It’s January and you know what that means: just two months ’til everybody packs up and subsists on tacos, margs, and indie rock for a week. And we’d been hearing a murmur here and there about this particular possibility, but a recent mailing to South By Southwest badgeholders has it confirmed — R.E.M. will be down in Austin for this year’s industry showcase spotlighting the best in aspiring musical talent. Which sort of makes sense, given the fallen titans recent record sales trajectory; yes the whole industry’s seeing a crestfall, but it’s not quite piracy that’s sent Stipe’s guys on this recent fall. But high hopes abound for the band’s 14th album Accelerate, which is out April 1st, has a new website, and Stipe calls their fastest in 20 years. But also it’s being produced by Jacknife Lee, who’s lent his arena-friendly touch to the most recent Snow Patrol, Editors, and Bloc Party LPs. So while Michael says the band’s focus is razor sharp, let’s see if Lee let’s it cut through Jacknife’s recent, billowy sound. We’re hopeful.
Along with R.E.M., the diligent SXSW lineup trackers at austin360.com also list the Kills, Daniel Lanois, Sons & Daughters, Cheveu, and Lightspeed Champion as recently confirmed for the festival. Stay tuned for more comprehensive lineup info as it trickles out. And dude book that hotel room already.
ALSO — Happy 48th birthday, Michael Stipe!