As both the frontman of the acclaimed Let's Active
and as a producer, Mitch Easter
long stood at the forefront of the American jangle pop movement. A native of Winston-Salem, NC -- home to his famed Drive-In Studios -- he followed a short tenure in the Sneakers
by forming Let's Active
in 1981; that same year, his first major production job, R.E.M.
's debut single "Radio Free Europe," was issued on the tiny Hibtone label, quickly becoming an underground sensation. R.E.M.
's Chronic Town
EP followed in 1982, and with the next year's landmark Murmur
album, the group emerged as one of the most important new acts in American pop music; its success also brought Easter
considerable attention, as did the 1983 release of the debut Let's Active
, which launched the cult hit "Every Word Means No."
In quick succession, Easter
helmed a series of underground releases from Chris Stamey
(It's a Wonderful Life
), the Windbreakers
(Any Monkey with a Typewriter
), and Game Theory
), in the process becoming virtually synonymous with the jangle pop sound. Let's Active
's Cypress followed in 1984, as did R.E.M.
's sophomore effort, Reckoning
's final work with the band. After two more Let's Active
albums -- 1986's superb Big Plans for Everybody
and 1988's Every Dog Has His Day
-- the group effectively ceased to exist; Easter
then turned almost exclusively to production, working with acts ranging from the Connells
to the highly touted Australian band the Hummingbirds
to British shoegazers Moose
. After helming Velvet Crush
's acclaimed Teenage Symphonies to God
, he also went on the road with the group; albums from Pavement
continues to produce at his studio, the Fidelitorium, while also playing in the bands Shalini
(who have released three albums) and the Fiendish Minstrels. In 2007, Easter
released his long-awaited first solo album, Dynamico