The highlight of the week gone by, for me at least, was, of course, attending the playback of Leonard Cohen’s new album Old Ideas. Cohen was there, as you’ve no doubt heard by now, and if he had so chosen he could have kept his audience hanging on his every word for many more hours than he did. I’ve already written about the vent, but it seemed also timely to revisit this piece, written originally for my Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before column in Uncut, about meeting Cohen in somewhat unusual circumstances in June 1974.


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The clock was ticking yesterday afternoon as we approached the final deadlines for the next issue of Uncut. But we were finished early enough for me to rush hot-foot across London to The May Fair hotel, near Hyde Park, where Leonard Cohen was due to present a playback of his new album, Old Ideas, to a specially invited audience.


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You may have seen in the current Uncut that The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn will shortly be releasing his first solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, recorded in Austin, Texas, with Spoon producer Mike McCarthy and a band including White Denim drummer Josh Block.


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Martin Scorsese was a special guest last night at the Critics' Choice Awards in Hollywood last night, where he picked up the Best Documentary Feature prize for his George Harrison documentary, Living In The Material World and was further honoured with the Critics' Choice Music And Film Award.


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We’re still just about at that time of the year when there’s ample of it left to look forward to what’s coming up in the rest of it. Everybody’s at it, of course, it’s one of the things we do annually around now.


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I’m not sure what happens on Saturday towards the end of the first night of Bob Dylan’s three shows at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. Suddenly, though, he’s blazing through one of the songs he traditionally reserves for encores, “All Along The Watchtower”, with no break between it and the roaring version of “Ballad Of A Thin Man” that normally you’d have expected to be the show’s climax, the band then taking a well-deserved bow and a quick break before coming back for one, two or three more songs, further lapping up of the crowd’s applause prior to a final wave goodnight, perhaps even a nod from Bob in the general direction of a crowd he otherwise doesn’t go too far out of his way to acknowledge.


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Club Uncut’s final night in Brighton can’t quite match the high of Josh T. Pearson’s performance on Friday, but a strong, diverse bill of female talent doesn’t disappoint.


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“I’m tired,” Josh T. Pearson says. “It’s been a long life. I don’t even know what day of the week it is...” Someone in the crowd tells him the day and the date. “Friday the 13th?” he wryly muses, as if his life has been full of nothing but such days of potential reckoning in the ten long years since his band Lift To Experience released their fearsome album, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, and soon after blew apart. That record imagined humanity making its last stand in Texas during the apocalypse. Pearson’s eventual follow-up Last Of The Country Gentlemen considers a recent relationship in similar terms. There’s the rare sense tonight of every bitter, funny, helpless word mattering, because they’re being pulled up from a harrowing place and being relived on stage.


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Sitting on stage at London’s BFI Southbank, Bruce Springsteen is reflecting on events 33 years ago, when he and the E Street Band entered New York’s Record Plant studios to record the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album.


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What is it about Simone Felice and hushed and sacred places that make your voice drop to a whisper as soon as you walk into them?


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Editor's Letter

The 44th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


To Cargo, earlier this week, for what I think might have been one of my favourite gigs of the year. I wrote about Xylouris White and their "Goats" album a few weeks...