Blur, one of the defining bands of the Britpop era, have announced their first album in 12 years and will be headlining this year’s Hyde Park’s British Summer Time gigs. Guitarist, Graham Coxon (BA Fine Art, 1989) said: “We just couldn’t have done any more shows without some new material. It was getting tedious, and some of the fans were getting peeved about it.” The band will play gigs in Scotland and Wales prior to the Hyde Park date in June.
Listen to Go Out one of the tracks from their new album Magic Whip.
Blur formed at Goldsmiths where Graham met bassist Alex James who was studying French at the time:
“I remember as I first arrived at Goldsmiths seeing Graham getting out of his parents’ car holding a guitar,” said Alex. “I knew at that instant that he was going to play a major part in my life.”
After involving the help of childhood friends Damon Albarn (also an alumnus) and Dave Rowntree, Blur underwent several line-up and name changes before being signed by Food Records in 1990. Their reputation was cemented during their 1995 chart battle with Oasis, which became a media phenomenon, and which gave the group their first number one single, Country House. During their career they racked up 5 UK number one albums, and awards including a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
In 2009 the band returned to Goldsmiths to play a reunion gig:
Reviewing the concert in the Guardian, journalist Alexis Petridis commented:
“Blur’s music seems to have potentiated by the passing of years. In the tiny student union of the art college where guitarist Graham Coxon and bassist Alex James once studied, they sound both more frenetic and punky and more nuanced and exploratory than they did at the height of their fame.”