Entries tagged with: Damon Albarn

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We just posted Q Magazine's Best of 2014 albums list and now here's the same from sister publication MOJO. Not only do they share a publisher, but also more than half of same albums appear on both lists. The War on Drugs was #2 here, making war for Beck's Morning Phase in the top spot. Check out the whole list below.

While MOJO is seen as a safe haven for "heritage" acts, there are some records in their Top 10 that don't prominently feature acoustic guitars: coming in at #3 is Sleaford Mods' Divide and Exit. You can catch the Mods' North American live debut this Saturday (11/29) at The Wick with The Gotobeds, The Rogers Sisters and "very special guests" who will be announced closer to the show. Tickets are still available.

MOJO's full Top 50 LPs of 2014 list below...

Continue reading "MOJO's Top 50 LPs of 2014"

Q Mag

Rough Trade were the first out of the gate with year-end lists but now long-running UK monthly music mag Q has just published their end-of-the-year issue (with cover star Ed Sheeran) which includes their Top 50 LPs of 2014. The War on Drugs' Lost in the Dream comes in at #1. Have you made your list yet? Check out the rest of Q's favorite albums of 2014 below...

Continue reading "Q Magazine's Top 50 LPs of 2014: The War on Drugs are #1"

Rough Trade NYC on Record Store Day 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
RT

As they usually are, Rough Trade Shops are one of the first this year to post their favorite albums of 2014 list. It's 100 albums long and mostly filled with the bigger indie and indie-related releases of the year, but there's a few surprises in there too. Mark Kozelek will not be happy to see that The War On Drugs placed #2, 8 higher than the Sun Kil Moon record. Mark should be proud that he made the list not once, but TWICE though. His Christmas album landed at #84. Run the Jewels, who are not on it all, have started a "Suck My Dick Rough Trade" chant. Check out their full list below and see more on each album here.

Meanwhile, Rough Trade the NYC venue is open this weekend with Sallie Ford / Crooked Fingers tonight, followed by two shows from The Dream Syndicate.

List below...

Continue reading "Rough Trade's favorite albums of 2014"

GoGo Penguin's 'V2.0' album art
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The 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist has been announced and here are the 12 albums up for it:

FKA twigs - LP1
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
Young Fathers - Dead
East India Youth - Total Strife Forever
Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
Anna Calvi - One Breath
GoGo Penguin - v2.0
Nick Mulvey - First Mind
Polar Bear - In Each and Every One
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down
Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Jungle - Jungle
The winner will be announced October 29. Last year's winning album was James Blake's Overgrown. Who do you think will win this year?

photos by Erina Uemura

Flaming Lips / Outcast / Arcade Fire @ Fuji Rocks 2014
2014 Fuji Rock Fest
2014 Fuji Rock Fest
2014 Fuji Rock Fest
2014 Fuji Rock Fest
2014 Fuji Rock Fest

The transition from indie darlings to stadium-rockers is rarely a painless one, although a decade on from the release of its debut album "Funeral," Arcade Fire proved that it has at least navigated that path better than most. The band's performance was mature and assured, although lacking the latent spark of aggression that had originally marked it as such an exciting prospect. Occasionally there was a flicker of the Win Butler and co. of old, such as the wonderfully anarchic and incongruous modular synth solo during "Reflektor." The group's renditions of "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" and "No Cars Go" were also particularly spirited, even if the latter's lyrics are perhaps a little bit too timely: "We know a place where no planes go."

Conversely, it's hard to imagine The Flaming Lips ever changing their style for anyone. Wayne Coyne, as ever, looked delightfully shambolic, outfitted in a combination of tinfoil and an "Attack on Titan" cosplay bodysuit that he'd no doubt copped from Don Quijote the night before. Naturally, he was flanked by giant dancing mushrooms. The group wasted no time, jumping almost straight into fan favorite "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1″ while unleashing a shower of confetti, setting the tone for a relatively short but saccharine sweet love-in. - [Japan Times]

The Fuji Rock Festival has been happening has been happening the last weekend of July since 1997. Originally held at the Base of Japan's most famous mountain, since 2000 Fuji Rocks has happened at Naeba Ski Resort and the 2014 was last weekend (July 25 - 27), featuring Arcade Fire, Outkast, The Flaming Lips, Saint Vincent, Franz Ferdinand, White Lung, Slowdive, SBTRKT, Disclosure, The Waterboys, Yoko Ono and lots more over its three days. Pictures from all three days are in this post.

Outkast, Lorde, Temples are among the Fugi Rocks performers who are in Chicago's Grant Park this weekend for Lollapalooza. Lot more pictures from the 2014 Fuji Rocks Festival below...

Continue reading "2014 Fuji Rocks Fest in pics (Arcade Fire, Outkast, Flaming Lips, St. Vincent, Damon Albarn, SBTRKT, Slowdive & more)"

Jack White at Bonnaroo 2014 (photo by Brian Mansfield)
Jack White

Bonnaroo went down over this past weekend with sets from Ice Cube, Kanye West, Sam Smith and so much more.

As always, legacy acts enjoyed a good showing at the festival. Elton John played the entire first side of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, gave a tribute to the late Casey Kasem, and brought out Ben Folds for a guest spot. Ben had also appeared a day earlier with The Flaming Lips during their set to cover Usher's "Love In This Club" (video below), a set which included Wayne Coyne playfully throwing some shade at Kanye's set from earlier in the festival, asking the crowd "Where's the press?"

Lionel Richie played a set that included everything from his time in the Commodores ("Brick House") to "All Night Long" to his Diana Ross collaboration "Endless Love." More legends graced the Bonnaroo stages when Chaka Khan made a surprise appearance during the Derek Trucks-led SuperJam on Friday and covered Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder. Also in that jam were blues legend Taj Mahal, Anthony Hamilton and once again, Ben Folds. Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones himself appeared at the festival to sit in with bluesman Seasick Steve, which he has done before with Jack White.

Jack White, who we also just caught at Governors Ball, didn't play with John Paul Jones this time, but he did play his own set which included a cover of Zeppelin's "The Lemon Song." It also included calling Rolling Stone a "tabloid," ranting about Johnny Depp and Albert Einstein (watch out Kanye!), and otherwise him rocking out to cuts from his solo albums, Raconteurs, White Stripes, The Dead Weather, and a cover of Dick Dale's "Misirlou." Video and setlist from Jack's set, below.

Damon Albarn w/ De La Soul at Bonnaroo 2014 (photo by 97X)
Damon

Skrillex led a SuperJam too which involved Janelle Monáe, A$AP Ferg, Warpaint, Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, Mystikal, Damian Marley, and Thundercat, among others. The set was closed by none other than Ms. Lauryn Hill, who played "Killing Me Softly" a la Fugees, Bob Marley's "Jamming" (though not with Damian) and more. More old school big guns came out during Damon Albarn's set, which was split between Gorillaz, Blur, The Good the Bad & the Queen and solo material. De La Soul joined him for "Feel Good Inc." and Del The Funkee Homosapien for "Clint Eastwood", Setlist and videos are below, and check out pictures and more from his recent Irving Plaza show.

Elsewhere, Omar Souleyman, who couldn't make it to Northside Festival experienced no travel issues and played a set on Thursday night. James Blake also played and told Billboard while he was there that his new album is halfway done and will include collaborations with Kanye West, Justin Vernon and more. Arctic Monkeys, who were covered twice during the festival (by Sam Smith and MS MR), played their own set too and to a HUGE crowd, heavy on the AM stuff but with a little bit of their other four albums mixed in. What didn't happen, unfortunately, was the set by Broad City's stars that were supposed to perform in the Comedy Theatre but canceled their set.

Of course the huge festival had tons of other highlights too. Did you go? What were yours?

Videos and a few setlists from the fest, below...

Continue reading "Bonnaroo 2014 happened w/ Damon Albarn + Del & De La, Chaka Khan, Jack White, Zeppelin/Doors members, more"

photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin; words by Bill Pearis

Damon Albarn @ Irving Plaza 6/8/2012
Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn

"I've played here before, back in... 1994?," Damon Albarn told the crowd at Irving Plaza, talking about an early Blur tour some 20 years ago. "I think I climbed up that scaffolding." There was no climbing last night, though Albarn did get down into the crowd for a song or two. This was an official afterparty for Governors Ball, which Albarn had played on Friday (6/6) and this was probably the smallest place he'd played since that Blur tour. "As you may know, my new album [Everyday Robots] is a little somber, which makes it difficult to play at big festivals," Albarn admitted, though a chance to get up and close with some very adoring fans (some who'd driven from Canada to be there) clearly had him in a good mood. "I'm really enjoying this, I must say" he later said. The crowd did too.

While most of the set was Everyday Robots songs -- plus some of the more reflective songs from his many musical endeavors -- Albarn did work in a few party pleasers, playing Gorillaz's "Kids with Guns" and bringing out Chicago's Vic Mensa for the rap on "Clint Eastwood" (video below) and a chorus for the final two songs. I thought for sure with the choir they'd do "Tender," but no dice. (Also no dice on "This is a Low," which was on the written setlist but went unplayed.) Albarn was at his most affecting, however, playing a solo piano rendition of Blur's 2003 single "Out of Time." Usually playing the straight frontman role in Blur and Gorillaz, this show was a nice chance to see what a good musician Albarn is, too. Setlist is in this post.

Damon Albarn has a few more dates this week before his Bonnaroo appearance this weekend. Check out more pics from Irving Plaza, plus the setlist, below...

Continue reading "Damon Albarn played a GovBall afterparty at Irving Plaza; Vic Mensa joined him for "Clint Eastwood" (pics, video, setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield & Dana (distortion) Yavin

Outkast / Damon Albarn / Grimes / Phoenix
2014 Governors Ball - Day 1
Governors Ball 2014
2014 Governors Ball - Day 1
2014 Governors Ball - Day 1
Governors Ball 2014

NYC music festival Governors Ball kicked off its 2014 edition yesterday (6/6) with sets from the reunited Outkast, Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, Grimes, TV on the Radio, Phoenix, Neko Case, La Roux, Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis, Washed Out, Janelle Monae, Kurt Vile, Run the Jewels (Killer Mike + El-P) and still more.

Outkast's much-anticipated set (like many of their other festival sets this year) started with both Big Boi and Andre 3000 on stage for tons of favorites right off the bat including "B.O.B.," "Gasoline Dreams, "ATLiens," "Rosa Parks," "Aquemini," "Ms. Jackson," and more. Then Big Boi did three songs alone, Andre did three alone (including "Hey Ya!" for which Janelle Monae came on stage to dance), and then another Outkast set. The second set ended with "The Whole World," for which they brought out Killer Mike to rap his verse. Pictures of all artists mentioned (and more), plus Outkast's setlist and a video of "Hey Ya!" are in this post.

GovBall continues today (6/7) with Diarrhea Planet taking the stage in about two hours (12:45 PM), and other sets include Jack White, Spoon, The Strokes, Disclosure, Broken Bells, Chance the Rapper, Deafheaven and more.

More pictures from day 1 below...

Continue reading "Governors Ball 2014 day 1 pics (Outkast, Damon Albarn, TV on the Radio, Grimes, Phoenix, Neko Case, Kurt Vile, more)"

by Bill Pearis

Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn is in NYC currently, getting ready to play Governors Ball tonight (6/6) and Irving Plaza on Sunday (6/8), both part of his current tour. While here, he stopped by The Tonight Show last night to perform "Lonely Press Play" from his new solo album, as well as an old Blur nugget: the gorgeous "This is a Low" from Parklife, which turned 20 years old in April. Videos of both are in this post.

While some artists, like Jarvis Cocker, keep their solo sets free of songs from previous bands, Albarn has been peppering his sets with cuts from Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, and Blur. A recent setlist is below. Tickets are still available for Irving Plaza.

Videos from The Tonight Show below...

Continue reading "Damon Albarn played "Lonely Press Play" & Blur's "This is a Low" on 'The Tonight Show' (video); NYC shows this weekend"

by Bill Pearis

Damon Albarn @ SXSW 2014 (more by Tim Griffin)
Damon Albarn

We mentioned earlier today that Damon Albarn would be playing Irving Plaza on June 8, one of the official Governors Ball afterparties. He's playing Governors Ball proper, too, and doing a string of dates between that fest and Bonnaroo. All dates are listed below.

Album's solo debut, Everyday Robots, comes out this week (4/29) and features appearances by Brian Eno and Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan. It's by far the most sedate, wistful record of his career though. If you're familiar with songs like Blur's "Tender," Gorillaz's "Broken" or The Good The Bad & the Queen's "The Bunting Song," you mostly know what to expect. You can still listen to the album for free via iTunes and a few track streams, videos (including the new one for "Heavy Seas of Love") and a "track by track" commentary from Albarn, are below.

In other news, Albarn happened by London's Red Lion pub last week (4/23) and joined the house band for a rendition of Blur's Britpop classic "Parklife." Video of that is below too.

Continue reading "Damon Albarn made a new video, releasing solo LP this week, touring between Governors Ball and Bonnaroo (dates)"

Damon Albarn at SXSW 2014 (more by Tim Griffin)
Damon Albarn

Governors Ball hit's NYC's Randall's Island from June 6-8, and like in past years, a few of the artists playing will play afterparties in various NYC venues. This year's afterparties include:

Kurt Vile and the Violators on June 5 at Brooklyn Bowl.

Tourist on June 5 at Westway.

Washed Out at Brooklyn Bowl on June 6.

Earlwolf (aka Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler the Creator) at Irving Plaza on June 7.

Classixx at Brooklyn Bowl on June 7.

The Chain Gang of 1974 with Black Taxi at Knitting Factory on June 7.

Caycuas with Little Comets at Glasslands on June 7.

Diarrhea Planet with Total Slacker and LVL UP on June 8.

Damon Albarn at Irving Plaza on June 8.

Tickets for all afterparties go on sale Friday (5/2) with a presale beginning Tuesday (4/29) at 10 AM (password: govballnyc). The Kurt Vile, Washed Out, and Damon Albarn shows are especially intimate and will likely go pretty fast.

Check out the day-by-day GovBall lineups HERE.

Afterparties flyer below...

Continue reading "Governors Ball afterparties announced (Damon Albarn, Kurt Vile, Washed Out, Earlwolf, Classixx, Diarrhea Planet, more)"

AlbarnAlbarn

Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, who we caught at SXSW and who will be in NYC soon for Governors Ball, finally releases his debut solo album, Everyday Robots, next week (4/29) via Warner Brothers/XL. You can listen in full now on iTunes Radio.

Phoenix @ Barclays Center, 2013 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Phoenix

As you may know, the 2014 Governors Ball happens at Randall's Island from June 6-8. Individual day line-ups have been announced with Outkast, Phoenix and TV on the Radio headlining Friday (6/6), Jack White, The Strokes and Skrillex headlining Saturday (6/7), and Vampire Weekend and Axwell ^ Ingrosso headining Sunday (6/8). You can check each day's full line-up (though set times are still TBA) below.

Additionally, individual day tickets go on sale this Friday (4/4) at noon, with a limited Citi cardmember presale beginning Wednesday (4/2) at 10 AM.

Daily Governors Ball 2014 lineups below...

Continue reading "Governors Ball announces daily lineups, individual day tickets on sale this week"

Damon Albarn @ NPR SXSW (more by Tim Griffin)
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Damon Albarn played the Fader Fort at SXSW last night (3/14), where he brought out some special guests to help him perform a pair of Gorillaz tunes. Del the Funky Homosapien and Dan the Automator joined Albarn for "Clint Eastwood"--it was the first time the original collaborators teamed up to perform it--and Snoop Dogg also came out halfway through the song to spit a verse of "Drop It Like It's Hot." Albarn also invited De La Soul out to do "Feel Good Inc." Check out some video footage of "Clint Eastwood" below...

Continue reading "Damon Albarn performed Gorillaz songs at SXSW with help from Del the Funky Homosapien, Snoop Dogg, more (video)"

photos by Tim Griffin

Damon, Annie, Kelis, Eagulls and Perfect Pussy at the NPR Showcase - SXSW 2014
NPR Showcase - SXSW - 3/12/2014
NPR Showcase - SXSW - 3/12/2014
NPR Showcase - SXSW - 3/12/2014
NPR Showcase - SXSW - 3/12/2014
NPR Showcase - SXSW - 3/12/2014

"Damon Albarn hasn't played yet, has he?" we ask. The woman on the door shakes her head. Flushed with the thrill of absurd luck, we don't stop to wonder why.

The venue inside is half empty. Damon takes to the stage almost an hour late, around 1.30am, and with his touring band runs us through a raft of wry, meandering art pop tunes. There are shades of Gorillaz when he pulls out the melodica, misguided chugs of rock'n'roll, bittersweet ballads. It doesn't sound great, but his presence is entertaining enough. He's still beautiful, if a little grumpy when the performance gets cut short. He apologises. "We got messed about this evening, I'm sorry," he offers. "It happens sometimes." - [The Music]

Damon Albarn presented much of his solo debut Wednesdaysday night (3/12) in SXSW at Stubb's as part of NPR's official showcase. (It was the same night and on the same street as Tuesday's tragic events, though most attendees were unaware.) St. Vincent played before him and went on a little late -- and maybe played longer than scheduled. Damon didnt go on until 1:20AM ish -- He was supposed to start at 12:30. It was cold. Damon apologized for having to pull some songs from his set list, but mentioned with so many acts and set ups it couldn't be helped. His set up took a while but he sounded great once it eventually got underway.

Albarn also played The Jimmy Kimmel Show (part of his SXSW Week) while in Austin, performing "Mr. Tembo" & "Lonely Press Play." You can watch video of that below.

The whole evening was pretty stacked, as mentioned, with St. Vincent delivering an electrifying performance, plus Kelis serving up Food songs and her first live show in three years. (You can stream audio of her full show below.) Eagulls and the bass-tossin' Perfect Pussy played too.

More pictures from NPR's SXSW showcase, plus Kelis stream and Damon Albarn videos, below...

Continue reading "Damon Albarn, St. Vincent, Kelis, Perfect Pussy & more played NPR SXSW showcase (pics +++ Albarn on 'Kimmel' video)"

fantasticman

One of last year's coolest reissues was Who Is William Onyeabor? which collected many of the cult Nigerian funk singer and synthesizer pioneer William Onyeabor's best tracks. For more on who he is, this past week a new Onyeabor documentary, titled Fantastic Man, premiered online, featuring interviews with Damon Albarn, Dan Snaith of Caribou, the Human League's, Martyn Ware (The Human League), Femi Kuti and many more. It's well worth watching and you can do so in this post.

There is also a remix album, titled What?, that was commissioned by Moog and will be released on Record Store Day (April 19) featuring reworkings by Hot Chip, The Vaccines, Justin Strauss & Bryan Mette, Joakim ft. Akwetey (Dragons of Zynth), JD Twitch (Optimo), Daphni, Javelin, David Terranova, Policy and Scientist.

And last but not least there will be a series of tribute concerts happening in cities around the world this spring, including two in NYC on May 2 & 3. Details have not been announced yet, so stay tuned.

You can listen to Who is William Onyeabor? via Rdio, and watch the Fantastic Man documentary below...

Continue reading "William Onyeabor documentary streaming online, remix LP out on RSD, tribute concerts planned"

Bonnaroo 2013 (more by Katherine Hansen)

As mentioned, Bonnaroo 2014 happens June 12 - 15 in Manchester, TN. The fest has already been dropping hints as to who's going to play this year (Kanye and Elton John seem likely as headliners) but will finally spill the beans tonight via a web show called "Blam!" which airs at 9 PM EST on Bonnaroo.com (or an Xbox app). (Maybe you watched last year's with Weird Al Yankovich and Portugal the Man.) This year's announcement special is hosted by SNL's Taran Killam and Broad City's Hannibal Buress, with a "superjam" between The Flaming Lips and Ben Folds.

There's also a pre-Blam! web event from 7 - 9 PM EST featuring live cover song performances from Tenacious D, Kings Of Leon, Phish, My Morning Jacket, and others.

Or you can just check back here: we'll have the full Bonnaroo 2014 line-up in this post once its announced.

UPDATE (9 PM): Lineup now being announced and includes Kanye West, Elton John, Vampire Weekend, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Arctic Monkeys, Phoenix, Mastodon, Frank Ocean, The Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Meshuggah, Damon Albarn, Disclosure, Broken Bells, James Blake, Lionel Ritchie, Jack White, Deafheaven, Janelle Monae, CHVRCHES, Darkside, Phosphorescent, Cloud Nothings, Danny Brown, Cut Copy, Typhoon, Sam Smith, Pusha T, Warpaint, Those Darlins, Cass McCombs, Lauryn Hill, Chromeo, Dr. Dog, The Bouncing Souls, Classixx, First Aid Kit, Fitz and the Tantrums, Chance the Rapper, Ice Cube, Caveman, Washed Out, Real Estate, Rudimental, Ty Segall, Polica, A$AP Ferg, Little Dragon, Omar Souleyman, Lucero, Goat, Okkervil River, Jonathan Wilson, Wiz Khalifa, The Avett Brothers and MANY more.

Tickets go on sale Saturday (2/22) at noon.

Full lineup (spoiler: no Outkast) below...

Continue reading "Bonnaroo 2014 line-up announced! (Kanye West, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave, Damon Albarn, Jack White, Elton John, Neutral Milk Hotel & more)"

Perfect Pussy at NYU in 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
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Syracuse noise punks Perfect Pussy, whose upcoming debut LP, Say Yes to Love will now be more bloody, just played NYC opening for Total Slacker last week (2/12) as part of their ongoing tour, and now that that's in the past, they've tacked on a headlining NYC gig to the end of the tour happening April 5 at Mercury Lounge. To open that show, Perfect Pussy got two fellow upstate NY bands, both of which have something in common with parts of Perfect Pussy's sound. There's the punk attack of Green Dreams and the abrasive noise duo Tumul. Tickets for the Merc show go on sale Friday (2/21) at noon.

UPDATE: More dates were announced, including another NYC show on April 4 at Death by Audio, again with Total Slacker, and also with fellow Syracuse punks Friendless Bummer. No advance tickets for that show.

Many of the other dates are with Yamantaka // Sonic Titan (though they aren't on either NYC show), and they also announced they're playing the NPR SXSW showcase with Damon Albarn, St. Vincent and Kelis; and the Chaos In Tejas SXSW showcase with Destruction Unit and The Gotobeds. There's also a new video for "I" (shot and edited by BV contributor Lukas Hodge) which you can watch, along with the list of dates, below.

Speaking of Friendless Bummer, they just released a new EP, Militia (streaming below), and they'll be in NYC this weekend for Indie Pop Prom at Baby's (2/22) with Pity Sex, Places to Hide, Radiator Hospital, Bad Banana (reunion) and special guests "Traitor Bitches" (tickets).

Updated dates are listed, with streams and the new video, below...

Continue reading "Perfect Pussy expand tour, add NYC shows w/ Green Dreams, Tumul & Friendless Bummer (updated dates & new video)"

by Bill Pearis

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We just wrote about Damon Albarn's forthcoming solo debut, Everyday Robots, which will be out April 29 via Warner Bros. The video for the title track has since been released. Directed by artist and designer Aitor Throup, the clip uses CGI software and actual cranial scans and facial reconstruction techniques to slowly build a portrait of Albarn. As for the song, it's a pretty, downtempo track and unmistakably from the man who gave us "To the End" and "Clint Eastwood." As it should be. Watch it below.

Continue reading "Damon Albarn shares video for "Everyday Robots""

Damon Albarn

Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has been talking about releasing a solo album for a while now, and it's finally officially been announced. Damon posted to his Facebook page...

Damon's new and first solo studio album titled Everyday Robots is out 28th April. It's his most soul-searching and autobiographical yet, explores nature versus technology and features guests Brian Eno and Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes), and is produced by XL's Richard Russell.
The video for the title track will be released today so stay tuned for that. (UPDATE: Watch it HERE.) That's the album artwork above and you can check out the tracklist below.

Damon will be in NYC this June to play Governors Ball.

Continue reading "Damon Albarn of Blur/Gorillaz finally announces solo album; Brian Eno & Bat For Lashes to feature"

Governors Ball 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
GovBall

We already knew that Outkast would be headlining this year's Governors Ball music festival, which goes down on NYC's Randall's Island from June 6-8, and now, one day after the lineup of Firefly Fest was announced, and a few days after we found out who was playing Coachella, the full lineup has been announced. It includes Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Interpol, TV on the Radio, Julian Casablancas, Disclosure, Spoon, Broken Bells, Damon Albarn, James Blake, Neko Case, The Kills, Grimes, Janelle Monae, Tyler the Creator, Washed Out, Earl Sweatshirt, Kurt Vile, Chance the Rapper, Deafheaven, Run the Jewels and many more.

UPDATE: The Strokes are playing too!

Tickets go on sale today (1/15) at 3 PM. Full lineup and flyer below...

Continue reading "Governors Ball 2014 lineup announced (Outkast, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Interpol, TVOTR, Disclosure, Broken Bells, Damon Albarn, James Blake, Grimes, many more)"

photos by Stephanie Berger; words by Bill Pearis

Monkey: Journey To The West @ Lincoln Center - 6/28/2013
Monkey's Journey To The West @ Lincoln Center - 6/28/2013

The centerpiece to this year's Lincoln Center Festival, Monkey: Journey to the West is a now a week into its run at David H Koch Theater. The show was created by Gorillaz partners Damon Albarn (music) and Jamie Hewlett (animation, design) and Chinese opera director Chen Shi-zheng, and comes off as a hodge-podge of Chinese opera (performed by Ensemble Signal), kung-fu, anime and Cirque du Soleil.

The story, about a wild monkey king who eventually attains spiritual enlightenment via the titular quest with a rag-tag group of friends, dates back to the Ming Dynasty and is one of China's most famous fables. It's been adapted numerous times on stage, film, television, and manga. Here, the plot is pretty reductive -- those familiar with the tale will get it, the rest will muddle through thanks to expository animated segments. But plot is really secondary to the general spectacle of it all.

Of that, some of the set-pieces -- involving scores of Chinese acrobats -- are indeed pretty dazzling. The highlight of the whole show involves the gang's tangle with seductive spider-women via silk acrobatics. It's beautiful and thrilling. There's also some amazing wirework, and even a sequence with plate-spinning (which is cooler than that might read). The episodic nature of the story drags a little but you are never lacking eye candy.

As for the music, Albarn does inject a little Gorillaz-style analogue funk, but mostly he aims for more traditional Chinese opera compositions. I can't say I left humming any of the songs, though, which were sung -- like the dialogue -- in Mandarin. (Subtitles are projected above the stage.) But some of the images linger.

Monkey: A Journey to the West continues through July 28. Tickets are still available. A few more pictures from the Lincoln Center production are below.

Continue reading "'Monkey: Journey to the West' continues its Lincoln Center run (review, pics)"

Deltron 3030

Deltron 3030 (aka Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Kid Koala) have been talking about their long-awaited second album, Event II, for some time now, and after revealing two of its singles, "Pay the Price" and "City Rising from the Ashes", they've finally officially announced the full album details. It will be out on October 1 via Bulk Recordings and features a ton of serious collaborators including Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, Faith No More/Tomahawk/etc frontman Mike Patton, Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha, Emily Wells, The Lonely Island, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aaron Bruno (of AWOLNATION), Black Rob, David Cross, Amber Tamblyn, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Momofuku chef David Chang(!?), Casual, and Jamie Cullum. That's the album artwork above, and the tracklist is below.

The album will be preceded by the City Rising from the Ashes EP, due out on August 13, which features both previously released singles and a third album track, "The Agony."

Deltron 3030 also just released an album trailer, which includes the album's opening track, "Stardate," which is essentially a spoken word track from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Check that out, along with the other two singles and tracklist, below...

Continue reading "Deltron 3030 announce guest-filled album details (stream the song with Joseph Gordon-Levitt)"

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As mentioned, Chen Shi-Zheng, Damon Albarn, and Jamie Hewlett's musical, Monkey: Journey to the West is set to make its NYC debut as part of the 2013 Lincoln Center Festival. It will have 27 performances running from July 6 - 28, and tickets are on sale now.

In anticipation of its arrival, co-creator Jamie Hewlett (also the man behind the look of Gorillaz), is participating in a discussion about the project with NY Times writer David Itzkoff on Saturday (6/22) at Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium at 11 AM. The screening will be preceded by Hewlett's short film, Monkey Bee, and after the discussion they'll show episodes of '70s cult Japanese show, Monkey, which inspired Albarn and Hewlett's musical.

This program is free and open to the public. No tickets required. For the curious, the opening credits to the Monkey TV show (with its catchy theme song) and Monkey Bee are below.

Continue reading "free Jamie Hewlitt event this Saturday (ahead of Lincoln Center 'Monkey: Journey to the West' shows)"

Gorillaz at MSG in 2010
Gorillaz

As mentioned, the 2013 Lincoln Center Festival is taking place this July. Tickets to all shows in the festival go on sale today (4/8).

The shows include Monkey: Journey to the West, created by theater director Chen Shi-Zheng teamed up with Gorillaz members Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, which runs for the entire span of the festival from July 6-28. It also includes SInead O'Connor: The Gospel Sessions at Alice Tully Hull's Starr Theatre from July 26-27, and Zorn@60 in celebration of John Zorn's 60th birthday at Alice Tully Hall on July 18 and 20.

The festival also features the US premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Michaels Reise Um Die Erde with German ensemble musikFabrik on July 18 and 20 at Avery Fisher Hall, and Mongolia's Hanggai Band at Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse on July 16, and still more. Full program schedule HERE.

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