May 27, 2024

On the Radar: Gorillaz, New Music from Royal Blood, A Week of Loss, + More

Murphy, Charlie

It’s been an eventful week in music filled with new releases and remembering artists we lost. All this and more on this week’s On the Radar.

Gorillaz plan TV show, release app and plan another Demon Dayz festival

As if we weren’t already excited for the upcoming Gorillaz album, Humanz, the band have bigger projects for 2017. In a revealing interview with Q Magazine, frontman Damon Albarn talked about the new album and even mentioned a TV show in the works. He and co-creator Jamie Hewlett have been working on a ten-episode series about the band. Right now details are sparse as to what it’s going to be about and who else is involved. But judging from their videos, you can guess it’s going to be a trippy ride.

Albarn also revealed they are currently working on a Chicago edition of their Demon Dayz festival. Again, no more details, but hopefully he won’t keep us in the dark for too long. The first edition of the festival takes place in Margate, England and features most of the contributing artists from the new LP.

Finally, the band launched an app last week. The app, available on Android and Apple, gives you a taste of the Gorillaz world. It’s meant to be a “unique blend of real world, AR, VR, and 360 environments.” The app takes images from their latest music videos and superimposes them on your surroundings. Along with this, the app also gives you access to the Humanz House Party – a worldwide listening event to premiere the new album. The app is free, so make sure to download it if you want in on this.

Remembering the recently departed

We lost three musicians and a comedian who is forever cemented in our minds, last week.

On April 11 J Geils, founder, and guitarist for the J Geils band died at 71. He was found dead in his Groton, MA home by local police. He died of natural causes. The J Geils band released a string of hit singles during the 70s and 80s. Some of their biggest include “Freeze Frame,” “Love Stinks,” “Centerfold,” and “Come Back.” The band called it quits in 1985 due to in-band fighting. They reunited in 1999, but Geils officially quit the band in 2012. He proceeded to sue his bandmates for using the band’s name and planning to tour without him. J Geils lead singer Peter Wolf shared the following short message on Facebook: “Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils.”

On the same day, founding member and longtime keyboardist for Jamiroquai Toby Smith died at 46. At this time, the cause of death has not been disclosed. Smith played on the band’s first five albums. His work on can be heard on hit singles “Virtual Insanity,” “Space Cowboy,” and “Cosmo Girl.” In 2002, Smith left the band to focus on his family.

Former Autograph drummer Kenni Richards passed away on April 12 at the age of 60. At this time, his cause of death has not been revealed. Steve Lynch, Autograph’s founding guitarist, revealed the news on Twitter with the following statement: ““He was the mighty force that was our backbone 1983-1988,” stated the guitarist. “We wish him a pleasant and peaceful journey. Our love and condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed greatly.”

Finally, we lost comedian Charlie Murphy on April 12 at the age of 57. Murphy succumbed to his battle with leukemia. Murphy made his big screen debut in 1989’s Harlem Nights, directed by his brother, Eddie Murphy. He also made appearances in films Jungle Fever and Mo’ Better Blues. It wasn’t until his work on The Chappelle Show that he earned his big break. During this time, he and Chappelle deliver now iconic sketches from “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories.”

In these sketches, Murphy recounts his encounters with Rick James, spawning the popular phrase “I’m Rick James, bitch!” and Prince.

“Our hearts are heavy with the loss today of our son, brother, father, uncle and friend Charlie,” the Murphy family said in a statement. “Charlie filled our family with love and laughter and there won’t be a day that goes by that his presence will not be missed.”

Royal Blood announce their new album How Did We Get So Dark

UK rock duo Royal Blood became the most exciting thing in rock when they dropped their stellar self-titled debut in 2014. Since then fans have been waiting eagerly for their follow up. Now the wait is over. The band’s second album, How Did We Get So Dark, is slated to drop June 16. They dropped a trailer with snippets from the album. They have since released the first single from the record “Lights Out.”

Royal Blood stunned audiences all over with their raw, raucous sound taking you back to the simple days of rock n roll. There are no fancy tricks here, no mashups in an attempt to make something unique. Instead, it’s just two guys taking the basis of garage rock and rocking the fuck out. Their songs are energetic, organized chaos that can be sexy at times. And when listening to Mike Kerr shred away on his bass, you’d swear those sounds were coming from a guitar.

You can catch Royal Blood at this year’s Lollapalooza. Check out their complete tour dates here.

Upcoming shows

Wanna catch a hot DJ set this weekend? Check out Outkast’s Big Boi at The Mid on April 22. The night will also include sets from DJ Trew, DJ White Owl, Shazam Bangles, and Stefan Ponce. Get tickets here.

Relive the glory days of 90s R&B with the Chicago R&B Spring Fest happening April 21 at the Chicago Theatre. Featured on the bill are K-Ci and JoJo, Monica, and Jagged Edge. Tickets are still available.

Aussie singer Betty Who brings her sweet sounds to Chicago on April 20 at the Concord Music Hall. Get your tickets before you miss out.

If you don’t want a wild weekend, spend a mellow night with Norwegian singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche. Touring in support of his latest album, The Valley, you can catch him at Lincoln Hall April 22.

Finally, up and coming UK hip-hop artist Skepta plays the Concord Music Hall as part of his Banned from America tour on April 24. Get your tickets here.

Chicago Artist Spotlight: Pet Symmetry

Forming in 2012, Pet Symmetry features former Dowsing members Erik Czaja and Marcus Nuccio and Evan Thomas Weiss, who performs as Into It. Over It. The group released a string of Eps between 2013 and 2015 before dropping their full-length debut Pet Hounds.

Now, the group is preparing to release their sophomore effort, Vision, May 26 via Polyvinyl. Recently, they shared the lead single, “Stare Collection,” which is full of raw, bouncing energy. Check it out above.

Though it would be easy to label the group as emo, the band defies these labels making sure you can’t easily pigeonhole them. Some of it is emo, some is indie pop, some is alt rock. But whatever you call it, it all rocks.

If you want to catch them live, check out their show at Schubas on May 26.