Damon Albarn’s Pedigreed Gorillaz Heading Stateside

Collective, which includes members of Cibo Matto and Talking Heads, will issue debut LP on June 5.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, but you might want to pay attention to the music he’s making — especially if he’s Blur frontman Damon Albarn or workaholic hip-hop producer Dan the Automator.

The duo’s Gorillaz project — which includes such contributors as Miho Hatori from Cibo Matto, Talking Head Tina Weymouth, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Buena Vista Social Club’s Ibrahim Ferrer — will finally be hitting U.S. stores June 5.

A band only in the loosest definition of the word, Gorillaz is a high-concept collective of artists and musicians working behind the artwork of Jamie Hewlett, creator of the iconoclastic Tank Girl comic series (see “Gorillaz Project Partners The Automator With Damon Albarn” ).

Albarn, the Automator and their Gorillaz have been causing a stir on both sides of the pond. Upon its U.K. release two weeks ago, the group’s self-titled debut bowed at #7 on the British albums chart, while the single “Clint Eastwood” climbed into the #5 spot. In the United States, their video for the single has been in rotation on both MTV and MTV2.

Gorillaz have just been confirmed for England’s massive Creamfields festival, to be staged in Liverpool on August 25, according to a spokesperson from the band’s label, Virgin.

Just how does a cartoon-based band go about performing live? Easy. The flesh-and-blood bandmembers stand behind a curtain, Wizard-of-Oz-style, while Hewlett’s animation is projected onto the makeshift screen. This setup keeps the Gorillaz “shrouded in mystery,” the spokesperson said.

Though there isn’t a one-to-one ratio between the contributing artists and their animated counterparts, Albarn serves as unofficial head gorilla “2D,” the spokesperson said. The rest of the monkey bunch includes bassist “Murdoc,” drummer “Russel” and “Noodle” on guitar.

While she couldn’t confirm any specific dates, the spokesperson did say Gorillaz have plans to tour both the U.K. and the States.

The track listing for Gorillaz, according to Virgin:

  • Re-Hash
  • 5/4
  • Tomorrow Comes Today
  • New Genious (Brother)
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Man Research (Clapper)
  • Punk
  • Sound Check (Gravity)
  • Double Bass
  • Rock the House
  • 19-2000
  • Latin Simone (featuring Ibrahim Ferrer)
  • Starshine
  • Slow Country
  • M1 A1