Over the last 15 years or so, R.E.M. fans have grown accustomed to three-to-four-year waits between new albums -- but it looks like the band is speeding things up for its next release.

With its most recent album, 'Collapse Into Now,' a mere four months old, R.E.M. is already in an Athens, Georgia studio working on the follow-up -- and fans can follow their progress via a series of snapshots that singer Michael Stipe is posting along the way.

The quick turnaround reflects a continuation of the relatively speedy approach the band took when recording 'Collapse,' which came together over a mere 12 weeks. Given that the album marked the end of their long-term deal with Warner Bros., there's also a chance the next record will mark their first non-Warners recording since 1987's 'Document.'

While forging ahead, R.E.M. is also looking back -- 25 years back -- with a deluxe re-issue of their landmark 1986 album, 'Lifes Rich Pageant,' due for release this Tuesday, July 12.

[Ultimate Classic Rock]