Near Wild Heaven... not near enough.
I'm sitting outside on the fourteenth of April in pleasant New Haven, Connecticut. The sun is shining through the virgin green buds of the Linden trees, casting a shadow upon the front porch on which I sit, laptop by my side. Bees buzz in the breeze, too placid to sting or even move. The temperature is a beautiful 73 degrees Fahrenheit, and R.E.M.'s 1991 record "Out of Time" is playing.
These are the days for which this album was made. I think I'm happier than I've been in months. What changed? Such is the paradox of Summer, the season during which one's troubles seem to simply drift away, as if they were never even there. The key to making what we know of as a "Summer Album" is to emulate this very feeling.
The group's previous LP Green presented them with two very different possibilities as to what path the band could go down musically. …