Queer Music News: R.E.M. announces breakup; Brandon Hilton releases new video

The big music news of the day is R.E.M.’s announcement that they are “calling it a day.” On their website, the band posted this note followed by comments from band members:

“To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

Queer frontman Michael Stipe had this to add:

“A wise man once said–’the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it.

“I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.

“We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It’s been amazing.”

Interestingly enough, the band had released their last album, Collapse Into Now, just this past March. The album was a smart collection of tracks that both showed outstanding maturity for the band as well as a renewed raucous energy that reminded of their early days.

Now, after 30 years, the band is no longer.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Cameras’ Joel Gibb teams with R.E.M.; Gaga tweets upcoming release

Back in 2009, I listed The Hidden Cameras in my top albums list of the year. That was mostly due to gay frontman Joel Gibb who, despite being a tough interview, manufactured a beautiful package of songs in their album Origin:Orphan. The indie folkster teams up with R.E.M. on the band’s new single, “It Happened Today,” providing back ups for the also-out frontman Michael Stipe. The single is part of R.E.M.’s upcoming album Collapse Into Now, which is slated for a March release. I love it when the gays team up with each other. The song itself is reliably R.E.M. and a decent but not overwhelming intro to the band’s 15th studio release.

The video below doesn’t show the band at all, but is reminiscent of George Michael’s “Praying for Time” video where the lyrics are the stars — literally.

—  Rich Lopez