R.E.M. is in near completion of their new album and judging from the progress they are in, Spring should be the release date. Bass player Mike Mills said that they are "two-thirds to three-quarters of the way through" but refused to reveal more.
Apart from materials that they played during live shows suggesting a hard-rock theme, Mills is not giving any direct clue regarding their record to hinder expectation. The band "made an agreement we weren't going to say what it is or not because we don't want to have expectations out there in any direction. But, of course, you can go on YouTube and listen to some of the Dublin shows and get a pretty good idea of where we're going."
One thing to note in this new piece is the absence of touring keyboardist Ken Stringfellow, who usually assisted the band's previous records. Mills said, "we're not using very many keyboards, and what we're using I do."
As previously reported, Garret 'Jacknife' Lee is once again tapped to helm the project. Mills described the work with him a "fun process" that allows the band to experiment.
"We've got another three weeks of recording and singing and what little overdubbing we're gonna do," Mills told Billboard.com. "Michael's got a bunch of singing and I've got some backgrounds to do, and we've got a couple songs we hope Michael will finish. And then after the next three weeks or so is the mixing phase."
In the mean time, the band will release a live album on October 16 via Warner Bros. It contains 22 tracks, that includes songs from '2004's album 'Around the Sun' and some rarities like 1984 '(Don't Go Back to) Rockville'