Gorillaz

Damon Albarn: The Essential Career-Spanning Playlist

Things are coming full circle for Damon Albarn this week, as Blur’s Parklife celebrates its 20th anniversary and his first proper solo album, Everyday Robots, makes its way into the world. The sonically eclectic and emotionally wistful album, produced by Albarn and XL Records, makes reference to its creator’s lengthy past, present, and future: Britpop posterboy, puppeteer behind pop’s greatest cartoon band, supergroup collector, world music activist and curator, producer of forgotten legends, soundtrack creep, opera experimenter, rap hook dude, electronic remixer, guy standing in the background playing keyboard on a Gil-Scott Heron record, or really anything you need from him. … Read More

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An Inside Look at ‘Monkey: Journey to the West’ With Jamie Hewlett

Gorillaz masterminds Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett are no strangers to ambitious work. Together, the pair created a cartoon band that not only got taken extremely seriously, but also sold millions of albums worldwide. In fact, the world of Gorillaz became so fully developed that the virtual band members began to feel as real as the actual musicians (led by Blur frontman Albarn) who brought their music to life. So, while many might balk at the idea of taking a hugely influential 16th-century Chinese novel and turning it into a modern-day acrobatic opera, Hewlett and Albarn jumped at the idea. … Read More

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Duane Dalton’s Elegantly Redesigned ‘Album Anatomy’

You might be tempted to lump in Duane Dalton’s Album Anatomy series with the many “minimalist” renderings of pop-culture icons and artifacts that have flooded the Internet. But the Dublin-based designer is actually doing something a bit more interesting than many of his peers, pushing all the information about the record to the top and bottom of the image and using the center space to illustrate his own experience of it. Dalton writes that the project is “an exploration in the art of reduction. It breaks down album imagery into its purist [sic] form by discarding any unnecessary information. This is achieved using a strict grid that displays the relevant album details, which leaves a central void to convey a response to the album. This void is filled by my personal response to an album. It can be influenced by a key track, the cover art or the overall flavour of the album.” Click through to view some of our favorite Album Anatomy redesigns, and visit Dalton’s website to see many more. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Here are an insane number of images from the highly-anticipated film adaptation of The Hunger Games, all scanned from a new book that we might need to own that’s called The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion.

2. Rumor is that Elizabeth Olsen is currently in talks to take… Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Hot on the heels of an announcement by Barnes & Noble and Books A Million that they wouldn’t stock books being published by Amazon, there’s a new rumor floating around that the online retailer is planning to open its first brick and mortar store in Seattle within the next few months. [via … Read More

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5 Albums to Stream for Free This Week: Gorillaz, Adele

It’s Monday, and if like us you spent the last few days indulging the American penchant for celebrating a general unspecified spirit of thankfulness by inflicting righteous vengeance on your digestive tract, then you’re probably feeling about as enthusiastic about being back at work as we are. Well, anyway, let us ease your transition back into the real world with our regular start-of-the-week round-up of some noteworthy — and, ideally, listenable — records that are streaming for free over the internet this week. Get a piece of the action after the jump. … Read More

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9 Alt and Indie Rockers’ Non-Rock Side Projects

Sometimes you’ve gotta rock, and sometimes you want to just do something else–preferably something as not-rock as possible. That’s where a lot of alt and/or indie rock musicians have found themselves over the years, whether or not they actually act on the impulse. Here are nine artists who did just that. … Read More

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Some Music Videos We’d Like VH1’s New ‘Pop-Up Video’ to Explain

We rejoiced at the news, earlier this week, that VH1 is bringing back Pop-Up Video, which we’ve missed ever since it went off the air in 2002. In addition to the pop and rock videos the original provided fascinating factoids about, the new version of the show will feature hip-hop videos for the first time. After the jump, check out our list of wonderful, bizarre, and downright baffling post-Pop-Up- Video-era music videos that we hope to see the show explain — and be sure to leave your own suggestions in the comments. … Read More

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A Cross-Genre 4/20 Mixtape for the Ages

Yes, it’s 4/20, which means that stoners the world over are rejoicing over having a vaguely legitimate reason to get colossally baked this afternoon. There are plenty of songs out there about weed (we’re looking at you, Snoop), but they don’t necessarily make the best soundtrack for celebrating the herb -– so we’ve thoughtfully composed a psychedelic stoner mixtape that moves through a range of genres in the hope of providing a fine old soundtrack to some extracurricular pursuits this afternoon. (We’ve tried to go for selections that aren’t blindingly obvious –- with one exception -– so no Bob Marley, or Grateful Dead.) … Read More

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Theophilus London on Mark Ronson, Damon Albarn, and Debuts

New York-based rapper Theophilus London is on a roll. After dropping his first EP, Lovers Holiday, last month, he’s putting the finishing touches on his debut album and getting ready to take on the world. Not that he hasn’t been noticed already. His early remixes and mixtapes (Jam! and This Charming Mixtape) brought him to the attention of artists including Mark Ronson and Damon Albarn and led to guest turns with Ronson’s Business Intl, Gorillaz, and Dave Sitek’s Maximum Balloon.

Lovers Holiday, which includes guest appearances by Solange Knowles and Tegan and Sara’s Sara Quin, is a perfect taste of the genre-confounding music that London makes — a mash-up of hip-hop, pop, old-school funk, and soul. For an artist who cites Michael Jackson, the Smiths, and Arthur Russell among his influences, it’s hardly surprising he stands out from the crowd as much as he does. In our exclusive interactive interview, London reveals what to expect from his first album, what it’s like becoming the face of two brands at once, and why he still feels like a fan around some of his friends. Plus: an impromptu music video for a previously unheard album track! … Read More

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