BlackBook Tracks #22: Be Thankful For These Songs

Insert joke about tryptophan here. I’m thankful that I made it through my entire family dinner without anyone asking me if I was “seeing anyone special.” I’m also thankful that I am sane enough to have zero desire to line up outside Target to try to buy stuff that I don’t actually want. Thanksgiving’s over, let’s move on to this week’s tracks.

Saint Michel – “Katherine”

This swoon-worthy synth-pop duo is hard to resist. Hailing from Versailles, France, Saint Michel just made their American debut in New York City, and they’re sure to make more magic happen soon.

Villagers – “Nothing Arrived”

Irish folk outfit Villagers is prepping a new album, entitled Awayland. “Nothing Arrived” shows that main man Conor O’Brien still has plenty of straightforward charm.

Grizzly Bear – “Boy From School” (Hot Chip cover)

This mournful, stripped-down cover of one of Hot Chip’s breakout singles has a haunting effect that makes it just as powerful as the original.

Jens Lekman – “The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love”

Jens Lekman cures all ills.

Holidays – “Only In Dreams”

This Roman band charms effortlessly with a jangly, new wave-influenced take on indie rock. Is it summer again yet?

Cheatahs – “The Swan”

British guitar bands are supposed to be coming back, or something along those lines. London’s Cheatahs are set to lead the pack, armed with plenty of fuzzed-out pop hooks.

Girls – “Big Bad Mean Motherfucker”

Sure, Christopher Owens has gone solo now, but it’s nice to look back at when we first started loving him with Girls. With riffs rolling like the hills of San Francisco, “Big Bad Mean Motherfucker” is still a highlight from Album.

Graham Coxon – “What’s He Got?”

The story of being second best is a familiar one, but Mr. Coxon sounds surprisingly optimistic about it. If you can’t be dancing with tears in your eyes, mope with a smile on your face?

Lush – “Single Girl”

This one goes out to everyone who wasn’t lucky enough to avoid all of their aunts asking why they don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet.

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Oh Hey, Those Two New Blur Songs Are Here

Earlier this year, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon premiered the first new Blur song since Record Store Day 2010 at a War Child benefit in London—a plaintive, piano-driven number called "Under the Westway" which fans at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire buzzed about—"It’s a new one!" Today, the band released "Westway" and another new one, "The Puritan," in all their clean studio glory and with handy lyrics videos so you can memorize them in time to sing along and wave your lighters at home while watching the band at the London Olympics closing ceremony. The "Westway" video even has sheet music! (And very Olympics-closing-ceremony-astute lyrics, we might add: "When the Flags coming down/and the last post sounds/just like a love song…"). "The Puritan," with its neon-sign-flashing lyrics video, is the more danceable of the two, heavy on the synths and buzzy noises and complete with a "la la la" refrain. 

Have a listen to both below. Goodnight, everybody! 

"Under The Westway": 

"The Puritan":

Watch Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon Perform a New Blur Song: “Under the Westway”

We suppose the appropriate response would be "Woo Hoo." Over the weekend, Blur’s Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon took to the stage at a benefit concert in London and played three songs, including a new track, "Under the Westway," their first new material made available to listeners since their 2010 Record Store Day single. (A spoken word collaboration with poet Michael Horovitz recorded in response to the Notting Hill Carnival cancellation was never released.)

Fans at the War Child benefit at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire were treated to the soft, piano-driven track, which Albarn described has having "a lot of words—for me anyway—but not as many as Ed Sheeran has," a nod to the singer-songwriter topping the bill that night. 

Earlier this month, Graham Coxon told the Daily Record the band would be going back into the studio to record a new album. Tonight, they will accept the "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award at the BRITs. Maybe a tour isn’t far behind? Please? 

Watch a video of the performance here. You can hear the buzz of fans: "It’s a new one!"