Gorillaz Plagiarisers?

There has been a great tiffle in music news this week as Damon Albarn’s cartoon band Gorillaz have been threatened with a law suit against one of their songs. The track in question is the first single ‘Stylo’ featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack from their latest release ‘Plastic Beach’ which came out earlier this month.

It turns out that eighties reggae star Eddy Grant, most famous for his 1983 track ‘Electric Avenue’ has claimed that the similarities between ‘Stylo’ and his 1981 track ‘Time Warp’ are far too many in number for it to be the result of mere coincidence.

Grant said himself: “I am outraged that the Gorillaz have infringed the copyright of my song ‘Time Warp’, claiming their song ‘Stylo’ to be an original composition,”.

It’s quite ironic how both artists share the same record label, EMI, which is part of the reason why Grant is so annoyed seeing as he believed that they would have come to him first to try and make some sort of agreement in sampling the song. As Grant comments: “In a properly configured relationship I would have gotten a call from EMI to say, ‘Damon wants to use ‘Time Warp’. What arrangement can you guys come to? Would you claim 100 per cent, would you claim 60 per cent, or 70 per cent of whatever it is?’,” he suggested.

“That phone call never came. Instead what happened is somebody went straight to a musicologist, implying that there was some kind of pre-knowledge of some kind of infringement.”

According to NME, an EMI spokesperson told them “This is a private matter between Eddy Grant and Gorillaz, and we’re not intending to make any further comment.”

Personally, I feel it is a bit of a ridiculous claim made by an outdated musician who hasn’t seen any success since the eighties and is a bit strapped for cash.

I guess you should judge for yourself:

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach Review


It’s been five years since Damon Albarn has released anything from his cartoon electronic, pop, hip- hop outfit Gorillaz. The third studio album from the group and one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2010 but is it any good? I think the problem with creating so much hype around an album is that unless it’s an absolute masterpiece one tends to be disappointed and I think that is definitely the case here.

I think the main problem with this album is that it is trying to be too ambitious as a follow up to ‘Demon Days’ which was beautifully produced by Danger Mouse was always going to be difficult. Given the massively high status of Gorillaz they are pretty much able to pick and choose any artist they like to collaborate with as can be seen in ‘Plastic Beach’ with the huge array of guest artists from differing genres. There is a sense that this album is almost overproduced with Albarn trying to mix genres together where they don’t go. For example the song ‘White Flag’ which features Kano, Bashy & The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music rather than blending together in an original fashion it seems to be very much stop and start between the very different orchestral music which cuts off abruptly as the hip hop begins.
Very much a conceptual album it seems to point towards the direction that the music industry is currently heading towards where in the name of originality artists are attempting to mash together competing types of music as can be seen in the emergence of fusion genres such as folktronica and crunk. It seems unusual to combine hip hop artists and rock artists on the same record but this is exactly what Albarn has done making it appear more of a mixtape than an album.

Don’t get me wrong, although this may sound a very pessimistic review many of the songs taken on their own are really quite excellent, for example ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ featuring Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals and Gorillaz regular De La Soul is a very upbeat hip hop track with a melodious chorus from Albarn that works really well. ‘Some Kind of Nature’ featuring Lou Reed from The Velvet Underground with his gruff vocals, staccato piano and electronic drums and synths along with Albarns soothing tones in the chorus is exquisite and ‘Plastic Beach’ featuring the Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon is another standout track.Not just that but some of the Albarn only tracks are brilliant as well such as ‘On Melancholy Hill’.

It seems difficult then to judge the album as it contains some truly exceptional tracks as would be expected from Gorillaz but personally I don’t feel it flows as an album. Perhaps it is something that grows on the listener with time and one becomes able to appreciate the links between the tracks and see what Albarn is trying to portray but there is a definite sense that in attempting to compile the best collection of superstar appearances something has been lost in the production of the music.

‘Plastic Beach’ is to be released on March 8th

A preview of the album can be heard in its entirety for free here.

Top Albums of 2010

Since it is the beginning of a new year and decade I thought I would kick start the posting by looking at what music we can look forward to in the coming year. 2010 is set for some highly anticipated music and already it has seen the release of some excellent albums. Here are a few of the albums that I am most excited about in no particular order:

Yeasayer – Odd Blood

Although very different to ‘All Hour Cymbals’ the change of direction to a more electronic style is not a bad thing and Yeasayer have produced a very good album to start the decade off.

Odd Blood was released on February 8th

Hot Chip – One Life Stand

Once again Hot Chip has pulled another brilliant album out of the bag. Slightly less disco-housey than previous records and a bit calmer it comes together very nicely as an album showing why they are the kings of Geek-chic.

One Life Stand was released on February 1st

Four Tet – There is Love in You

Kieran Hebden has released a beautiful album in ‘There Is Love In You’. An amazing exposition of the power that can be created in electronic music. There are definite influences from greats such as Aphex Twin in the likes of tracks such as ‘Sing’.

There Is Love In You was released on January 25th

Beach House – Teen Dream

New album from Baltimore dream pop duo. Once again it doesn’t disappoint and is arguably their best work to date. An album fuelled by nostalgia its creepy organs are not one to miss.

Teen Dream was released on Jan 26th

Massive Attack – Heligoland

Heligoland shows a Massive Attack back on form with good driving bass lines, plenty of brass and some excellent guest vocals from the likes of Martina Topley-Bird and Horace Andy.

Heligoland was released on February 8th

Peter Gabriel – Scratch My Back

It’s been almost a decade since rock legend Peter Gabriel has released anything and this album consisting of covers of old and modern artists sung by Gabriel with the aid of an orchestral accompaniment arranged by John Metcalfe shows he still has what it takes to produce excellent music

Scratch My Back was released on February 15th

Ratatat – LP4

The modular music duo of guitarist Mike Stroud and multi-instrumentalist Evan Mast are set to release their latest LP at some point this year although it hasn’t been disclosed but I am sure whatever they throw our way it will be very good.

Felix Cartal – Popular Music

We have already seen the likes of ‘Drone’ the first single of the album released last year and more recently the album’s title track ‘Popular Music’ and after the huge success of ‘Skeleton’ released in May last year which sadly won’t be on the album we can only expect amazing things from the electro dj. One dance album definitely to look forward to in 2010.

Popular Music will be released on February 23rd on Steve Aoki’s DIM MAK Label

Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

The indie band from the Scottish borders have seen huge success in the past year especially in Edinburgh and for many the suspense of their latest release is becoming all a bit too much.

The Winter of Mixed Drinks will be released on March 9th

MGMT – Congratulations

After the success of 2007 release ‘Oracular Spectacular’ with singles such as ‘Kids’ and ‘Time to Pretend’ being hugely popular, their latest effort is surely to be one of the year’s most highly anticipated albums as fans look forward to more of their psychedelic indie.

Congratulations will be released on April 13th

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

The third album from the virtual band featuring some very interesting guest performances from the likes of artists such as Snoop Dogg, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, De La Soul and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music. First single from the album ‘Stylo’ featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack was released on January 26th.

Plastic Beach will be released on March 8th

Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip – The Logic of Chance

The combination of Dan Le Sac’s electronic backing and Pip’s lyrical genius have made this duo one of the best current acts of British Hip Hop. The first single from the album ‘Get Better’ has shown that they are still producing quality music and so this should be an album worth waiting for.

The Logic of Chance will be released on March 15th

Deftones – Eros

The new album from Deftones has seen a major setback from it’s initial intended release date of early 2009 after bassist Chi Cheng fell into a coma following a bad car crash. Sergio Vega of ‘Quicksand’ has stepped up to the challenge of filling Cheng’s boots and Moreno claims the album is going to be very weird and atmospheric with similarities to ‘White Pony’.

Eros will be released on April 27th

Those are the albums that have got me going that I have definitive information for although there are other intended releases from:

LCD Soundsystem
Arcade Fire
The Strokes
and many many more

All in all its looking to be a very exciting year for music and many of these releases I really can’t wait to get my hands on.