R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck are apparently as excited as their fans about their upcoming 15th studio release, "Collapse Into Now." Bassist Mills calls the 12-track collection "our best record since 'Out of Time,'" the 1991 career-defining release that earned the band three Grammy Awards and sold over 18 million copies. Guitarist Buck agrees, mentioning in the Feb. 17 edition of Rolling Stone that, "This is, song for song, the best thing we've ever done ... A lot of people say we did our best work in the early '90s. But 15 years later, here we are again."
Due out March 8 and featuring guest spots by Peaches, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, "Collapse Into Now" was produced by Garret "Jacknife" Lee, who manned the boards for the band's previous album, 2008's "Accelerate." Mills describes the new project, which is the band's last record for its longtime label Warner Bros., as a compilation of "balls-to-the-wall rockers, slow sad songs [and] great mid-tempo songs in the tradition of R.E.M. We had quality, top to bottom."
Despite the alternative-rock trio's enthusiasm, however, R.E.M. have announced that they will not tour in support of the album. "We don't tour to prop up records -- that's not why we play live music," Mills explains in the latest issue of the rock magazine, which is currently on stands.
Longtime R.E.M. collaborators Scott McCaughey, on guitar, and drummer Bill Rieflin also worked on the new album.