I guess, since Uncut's end-of-year issue goes to the printers today, we should formally declare open season on Best Of 2014 speculation, if you're that way inclined. Our writers' charts fished up 401 new albums from the year worth voting for, and coalesced into a pretty eclectic Top 75, I think.


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Around the turn of the millennium, Jeff Tweedy merrily nurtured a reputation as a contrarian. How best could a man, sanctified as the archetype of what was once called alt-country, confound his fans? With antsy powerpop? Radio static? Fifteen-minute ambient noise jams? The recruitment of a fiendish avant-jazzer to take over on lead guitar? A song for a Spongebob Squarepants movie?


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In haste this week, as we're finishing our end-of-year review issue and our next Ultimate Music Guide (on Paul McCartney, I can reveal), I've just completed writing up an interview with one of 2014's key figures, and I have a review of this 4CD Wilco retrospective to file as soon as possible.


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While the latest issue of Uncut was turning up in the UK last week, I was a long way from “Basement Tapes” frenzy, on holiday in Athens. I saw all the classical sites, accidentally walked into both a Tino Sehgal performance piece and a NATO delegation, and also, true to form, found time to do a little record shopping.


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A glut of very exciting 2015 music this week, but before you get to that, maybe check out the Milton Nascimento track below which, as KidVinil Vinil pointed out in the comments section beneath last week's Uncut Playlist, is worth comparing with David Bowie's "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)".


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By its very nature, garage rock can be a trashy, erratic business - inevitable given the unbridled spontaneity it privileges. One of the many amazing things about Ty Segall and the ever-expanding circle of artists around him, however, is how they've found a way of adding consistency to the volatile mix of productivity and excitement.


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A lot to get through here, but I'm indebted once more to the resource that is www.nyctaper.com, who this week have posted two amazing live sets by Steve Gunn and Ryley Walker. Elsewhere, there's a new Waterboys track to check out, plus something from the Rhyton LP I listed last week, more Greek-tinged jams from Jim White and George Xylouris, and our stream of the great Bruce Langhorne "Hired Hand" soundtrack. I like the new Bowie song, too.


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How does a questing psychedelic guitarist transform themselves into a classic singer-songwriter? By compromising, in many cases. Steve Gunn, however, is managing the transition with uncanny elegance. Maybe you've already heard the latest album from this languidly prolific Brooklyn guitarist: it's called "Way Out Weather", and it's just out on the Paradise Of Bachelors label.


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Listening dominated by The Necks this week, and a couple of sets I bought from them at the show on Monday night (Read my review of The Necks live at Café Oto here…). But as you'll see, some significant action elsewhere on the playlist. Play ball!

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1 Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes (Bittorrent!)


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As is the brutal way with deadlines on monthly magazines, yesterday afternoon I had to send out a request to all of Uncut's writers for their albums of the year lists, so that we can start the long and meticulous process of compiling a Best Of 2014 chart.


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Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 46th (And Last) Playlist Of 2014


Sorry I didn't manage to post a playlist last week; a combination of germs, deadlines and various other professional/seasonal distractions meant that I ran out of time.

Here, though, is our last office list of 2014, with lots of strong new entries. A few highlights...