R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has prompted speculation the band is close to releasing a secret new album - by making a cryptic confession at a charity event. The Everybody Hurts hitmakers haven't released any new material since 2004's Around The Sun, and fans haven't been anticipating a 14th studio LP. But Stipe set tongues wagging when he told a reporter at a celebrity lunchbox auction in New York last week (06Dec07), "Let me tell you a secret: we have a great f**king record in the bag. It's a big change. It's coming out on April Fool's Day."