Bruce Springsteen has announced on his official website that he and the E Street Band will be embarking on a 2012 world tour in support of a brand new album, ending months of feverish speculation by his fans.

The tour will kick off in Europe, beginning in the middle of May and running until the end of July. Fans should wait until the announcement of cities and dates, expected later this week, before cashing in their frequent flyer miles and lining up their travel plans.

As for the new album, Springsteen says “we want you to know that the music is almost done (but still untitled), (and) we have almost settled on the release date (but not quite yet.)” OK, so that’s not a ton to go on, but the fact the he’s using the word “we” pretty clearly indicates this will be an E Street band record, and not another solo venture.

This album and tour, of course, will be the first for the band since the death of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who passed away in June at age 69 following a massive stroke.