When an app has a 4.5 star rating only a month after release, you know you’re on to something special. Joining the likes of Bjork and Blur in the recent trend of musicians diving into the app business, Radiohead have unveiled a mysterious, not to mention trippy new app called PolyFauna.
Describing the new app, Thom Yorke says, “PolyFauna is an experimental collaboration between us (Radiohead) & Universal Everything, born out of The King of Limbs sessions and using the imagery and the sounds from the song Bloom. It comes from an interest in early computer life-experiments and the imagined creatures of our subconscious. Your screen is the window into an evolving world. Move around to look around. You can follow the red dot. You can wear headphones.”
It’s not just antitrust legislators who are up in arms about the behemoth merger between Universal Music Group and EMI. In a symbolic act of disapproval, British rock band Blur have threatened to withhold the release of any future material in protest. Part of the monster deal requires Universal to sell one third of EMI’s label holdings in order to reduce the overall market share held by just one company. Parlophone, Blur’s label, is part of the sell“off, and is currently under consideration from other giants such as Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
Speaking to the Independent about the merger, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree said, “Artists are the only people currently being left out of the conversation, which is unfortunate. If the staff at the label are unhappy with the new arrangements they are free to leave, but the artists are not.” Blur and other Parlophone compatriots have voiced complaints about feeling like “pawns” in the corporate machinations of Universal and EMI, who they say are treating the artists as unimportant secondary assets merely to be shuffled around and reorganized. Currently, the band is using the leverage of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), a type of pop star union, to initiate talks with Parlophone and see if they can facilitate alternate bidders for the label. If the new label proceedings do not go to Blur’s liking, the band may go through with a full strike and permanently withhold the release of any new material. In the words of “Song 2,” it’s not easy, but nothing is.
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The ’90s are about to face a crucial test, one that might determine if the Clintonian era even has a shot at matching the staying power of the Reagan ’80s, a decade that continues to resonate more than 20 years after it ended. Welcome back, ’90s stars Soundgarden, SWV, Garbage, Brandy, Matchbox Twenty, Green Day, the Wallflowers, Blur, Aaliyah (via creepy interloper Drake) and No Doubt.
A decade is a long time in life, and an eternity in pop music, especially when you’ve spent one in a state of virtual inactivity, as did No Doubt, the band that will release its comeback album, Push and Shove, on September 25 (the same day Green Day returns with Uno!, the first of a trilogy of albums that the rock trio will release in the coming months). When No Doubt put out its last studio album, Rock Steady, in December of 2001, George W. Bush was less than one year into his first term as President of the United States, Friends was the No. 1 show on TV, and dated acts like Shaggy, Crazy Town and Ja Rule were scoring No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100.
The world, still reeling from September 11 exactly three months earlier, had yet to hear of Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, iPads, iPhones and American Idol. Britney Spears was the biggest female pop star on the planet, and she was in love with Justin Timberlake, best known as heartthrob No. 1 in ‘N Sync, the world’s biggest boy band. In this post-millennial world, Rock Steady went double-platinum in the U.S. and produced three hit singles, including the Top 5 hits Hey Baby and Underneath It All. (more…)
Today is kind of a slow news day. And so, today, you get¦ rock stars in drag: the superlatives.
Most natural: Bowie
Most disturbing: Queen
Most frequent: Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones
Best homage: Blur (as Blondie)
Most dudes: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
Best pout: Ozzy Osbourne
Most confusing to high school jocks in 1994: Kurt Cobain
Most committed: New York Dolls
Best looking: Bono
Seems that he was right to do so, as today Blur has confirmed speculation (resulting from an extended teaser campaign) and debuted two new songs, “Under The Westway” and “The Puritan.” The band announced the live stream and then digital availability of the tracks via their official Twitter, @blurofficial. Check out the performances here with links to buy the tracks.
Last month The Guardian released an interview that devastated Blur and Gorillaz fans everywhere, as Damon Albarn revealed that it was the end of the line for the two iconic bands. Well, in a recent interview with Metro the musician once again addressed the issue, saying, well… maybe not.
Blur is still set to perform at London’s Hyde Park for the Olympics closing ceremony in August, but what happens after that is anybody’s guess, says Albarn. “Some days I feel one way and other days I feel the other….We want to put on a great performance, but nothing’s been said between us about the beginning or the end.” As for the Gorillaz, it seems that Albarn is feeling a little more optimistic than before, leaving future prospects up to co-creator Jamie Hewlett. When Jamie [Hewlett] and I have worked out our differences, I’m sure we’ll make another record,” he says, in reference to a falling out between the two musicians.
According to RollingStone, Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz has provided clear indication that both bands are reaching their end. In an interview with The Guardian, Albarn was asked if Blur had planned any performance dates after their upcoming and anticipated Olympic closing concert. Albarn responded with, “No, not really. I hope that’s the truth and that that’s how we end it.” The singer also said that “Under the Westway,” a new stand-alone single recorded by the band, is likely to be the last studio recording by the band. “I don’t really see any more recordings after this,” says Albarn. “So it’s nice to have finally done one song where we did it properly.”
Albarn indicated that the different priorities of his bandmates played a part in bringing Blur to an end, stating, “One thing I’ve learned, and I’m sure you’re exactly the same, is that everything I think I’ve got totally sorted out, and I know exactly what’s going to happen, it never works out that way,” he says. “I find it very easy to record with [guitarist] Graham [Coxon]. He’s a daily musician. With the other two, it’s harder for them to reconnect. You know what I mean? It’s fine when we play live “ it’s really magical still “ but actually recording new stuff, and swapping musical influences, it’s quite difficult.” Rolling Stone reports that the group had been slowly writing and recording new material over the past few years, but only the one-off singles “Fool’s Day” and “Under the Westway” were completed and released in that time, according to Albarn.
Albarn didn’t let up on the bad news, as he began to doubt on the future of Gorillaz as well, claiming a future for the band is “unlikely” due to a disagreement with his collaborator on the project, artist Jamie Hewlett: “Jamie [thinks Gorillaz is finished], which is fair enough. I think we were at cross purposes somewhat on that last record, which is a shame. So until a time comes when that knot has been untied…”
Continuing, he claimed that the tension between Hewlett and himself initially began when the artist didn’t provide much new art for the tour in support of their 2009 album Plastic Beach. “The music and the videos weren’t working as well together, but I felt we’d made a really good record, and I was into it. So we went and played it.”
According to Rolling Stone, British icons Blur are set to be the headliners of this year’s Olympic closing ceremony, which will take place at London’s Hyde Park later this summer. The band, who split up in 2003 and eventually reunited in 2009, says that this performance for the BT London Live shall be even better than their reunion show. What’s more, they shall be receiving the Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the BRIT awards tonight.
Other bands scheduled to join Blur at the closing ceremonies are New Order and the Specials, making the event an iconic night for British music.