprises now and recent releases have somewhat tarnished the band's appeal in my eyes, but from start to finish this is an amazing collection. I like jangling, mumbling R.E.M. best, so I appreciate the inclusion of unsung songs like "Feeling Gravity's Pull", "Life and How to Live it", and "Pilgrimage". The second disc of band favorites, live tracks and other miscellany is required listening.