No one could’ve predicted that 16 years after the release of Blur’s Parklife, that seminal Britpop album’s chief architect would tour U.S. arenas at the helm of a successful alt-electro cartoon band. But Gorillaz’s stateside popularity isn’t just a one-sided love affair for Damon Albarn; on The Fall, which was recorded on an Apple iPad during the band’s fall 2010 tour, he shows his elation at finally getting acquainted with America.
The A.V. Club Inventory feature is simultaneously the geekiest and most well-regarded thing I’m involved with. Usually I’m stunned into silence at the endless sea of pop culture knowledge that the other contributors cup in their hands like so many haphazardly hocked loogies. It makes me a little ill actually, but just this once, I was able to pitch in. The subject: 24 Unconventional Recording Spaces. I wrote on: Mike Patton (#12), Gorillaz (#14) and My Morning Jacket (#23). <Click that for an ancient bonus.
Had the pleasure of witnessing the Gorillaz circus when it came to town back in October and among what must be close to a thousand concerts witnessed, this one is now permanently lodged in my personal top five. No joke. Damon Albarn has done something magical with music (and a huge effing budget). I had the added pleasure of speaking with him and his Gorillaz cohort Jamie Hewlett for Spin’s year-end cov’g. Here’s an excerpt:
“It’s like a juggernaut once it starts,” says Damon Albarn. The peculiar pop project he and illustrator Jamie Hewlett founded 12 years ago in a shared London flat has grown from a virtual band of comic-book characters to a traveling spectacle of Barnumesque proportions. “There’s no stopping it,” says Albarn. “The magic is in the way it mesmerizes, brings you into its world.
As readers of pop culture journalism are well aware (and perhaps lamenting), the dawn of a new decade means twice the list-making. If culture can’t be quantified, well, I’m out of a job. Thus, its in the spirit of thankfulness, nostalgia and horizon-gazing that I offer to you, dear overstretched reader, the “Artists Of The Decade” as determined by myself and the good editors of Poptimist. Read it online (page 34), or pick one up ’round the streets of L.A. Huzzah!