In an interview following the release of The Fall in 2011, Damon Albarn was quoted as saying that it was unlikely that Gorillaz, his collaboration with artist Jamie Hewlett, would put out another album. But times change, and after an even more improbable reunion when Blur put out The Magic Whip in 2015, Albarn announced in October of that year that he and Hewlett had begun work on a new record. The results of those efforts finally came out in April of this year with the release of Humanz, a 20-track tour de force that saw Albarn digging even deeper into the electronica and hip-hop influences behind the project, and deeper into the political climate (even though the album was recorded prior to the votes for Brexit and for Trump, parts of it seem almost prescient), than he ever had before. Along with the album came the announcement of a world tour, and the excitement was so high that the band’s stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion (not a small venue) sold out almost instantly, months in advance.
Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's virtual super-group Gorillaz are back for another round on their latest LP Humanz. Never ones to shy away from collaboration, this time their bringing along the likes of Vince Staples, Popcaan, D.R.A.M., Grace Jones, Anthony Hamilton, De La Soul, Danny Brown, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Pusha T, Benjamin Clementine. and more to bring their often dark vision of a barely distant future to life once again. In the age of Trump, is Humanz the right album at exactly the right time, or are we still left waiting for a hero to arrive? Marcus Dowling joins Kevin in the basement to suss it out.
PLUS! Jason A. Mullinax's Time Being is here, and we've got your ticket to a trip through some avante-pop goodness.
The 90s was the decade of grunge in the US, but in the UK, it was the decade of Britpop. Along with the likes of compatriots (and often rivals) such Oasis, Suede, and Pulp, Blur helped to define and popularize the genre. The band – consisting of Damon Albarn on vocals, Graham Coxon on guitar, Alex James on Bass, and Dave Rowntree on drums – recorded a total of seven albums over the course of their original run before splitting in 2003. Coxon left to pursue a solo career. Albarn moved on to find success with his “virtual band” with artist Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz. James took up cheesemaking, and Rowntree became a solicitor. Fans all but gave up on the idea that the band would play together again.
Until, that is, the end of 2008, when the band announced that they were reuniting for a pair of concerts at Hyde Park in London. From there, the band went on to make a number of festival appearances throughout Europe, and even played Coachella in 2013. All the while, though, the band put down all rumors of a new album, releasing only a few new songs as singles. That changed early this year, though, with the release of the single “Go Out” in February along with the announcement of the band’s eighth album, The Magic Whip, to follow in March. Soon after, the band finally announced the US shows that North American fans had been waiting for, though with only two dates, at the Hollywood Bowl in LA and Madison Square Garden in New York City, the two biggest concerts the band had ever played in the US. Last week, after months of anticipation, those shows finally arrived.