Just weeks after R.E.M.'s breakup following a three-decade run, a rare cassette from the band's earliest days has hit the Internet. Thanks to a blog, "The Power of Independent Trucking," and a generous reader, R.E.M. diehards and alt-rock audiophiles can hear a six-track cassette demo, originally recorded in April 1981 with producer Mitch Easter.
Laid down at Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, NC, the early cuts were intended as a promotional tool for Michael Stipe and company on their first visit to New York City.
The cassette contains two different takes of three different songs: "Sitting Still," "White Tornado," and "Radio Free Europe," which would eventually become R.E.M.'s debut single three months later on Hib-Tone Records.
According to guitarist Peter Buck, only 400 copies were made back in 1981.
R.E.M. announced its amicable split Sept. 21, following 15 studio records, numerous hit songs, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2007.
A career retrospective, "Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011," is due for a Nov. 15 release via Warner Brothers.