Damon Albarn Says Arctic Monkeys Are “The Last Great Guitar Band”

Albarn also praises "some fantastic new mutations" of the genre, including Wu-Lu, Yard Act, and Sleaford Mods

Damon Albarn Arctic Monkeys guitar band blur alex turner podcast interview
Damon Albarn (photo by Jordi Vidal/WireImage) and Alex Turner (photo by Debi Del Grande)

    Damon Albarn’s rock-centric outfit Blur are preparing to release The Ballad of Darren, their first album in eight years, yet the frontman recently revealed that he believes the title of “the last great guitar band” belongs to Arctic Monkeys.

    In an interview on the music podcast Broken Record, Albarn shared, “I feel like there’s a bit more excitement about guitar music again, that can’t be a bad thing because it got so sterile. For me, the last great guitar band would have been Arctic Monkeys and I don’t really know if there’s anything as good as that since.”

    Although his observation of rock’s recent past reads like a death knell, he appeared more optimistic for its future, noting that “there are bands with a huge amount of potential. It’s really dismantled itself — guitar music — and put itself back together again in a different form. You’ve got some fantastic new mutations of the genus of it.”


    Looking ahead, Albarn heaped praise for Wu-Lu, calling the rising London solo act “really cool,” before struggling to recall an artist he “picked up on somewhere in the American countryside, but I can’t remember his name.” He also shouted out Yard Act “who seem to be getting better and better” as well as Blur’s “brilliant” recent tourmates Sleaford Mods.

    “There’s lots of great language being used again, not this generic rock shit,” he concluded. “I hate that, I like poets and guitars. It’s what always inspired me.” Watch Albarn’s full rock forecast, beginning at about the 08:47 mark, below.

    Blur’s ninth album, The Ballad of Darren, arrives on July 14th and pre-orders are ongoing. Check out our cover story interview with Albarn about the band’s reunion and his endless side projects here.


    Blur are currently in the middle of their first tour in eight years (get tickets here). Albarn also has plans to write an opera based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Magic Flute Part Two.

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