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The Late Movies: 13 Live R.E.M. Performances

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When I heard the news last week that R.E.M. had called it quits, I was a little sad -- but then I realized I had a great excuse for posting old R.E.M. performance videos! R.E.M. was my favorite band in high school, and I still treasure their early albums. Enjoy, and post your favorites in the comments.

"Radio Free Europe"

Live on Letterman, 1983. From Murmur, still my favorite R.E.M. album. Check out the dueling Rickenbackers!

"Sitting Still"

Another great song from Murmur, performed in 1984.

"Gardening at Night"

Chronic Town was so good, you guys. Live in 1984.

"So. Central Rain"

From Reckoning, also on Letterman in 1983, prior to the album's release and the song even having a name.

"I Believe"

From Lifes Rich Pageant, part of Tourfilm (performed during the Green tour, 1990) -- confused yet? Check out the recently re-released Lifes Rich Pageant, notable mostly for its second disc of demos and rarities.

"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"

From Reckoning, 1984. Look how young they are!

"Driver 8"

From Fables of the Reconstruction, live in 1985. During Stipe's first blonde period.

"Fall On Me"

The best song on Lifes Rich Pageant, live on MTV's Unplugged. If you can find a bootleg of the Unplugged performance, it's great -- I wish they'd release an official CD. (Just before this video begins, Stipe says: "This may well be my favorite song in the R.E.M. catalogue.")

"Half a World Away"

One of my favorites from Out of Time, performed on Unplugged.

"Love is All Around"

Mike Mills takes the lead on this Troggs cover from their killer Unplugged set.

"Orange Crush"

Live in 1989, from Green. The audio's way overloaded, but check out the David Byrne-esque Stipe outfit! For comparison, here's the same song from 2003.

"Everybody Hurts"

A lot newer than the other songs in this collection, but emotional and worth a look. 2008?

"It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

The classic from Document, performed on Unplugged. I love the a capella breakdown starting at 3:10, and throughout, watching the joy on the band's faces as it all comes together. See also this version from Tourfilm.

Post Your Favorites

These guys have three decades of performance under their belts, much of it documented nicely on YouTube -- post your favorite links in the comments.

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Animals
Australian Charity Releases Album of Cat-Themed Ballads to Promote Feline Welfare
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An Australian animal charity is helping save the nation’s kitties one torch song at a time, releasing a feline-focused musical album that educates pet owners about how to properly care for their cats.

Around 35,000 cats end up in pounds, shelters, and rescue programs every year in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Microchipping and fixing cats, along with keeping closer tabs on them, could help reduce this number. To get this message out, the RSPCA’s New South Wales chapter created Cat Ballads: Music To Improve The Lives Of Cats.

The five-track recording is campy and fur-filled, with titles like "Desex Me Before I Do Something Crazy" and "Meow Meow." But songs like “I Need You” might tug the heartstrings of ailurophiles with lyrics like “I guess that’s goodbye then/but you’ve done this before/the window's wide open/and so’s the back door/you might think I’m independent/but you’d be wrong.” There's also a special version of the song that's specifically designed for cats’ ears, featuring purring, bird tweets, and other feline-friendly noises.

Together, the tunes remind us how vulnerable our kitties really are, and provide a timely reminder for cat owners to be responsible parents to their furry friends.

“The Cat Ballads campaign coincides with kitten season, which is when our shelters receive a significantly higher number of unwanted kittens as the seasons change,” Dr. Jade Norris, a veterinary scientist with the RSPCA, tells Mental Floss. “Desexing cats is a critical strategy to reduce unwanted kittens.”

Listen to a song from Cat Ballads below, and visit the project’s website for the full rundown.

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technology
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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