R.E.M. will release their thirteenth album, Around the Sun, on October 5th. The politically charged set will be preceded by the first single, "Leaving New York," at the end of September."
"This isn't a downer of a record," singer Michael Stipe told Rolling Stone. "Even the most depressing R.E.M. song is going to have a glimmer of hope in it. That's just me, I can't help myself. But there's some stuff on here that's pretty hard-core, and fairly political."
Stipe says the single is a love song, but other tracks find the group -- multi-instrumentalists Peter Buck and Mike Mills along with new drummer Bill Rieflin -- attacking more heated issues. The album features a new version of the simmering Internet-only release "Final Straw" and "I'm Gonna DJ," about the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle.
R.E.M. will also participate in the Vote for Change tour, which will visit key battleground states in October, leading up to the November presidential election. Stipe and Co. will share a stage with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Bright Eyes, starting October 1st in Philadelphia.