MUSIC NEWS OF THE WORLD: New REM Album

R.E.M.'S NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI ROCKS LONG & HARDAddicted To Noise editor Michael Goldberg reports: As usual, there won't be a photo of R.E.M. on the cover of the group's upcoming album, which is titled New Adventures In Hi-Fi. What you will find are some long songs, and plenty of them; the album clocks in at 65 minutes, 25 seconds. Six of the album's 14 songs are over five minutes long, including "Leave," which is a substantial seven minutes, seventeen seconds. The album, out September 10, was produced by Scott Litt. Four songs -- "Departure," "Undertow," "Binky the Doormat" and "The Wake-up Bomb" were written and recorded backstage and at sound checks during the group's 1995 Monster world tour (those tracks were then worked on in the studio). The other ten -- "E-bow The Letter," "How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us," "Bittersweet Me," "New Test Leper," "Be Mine," "Zither," "So Fast, So Numb," "Low Desert," "Electrolite" and "Leave" -- were recorded at studios in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Athens, Georgia, although most of the work took place in Seattle according to a source close to the band. Patti Smith, who has become friends with Michael Stipe, makes a high-profile appearance on "E-bow The Letter." "For those who have heard it [the album], the common comparison is that it falls between Automatic For The People and Monster," says our source. "It has the depth and range of Automatic. It's a deeper, richer album like Automatic, but like Monster it's a guitar raging kind of album. At least some of the songs hark back to 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?' and 'Star 69.' It has better rock stuff than Automatic. The softer stuff is very strong too. It hits a lot of places across the spectrum: acoustic guitar moments, drumless moments. But then there are things as raging as they've ever done." A second source who has heard the album says "there's some techno-reverb stuff happening on one track which would lend itself to a dance remix. Over all, it's mellower than Monster but cooler than Automatic For the People. " The group plan to make a video for the first single, but they haven't settled on a director yet. They will not tour, and in fact are planning to take a year off. "They're gonna scatter," says our first source.ALICE IN CHAINS "UNPLUGGED" ALBUM DUE SOONAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: A live album documenting Alice In Chains' appearance on MTV Unplugged earlier this year will be released on July 30. The set, recorded April 10 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Majestic Theatre, will feature the youth culture anthems: "Nutshell," "Brother," "Sludge Factory," Down In A Hole," "No Excuses," "Would?," "Rooster," "Angry Chair," "Heaven Beside You," "Got Me Wrong," "Frogs," the first single, "Over Now," and a new song "The Killer Is Me." As for future tour plans, a source close to the band said that their four opening gigs for KISS were "excellent," and that the band really enjoyed themselves doing the Kiss dates, but that, as of yet, plans for a more extensive tour will have to wait until "the time is right and everyone feels comfortable with doing it." In other news, Alice guitarist Jerry Cantrell continues his budding acting career with a cameo in the new Cameron (Singles) Crowe movie, Jerry Maguire, which stars Tom Cruise as a sports agent. The method actor Cantrell apparently plays a Kinko's worker, but sources wouldn't confirm reports that he spent close to two weeks researching the role by collating, making copies and change at a Des Moines branch of the copy giant.ATN editor Michael Goldberg reports: Pearl Jam's fourth album, No Code (due out August 17), often finds Eddie Vedder in a contemplative mood, singing about things cosmic and, yes, spiritual. The album, which is 49 minutes, 46 seconds in length, begins with "Sometimes," a slow, quiet almost jazzy pop song with a very non-pop song lyric. "Large fingers pushin' me," Vedder sings. "You're god and you got big hands...the challenges you give me." The song builds in intensity as Vedder delivers the chorus: "Sometimes I know, sometimes I rise, sometimes I fall, sometimes I don't, sometimes I cringe, sometimes I live, sometimes I walk, sometimes I kneel, sometimes I speak nothing at all..." Musically, this is by far Pearl Jam's most accomplished and challenging album. For one of the biggest and most important rock bands in the world, nothing would have been easier than coming back at us with a dozen catchy hard rock tunes. Instead, they have come up with an experimental work that ranges from the low-key "Sometimes" to the hard punk "Lukin," from the infectious raw rock of "Hail, Hail" and mood-shifting "Red Mosquito" (by the way, the correct title is "Red Mosquito," not "Red Mos Quito") to the Hawaiian swing vibe of the album's closing song, "Around the Bend." Clearly, time spent with Neil Young has opened up this band. Young's influence can be felt in the looser, more noisy approach a la Crazy Horse (particularly evident on "Smile") to their willingness to take chances, and to risk losing their massive audience in pursuit of their art. Highlights of this superb album are "Off He Goes," a mostly acoustic country-folk song that features some breath-taking interplay between guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, "Smile," with it's Bob Dylan/Neil Young-style harp and the lyric "Don't it make you smile when the sun don't shine," and the obvious hit single, "Mankind," in which the group makes fun of radio-friendly rock even as they deliver a song the bests most of what actually gets on the radio. And let's not forget "Who You Are," one of the weirdest songs anyone has ever chosen as a single. Over a tribal rhythm and music that has an exotic East Indian feel to it, Vedder sings, "Transcendental consequence, to transcend, where we are, who are we, who we are..." That song, and others such as "I'm Open," find Eddie Vedder focusing not on his problems as a rock star, but on how he can stay open to new experiences, grow spiritually and become a better person while he's here on this earth. As he sings in "Who You Are," "Seen it all, not at all."TOM PETTY: HE'S THE ONEAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Tom Petty's soundtrack for Edward Burns' (The Brothers McMullen) new movie, She's the One contains a number of surprises for fans of the perpetually low-key singer. Not only does it mark the first time Petty has taken the soundtrack plunge, including writing the instrumental score to the film, but it also reunites Petty with the Heartbreakers for their first album together since 1991's Into the Great Wide Open .Yes, it's true, Petty covers a Beck tune ("Asshole") on the Rick Rubin-produced album, in addition to a Lucinda Williams tune, "Change the Locks." But the fun doesn't stop there. "Hung Up and Overdue" features Ringo Starr on drums and Beach Boy Carl Wilson on backing vocals. And, wait, there's more. Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham sings back-up on "Walls (Circus)," "Climb That Hill," and "Asshole." As is usually the case with these things, only ten of the fifteen songs on the album, Songs And Music From the Motion Picture She's The One are actually featured in the film, including "Walls (Circus)," "Grew Up Fast," Angel Dream (No. 4)," "Hope You Never," "California," "Walls (No. 3)," "Angel Dream (No. 2)," "Hung Up and Overdue," and the two score pieces "Hope on Board" and "Airport."KRIST NOVOSELIC TO PEN NIRVANA ALBUM LINER NOTESFormer Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic listened to over 100 hours of live Nirvana material to come up with the songs that will appear on the live album, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, which will be released Oct. 8. The album includes material beginning with shows the group did in 1989, prior to the success of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Nevermind, right up through the final 1994 European tour. Liner notes for the album will be written by Novoselic. The album's title refers to the river through Aberdeen, Washington, the small town where Kurt Cobain grew up. There was a period during his troubled youth when Cobain slept under the North Aberdeen Bridge that crosses the Wishkah. The album is "all really aggressive stuff," according to a source who has heard it. "It will really get across a sense of what a Nirvana show was like."OFF-THE-(ATN) WIRE: Chris Isaak's new album, which was recorded in Mexico last month and includes an amazing cover of Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely," is tentatively titled The Baja Sessions. The album, which mixes some obscure covers with new Isaak originals, should be out before Christmas...Perry Farrell's adverturous ENIT festival is running into trouble. Farrell wants the shows to take place in outdoor settings, and to run through the night. We've learned that a Raleigh, North Carolina show has been canceled, and the number of festival dates may be scaled back. At present, tickets for the festival, which begins on August 14 in Cleveland, are on sale for a total of five shows...Primus' Les Claypool called to tell Addicted To Noise that, yes, drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander is no longer a member of Primus. Claypool told us that while guitarist Larry LaLonde and himself wanted the group to move in one musical direction, Herb was headed in another. "Over time this developed into a rift that was eating away at the stability of the band," said Claypool. A new drummer is expected to be announced shortly, and Primus expect to begin recording another album in December...Ricki Lee Jones has recorded a funky version of the old Donovan hit, "Mellow Yellow," while Stevie Nicks is currently in the studio cutting Tom Petty's "Freefalling"...

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