Despite refusing to perform its breakout album for the 25th anniversary of Parklife, Blur is acknowledging the occasion by re-releasing a vintage line of merchandise, as well as a 10″ record of a previously unreleased live BBC session. No word yet on a special edition of the album itself.
The show refusal dates back to April of this year, where lead singer Damon Albarn voiced his concern over the Brexit situation, saying: “Say we got to the point of having a second referendum, then I would be happy to play that record as a celebration and as a way of reminding ourselves of a time when we had an idea of Britishness that wasn’t political.”
Maybe the band will soften on the idea as these releases roll out. That record deserves to be celebrated.
As we continue to wonder whether or not this extended Blur reunion will actually produce any new music, lead-singer Damon Albarn puts us off once again with his first proper solo album. Due April 29 on XL, Everyday Robots is an exploration of time and memory against a backdrop of hazy, electronic ether and, of course, Albarn’s languorous voice.
His quips to Rolling Stone recently suggest Blur is taking a backseat to his myriad other endeavors:
“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.”
So, it sounds like a new Blur record won’t happen any time soon, if ever. Everyday Robots may have to fill the void.
With a live streaming Twitter premier this past Monday, Blur unveiled two newly recorded songs, which will be featured on a limited 7″ single due out in August. Both tracks are available now on iTunes. The songs are set to promote the band’s appearance at the closing ceremony for the Olympic games on August 12. Prior to that Blur will embark on a low-key UK tour to warm up for the grandiosity of an Olympic themed-event. Also, not without coincidence, the band will release a career-spanning box set on July 30, entitled 21, which, according to NME, will include “the band’s seven studio albums as well as over five hours of previously unreleased material including 65 tracks, rarities, three DVDs, a collector’s edition book and special limited edition Seymour seven-inch vinyl.” A vinyl version of the set will also be available.
The video for “Under the Westway” is a simple, straightforward in-studio shoot of the band recording, focused and grim-faced. New album rumors are once again swirling.
Blur received a Brit award last night for “outstanding contribution to music.” The band played an 11-minute set consisting of career-spanning highlights (“Girls & Boys,” “Song 2,” “Parklife,” “Tender,” and my all-time favorite Blur song, “This Is A Low”). Having just played a few nights prior at the War Child benefit (see previous post), this flurry of Blur activity is certainly getting my hopes up that a new record will eventually surface.
Came into this expecting to hate on it pretty hard, given that it’s 90’s emo stalwarts The Get Up Kids covering Blur and all, but it’s really not terrible. Musically, it holds up, and, if I’m forced to gripe, my only concern is that the vocals lack any of Damon Albarn’s panache. But, again, surprisingly not terrible.
The longstanding Blur vs. Oasis battle will officially come to and end on this year’s Record Store Day when Liam Gallagher’s new band, Beady Eye, will release a cover of Blur’s “Country House,” the very song that went up against Oasis’ “Roll with It” in that infamous first week sales challenge back in 1995. Gallagher has even gone so far as to admit: “The chart battle was only a bit of a fucking laugh and secretly ‘Country House’ was always my favorite Blur song.” My my, how Mr. Gallagher has mellowed.
Blur bassist turned foodie, Alex James, has been given an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Bournemouth University. James, who grew up in Bournemouth, accepted the honor with a speech that opened thusly: “I would just like to say a few words to you about cheese.” He went on to express his love of cheese, advising, “If you find something you love just go after it with all guns blazing.” He went on to stress the importance of higher education, particularly in the arts because, well, you can meet your future bandmates there.