10 Albums to Fill the REM-Shaped Hole in Your Life

Over the last couple of years, when our favorite bands have broken up, we’ve written a couple of posts suggesting new(ish) bands whose work you might enjoy if you like the work of the band who’ve just split. Being as we’re big REM fans, we figured we’d do the same when we got the news they’d gone their separate ways. So we sat down and started thinking and… well, it’s harder than it looks, really. You’d think there’d be heaps of bands that sound like REM these days, but curiously enough, there aren’t. Or not good ones, anyway. Sure, there was the slew of bad ’90s-era REM imitators like Live, and there are bands like Coldplay citing them as an influence. But beyond that, it’s something of a struggle. Still, we’ve soldiered on manfully, choosing ten of our favorite REM records and pairing them with ten newer records you might enjoy if you like them. (And let’s be clear here — we’re not suggesting the records we’ve chosen necessarily sound like the REM albums, just that they may appeal for similar reasons.) Your ideas are, as ever, welcome.

If you like Murmur, try… Part Timer’s Reel to Reel

One of the many delights of REM’s wondrous debut album was the way it created its own self-contained world. While its influences were clear, it sounded like nothing else — and it still doesn’t. As such, it’s pretty much impossible to find a direct musical parallel with Murmur — but there are a couple of records that have had a similar effect on us over the last couple of years, the sense of being drawn into a completely immersive musical experience. One is Carapace, the debut album for Australian duo Children of the Wave (which we highly recommend checking out). But a closer parallel is probably the gently beautiful sound of English musician John McCaffrey, aka Part Timer, whose debut album shares Murmur‘s hard-to-understand vocals and chiming guitars, although it’s a far more downtempo and quiet proposition than REM’s album.