Damon Albarn isn’t one to do things the same way twice. He explored a broad spectrum of styles under the Brit rock umbrella with Blur, switched gears to nightclub dance pop with Gorillaz, soundtracky soundscapes with The Good, The Bad and The Queen, and even dabbled in operas (Monkey, Dr. Dee). The man is nothing if not eclectic and his latest album Everyday Robots, out April 28th, and it finds him in more introspective, chamber-balladeer mode.
Yesterday at the Public Radio Rocks SXSW showcase, Albarn showed off a set of selections from the new album (along with a revisit of “El Manana” from Gorillaz’ 2004 album Demon Days) with five backing musicians plus a string quartet and the seven-voices-strong Deric Lewis and the Austin Choir Band. The singers especially shone through on “Mr. Tembo,” a jaunty selection from the new album which Albarn said was the story of a baby elephant in Tanzania whose mother was killed by poachers.
Watch a video of “Mr. Tembo” below and listen to Albarn’s entire set here (via the WXPN media player). After the jump, check out another video of the Choir on “Heavy Seas of Love.”
Damon Albarn, Public Radio Rocks SXSW, SXSW 2014