Blur announce first album in 12 years, 'The Magic Whip'

Blur and BBC host Zane Lowe during the band's Facebook webcast. (Harriet Gibsone/Guardian)

Blur, one of the greatest rock bands of the 1990s, will release an album in 2015. It's called The Magic Whip, and it's due out April 28 in the U.S.

The meat of the album was recorded in a small Hong Kong studio in the spring of 2013, after a concert in Japan was cancelled. The band told Zane Lowe during a rambling webcast on Facebook on Thursday—Chinese New Year—that it was an "accidental" record, a "jammy" session that Albarn didn't expect to ever release. But the band eventually revisited the recordings, with the help of Stephen Street, Blur's Britpop producer who also oversaw Morrissey's classic albums. A lyric video for a song from the album, "Go Out," is below.

The Magic Whip will be the first Blur album since 2003's Think Tank, and the first featuring the band's original lineup— singer Damon Albarn, guitatist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree—since 1999's 13. Coxon left the band during the Think Tank sessions, and Blur went into hiatus soon afterward.

Blur reconvened in 2009 for a string of live performances, including a headlining slot at the Glastonbury Festival. The reunion just so happened to precede a documentary about the band, No Distance Left to Run, which was released the following year.

While The Magic Whip is the first Blur album since 2003, the band has released three singles over the past five years: 2010's "Fool's Day" and 2012's "Under The Westway" and "The Puritan."

The Magic Whip Tracklist

1. "Lonesome Street"
2. "New World Towers"
3. "Go Out"
4. "Ice Cream Man"
5. "Thought I Was A Spaceman"
6. "I Broadcast"
7. "My Terracotta Heart"
8. "There Are Too Many Of Us"
9. "Ghost Ship"
10. "Pyongyang"
11. "Ong Ong"
12. "Mirrorball"

This feature, written by Otis Hart, was originally published on NPR Music.

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  • Blur's 'The Magic Whip'
    Album artwork for Blur's The Magic Whip. (Nick Wilson/Courtesy of the artist)

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