'Sun' Rises On New R.E.M. Album

R.E.M.'s next Warner Bros. album will be titled "Around the Sun," according to the group's official Web site. As previously reported, the set will be released Oct. 4 internationally and the following

R.E.M.'s next Warner Bros. album will be titled "Around the Sun," according to the group's official Web site. As previously reported, the set will be released Oct. 4 internationally and the following day in North America. First single "Leaving New York" will be released commercially Sept. 27 outside North America.

Among the other tracks being eyed for the new release are "Wanderlust," "I'm Gonna DJ" and "Final Straw," which was previously released online and debuted during R.E.M.'s 2003 tour. It will also appear on the "Future Soundtrack of America" compilation, due Aug. 17 via Barsuk Records.

"We wanted to say something immediately about our displeasure with the invasion of Iraq," R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills told radio host Al Franken this afternoon about the track.

The release of "Around the Sun" will come in the midst of the just-announced Vote for Change tour, which will find the band teaming with Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty and Bright Eyes for five shows in U.S. presidential election battleground states. The artists will play Oct. 1 at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, Oct. 2 at Cleveland's Gund Arena, Oct. 3 at Ann Arbor, Mich.'s Crisler Arena, Oct. 5 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and Oct. 8 at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando.

Tickets for the shows go on-sale Aug. 21 to the general public; it is unclear if members of the R.E.M. fan club will have special pre-sale opportunities, which will be available to members of tour sponsor MoveOn.org. Organizers told reporters today that Springsteen had personally invited the other acts to join him at the shows.

"It just shows you how desperate times are," Mills told Franken. "[Defeating President Bush] is a life or death matter. [But] we're trying to keep it on the high road as much as possible. We can still make our point and do it with some class and dignity."