Tag Archives: blur

News: New Gorillaz Album and Blur Documentary

If all goes according to plan, 2010 will belong to Damon Albarn. He almost conquered 2009 with the newly-reunited Blur taking the UK by storm, and playing several high quality live shows. And he helped to curate and score a unique opera based upon Chinese folklore, entitled Monkey: Journey To The West. But, if it sells as well as the previous album, the newly announced Gorillaz LP should bring him back into everyone’s mind on a global level. So, without further fanboy-ish gushing, let’s get down to the details.

The new Gorillaz album is entitled Plastic Beach and is set for release on March 9, 2010. I remember reading an interview, in which Albarn stated that this is his most pop record to date. And after listening to the leaked single, Stylo, it sounds like he wasn’t kidding (featured below). The single is a completely new approach to the Gorillaz format. And aside from the Mos Def and Bobby Womack cues, it still manages to retain their unique sound. I’ve had to give it a couple of spins, due to the initial shock I received the first time, and it is certainly growing on me. The 16 track LP features some amazing guests like Snoop Dogg (?), LOU REED (!), De La Soul, and MICK JONES & PAUL SIMONON of THE CLASH(!!!!!!!!!).

And on a final note, the Blur documentary No Distance Left To Run, is coming to DVD in early February. It has been well received in the UK, and the trailer still manages to give me goosebumps (featured below). The DVD will come with a second disc of the band’s Hyde Park performance from last year, and the footage shows why Blur are one of the top UK bands of the past 2 decades.

-Chase

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Review: Graham Coxon “The Spinning Top”

Just to get this out of the way, I’m a huge Blur fan.

If you were to ask me, “Chase, who do you think was the greatest UK band of the 90’s?” I would respond, “Blur, hands down.” So, when Blur’s lead guitarist, Graham Coxon, left the group after the stellar alternative freak out album 13, I had abandoned all hope. I took out my frustration on Graham for a few years, cursing his name for taking the band I loved away from me. It wasn’t until 2004’s Happiness In Magazines that I put aside my childish feud and embraced Coxon’s solo work. His solo albums are well-executed blend of folk and Blur-esque garage rock. Which showcases that Blur is as much Damon Albarn as it is Coxon.

But this isn’t about Blur, this is about Coxon’s latest album, the devastatingly beautiful The Spinning Top.

Coxon has stated that The Spinning Top is a concept album that follows a man from birth to death over the album’s 70+ minutes. Coxon does an astonishing job of bringing this man to life. Each song is a progression into a different time in the protagonist’s life. While the lyrics may not clearly display this, the music sure as hell does.

The album starts out on an extremely folk heavy note. “Look Into The Light,” “This House,” and “In The Morning” capture the wonder of being a child brought into a world. This is accomplished by expertly crafted guitar folk that harkens back to Nick Drake. The middle portion of the album mixes the folk in with more garage rock tracks, that sound like possible outtakes from the aforementioned Blur’s 13. This is where the album can get a little long in the tooth. Occasionally, I feel like I’m sitting out a man’s mid-life crisis. A musically forced Parklife, which can cause me to get a little restless.

However, the deep cuts of the album are by far the most interesting. “Tripping Over” is a powerful track that causes me to envision the protagonist passing on. This track is an engrossing number, that leads into the album’s closer “November.” And for maybe the only time in my life, I get to write that the album’s closer actually feels like a close. These two tracks really do draw you into the end of a person’s life. A sonic voyage across the River Styx that is something that I’ve never experienced in an album before.

Graham Coxon. Mission Accomplished.

The Spinning Top is definitely one of the most important albums of 2009. And, it’s certainly the most important album of Graham Coxon’s career. It is a powerful record that is brilliantly crafted, heartfelt, and I dare say…gorgeous. It may be a chore to sit through all the 15 tracks, but the payoff is unlike any other.

Graham, I welcome you with open arms. And it now looks like rest of Blur is here to join in on the group hug.

-Chase

Blur – For Tomorrow

Blur had an unbelievably high success rate for writing classic singles, and “For Tomorrow” would certainly be on any shortlist of best Britpop songs. 

Damon, your side projects are fine, but please hurry up and get back to what you do best…and make sure Graham comes along with you.

*Update!: Blur must’ve read my post

From Blur:

Blur will play a live show in Hyde Park in Summer 2009.

Graham Coxon will join Alex James, Dave Rowntree and Damon Albarn onstage for this first time since their Royal Festival Hall performance in 2000.

The concert will take place at London’s Hyde Park on Friday 3rd July 2009, and tickets will be on general sale from 9am Friday 12th December 2008 at www.livenation.co.uk.

All tickets are £45.00, are limited to six per person, and subject to a booking fee.

The Top 25 Songs of ’90s Radio (#6-#10)

10  Pearl Jam – Jeremy

9  Blur – Song 2

8  R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

7  Nine Inch Nails – Closer

6  Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit