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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.”
Wow, what a whirlwind of an afternoon! We just wrapped up with the Public Radio Rocks SXSW showcase starring Damon Albarn, Lucius, The Hold Steady, Phantogram, Jeremy Messersmith and Temples – curated in collaboration with WFUV in New York, KUTX in Austin, KXT in Dallas, The Current in Minneapolis and WXPN in Philly. Over the next several days, we’ll bring you video and full-set audio recaps of each artist’s set. For now, peruse the gallery below for an overview of the show.