With R.E.M deciding to call time while still at the top of their game, it’s always good to hear of new music from the band’s members. Guitarist Peter Buck’s latest creative outing is unplanned and spontaneous, but still very welcome.

It turns out that Buck bumped into Joseph Arthur - a prolific singer-songwriter who’d opened for R.E.M in the past - in the small Mexican town of Todos Santos. (In addition to releasing a constant stream of solo albums and EPs, Arthur has also been part of the the bands Fistful of Mercy – with Dhani Harrison and Ben Harper – and RNDM – with Richard Stuverud and Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament.)

REM

Buck and Arthur got jamming and according to Rolling Stone, came up with eight songs in eight hours. A few days later they demo-ed the tunes live for a local audience and now they’ve got record label attention. In fact, the new band – they’re calling themselves Arthur Buck – will release a new album and tour North America and Europe this year.

Both Buck and Arthur’s most recent material had been more intense before this, so both musicians were surprised with the upbeat optimism of the songs they’d written together. According to Arthur, “All of a sudden it was like I had this musical partner and friend, and that relieved the music of the burden of the self, if that makes sense,” while Buck says the new album is, “a very forward-looking record, lyrically. The music has a questing kind of feel. We were making it up as we went along."