Gorillaz will release their first album in six years, Humanz, April 28th. Mastermind Damon Albarn premiered two new songs from the record – “Andromeda” featuring D.R.A.M. and “Saturn Barz” with Popcaan – on MistaJam’s BBC Radio 1 show before releasing the tracks, as well as two Humanz offerings, individually late Thursday.
On “Andromeda,” Albarn croons softly over a swift dance beat laced with spacey synths while D.R.A.M. turns up for a quick but playful guest appearance. “Saturnz Barz” captures a similar aesthetic with Albarn filtering his vocals through static and Jamaican artist Popcaan delivering a sinister verse over a guttural rumble sprinkled with siren-like synth flares.
After premiering “Saturnz Barz” and “Andromeda,” Gorillaz resurfaced late Thursday to debut the “art track” for two more Humanz cuts, “Ascension” and “We Got the Power.” The former is a frenzied sonic assault featuring Vince Staples, who explodes out of the gate with some rapid-fire rhymes. Albarn appears on the chorus to ease the pace before the rapper reappears with another electric verse.
Humanz‘ closing track, “We Got the Power,” is a throbbing rave track reminiscent of British acid house groups like the KLF and 808 State, with Savages’ Jehnny Beth guesting to provide vocals and toasting. “We got the power to be loving each other no matter what happens / We got the power to do that,” Albarn chants on the chorus.
The 14-track Humanz marks Gorillaz first album since 2010′s The Falland boasts an impressive list of guests that includes Mavis Staples, Grace Jones, Pusha T, Danny Brown, Kelela, De La Soul, Kali Uchis, Jamie Principle, Anthony Hamilton, Peven Everett and Zebra Katz. The deluxe edition of the record will boast appearances from Kilo Kish, Peven Everett and even Carly Simon. Humanz will also include the previously released track, “Hallelujah Money,” with Benjamin Clementine.
Gorillaz Humanz Track List
1. “Ascension” feat. Vince Staples 2. “Strobelite” feat. Peven Everett 3. “Saturnz Barz” feat. Popcaan 4. “Momentz” feat. De La Soul 5. “Submission” feat. Danny Brown Kelela 6. “Charger” feat. Grace Jones 7. “Andromeda” feat. D.R.A.M. 8. “Busted and Blue” 9. “Carnival” feat. Anthony Hamilton 10. “Let Me Out” feat. Mavis Staples Pusha T 11. “Sex Murder Party” feat. Jamie Principle Zebra Katz 12. “She’s My Collar” feat. Kali Uchis 13. “Hallelujah Money” feat. Benjamin Clementine 14. “We Got The Power” feat. Jehnny Beth
The track, Lamar’s first solo release since his 2016 outtakes LP untitled unmastered, opens with Lamar repeating “Don’t tell a lie on me/ I won’t tell the truth about you” over a swirling vocal loop courtesy of up-and-coming singer Khaled, who tweeted about his contribution.
After repeating the chorus once more, “The Heart Part 4″ makes a sudden shift and Lamar increases the intensity, threatening an unnamed adversary, “My fans can’t wait for me to son ya punk ass and crush your whole lil shit/ I’ll Big Pun ya punk ass, you a scared little bitch.”
Midway through Lamar’s ferocious, seemingly endless second verse, the rapper takes aim at the new president and his administration’s Russia problem.
“Niggas is fake rich/ Bitches is fake bad/ Blacks that act white/ Whites that do the dab,” Lamar says. “Donald Trump is a chump, know how we feel, punk/ Tell ‘em God comin’/ And Russia needs a replay button, y’all up to something.”
The track concludes with the lines, “You know what time it is, ante up, this is in forever/ Y’all got ’til April the 7th to get your shit together,” leading to speculation that Lamar plans on releasing new music, potentially his fourth album, in two weeks time.
“I think now, how wayward things have gone within the past few months, my focus is ultimately going back to my community and the other communities around the world where they’re doing the groundwork. To Pimp a Butterfly was addressing the problem. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore,” Lamar added. “We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God. Nobody speaks on it because it’s almost in conflict with what’s going on in the world when you talk about politics and government and the system.”
Megadeth will join Scorpions on a North American fall tour launching September 14th in Reading, Pennsylvania and concluding October 15th in Tampa, Florida. The 16-date trek, dubbed the “Crazy WorldTour,” celebrates Scorpions’ 1990 LP of the same name. Full ticket details will be made available via the band’s official website.
Megadeth, the long-reigning gods of thrash-metal, released their 15th LP, Dystopia, last year. The acclaimed record ranked sixth on Rolling Stone‘s 20 Best Metal Albums of 2016 list, and its title track earned the band their first Grammy win (for Best Metal Performance) following 11 prior nominations.
Earlier in March, singer-guitarist Dave Mustaine hosted a crew of metal-heads at his California home for a “Megadeth Boot Camp,” where fans took guitar, drum and bass lessons; tasted wine, soaked in an intimate acoustic concert and jammed with the band on their 1992 hit “Symphony of Destruction.”
Megadeth + Scorpions Tour Dates
September 14 – Reading, PA @ Santander Arena September 16 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden September 19 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell September 22 – Toronto, ONT @ Budweiser Stage September 23 – Chicago, IL @ All State Arena September 26 – Denver, CO @ 1st Bank Center September 29 – Spokane, WA @ Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena September 30 – Seattle, WA @ Tacoma Dome October 3 – Reno, NV @ Grand Sierra Resort October 4 – Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena October 7 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum October 8 – Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Arena October 11 – San Antonio, TX @ Freeman Coliseum October 12 – Dallas, TX @ Pavilion at the Music Factory October 14 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ BBT Center October 15 – Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
Devonté Hynes co-directed an experimental short film soundtracked by songs from his 2016 Blood Orange LP, Freetown Sound. The impressionistic clip features snippets of “With Him,” “Best to You” and “Better Numb,” three highlights from the acclaimed album, which Rolling Stone named the 28th-best of last year.
Hynes and filmmaker Luke Gilford collaborated on the project, which cuts abruptly between a series of vignettes. Throughout, the singer plays cello and violin, runs shirtless in slow-motion through a neighborhood at dusk, dances artfully on an empty stage and stands near flashing police lights with a woman and baby. Singer-songwriter Empress Of lip-synchs her “Best to You” vocal during a segment scored by the electro-pop track.
In January, Hynes teamed with Starchild the New Romantic’s Bryndon Cook to form a new group, VeilHymn. Last month, the duo released a video for “Hymn,” their atmospheric electro-soul slow-jam.
Ed Sheeran played a large role in Friday’s Red Nose Day special as the singer performed, appeared in a comedy sketch and hosted an emotional segment where he traveled to Liberia to meet with homeless and parentless children.
In the video, produced by Comic Relief, Sheeran meets JD, a Liberian boy who spent two months sleeping in a canoe on the beach bordering a dangerous slum at the time of the video’s filming. JD, who lost his mother to Ebola and was abandoned by his father, tells Sheeran about his difficult life and presidential dreams.
Sheeran is so moved by JD’s story, he tells the segment’s crew that he’s not leaving until the child and five of his mates are “sorted out” in a situation that includes shelter and schooling. The singer offers to put up the money to ensure JD doesn’t spend another night on the beach.
“These kids, you give them an education, you give them hope. I think that’s the main thing, I don’t even think it’s a financial thing. I think it’s just someone saying ‘You can be this,’ and fulfilling the promise,” Sheeran said.
“These Red Nose Day appeals are meant to be we make a case for a child and that tugs on your heartstrings, and then you donate because you want to help the child out, but I can’t leave, and I think everyone here filming agrees, we can’t leave this place without sorting these kids out… But these kids are just five in a million, two million, five million. There’s so many kids that are in the same situation.”
“Well, I can’t tell you why I did it, but I said, ‘Just walk up and down the street.’ There wasn’t very much thought to it. It was late afternoon – you can tell that the sun was low behind them. It must have been pretty uncomfortable, out there in the slush.”
Paul McCartney, Flowers in the Dirt (Special Edition) “We would write in the same method that me and John used to write,” says McCartney, recalling his wildly productive late-Eighties collaborations with Elvis Costello. “I figured, in a way, he was being John. And for me, that was good and bad. He was a great person to write with, a great foil to bounce off, but here’s me, trying to avoid doing something too Beatle-y!”
Those sessions, at McCartney’s rustic Hog Hill Mill Studio in East Sussex, England, were intended to yield songs for what became the ex-Beatle’s 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt, an Eighties high point. Four tracks, including the playful duet “You Want Her Too,” ended up on that LP, two on McCartney’s next one (1993′s Off the Ground), and the rest on Costello’s albums – most notably the hit single “Veronica.”
The Jesus and Mary Chain, Damage and Joy After 30 years in the darklands, the Jesus and Mary Chain remain a tribute to the power of goth guitar noise, surly frowns and the kind of grudges only a pair of Scottish brothers can hold. The notoriously hostile duo of Jim and William Reid put aside their differences – some of them, anyway – for their first album since 1998′s Munki, picking up right where “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll” left off. Read Our Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Reunion Record Is Fabulously Morbid Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Pallbearer, Heartless Anthemic Little Rock doom metal quartet Pallbearer began writing Heartless – their third and most striking album – a full year before Americans headed to the polls in November 2016. Throughout the process, though, bassist Joseph Rowland admits to a sense of impending dread, the sense that something disastrous was near. He and vocalist Brett Campbell wrote songs that reflected the feeling that, as he puts it, “we could be headed for some troubled times.” The seven-song Heartless feels more aggressive and immediate than Pallbearer’s previous work. The band moves out of the shadows of mythology and toward an earth riddled with new problems, broken defenses and evaporating futures. The music follows, with hooks that seem sharper and choruses that demand more attention. Read Our QA: Pallbearer: Hear Anthemic ‘Thorns,’ First Doom-Prog Wallop From Third LP Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Craig Finn, We All Want the Same Things A change from the lean folk-rock of 2015′s Faith in the Future, Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn spins tales of Midwestern ne’er-do-wells here against a lusher palette: ragged horns, synths, piano, even flute(!). The characters aren’t far from those in his band’s oeuvre, but he surveys their substance abuse, spiritual struggles, looming violence and generally dubious prospects with a heightened tenderness and more nuanced delivery. In terms of songwriting, he’s become the indie-rock Springsteen we’d always suspected him to be, although now with a vibe more Nebraska than Born in the U.S.A. Will Hermes Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Janka Nabay the Bubu Gang, Build Music The latest from David Byrne and Yale Evelev’s Luaka Bop label is swarming, beat-driven electroacoustic music echoing that of the late Nigerian synth-pop pioneer William Onyeabor – another of the label’s revelations. Nabay is a Sierra Leonean immigrant known for updating bubu, a processional music defined by percussion and bamboo horns. He translates it via samples and electronics, with help from Syrian-American multi-instrumentalist Boshra AlSaadi and others. The result is hypnotic, often hectic, and wildly danceable – ancient trance music for a tightly-wound new world. Will Hermes Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Also of Note:
James Blunt, The Afterlove The fifth album from the folk-pop softie features songs cowritten by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and Ed Sheeran. Blunt will be opening Sheeran’s North American tour, starting June 29th. Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Betty Who, The Valley The Australian-born, New York-based synth-pop musician recently had her third Dance Club Songs Number One with an update of Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever.” Her second album features it alongside rubbery singles like “Some Kinda Wonderful” and “Mama Say.” Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Mount Eerie, A Crow Looked at Me First as the Microphones and later Mount Eerie, Phil Elverum’s legacy of blustery, drone-folk epics are eclipsed by his latest, A Crow Looked at Me. After losing his wife, artist Geneviève Castrée, to cancer in 2016, he follows up with a log of the grim days that followed in the aftermath. Braced by little more than a delicate strum of guitar, Elverum candidly details the process of grieving his loved one’s absence: from its most profound in “Swims” (“We’re all so close to not existing at all/Except in the confusion of our survived-bys, grasping at the echoes”) down to its most mundane in “Toothbrush/Trash” (“I finally took out the upstairs bathroom garbage that was sitting there/Forgotten since you were here”). “Look at me,” laments Elverum, “Death is real.” Suzy Exposito Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
On Fillmore, Happiness of Living Before they visited Brazil, On Fillmore – the eclectic, long-running duo of bassist Darin Gray and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche – were used to micromanaging their sound. But, as Kotche says, “when we got there, we saw all these people just playing and having fun, so Darin and I ditched the cerebral side and went more for the emotional side.” Accordingly, their new album, Happiness of Living, recorded in 2013 in Rio, is their most vibrant, spontaneous to date, featuring collaborators like Atoms for Peace/Red Hot Chili Peppers percussionist Mauro Refosco and Brazilian-American singer-songwriter Gabriela Riley. Read Our Feature: On Fillmore: How Wilco-Related Duo Learned to Let Go in Brazil Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Wolf Eyes, Undertow With their latest release, the long-running Midwest noise troupe launched a new, Warp-assisted imprint, Lower Floor Music. With more than 20-plus years of slasher garble behind them, the trio have spent recent years exploring a dead, bleak, rhythmic desolation. Undertow plays like listlessly flicking rocks into a bog, a sludge-and-sax sound like Flipper trying to make an ambient record. Christopher R. Weingarten Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Amazon Music Unlimited
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Souvenir Singer-songwriter Drew Holcomb was, like so many Americans, disgusted with the exhausting electoral process of 2016. The day following Election Day and Donald Trump’s victory, the East Nashville-based performer wrote “Fight for Love” for Souvenir. “You gotta fight for love/Fight for what you’re dreaming of,” he insists, his signature folky Americana given a kick by distorted electric guitar, chiming 12-string leads and a fiery anger in his voice.
Memoriam, For the Fallen For the Fallen is technically Memoriam’s debut, but the English band’s roots stretch all the way back to the late Eighties, when vocalist Karl Willetts and drummer Andrew Whale started playing together in Bolt Thrower. That band’s 2016 breakup – following the death of Whale’s replacement, Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, a year prior – capped a glorious three-decade run during which they skillfully bridged primitive grindcore and epic British heavy metal. Willetts and Whale reunite here to carry on that proud tradition, honoring Kearns’ memory with help from bassist and fellow U.K. scene vet Frank Healy (also of Benediction and Sacrilege). The band’s MVP, though, turns out to be its youngest member: guitarist Scott Fairfax, whose bulldozing yet potently melodic riffs lend real emotional heft to Willetts’ gruff tales of battle. Extreme metal isn’t known for its poignancy, but the elegiac tug of a track like near-nine-minute closer “Last Words” is impossible to miss. Hank Shteamer Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited
Ice-T chronicles the horror of police brutality in the visceral video for “Black Hoodie,” his new single with metal outfit Body Count. The clip opens with an innocent man shot dead in a parking lot as police sirens echo in the background.
“All these people out here tripping off police brutality like this shit is something new,” Ice-T says to open the track. “Give me a fucking break – I’ve been talking about this shit for over 20 years. And now you can kill a motherfucker just because of how he’s dressed. Are you fucking serious?”
Over his bandmates’ sinister guitar riffs and frenetic drum flourishes, the rapper laments how common – and underreported – police shootings are in the U.S.
The rapper describes one such shooting in detail, conjuring a scenario where he and his friends are hanging out when cops confront them. On the chorus, Ice-T channels the perspective of the dead character, who was killed after running from the police: “I didn’t have a gun, so why am I dead?/ You didn’t have to shoot me, and that’s a known fact/ And now I’m laying face down with bullets in my back.”
“Black Hoodie” is available as a free download with pre-order of Body Count’s upcoming sixth LP, Bloodlust, out March 31st.
Michael Stipe revealed that he’s currently at work on a “series of books” about his life, including his time with R.E.M. The photo book, which the singer is working on with frequent collaborator Jonathan Berger, is due out later this year.
“It’s the first in a series of books I’m releasing,” Stipe told the Creative Independent. “This one focuses on my timeline, on the work I’ve done all along, all through the band and back to my early 20s. It’s all photo-based, but some of it’s just documentation of things I’m obsessed with and that I focus on to make new pieces from. There are also certain things I’ll take, recontextualize, and present as something completely different.”
Stipe and Berger previously teamed for a project called New Sights, New Noise, an art piece the duo presented while Stipe served as a guest artist at NYU’s Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions in November 2014.
Stipe added, “Jonathan and I are also working on a project for the High Line, which will involve composing some pieces of music to be played by this bell tower that will be constructed at the northern end. He and I have several projects going simultaneously.”
“I’m not ready to go completely into pop stardom again, as a 56-year-old,” Stipe told the New York Times before adding, “I want to work in music again.” The singer also stated that he’s currently producing the upcoming Fischerspooner album.
After three decades of using the same computerized voice, Stephen Hawking searches for a fresh tone, auditioning a group of A-list actors in a hilarious clip created for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day.
Seizing a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” actors like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Liam Neeson, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Eddie Redmayne (who played the renowned physicist in 2014′s The Theory of Everything) audition to become Hawking’s new voice. They all fail for a variety of reasons, including massive egos, bumbling delivery and complete lack of scientific knowledge.
“Stephen, it’s me – surely it has to be me,” Neeson says in his mock-audition tape. “Listen to my voice. It’s deep; it’s sexy; it’s got a tinge of…physics.” Miranda tried to tap into Hawking’s artistic side, showcasing the same rapping skill that helped propel Hamilton to Broadway fame. “You’re Stephen Hawking from Cambridge College/ But your voice is mad robotic if I’m being honest,” he rhymed.
Hawking ultimately side-stepped the auditions altogether, selecting one of cinema’s most instantly recognizable voices: Michael Caine.
The video promotes Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, an annual fundraising campaign celebrated March 24th in the U.K. and May 25th in the U.S. BBC One will air a special program featuring live comedy, sketches and music tonight at 7 p.m. U.K. time.