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Tag: Gorillaz (1-10 of 17)

SXSW: Damon Albarn brings out Snoop and De La Soul, puts on mini Gorillaz reunion

How big is Damon Albarn in America? It’s a question that comes up unusually often at the EW offices, partly because we suspect that the answer will disappoint us.

Obviously people know of the man’s work, but mostly in a backwards sort of way. In terms of Stateside popularity, his multiplatinum animated rap group Gorillaz far eclipses Blur, the legendary Britpop act he fronted for more than a decade — though even they have a mainstream foothold thanks to their alt-radio hit “Girls and Boys” and the woo-hoo anthem “Song 2.”

But Albarn himself never really became a household name in the U.S. It doesn’t help that his strongest work — those early Blur records, considered classics across the pond — was very deeply and decidedly British, literally by design. But now that he’s got his debut solo album (out in April) to promote, it’s natural to wonder whether his name alone can lure a large American audience.

According to his SXSW set at the Fader Fort on Friday, he can — with a little help from his friends. The annual event’s east-of-center venue was packed for Albarn’s performance, but since the bill promised he’d have “special guests” with him, fans were able to deduce that they’d get to see either Blur or Gorillaz play live. They got the latter: Del the Funkee Homosapien, De La Soul, Dan the Automator, and Snoop Dogg each had a chance to hop on stage and bring the cartoon group’s trippy songs to life.

READ FULL STORY

Damon Albarn says Blur and Gorillaz both likely done, still has 27 bands to tend to

With ’90s Britpop stalwarts Pulp about to play their first show in the United States in something like 15 years, the next great hope among stateside Anglophiles was Blur. Easily the most esoteric of U.K. chart-toppers, Blur cranked out seven albums’ worth of constantly evolving music that morphed from measured pop to sprawling genre-hopping art rock (especially on those last few albums).

The band called it quits after the release of 2003′s Think Tank, only to reunite a few years later for a handful of one-off shows and festival appearances (with Albarn still devoting equal time to Gorillaz-related projects and that wacky band with a guy from the Clash), and they even found time to record a pair of new songs (2010′s “Fool’s Day,” and the approaching release “Under the Westway”). With a big show coming up as part of the closing ceremonies at this summer’s Olympics, surely this meant the next step for a new Blur album, right?

Sadly, wrong. READ FULL STORY

Gorillaz, James Murphy, and Andre 3000's 'DoYaThing' drops today: Hear it here

Gorillaz_2011

A few weeks ago, EW chatted with Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn about his latest tag-team collaboration with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and OutKast lyric spitter Andre 3000 for Converse’s recurring “Three Artists. One Song” campaign on the one-off single “DoYaThing.”

The full song, a spastic four minutes of psychedelic funk, is now available as a free download at Converse’s official website. (The four limited-edition Chuck Taylor All-Stars designed by Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett are also now available.) And it’s a seamless marriage of the three men at the helm: Albarn’s head-trippiness, Murphy’s beat science, Andre’s lightning-tongued lyrical attack.

But don’t take our word for it. Download it at the Converse site or give it a spin below. READ FULL STORY

Gorillaz team up with Andre 3000 and James Murphy for Converse track 'DoYaThing' -- EXCLUSIVE

Gorillaz_2011

Good news for fans of Damon Albarn, LCD Soundsystem, OutKast, simians, dancing, spaced-out funk, and sneakers: All those things are coming together.

In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn talks about the latest installment of Converse’s ongoing “Three Artists. One Song” project — past participants include Kid Cudi, Santigold, the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, members of Vampire Weekend and Best Coast, and more — which put him in a studio for three days with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and OutKast’s Andre 3000.

The result track, a head-tripping masterpiece called “DoYaThing,” will be available for free download on the official Converse website on February 23.

“I had spoken to James a couple times, but previously I knew only [his and Andre's] work,” Albarn told EW. “I love that level of spontaneity. I look for it all the time. It doesn’t always arrive on my doorstep, but it’s something I aspire to.”

“DoYaThing” also serves as the launch point for a quartet of Chuck Taylor All-Stars custom-designed by Gorillaz artist Jamie Hewlett (he also created a video for the clip, complete with new animated avatars for Murphy and Andre, pictured above). The shoes, which borrow designs from various Gorillaz-related projects, also go on sale February 23.

Check out the music section of this week’s issue of EW – there are naked TV vampires on the cover! — for more on “DoYaThing,”and stay tuned for more developments from the mind of Albarn.

Read more on EW.com:
Gorillaz record new album on iPad for possible year-end release
LCD Soundsystem says farewell with Sundance entry ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’ — EXCLUSIVE TRAILER
Where Are These Albums?

Grammy nominations: Five things the Recording Academy got right...and wrong

grammys-gaga-arcade-fireImage Credit: Erik Kabik/Retna Ltd; David Atlas/Retna/Retna LtdThe list of Grammy Award nominees announced last night included more than a few surprises, of both the pleasant and head-scratching varieties. Here are the Recording Academy’s five best and worst calls this year. We’ll be thinking about them as we look forward to the Feb. 13, 2011 live awards show on CBS. In the meantime, let us know what you think.

RIGHT: Arcade Fire‘s Album of the Year nod for The Suburbs was a major coup for indie rock…

WRONG: …but what were Academy voters thinking when they included quintessential singles artist Katy Perry‘s uneven Teenage Dream in the same category?

RIGHT: Bruno Mars‘ fingerprints were all over the pop charts this year, so it’s fitting that he received seven nominations…

WRONG: …but with a résumé that impressive, he should have been a lock for a Best New Artist nomination. His absence there is a strange snub.

RIGHT: The Fame Monster put pop royal Lady Gaga in contention for Album of the Year for the second year in a row…

WRONG: …but “Bad Romance,” the best song from that disc, was relegated to female pop vocal and music video categories. No Song of the Year or Record of the Year nods? Rah-rah-ridiculous!

RIGHT: The Academy recognized worthy lesser-known acts like the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons with multiple nominations…

WRONG: …but filled out the list with too many predictable choices like John Mayer, whose most recent album underwhelmed even some fans.

RIGHT: Gorillaz“Stylo” got a much-deserved spot in the music video category….

WRONG: …but the cartoon band’s only other appearance was in Best Pop Instrumental Performance, for a minute-long album intro. That’s just weird.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com:
Grammy nominations: 16 snubs and surprises
Eminem, Bruno Mars lead Grammy nominees
Grammy nominations concert: Who had the best and worst performances

Gorillaz record new album on iPad for possible year-end release

damon-albarnImage Credit: Graeme Flegenheimer/WireImage.comDamon Albarn has been busy recording a brand-new album by his cartoon band Gorillaz, per a new interview with NME — and he hopes to rush it to market “before Christmas” this year.

The British singer has been quietly recording the album during Gorillaz’ current tour using his Apple iPad. “I’ve made it on an iPad — I hope I’ll be making the first record on an iPad,” he tells NME. “I fell in love with my iPad as soon as I got it, so I’ve made a completely different kind of record.”

If a new Gorillaz album really arrives in stores by Dec. 25, it would be only a few months after the release of their album Plastic Beach this past March. This would be a very pleasant surprise for fans who waited five years for a new full-length after 2005′s Demon Days.

Anyone else excited by this news? Any ideas on what an iPad-assisted Gorillaz album might sound like? Speak up in comments.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix)

More on The Music Mix:
Gorillaz run wild at NYC’s Madison Square Garden
Gorillaz creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett: The Music Mix Q&A

Gorillaz run wild at NYC's Madison Square Garden with help from Lou Reed, Mos Def, and many more

GORILLAZ-DamonImage Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic.comLou Reed might have been the only person in all of Madison Square Garden who did not crack a smile at the Gorillaz concert last night. As a legendarily curmudgeonly rock deity, Lou’s got a reputation to uphold. Scowling is his thing. But virtually everyone else in the arena, especially Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, burst out in un-self-conscious glee when Reed showed up for a mid-set cameo. The guest of honor ripped through a harsh, metallic guitar solo; recited the lyrics to “Some Kind of Nature” off a sheet; unleashed some more screeching White Light/White Heat-style feedback at the end of the song; and raised his arms in a curt victory sign. It was spellbinding. Albarn wrapped him a slightly awkward hug before he moseyed off stage. READ FULL STORY

Keith Richards: Music's most influential character?

Keith-RichardsImage Credit: Greetsia Tent/WireImage.comWhile assembling EW’s 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years issue, we talked to many artists about the real and fictional figures who inspired their creations. One name that came up repeatedly was that of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards — a personage so larger-than-life, so legendary in rock history, that he could almost qualify as a mythical character himself.

Here’s Johnny Depp, talking about what he drew on to play Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films: “I was thinking of pirates as rock’n’roll stars, so Keith Richards was already in my mind. Then came Pepe Le Pew. And then Lee Marvin’s performance in Cat Ballou.” Or animator Jamie Hewlett on Gorillaz‘ nefarious cartoon bassist: “Murdoc is an amalgamation of a Scooby-Doo baddie, Keith Richards, and Baron Von Frankenstein. Just the unpleasant villain of the band.” If you want to create a memorable character for stage, screen, page, or even record, it seems you could do worse than to model your work on good old Keef. READ FULL STORY

Gorillaz and the Pixies latest to cancel concert appearances in Israel

pixies-gorillazImage Credit: Jamie Hewlett; Chapman BaehlerTel Aviv’s Pic.Nic festival will have to do without several bands this week, including second-night headliners the Pixies, Billboard reports. A rep for the iconic alt-rock foursome provide EW with the following statement:

It is with great regret that we announce today of the Pixies’ decision to cancel their appearance on June 5 in Israel at this time.

The decision was not reached easily, and we all know well the Israeli fans have been waiting for this visit for far too long.

We’d like to extend our deepest apologies to the fans, but events beyond all our control have conspired against us. We can only hope for better days, in which we will finally present the long awaited visit of the Pixies in Israel.

The band did not specifically acknowledge last Monday’s Israeli commando naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship, which resulted in nine deaths and sparked a significant global outcry, though Billboard says the festival’s organizers have acknowledged that the band’s decision is related to those events.

Damon Albarn’s virtual band of cartoon misfits Gorillaz also pulled out of the event, as did UK nu-rave outfit Klaxons. Upcoming concert appearances in Tel Aviv from the likes of Elton John, Jethro Tull, DJ Shadow and Mike Patton are still scheduled to go on as planned.

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
‘Newsies’ dance to ‘Bad Romance’: Watch here
Prince celebrates 52nd birthday with a new song, “Hot Summer”
‘The Office’ comic Craig Robinson’s 4 favorite dirty South jams
Destiny’s Child will not reunite, says Beyonce’s dad
Eminem learns to fly in new “Not Afraid” video
Gorillaz creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett: The Music Mix Q&A

Gorillaz creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett on the cartoon band's past, present, and future: The Music Mix Q&A

gorillazImage Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty ImagesNot many musicians can hang with the likes of Harry Potter, Homer Simpson, and Carrie Bradshaw. But when EW assembled its list of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years for the cover story now on stands, we had to include Gorillaz, the fictional cartoon quartet that’s fronted three real albums (2001′s Gorillaz, 2005′s Demon Days, and this spring’s Plastic Beach, all stellar). I spoke with Gorillaz’ human creators — Tank Girl visual artist Jamie Hewlett and Blur singer Damon Albarn (pictured, seated left to right) — about the project’s past, present and future. Read on after the jump for our full Q&A.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: A good place to start might be the late ’90s, when you first hit on the idea of making a cartoon band. What was the initial spark for that?
JAMIE HEWLETT:
We shared a flat in London, and I think we were just sitting watching MTV. We felt that you had to wait a long time before anything decent came along. There would be the odd Spike Jonze video or Hype Williams, and then the rest would be pretty bad. So we had the very simple idea: Let’s do an animated band. There was no great formula or great plan. We started messing around for about six months. I was doing designs, Damon was doing demos. It sort of grew from that. And it’s still growing now, 10 years later. It’s a project that is growing larger all the time. For me, definitely I don’t feel it’s complete. I don’t know about Damon’s thoughts on that. But I think it’s something that can continue to grow until it reaches a point where we can’t really go any further with it. We haven’t reached that point yet. I don’t know if we will. READ FULL STORY

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