Category Archives: Damon Albarn

new blur: 'under the westway' & 'the puritan'

 

Today, Blur took to twitter to debut two brand new songs. “Under The Westway” was previously heard live and stripped down at a War Child benefit a few months back, but “The Puritan” was a true debut.

These songs of course are the fruits of Blur’s most recent reunion, which will culminate with the big Olympic closing show. It’s unclear if the band will remain together beyond that — or if a new album will ever be finished — but let’s just focus on the positive for the moment.

“Under The Westway” sounds to me like a blown out brit ballad that would be right at home on their over-the-top opus The Great Escape (updated 7/6 with new official video):

“The Puritan” has a much more impish vibe that’s reminiscent of Modern Life Is Rubbish, but polished up with Think Tank or Gorillaz style production:

The double a-side single is available now on iTunes and available for preorder on colored vinyl. Here are today’s live rooftop performance debuts of both songs:

blur 21 box set: hear rare track 'superman'

 

Britpop legends Blur turn 21 this year, and it appears that’s as old as they’re ever going to be. Recently, Damon Albarn has strongly hinted that the band isn’t long for this world — dashing hopes of a new Blur album and turning this summer’s Hyde Park Olympic-closing gig into a farewell show.

To soften the blow, the band have announced Blur 21, a career-spanning box set that features expanded editions of all seven albums, two live DVDs, a DVD of “video rarities,” a hard-bound book, and four exclusive discs with more than 3½ hours of previously unreleased material “selected from the Blur vault and band member’s own archives.”

Also included, a 7″ single of the previously unreleased track “Superman” recorded in December 1989 at The Square in Harlow, Essex. It’s such an early track in fact, the band was known as Seymour at the time. Listen below or watch a video of the performance here.

All seven albums will also be re-released on vinyl, both individually and together in a “sturdy” hard case. To get you in the nostalgic mood, here’s the band’s life flashing before your eyes in the form of the Blur 21 trailer:

download 'do ya thing' featuring damon albarn, james murphy and andré 3000

No doubt you’ve heard this already, but in the event you missed it, the latest “3 Artists, 1 Song” collaboration for Converse is the biggest yet. I quite enjoyed the Bernard Sumner/Hot Chip tune a while back, but you can’t deny the sheer star power of Damon Albarn, James Murphy and André 3000.

“DoYaThing” is essentially a run-of-the-mill Gorillaz track, that is until André goes off freestyle at the 2:12 mark:

There’s a 12 minute version of the track that will debut on the Gorillaz website in the coming weeks — and a video for the single edit will premiere on the Converse site February 29th.

For an interesting glimpse at the creative process of “DoYaThing,” check out interviews with Albarn and Murphy over on Pitchfork.

UPDATE
Dig the extended version via 107.7 the end:

Gorillaz feat. James Murphy and André 3000 — “DoYaThing [extended version]”

UPDATE #2
And here’s the Jamie Hewlett directed video:

blur! olympics, brits and brand new song

 

Today was quite a day in the comeback year of britpop icons Blur. First, the band announced that they will headline a concert at Hyde Park on August 12th immediately following the closing ceremonies of the London Olympic Games — a show that will also feature New Order and The Specials.

Then the band picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award at The Brits and closed the show with a greatest hits set. Blur’s appearance cut short Adele’s album of the year acceptance speech, which prompted her to shoot the bird MIA-style, but who could stay mad after such a raucous performance of “Girls & Boys” and “Song 2” (scroll down for the rest of the set):

Prior to the Brits, Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn performed an acoustic show at a War Child benefit Saturday night. After opening their brief set with “He Thought Of Cars” and “Strange News From Another Star,” the duo debuted a brand new song entitled “Under The Westway”:

Nice one. Coxon has hinted at a new Blur album, so this could be a very big year indeed.

 
UPDATE
Watch the rest of Blur’s set at The Brits; “Parklife,” “Tender” and “This Is A Low”:

beady eye, gorillaz and klaxons holiday giveaway grab bag

As mentioned before the holiday, several musical treats were to be delivered over the weekend. To follow up, here’s what Santa uploaded for you to enjoy…

First up, Liam Gallagher’s new band, Beady Eye, unveiled a video yesterday — Boxing Day — for “Four Letter Word” off the upcoming debut entitled Different Gear, Still Speeding. It’s a straight-ahead rocker in the vein of “Headshrinker” off the underrated Oasis B-sides collection, The Masterplan, with plenty of Liam’s trademark sneer:

Next up, Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz issued The Fall, a “15 track sonic journal” of the band’s recent US tour. You can stream the full album here if you’re willing to join the mailing list, or you can download it if you’re a member of the Sub Division fan club.

Recorded entirely on an iPad, it features guest appearances from Mick Jones and Bobby Womack. Don’t go in expecting too much though, it’s a lot of electronic wankery as the video for “Phoner To Arizona” indicates:

Finally, the Klaxons have dug up some old material that was recorded between Myths Of The Near Future and Surfing The Void. You can download the 5-song EP Landmarks Of Lunacy for free with absolutely no strings.

Klaxons were sent back to the drawing board by Polydor during recording of Surfing The Void, so odds are tracks like “The Pale Blue Dot” were among those rejected:

So there you have it. Kinda like a Christmas fruitcake…  you’re grateful to have it, but you probably won’t enjoy it.

gorillaz do the xx

Stop reading now if you believe Gorillaz really are an animated band of misfits.

If you are fully aware of Damon Albarn’s involvement, then you’ll enjoy this past Saturday’s live BBC Radio 1 performance captured by our friends at Some Kind of Awesome. The highlight was Albarn and company’s tender take on “Crystalised” by Mercury Prize winners The xx:

A stripped down version of “On Melancholy Hill” from Plastic Beach was another fine moment:

Listen to the full BBC Live Lounge Session here. And just for grins, here’s the official video for “On Melancholy Hill” in all its animated glory: