Reckoning (Deluxe Edition)

Murmur is the more inventive of R.E.M.'s early albums, but their second disc, the powerful Reckoning, established the band as bona fide leaders of the new American indie-rock underground. Drummer Bill Berry shines here, propelling the spiky interplay of guitars and bass on "Harborcoat" and clarifying the chiming, radio-friendly folk rock of "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)." Michael Stipe's voice peels away new layers of emotion, especially in the brooding "Camera," which remains one of R.E.M.'s most exquisite songs. The extra disc is a 1984 show in Chicago, which includes the obligatory Velvet Underground cover ("Femme Fatale") as well as a pair of songs, "Driver 8" and "Hyena," that wouldn't show up on disc for years.