R.E.M., circa 2010

Bassist Mike Mills revealed the first details of R.E.M.’s 15th studio album, Collapse Into Now, on Wednesday, telling Spin.com that the record — due out sometime in early 2011 — features a “more expansive” sound than 2008’s hard-rocking Accelerate, thanks, in part, to guest appearances by the likes of Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye and Peaches.

The record, produced by Accelerate knob-twister Jacknife Lee, will feature 12 songs, including “It Happened Today,” with Pearl Jam’s Vedder on vocals; a yet-to-be named song, “which Mills promises will feature the word ‘alligator’ in the title,” featuring electro artist Peaches on vocals and Smith sideman Kaye on guitar; and the closing track, “Blue,” with vocals from Smith, who previously sang on R.E.M.’s 1996 single “E-Bow the Letter.”

Mills contrasts the trio’s new, unusually guest-heavy album to Accelerate, for which he says the band made the songs as short and fast as they could: “So we wanted this new one to be more expansive. We wanted t put more variety into it and not limit ourselves to any one type of song. There are some really slow, beautiful songs; there are some nice, mid-tempo ones; and then there are three or four rockers.”

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