Photo by japanese forms
College-rock fixture-to-be R.E.M. released its landmark debut EP, the five-track Chronic Town, 28 years ago today, and to commemorate the anniversary, we present, below, alternate takes of four songs recorded and considered for inclusion on the EP: a faster version of “Wolves, Lower”; “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” with different vocals and no fadeout; and “Shaking Through,” featuring an organ in the mix; and an early version of “Ages of You,” all courtesy of YouTube user REMchout, who has posted a sizable collection of vintage R.E.M.
Sure it’s only five tracks, but for such an influential band and release, it’s a crime that Chronic Town still doesn’t have a standalone CD release; while it initially came out on vinyl and cassette — and was reissued earlier this year on blue vinyl — the EP remains available on CD only as part of the 1987 odds ‘n’ sods collection Dead Letter Office.
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Although the version of “Shaking Through” posted here was part of the same batch of recordings the “Chronic Town” songs were chosen from, it is not one of the five original tracks. As a side note, the band did not originally choose “Wolves, Lower” for inclusion on the EP. They actually wanted “Ages of You” to be on the EP, but instead went with “Wolves, Lower” at the request of I.R.S. Records. Interestingly, it became the only song they re-recorded for the EP, hence the demo version from your post.
Great insights on Chronic Town. Where did you get this information?
I love Chronic Town and consider it – along with Murmur and Reckoning – to be REM at its best. I agree that it’s a shame it hasn’t been remastered. It would be great to have better sound quality and some of these outtakes.
30 years??? Now I’m depressed….thanks for posting though.