I'm just playing an old record by the great folk/psych/raga guitarist Peter Walker, who has recently returned to action after nearly 40 years of, as far as I can tell from a quick circuit round the internet, practising flamenco guitar. Amazingly, Walker - one of the few survivors of John Fahey's generation of American primitives, and the man who provided musical accompaniment to Timothy Leary's early experiments - is playing just down the road from me in Dalston, North-East London tonight.


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I’ve just finished reading the second bunch of extracts from Mark E Smith’s autobiography in this morning’s Guardian, and I must confess to being a bit disappointed. I guess “Renegade: The Lives And Tales Of Mark E Smith” could have gone two ways: a dense and profoundly untrustworthy surrealist tract that followed on from those vividly impenetrable things he used to write for NME as Roman Totale back in the ‘80s; or a massively extended Smith rant, the contents of which we’ll be generally familiar with after three decades of admittedly entertaining interviews.


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It’s quite a good time for new bands at the moment in our corner of the world, what with Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes riding a mild wave of critical acclaim in the wake of South By Southwest and so on. To that list we can add White Denim, another hit at SXSW that I’ve already written about here a while back.


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I guess it’s become a cliché over the years that, when a Bristol band affiliated to trip-hop make a comeback, they should be somehow darker, and heavier, as if the magisterial doom that they all conjured up from the start somehow wasn’t enough.


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I guess it’s become a cliché over the years that, when a Bristol band affiliated to trip-hop make a comeback, they should be somehow darker, and heavier, as if the magisterial doom that they all conjured up from the start somehow wasn’t enough.


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This week's playlist, then. The Dennis Wilson record is a bootleg, incidentally - the expanded "Pacific Ocean Blue", with the first official release of those "Bambu" tracks, is due in the office any minute now. Tonight, I'm going to see Portishead, so I'll endeavour to report back first thing tomorrow morning.


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A couple of interesting books turned up in this morning’s post. Mark Kozelek sent me his collected lyrics, “Nights Of Passed Over”, which also comes with a CD of live and rare recordings, a nice complement to the excellent Sun Kil Moon album which I blogged about last week.


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Strangely, Animal Collective seemed to take a mild critical poke for "Strawberry Jam" last year, perhaps due in part to the extravagant blog love for the Panda Bear solo album, "Person Pitch", which preceded it by a few months.


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A couple of weeks ago, I was writing here about the excellent new No Age album, and about indie orthodoxy masquerading as somehow adventurous in the world of shoegazing. Without going over the whole argument again, I think the gist was that early ‘90s shoegazing - which mainly sounds so bland now - acted as a gateway for me into a whole world of ambient, avant-garde music.


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A tremendous amount of proofreading this afternoon, and we haven't had much time to go through new releases, or write proper blogs. So here are the 36 songs that have just been played on John Robinson's bulging iPod. One of those shuffle sessions that turn out to work rather well, I reckon...


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Editor's Letter

The 31st Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Some logical excitement here this week about the impending Leonard Cohen and Aphex Twin albums; in the event you've missed it these past couple of days, you can hear Cohen's superb "Almost Like The Blues" further down this blog.

Worth noting, though, some strong...