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BLUR are to play an entire set of new songs at their only live appearance this year, at MELTDOWN on July 2, DAMON ALBARN has revealed.

Speaking in this week’s Melody Maker, Albarn said they would unveil material that the entire band had been working on: "We’ll be playing all new songs at Meltdown. It’s not just stuff I’ve written - it’s songs the band have done together."

He also said that if England get through to the final of the Euro 2000 football championships he would rather watch the match than play a gig. "Maybe we could play later or put a giant screen up. Whatever happens, we’ll work it out," he added.

Blur only agreed to play the Meltdown gig at London Royal Festival Hall because they are big fans of host Scott Walker, who invited them to join the bill.

The festival kicks off on June 16, and also features performances by Radiohead,Pulp‘s Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey as ‘A Touch Of Glass’, Smog, Elliott Smith, Asian Dub Foundation and Jim O’Rourke.

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Fat Les will return after 'Vindaloo' with their version of Jerusalem as England's official anthem for Euro 2000. Fat Les are Alex James, Keith Allen and Damien Hirst.

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Graham announces solo dates: (from dotmusic)

Blur guitarist Graham Coxon has announced another three solo dates in support of his forthcoming album 'The Golden D'.
He has also confirmed the three other members of his band, including Dave Rowntree on drums.
Coxon's band will play the Glasgow Garage on July 10th, the Sheffield Leadmill on the 11th, Nottingham Rock City on the 12th and The Garage, London on the 14th, as reported on dotmusic yesterday.
Coxon and Blur drummer Rowntree will be joined by the Idlewild guitarist Rob Jones and Toby McFarland from unknown indie hopefuls 13/13.
The dates are an interesting twist in the career of Coxon, who is portrayed as some sort of recluse and reportedly wanted to block the release of Blur's 'Coffee and TV' because he was unhappy about singing lead vocals on TV and live.
'The Golden D' is released on June 12 and follows 1997's acclaimed and abrasive 'The Sky Is Too High'.

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Graham's new album details: (from dotmusic)

Blur guitarist Graham Coxon will release a second solo album in June entitled 'The Golden D', dotmusic can reveal.
The 12-track album, the follow-up to 1998's 'The Sky Is Too High' will be released on Coxon's own Transcopic label.
According to a Coxon spokeswoman, he will accompany the release of the album with a number of solo dates.
plays all instruments and performs all vocals on the album and has produced the whole record himself.
'The Golden D'
is released on June 12 and the tracklisting is as follows:
Jamie Thomas/The Fear/Satan I Gratan/Fame and Fortune/My Idea Of Hell/The Lake/Fags and Failure/Leave Me Alone/Keep Hope Alive/Oochy Woochy/That's When I Reach For My Revolver/Don't Think About Always.
'Fame And Fortune' and 'That's When I Reach For My Revolver' are both covers of tracks originally recorded by Boston-based early eighties punk band Mission Of Burma.

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DAMON ALBARN is working on new material with producer DAN THE AUTOMATOR.

A spokesperson for Damon told that the collaboration had taken place in the last couple of weeks, but it was unclear what the recordings were for, though speculation is mounting that it's for the singer's first solo album.

The spokesperson said: "I don't really have any idea what it sounds like, I wish I did! Damon has Studio 13 where Blur recorded most of their last album, and he has been in there for a while working on a number of different projects. The opportunity came along for the pair to work together and he took it."

Dan The Automator, aka, Dan Nakamura is perhaps most well known for his production work on the 1996 Dr Octagon album 'Dr Octagonecologyst'. He also worked as an engineer on the 1997 Prince Paul album 'Psychoanalysis: What Is It?' and on 'Pills from the current Primal Scream album 'Exterminator'.

Blur have been enjoying some free time since the completion of their 'Singles Night' shows last December. Guitarist Graham Coxon has just become a father, and is also working on solo material with a view to releasing the follow-up to his 1997 debut solo album 'The Sky Is Too High' in the summer.

Bassist Alex James has been back in the studio with Fat Les 2000, who have recorded a song for this summer's Euro 2000 football championships. The track is a cover of the hymn 'Jerusalem'.

Dave Rowntree has not been working on any musical projects, but sources close to the drummer have revealed that he has been working on a series of animations for MTV and the Channel 4 program 'The 11 O'Clock Show'.

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Sorry, no updates lately been too busy! But here's a round up:

Graham's baby girl is a month old, Pepper Back Troy Coxon.
Blur play meltdown festival along with Radiohead and others.
Alex is back to work with Fat Les as Fat Les 2000 and release 'Jerusalem' as England's song to Euro 2000
Graham's album is complete but no news on release dates yet.
Elastica's new album 'The Menace' is finished, and Justine makes comments on Damon:

Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann has criticised her former lover, Blur's Damon Albarn, for speaking out too much over the breakdown of their relationship.

That was a bit strange." she said. "I wouldn't have personally chosen it to have been the case but that's the way it went. There's an awful lot of things that I don't think Damon would have said if I'd been in the room at the time!"

Justine revealed how she feels let down as Damon had been too candid in public about their time together. Damon, who used the turmoil of their breakup as inspiration for Blur's latest album '13', spoke about how he thought Justine might have been jealous about his band's success. "It was almost as if Justine didn't like me for some reason. Jealousy? Well, you start to think so don't you? The band never really knew what was happening. I was keeping hidden how f****d up I was."

In Justine's revealing interview with Radio One's Steve Lamacq, she also talked about the pressures of stardom which she finds 'soulless and depressing'. She is also critical of the current British music scene: "It's so boring watching everyone do everything to the same set pattern at the moment."

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Here are extracts from the William Orbit interview from dotmusic on producing the new Blur album:

Dotmusic: 'What was it like working with Blur'?

Orbit: 'Well, they're a band. I've always wanted to work with a band and they're like my most favourite English group. The very first moment they plugged in and played I was on the ceiling with enthusiasm. I think they must have noticed I was pretty keen…it was one of my best experiences.'

Dotmusic: 'Have you been asked to produce the new album'?

Orbit: 'I've been asked, but I can't do it. It starts in June. I've got another project coming out and I'm going on tour. How will I do it? I can't sell them short. I've only got a month and an album takes longer than that.'

He added: 'I feel like I'm being torn in two.'

Dotmusic: 'Who do you think should produce it? What about the band themselves?'

Orbit: 'That's a very good idea. The thing is, that could easily derail the group. Self-production can take like a year to do. It might be difficult for one of them to gain that acceptance as a producer within the group context. All four of them could produce, but that would be the hardest challenge of them all to produce Blur'.

'They're not short of offers and they will find the right person. I'd like to see Beck do it. They would be two of my favourite artists. But they'd probably fight.'

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