R.E.M. set to release new material

A release date has finally been set for R.E.M.’s long-awaited new followup to “Accelerate,” “Collapse Into Now” on Warner Bros. — March 8.

But the band is making two tracks available early. Fans who sign up for their e-mail list at www.remhq.com will receive a free download of “Discoverer,” and if you preorder the album on iTunes, you’ll get an instant download of “It Happened Today.”

Again, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills enlisted the shrewd textural ear of Garrett “Jacknife” Lee, who oversaw “Accelerate,” as well as gems by Editors and Snow Patrol. But this time there’s some added oomph.

“Collapse” was tracked in New Orleans at the Music Shed, and also in Berlin at historic Hansa Studios. And it boasts a great roster of guest stars: Peaches, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye and Eddie Vedder all put in appearances.

Other featured cuts are: “All The Best,” “Uberlin,” “Oh My Heart,” “Every Day Is Yours To Win,” “Mine Smell Like Honey,” “Walk It Back,” “Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter,” “That Someone Is You,” “Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I,” and “Blue.”

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