Early R.E.M. Clip Like Any Local Band Ever

There are lots of R.E.M. shows on YouTube including some very early ones with varying quality… this one from 1982 includes all the between song back-and-forth typical of a local club show between band and audience, and Stipe is endearingly engaged and not yet into his spaced-out frontman persona he’d adopt not long after this…asking for requests, dedicating songs to people, and acting like every local band playing their favorite bar.

via R.E.M. – Live at the Raleigh Underground (10th October 1982) (PRIVATE REMASTER) – YouTube

Treadmill Trackstar Says Goodbye To Analog



TheĀ  concept of a not-for-profit band isn’t necessarily a new one, as most bands fail to make any significant amount of money from their efforts, laudable or not. Former Columbia, SC resident Angelo Gianni, who has called Asheville, North Carolina home for many years now, has given this method a new internet-age twist, however, with his band Treadmill Trackstar and their newly released album Goodbye to Analog, the third to be issued via fan funding and sales that are plowed directly back into the next album with nobody from the band actually getting paid from the proceeds–the fourth is already underway, actually, even as this one comes out.

All that wouldn’t really matter much if the music wasn’t great, which it is. Gianni and company flirted with the mainstream back in the late 1990s (their 1997 album Only This came out on the Hootie & the Blowfish-curated label Breaking Records), but the last few sets of songs are stronger and more mature than even that commercial ‘high point’.

Eschewing the quieter acoustics of the previous album Leaving Ohio, Gianni brings back the snarling electrics again from the get-go, with “Life Is A Fatal Disease” blasting out of the speakers like a lost Smashing Pumpkins anthem. Its fatalistic lyrical outlook is typical of Gianni’s long-term worldview, which is resigned to everything sucking, pretty much. The difference as he has aged into things like marriage and parenthood is that there are silver linings and positives to be taken from even the everyday crap of life.

“Dying In Style” begins in fine despairing fashion, but the hope for satisfaction is palpable in lines such as, “you know dreams almost never pay, so you know I feast on the kids to live.” Maybe it’s a commentary on our youth-centric culture, or perhaps it’s acknowledgement that his children are giving him a reason to keep on keeping on.

The guitars abate occasionally for quieter numbers, such as “Rewrite Genesis,” which with its cello intro and gently loping drum machine beat sounds suspiciously like a Contemporary Christian tune except for the lyrics:

I don’t need God anymore, she gives me communion, gives me body and blood,

I don’t need God any more, we’ll make our own sun and moon and stars

I don’t need God any more I found something I can touch to believe in

I don’t need God at all, when I pray to her she hears me.

Gianni has never been violently anti-religion, but he’s clear on where he stands on spirituality, which he takes from his personal relationships. He’s still searching, however, something made plain on a song such as “Looking For Light,” which aches for some sense of home among the thorns of life:

“That town I left forever, this one is turning into the same, oh why do we try so hard to run past the length of the chain”

It’s a frustrated search, one that has kept Gianni’s creative muse at work for years with no real expectation of ‘success’ in worldly terms. His efforts with Treadmill Trackstar may not be for monetary profit, but one could argue that he’s more than getting his money’s worth for the therapeutic effect of releasing all this angst and agony in exquisite musical form.

Side note: longtime Treadmill fans will want to notice that cellist Katie Hamilton returns to the group for the first time since that 1997 album; Heidi Carey and drummer Tony Lee both sat out these sessions.

Check out the entire album on Bandcamp below, where it’s available as a Name Your Price download:


25 More Columbia Bands I Miss

Today’s edition of The Columbia Free Times includes lots of coverage of their 25th anniversary, but as a longtime contributor to the music section of the paper it was the 25 Bands We Miss story that most interested us. I’d agree with every one of the bands listed in the piece, but figured I would add another 25 myself, some of which predate the paper’s existence:


Bedlam Hour

Betty Ford Experience


Douglas Chay and the Deal Box

The Cherry Orchard


F 13

Glam Dogs

Glass Bead Game

General Jack & the Grease Guns

God’s Comics/Ultraviolets


Robert Kendrick

Lay Quiet Awhile


Midnight Society

Pain in Life



Reluctant Debutantes

Rockabilly 88’s

Silers Bald


25 Ft. Stanly

Tykes With Guns

Thirty Great Columbia Bands

So today I see that a couple days ago Paste posted a pretty impressive video list of “Thirty Great Athens Bands,” and my first thought was “okay, I can come up with that many from right here in Columbia (who aren’t Hootie or Crossfade…), right? Here’s my list, loosely arranged in chronological order. As with any list like this I surely left off your favorite band, so let me know–post a link to their video in the comments.

1.Bachelors Of Art

2.Lay Quiet Awhile

3.Stretch Armstrong

4.Bedlam Hour



7.Treadmill Trackstar

8.Isabelle’s Gift

9.Josh Roberts and the Hinges

10.Heist and the Accomplice

11.Siler’s Bald

12.Sourwood Honey

13.The South

14.Whiskey Tango Revue

15.American Gun

16.Woodwork Roadshow


18.Private Life of David Reed

19.The Unawares

20.Rockefeller Horsecollar

21.The Restoration

22.Kemp Ridley

23.Toro Y Moi

24.Coma Cinema


26.Marry A Thief


28.Sea Wolf Mutiny

29.Magnetic Flowers

30.Daylight Hours