Plus there's news of UK shows

R.E.M are to perform at this year’s South By Southwest Festival as they gear up for the release of their new album ‘Accelerate’.

The band will follow their headline slot at Florida’s Langerado Festival on March 8 with a slot at the Austin bash on March 12, where they will play at Stubbs Bar-B-Q.

The new album’s release follows on March 31.

The follow-up to 2004’s ‘Around The Sun’ was produced by Jacknife Lee, who has previously worked with the likes of Bloc Party and Snow Patrol.

An official countdown for the album has already begun on Ninetynights.com, which launched on New Year’s Day (January 1).

The site features a new high-definition video snippet each day that can be downloaded then edited, embedded, or manipulated however the user wishes.

Each snippet is being posted in high-resolution HD format and available for download for a period of 24 hours before being archived on the site as a low-resolution stream.

The band are expected to confirm UK live dates shortly.

The Shockwaves NME Awards 2008 are coming soon – and it’s time to have your say. Vote now by heading to NME.COM/awardsvote and you could win VIP tickets to the ceremony, which takes place in London on February 28.