As a surprise to fans worldwide, Britpop icons Blur have announced plans to release their first new album in 12 years, The Magic Whip, this April and have shared its first single Go Out.
The band made the announcement this morning at a live-streamed press conference, below, with soon-to-be-former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, held at a Chinese restaurant in London. The album was recorded over five days at Hong Kong’s Avon Studios in 2013.
“We didn’t have much [equipment], it was like back when we first started recording stuff,” frontman Damon Albarn said. It was originally believed the result of that studio session wouldn’t see the light of day after Albarn said last year that the band had some material but were too busy to finish it.
Guitarist Graham Coxon said today that he revisited that material in November last year with producer Stephen Street, who has worked with the band on a number of their albums including the 1994 classic Parklife.
“For want of a better word, there was some jamming. There was some sonic landscaping. I liken it to someone’s notes and we needed someone to organise them,” said Coxon. “I was really busy doing my own thing but they came back and played me what they’d done and I was like, ‘Oh no, this is really good.’ There were very mixed emotions for me,” added Albarn.
“I really felt at the end of the last gigs we did, that that was it, that was the end. Not for any heavy reason, it had run its course. There’s no way we could do another gig without a new record.” Now the band have announced they will be returning to the stage to perform at London’s Hyde Park on June 20th, sparking hopes of future global shows especially after they famously cancelled their 2014 Big Day Out headline slot.
They band also noted that Hong Kong was a key influence on the new record. “I’ve recorded in a lot of places around the world and every place has its own spirit, so it was really interesting to make that decision it was going to be about Hong Kong,” said Albarn. “There’s points on the record where I think it really sounds like the stuff that David Bowie did in Berlin. There’s nothing pastoral about it. It’s very much an urban record.”
The Magic Whip is expected to be released globally on April 28th. Watch the video for the band’s first single Go Out, the press conference and see the album’s artwork and tracklist below.
UPDATE 23/04/25: Blur have announced the Australian release date for The Magic Whip will be Friday, 24th April 2015. It will be available as a digital download, on CD and as a 2-disc vinyl set.
Watch: Blur – Go Out
The Magic Whip Tracklist
1. Lonesome Street
2. New World Towers
3. Go Out
4. Ice Cream Man
5. Tonight I Was A Spaceman
6. I Broadcast
7. My Terracotta Heart
8. There Are Too Many Of Us
9. Ghost Ship
11. Ong Ong