R.E.M. Snags New Producer

September 22 [12:00 EDT] -- Producer Pat McCarthy will be the head man at the console when R.E.M. heads back to the studio, ending the band's 10-year run with Scott Litt, according to reports out of the band's home town of Athens, Georgia.

McCarthy worked with R.E.M on their last two albums as an engineer, and has also worked with U2, The Wallflowers and Counting Crows. Bassist Mike Mills told the The Athens Banner Herald that Litt's departure was partly due to his increasing workload at his new record label, Outpost Records, launched last year in conjunction with Geffen.

The new R.E.M. CD will also feature a number of guest musicians including Young Fresh Fellows guitarist Scott McCaughey, who toured with R.E.M. in 1995 and played on their last album, "New Adventures In Hi-Fi." Also on tap is Screaming Trees' drummer Barrett Martin, who plays with R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck in the side project Tuatara.

R.E.M. have reportedly been working on new material at

Peter Buck's house in Hawaii. Pre-production begins in earnest next month either in Hawaii, Athens or San Francisco, depending on who you talk to, with the final sessions scheduled for early next year.

Meanwhile record label EMI, who purchased the band's back catalog from the now defunct IRS label, is issuing a special limited edition release available for six months only, called "In The Attic." The 15-track CD, out in early October, includes a collection of demos, alternative tracks, live performances, B-sides and the previously unreleased song, "Tired of Singing Trouble."