Starting with a cryptic tweet on June 19, Blur have been hinting at the the possibility of new material emerging on July 2, and today the full story has come to light: Blur will debut two new songs, live on Twitter, at 6:15 p.m. BST (or 1:15 p.m. EST/10:15 a.m. PST) next Monday.
According to a release from the band, the songs — “The Puritan” and “Under The Westway” — will be streamed live from a “secret UK location.” According to a YouTube teaser featuring a voice-over by Blur bassist Alex James, it will occur “somewhere in London, on a rooftop.”
Says James, “The Puritan” is a “big and bouncy, up and at ‘em sing-along” and “Under The Westway is “more of a hymn.” Both songs have been performed live already — “Under The Westway” at a Brit Awards War Child benefit show in February and “The Puritan” at London’s Poetry Olympics a couple weeks ago — but not by the full Blur lineup.
The first track streamed on Twitter will be followed by an interview with the band, and both songs will be available to download after the second track has been performed. A limited edition double-A-side 7-inch featuring both songs will be released on August 6.
Singer Damon Albarn says he “wrote these songs for Hyde Park,” i.e., the band’s concert at Hyde Park on July 12, which will precede their performance during the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics on July 27.
Whether the band will work together after the Olympics remains a mystery. Says James: “Who knows if this is the end or [pause for effect] the beginning of the next chapter.”
Check out James’s video.
Blur will be doing a very limited set of UK shows leading up to Hyde Park. Tour dates here:
08/01 – Margate @ Winter Gardens
08/05 – Wolverhampton @ Civic Hall
08/06 – Wolverhampton @ Civic Hall
08/07 – Plymouth @ Pavilions
Blur will release Blur 21: The Box on July 30, commemorating 21 years since the release of their debut album, Leisure. Blur 21 includes (deep breath): “All seven studio albums [plus] over 5½ hours of unreleased material including 65 previously unreleased tracks and more than twice as many rarities, 3 DVDs, a collector’s edition book featuring rare and unseen photos and a new and exclusive interview with the band, and a special limited edition 7-inch vinyl featuring a track recorded under the band’s original name, Seymour. The box will also include a digital download code for the albums and all bonus material.”
Check out our list of Damon’s non-Blur projects, from best to worst, here.