September Album of the Month Club
Geek out this Sunday
I enter new realms of appreciation for Demon Days with each spin I give it on my turntable. Last Saturday, I cooked up a storm listening to sides A-D playing loudly into the sunny kitchen while faithfully taking a few more notes for our Album of the Month Club meeting on Sunday.
I will try not to geek out too hard.
It’s been easy to immerse myself in Gorillaz’s music and art these days with their superb new EP and their 2020 Almanac celebrating their 20 years.
Lushly illustrated with Jamie Hewlett’s finest renderings of the band, the Gorillaz Almanac takes up the British tradition of hardcover annuals with real and mock stories with a dubious editorial by “Beatrix Blotter”.
At first, I thought it may be too jokey, as one’s first impression may be of a band of cartoons; however, the almanac fully realizes Gorillaz in intricate illustrations and tongue-in-cheek biographical details. The serious audio-visual dedication to the craft is unmistakable, even through the knee-slapping humour and grim themes.
I grew up frequenting comic shops at the earliest age and my uncle did — and still does — have an in with the shops in Vancouver, so I grew up with comic art, images of Tank Girl, Elfquest and had full binders of fantasy art from Frank Frazetta, Julie Bell, Chris Achilleos, Luis Royo, Michael Whelan, Roger Dean, Charles Vess, The Brothers Hildebrandt, etc. To me, buying a hardcover of graphic illustrations with gorgeous and occasionally taboo art is second nature. But this book doesn’t have so many boobs.
The almanac is a bona fide collector’s item rife with stories, spoofs, puns, insider views in painstaking detail, including Hewlett’s standalone pages like stained glass tableaus of the band in apocalyptic scenes. What I love about the progression of the illustrated section is how you can see the characters age — particularly Noodle.
- Personal playlists for Noodle who has fantastic taste (The XX, Air, Grimes, Talk Talk, The Clash, Ennio Morricone, etc)
- Song list for each bandmate that they would play in specific contexts like their funeral (Reuben Salsa)
- A strip featuring the band
- Ads for Hobbs Hot Sauce, Murdoc’s Niccals Pickles, Plastic Beach Holidays
- Cut out masks and colouring pages
- Crossword (one clue is “Cowboy with bag of sunshine”) and Pub Quiz
- Interviews including a roadie and guests in their albums and several guests who have appeared on their albums (Little Dragon, Elton John)
- Band image with Pac Man motif with members endearingly in their undies
- “A-Z of 2020” with references to Tiger King and leveling up on PAC Man scores, “statues fell and humanz rose”
- Horoscope, movie reviews, recipe, sudoku and classifieds
- Insider on Kong Studios
- Heartfelt fan letters and a 4-page collage of fans dressed as members
- Tribute picture and quote to Nigerian drummer and composer Tony Allen who passed in 2020
- Beautifully-illustrated spoofs of vintage comics, horror and science-fi movies
For fans of the band or of art, the almanac is something from 2020 to cherish. Yet, please, do not let all this trivia turn you off from joining our chat about your personal responses to the album of choice.
However, if you want to do your homework, there is a dedicated Wiki site for Gorillaz with nearly 800 entries.
Sep 12, 2021 4:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87323145034?pwd=eVh2SHBEMVZQUFZSS1JkS3FGb2JoZz09
Meeting ID: 873 2314 5034
In case you missed the latest Gorillaz update:
Jessica Lee McMillan © 2021
Nicole Brown Terry Barr Alexander Briseño David Acaster Rob Janicke Noah Levy Keith R. Higgons Kevin Alexander If Ever You’re Listening Pedro B. Gorman Pierce McIntyre Christopher Robin Steven Hale Bonnie Barton S.W. Lauden Zsófia Vera Danielle Loewen Frank Mastropolo Paul Combs Reuben Salsa Kathryn Dillon Gary Chapin Alex Markham JP Timko JL Matthews AJ Wiseman Nelson George Sude Hammal Jeffrey Harvey Chris Zappa Michael Hall James G Brennan Nelson George Gary Chapin Jeff Langley
I cannot possibly remember everyone, so please bring your friends.