IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY….

Partly adapted and added to substantially from a previous blog posting back in August 2013:-

One night back in late 2000, while suffering from insomnia, I caught a glimpse of a cartoon video of on MTV. It must have been around 3am or something. My ears immediately picked up on a great tune and what sounded awfully like the vocals of Damon Albarn. But quite clearly, this was not anything by Blur.

Unusually, no information on the video came up at the end. But I was determined to track it down. By pure chance, I was in a favourite record shop in Glasgow a couple of days later and amidst my browsing, I saw something which had a title that was awfully like the mystery track.

So, I asked the guys in the shop to let me hear it. And I was right. So I bought it, and waited on it becoming a massive hit. But nothing happened:-

mp3: Gorillaz – Tomorrow Comes Today

It was originally released as a four-track EP on 27 November 2000.  I still think of Gorillaz as being a relatively new addition to the music scene, so I’m terrified/horrified/gob-smacked that it has been a full twenty years.

Here’s the other tracks on the EP:-

mp3: Gorillaz – Rock The House
mp3: Gorillaz – Latin Simone
mp3: Gorillaz – 12D3

It would take only a further four months for the band/group/act to make the commercial breakthrough, with Clint Eastwood being a Top 5 single and the self-titled debut album going Top 3 in the UK, eventually selling almost a million copies.  Greater success followed in 2005 when Feel Good Inc (featuring De La Soul) and Dare (featuring Shawn Ryder) went to #2 and #1 respectively, with parent album Demon Days selling 1.8 million copies.

There have been five albums since, all of which have charted high in the charts, but without selling copious amounts – for instance, Humanz (2017) reached #2 in the albums chart, but sold only 100,000 copies.

Tomorrow Comes Today, after its low-key release in 2000, would be included on the debut album and would be re-released as a single in March 2002, when it reached #33.  It was the fourth single to be lifted from the debut album, but rather unusually, it was issued after a non-album single had been released in December 2001:-

mp3: Gorillaz (feat. D12 and Terry Hall) – 911

From wiki:-

The song was recorded by Gorillaz and D12 (sans Eminem) in Damon Albarn’s personal studio in West London. The track came about after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City had left D12 stranded in England; Damon Albarn invited the band to his studio and played them an early demo of the track. Albarn had always wanted to experiment with Middle-Eastern music, and felt that this song would be perfect. D12 added additional production to the song, before laying down their verses. Terry Hall appears on the song as a vocal harmony with Albarn for the song’s chorus. Albarn and Hall had previously spoken about collaborating together, however when Hall revealed that he had been taking singing lessons from a Middle-Eastern singer, it inspired Albarn to take the song in a different direction.

It was made available as a download from the Gorillaz website, but in a very low key way, with a number of white-label 12″ vinyl copies also distributed around. It’s a quite extraordinary piece of music…..and one I wasn’t aware of until earlier this year when I began to think about a possible ICA for Gorillaz.

JC

AND MY NEXT GUEST IS…

Jonny‘s recent ICA on Sideshows was very timely as it dovetails nicely with a piece that I had written up, just looking for the right time to post.

Gorillaz is one of the many sideshow collaborations involving Damon Albarn. I knew that I hadn’t kept fully up to speed with everything that the virtual band has released over the years, but I was surprised to find that it’s now ten years since I last bought any of their music.

Plastic Beach was the group’s third album, following on from the excellent self-titled debut in 2001 and the 2005 follow-up, Demon Days. It’s an album that leaned very heavily on guest appearances, with no less than ten of its sixteen tracks featuring another well-known name from the worlds of pop, rock, rap and soul music. It’s an album that really did some getting used to as it was different in tone, texture and flow from its predecessors. Even now, it’s one that I really need to be in the right sort of frame and mindset to give it a listen as it demands a degree of undivided attention – for instance, I’ve never been able to sit and listen to it all the way through while travelling on a bus or train; it sort of feels as if the i=pod is on shuffle such is the coming and going of lead singers and the ever-changing genres across the tracks. It’s also a concept album, of sorts, which itself always demand as a level of concentration and buy-in than most.

Looking back at the reviews of the day, there was clearly a lot of love among the critics for the album, welcoming its ambition, diversity and the fact that Albarn & co. weren’t resting on their laurels. There was a divided opinion on whether or not all of the guest contributions worked, but it’s also interesting to note that where there is criticism of the way that say, Snoop Dogg or Lou Reed have contributed, there’s another opinion in another publication which says these are among the best bits of the album.

My favourite moment on comes on track six, when Gruff Rhys and De La Soul combine superbly, surely I’m not alone in wishing they had collaborated previously on a Super Furry Animals album?

mp3: Gorillaz – Superfast Jellyfish (with De La Soul and Gruff Rhys)

Here’s a few more of the guest appearances

mp3: Gorillaz – Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach (with Snoop Dogg)
mp3: Gorillaz – Stylo (with Mos Def featuring Bobby Womack)
mp3: Gorillaz – Some Kind of Nature (featuring Lou Reed)

The guests who I haven’t fetured today include The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Kano, Bashy, Little Dragon, Mark E. Smith, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, sinfonia ViVA and the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music. Feel more than free to go check them out in the usual places….

JC

SUPERFAST JELLYFISH

Lazy post time.  Got too much to be getting on with preparing for the Simply Thrilled event, taking place from 11pm-3am after The Cure, supported by Mogwai and The Twilight Sad, play an outdoor gig in Glasgow, their first in Scotland for 27 years!

Plastic Beach was the third studio album by Gorillaz, released back in 2010. It featured numerous guest appearances by a diverse range of artists. One of the best tracks featured vocal contributions from De La Soul and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals.

mp3 : Gorillaz – Superfast Jellyfish

Marvellous stuff.

JC

A FINE SONG FOR SUNDAYS

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This popped up on shuffle the other day and I thought to myself that it makes for a great tune to slowly get your day in gear…one when you have no need to rush out of bed and race down to the railway station in a state of dishevelment.

And seeing Sunday is a day for lazing (although I’ve got to get myself round to the golf course for a competition that starts this side of 8am), I’ve decided to cut’n’paste from the first time the song got featured at the old place, but given that was five years ago I’m hoping most of you will have forgotten by now.

One night back in late 2000, while suffering from insomnia, I caught a glimpse of a cartoon video of on MTV. It must have been around 3am or something. My ears immediately picked up on a great tune and what sounded awfully like the vocals of Damon Albarn. But quite clearly, this was not anything by Blur.

Unusually, no information on the video came up at the end. But I was determined to track it down. By pure chance, I was in a favourite record shop in Glasgow a couple of days later and amidst my browsing, I saw something which had a title that was awfully like the mystery track.

So, I asked the guys in the shop to let me hear it. And I was right. So I bought it, and waited on it becoming a massive hit. But nothing happened. And just when I thought Gorillaz was simply going to be a one-off single, other stuff came out maybe four or five months later, and they did go on to become a worldwide phenomena.

But in my view, they have never bettered this:-

mp3 : Gorillaz – Tomorrow Comes Today

That was the only song I shoved up in September 2008 so to bring it up to date, here’s what else was on the CD single:-

mp3 : Gorillaz – Rock The House

mp3 : Gorillaz – Latin Simone

mp3 : Gorillaz – 12D3

Enjoy!!