Watch Blur Perform Their New Album ‘Live’



UNDER THE WESTWAY has been a productive area for Blur in recent times, so it’s not surprising they returned to a space beneath the A40 in West London to preview their new album The Magic Whip live.

Last Friday (March 20) Damon Albarn and co. performed their new recording full and in order at London club Mode – which is nestled below the iconic elevated roadway – for 300 competition winners.

The show, which also included Parklife track Trouble In The Message Centre right at the end, was filmed by streaming service Beats By Dr. Dre and you can watch footage below for one night only from 8pm (GMT) this evening.

‘The Magic Whip’ is out on April 27.

The stream is no longer live, but you can watch full-song clips from the performance below.

The Magic Whip Tracklist:
01. Lonesome Street
02. New World Towers
03. Go Out
04. Ice Cream Man
05. Thought I Was A Spaceman
06. I Broadcast
07. My Terracotta Heart
08. There Are Too Many Of Us
09. Ghost Ship
10. Pyongyang
11. Ong Ong
12. Mirrorball

Blur “Lonesome Street”

Blur “Go Out”

Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

Damon Albarn - Photo Linda Brownlee

Damon Albarn – Photo Linda Brownlee


Everyday Robots Parlophone | CD DL LP

Damon Albarn takes a rare look inwards in his most reflective, traditional songwriting since the Blur era.











FOR ONE OF ROCK’S MOST famous figures, and, with Noel and Liam, the classic face of ’90s Britpop, Damon Albarn still remains something of a puzzle. Such an extraordinary life, such a wealth of musical adventures, yet so many facets of the man have often felt veiled. His music, though stamped with his personality, has rarely dealt directly with the detail of his emotional life – though when he has diarised traumatic personal events, notably on Blur’s No Distance Left To Run, written in 1998 about the end of his relationship with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann, the results have possessed extraordinary power.

Albarn’s decision to retreat, post-Blur, from a life lived in the public gaze and to launch Gorillaz as a ‘cartoon group’ in 2001, behind which he could enjoy a protective semi-anonymity while still selling millions of records, has done little to bring the ‘real’ Damon any closer. Nor has his torrent of millennial side-adventures, exploring interesting musical avenues and fusions – the self-explanatory Mali Music (2002); The Good The Bad And The Queen album (2006); the soundtrack for the Chinese opera Monkey: Journey To The West (2011); the DRC-inspired Kinshasa One Two (2011); his Afro-beat/white funk jam Rocket Juice And The Moon(2012); the Dr Dee stage musical (2013); his Africa Express tour – but giving little of himself away.

Albarn, it seems, has been so busy investigating the world outside himself that he’s neglected – or maybe simply postponed – looking inwards. Until now, that is. But Everyday Robots is not quite what you’d expect, or even perhaps want, from a Damon solo record. It probably won’t tell you too much about him that you hadn’t guessed already. But it is rather good.

The cover of Everyday Robots shows the artist in desert boots and green mod parka, seated on a stool, head bowed, looking forlorn. It is, wittingly or not, the antithesis of Modern Life Is Rubbish’s cocky, faux-yob iconography. Its dour mood of reflective middle-aged melancholia isn’t something an initial foray into the album will dispel. The over-riding first impression is of quiet, tick-tock percussion, minimal thud-thud bass, tinkling piano, mournful strings and, high in the mix, Albarn’s wistful tenor unfolding another slow, hazy rumination on something yet to be fully understood by the listener. Only the joyful gospel lilt of Mr Tembo – a story about a baby elephant Albarn met in Africa – sticks out from the glassine mist. That, and last track Seven Seas Of Love, an unlikely ‘80s pop throwback that sounds a little like an acoustic Heaven 17 covering The Monkees’ Daydream Believer.

What’s abundantly clear is that Everyday Robots has no intention of coming to you; instead, its songs gently insist that you come to them. And patience and perseverance is bountifully rewarded.





Damon Albarn Solo LP ‘Everyday Robots’ Inspired by Elephants, Eno.

Damon Albarn Courtesy of Nasty Little Man

Damon Albarn
Courtesy of Nasty Little Man

Blur leader breaks down influences on haunting, personal 12-track album

“It was very cathartic,” Damon Albarn says of his solo album Everyday Robots, slated for release on April 29th. Away from his various bands, including Blur and Gorillaz, Albarn cut 12 tracks that explore a range of his influences, from early childhood to the pitfalls of modern technology. It’s a haunting, hypnotic collection of songs, floating through the ether of memory. Albarn called us from his London studio to talk about it.

Does it feel different doing a solo album?
It’s got my name on it and I wrote the songs, but Richard Russell [producer and head of XL Recordings] was a fantastic editor and did a lot of the atmospheric stuff, so in a sense it’s not entirely my record. It is my narrative, and my voice and my songs.

I started off giving Richard a lot of songs, 60 or 60-plus — he had the editorship. Hence a song like “Mr. Tembo,” which I never would have considered recording, because I put that in my “songs I write for other things,” like for kids’ birthdays, or in this case, it was for a baby elephant I met in a place called Mkomazi, in Tanzania. It was recently orphaned and walked onto this aerodrome; the people I know took it in and called it Mr. Tembo. I was there, and I met this little elephant, and he was very sweet. I sang it to him. It was recorded on a phone, and in a light-hearted moment, I put it on a list for Richard. He said, “I’d really like you to try that,” so I did.

Did the elephant seem appreciative?
To be honest to you, when I sang it to the elephant, it shat itself. Because it was on milk, it was white elephant baby poo, if you can imagine that. It’s quite something at close vicinity.

Who else appears on the album?
Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes sings a ghostly echo of my voice on the song “Selfish Giant.” And Brian Eno sings a verse on the last song. He’s a neighbor: I used to go to a health club that he goes to as well, but he always did much more interesting things than I did. I’d be on a mind-numbing running machine, and he took water aerobics classes. He was very Eno about it.

Back in Leytonstone, there was a Pentecostal Church at the end of my road that belonged to the city mission. I remember standing outside with my bicycle listening to the singing, but never being able to find an entry point. But it was a very strong childhood memory that I’ve carried with me. I got in contact with that church, and they’ve still got a small choir, so they very kindly agreed to sing on the record a bit.

When you go back to one of your older songs, are you still the same guy?
I don’t know. Obviously, I’ve matured, because I’m a lot older. It’s funny. I was playing in Japan — what day is it now? — on Tuesday, I played at the Budokan with Blur. There’s one song called “To the End,” and it’s the end of that period, and it’s the last gig we were planning to do together for the foreseeable future. I was singing this song that I wrote 20-odd years ago, with a sense of my own situation at the time, but also a slightly cinematic third-person feel to it. Then, singing it on Tuesday night, it felt like I was singing about what was taking place that evening. I got quite carried away with the moment. I was standing there in front of God knows how many people, arms aloft in the moment of rapture. And typically, as soon as that happened, I forgot a verse. It’s a nice grounding experience: Never get too carried away with yourself.

What do you have planned for this year?
Well, I’m going to be promoting this record, I suppose, in one form or another. I don’t know how that will completely manifest itself, but I’m looking forward to that. Some more theater-based work, maybe a film score, something like that. I’ll be quite busy, anyway. I work from 10 in the morning to 5:30 or 6, five days a week. I don’t really think about it — I just get on with it. I do have holidays and weekends.