In 2001, Damon Albarn worked with cartoonist Jamie Hewlett to conceive a cartoonish synth-rock band. The parody of the artificiality of mainstream pop music unexpectedly became a runaway pop icon in its own right, thanks to its catchy, genre-blurring, endlessly listenable music.
There’s less of that endlessly listenable music on the group’s fourth album, Humanz, its first in seven years. Still, three of the tracks — “Ascension,” featuring Vance Staples, “Andromeda,” featuring DRAM and “Saturnz Barz,” featuring Popcaan — are an example of Gorillaz at their best, somehow feeling unexpected, bizarre and completely natural all at once.
Staples is one of two up-and-coming hip-hop stars who will take the stage when the current tour hits our area on Monday, July 17, at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, the other being Danny Brown.
Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $49.25 to $199. Call 800-551-SEAT or visit merriweathermusic.com.
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