Michael Stipe Thinks the Koch Brothers' Power Is Just Kind of Stinky

Categories: R.E.M., Video

We ran into R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe on Thursday near the brand-new David H. Koch Plaza, outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and asked him what he thought of the gleaming new fountains.

Stipe says he likes the new fountains in front of the Met -- but the Koch brothers? Not so much.


100 & Single: Buy An Adam Lambert Album, Strike A Tiny Blow For Gay Rights

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About a year ago, the movie Bridesmaids opened in the U.S. and was the subject of a rather unusual awareness campaign.

Female movie fans, largely independently of the film's producers, compelled women to go see the film in its opening weekend and defy common Hollywood wisdom that non-rom-com movies aimed at ladies were box-office laggards. To many cultural critics, it was a dubious effort: a Judd Apatow-produced flick that was still, after all, about a wedding—and with one notorious scene riddled with bodily humiliations—this was a feminist cause célèbre?

The thing is, it kinda worked. Bridesmaids opened very well for a "chick flick," with $26 million in ticket sales, and went on to gross just shy of $170 million domestically, soundly beating such summer tentpoles as Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class. The fact that the star-free, Kristin Wiig-led movie was actually good suggests it would've found its audience under any circumstances. We'll never know, but given Hollywood's ever-increasing promotional emphasis on opening weekends, it's totally defensible that the impassioned grass-roots launch was critical to the movie's ultimate success. It also sent a consumer-driven message ("This half of the population shouldn't be ignored or pandered to") that should've been screamingly obvious in 2011 but somehow wasn't.

One year later, I'd like to invite you to get behind another consumerist message that, in 2012, should be equally uncontroversial: Being openly gay shouldn't prevent you from having a No. 1 album in the United States.

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Going Back To Wellsville: Six Great Musical Moments From The Adventures Of Pete & Pete

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Michael Stipe as Sludgesicle-peddling Captain Scrummy.
Like a defiant cannonball splash disturbing the tranquility of an adult swim, the Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Pete & Pete lives on. Over three seasons between 1993 and 1996, the show followed the adventures of two brothers each named Pete Wrigley, their parents, their friends, and the entire population of the fictitious suburban town known as Wellsville.

Barely noticed at the time, the cult of Pete & Pete has slowly gained traction in the intervening years. In tribute to that fact, the original cast reunited in Los Angeles last November for the first time since 1996. It's New York's turn on Friday, when the Bowery Ballroom hosts two shows titled "An Evening With the Cast and Crew of The Adventures of Pete & Pete."

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Pazz & Jop 2011: Michael Tedder On Fucked Up's Majesty, Danny Brown's Cunning Skills, And The Joy Formidable's Outro Power

To supplement this year's Pazz & Jop launch, Sound of the City asked a few critics to expand on the reasonings behind their voting. Here, Michael Tedder breaks down his entire ballot, and along the way he talks about about the operatic heights of Fucked Up, the shredding ability of Annie Clark and Ritzy Bryan, and the power of the "boof."

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Fucked Up, David Comes to Life (30 points): I was starting to get a sense of the way the wind was blowing for this year's roundup, and I'm generally aware that aggressive music, no matter how smart and inventive, has a ceiling for critical support. (I should point out that I submitted my ballot before the Spin endorsement.) So, just like I did last year with Titus Andronicus' The Monitor (I will not accept the idea that anyone this decade wrote a better album about America now, or a better album period than that), I went all in, points wise, to try to get my favorite album in to the top ten. Like last year, I failed, and I regret nothing. Anyway, people focusing on the intentionally confusing plot of this rock opera are not paying enough attention to the operatic arrangements (that term is not used as loosely as you imagine) Mike Haliechuk and company are offering up here, like some bizarre amalgam of Crass, Queen and Chavez. Also, I still don't know how Veronica died, and I'm surprised that in these #OWS days no one is discussing the working-class fatigue subtext ("those better days have passed us by") on display here.

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Eight Posts That You'll Probably See Somewhere On The Internet Now That R.E.M. Has Called It Quits

Categories: Lists, R.E.M.

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R.I.P., R.E.M.
8. I Wanted To Be Wrong: Why Around The Sun Is R.E.M.'s Stealth Masterpiece

7. One Time I Stood Across The Street From Michael Stipe's House: A 4,000-Word Memoir About Five Minutes That Changed My Life Forever

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A Huge Big Star Tribute, Starring Folks From R.E.M, Teenage Fanclub, And Yo La Tengo, Is Coming To Town Next Month

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Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers is quite possibly the most beloved power-pop album of all time, and certainly the most poignantly morose, a heartbreaking state only exacerbated by frontman Alex Chilton's death last year. Now comes word of a full-album live tribute with a crazy all-star cast, all trying their damndest to turn "Holocaust" into a celebration.

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Download Sharon Van Etten's Set Saturday Night At Bowery Ballroom

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Pic by Mike Benigno.
Sharon Van Etten's show Saturday night at Bowery Ballroom was both an intimate family affair and an acknowledgment that the once-cultish folkie is moving on to bigger, better things: One of those shows where everyone wants to sing along but they don't want to break the spell. Which makes it an ideal bootleg situation, actually; NYC Taper was there to capture the whole thing.

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"There Is No Way To Overstate How Passionately Some People Hate This Record": In Praise of eMusic's Clear-Eyed Appraisal Of The R.E.M. Catalog

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One fear, as fine digital purveyors like Rhapsody and eMusic expand and mutate and more frequently generate fine music criticism of their own, is that they'll shy away from, well, criticism -- as they are literally in the music business, they'll be loathe to talk trash even when trash-talk may be warranted. To assuage these concerns, here we have eMusic's J. Edward Keyes, on R.E.M. Try and guess the record whose discourse begins, "To steal a line from Greil Marcus, 'What is this shit?'"


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