Pretty Green

A Songapalooza Of New Damon Albarn Tunes

We still have to wait a whole month until the release of Damon Albarn’s first solo album, Everyday Robots (out April 28). Luckily for the impatient of us, songs have continued to trickle out, and here is the latest round-up of leaks, both of studio and live variety.

Studio versions of two songs from the upcoming album have recently materialized. ‘Mr Tembo‘ might seem like an upbeat anomaly, but its story is just as poignant as Albarn’s other songs. ‘Mr Tembo’ is a baby elephant who was discovered on an aerodrome. Albarn’s friends took the little orphan in, and he met him on one of his trips to Tanzania. ‘I was there,’ Albarn told Rolling Stone, ‘and I met this little elephant, and he was very sweet. I sang to him. It was recorded on a phone, and in a light-hearted moment, I put it on a list for Richard.’ Originally, Albarn was reticent to include the song on Everyday Robots — he considered it one of his ‘songs I write for other things.’ But, producer Richard Russell saw something more in the little oddity, and persuaded him to include it on the album.

Listen to ‘Mr Tembo’ below, and, maybe, imagine Damon Albarn duetting with Paul Simon. Also, check out his US television performance of ‘Mr Tembo‘ and ‘Lonely Press Play‘ on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Albarn’s latest unveiled track is ‘Heavy Seas Of Love,’ which has Brian Eno providing guest vocals. The song features lofty 1960s-style harmonies courtesy of the Leytonstone City Mission Choir, who also lend their talents to ‘Mr Tembo.’

If you would like to get a taste for what a Damon Albarn live show would be like, watch his February 28 performance at the 6 Music Festival in Manchester, below. Albarn’s backing band, the Heavy Seas, made their live debut with an amazing setlist that included a rare Blur b-side that had never previously been performed live; three Gorillaz songs; one song from the Good, the Bad & the Queen; and another from Albarn’s Mali Music project. Notably, his set consisted of three songs off Albarn’s upcoming solo album that had yet to be played live.

Spoons (Mali Music)  |  Everyday Robots  |  Hostiles  |  Lonely Press Play  |  Tomorrow Comes Today (Gorillaz)  |  The Selfish Giant (live debut)  |  You And Me  |  On Melancholy Hill (Gorillaz)  |  Hollow Ponds  |  Photographs (You Are Taking Now)  |  Kingdom Of Doom (The Good, The Bad & The Queen)  |  All Your Life (Blur, ‘Beetlebum’ b-side)  ||  Mr Tembo (live debut)  |  El Mañana (Gorillaz)  |  Heavy Seas Of Love (live debut)

Britpopping since I first heard 'Animal Nitrate' in 1993

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