The band's manager Bertie Downs announced over at remhq the other day that "the band is back in the studio here in Vancouver, and it is fun to witness the songs taking shape - my stock answer to 'What's it sound like?' remains the same as ever: A really good REM record, and that is the truth. The tunes are flowing, the guys are happy, and everyone is eagerly anticipating what promises to be an action-packed year."
There is also set to be a Greatest Hits package from REM in October this year according to Downs, with the tracklisting yet to be finalised.
"it will have a couple of new/unreleased songs on it, as well as what the band considers highlights of its Warner Bros career - all the way back to 'Green' in 1988, and we are all sifting though various possibilities and surprises as well, since this is a little different than putting together a studio record. Quite a process, and it will be interesting to hear the results in a few months."
The band have confirmed a "one off special concert" mid year in Vienna. The show on July 8th will take place in front of Vienna's famous Schloss Schonbrunn monument. The performance is expected to be recorded for a DVD release.
Other European dates are set for the summer, with the band in the UK at Glastonbury, T In The Park and the Manchester Movie Festival, as announced here.
And as Bertie Downs says: "The tunes are flowing, the guys are happy, and everyone is eagerly anticipating what promises to be an action-packed year"