To the Vortex at midnight. Considering it’s still only May, I’ve seen some pretty remarkable gigs this year: Portishead, Vampire Weekend and the mighty Raconteurs last week; Peter Walker’s flamenco/raga masterclass; Neil Young soloing endlessly into the full glare of a Klieg light, and so on.


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A strange moment of the stars aligning, possibly by accident, towards the end of last week, when the remastered My Bloody Valentine reissues turned up in the Uncut office in the same post as Kevin Shields’ collaboration with Patti Smith, “The Coral Sea”. You wait x amount of years for one dreamrock charabanc to arrive, then three arrive, and so on. . .


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It begins looking more or less, as Jack White has argued ad nauseam, like a democracy. White, Brendan Benson and Little Jack Lawrence are clustered around Patrick Keeler’s drum riser, smartly waistcoated, backs to the audience, flexing their metaphorical rock muscles. They’re playing the title track from “Consolers Of The Lonely”, and the way the song switches back and forth between White and Benson, the way their vocals are tracked by harmonies from Lawrence and Mark Watrous, the new keyboards and fiddle player, the power-packed tightness of it all is overwhelming.


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It begins looking more or less, as Jack White has argued ad nauseam, like a democracy. White, Brendan Benson and Little Jack Lawrence are clustered around Patrick Keeler’s drum riser, smartly waistcoated, backs to the audience, flexing their metaphorical rock muscles. They’re playing the title track from “Consolers Of The Lonely”, and the way the song switches back and forth between White and Benson, the way their vocals are tracked by harmonies from Lawrence and Mark Watrous, the new keyboards and fiddle player, the power-packed tightness of it all is overwhelming.


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Some interesting correspondence on the blog over the past week or so, not least on the subject of Brian Eno, after I posed a mildly provocative question about his recent work here.


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I suspect I’ve banged on about Howlin Rain so often now that my admiration for the band is reaching mildly stalkerish levels. Last night’s show at the Scala, though, was a big leap on from this one that I frothed over a few months ago.


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I suspect I’ve banged on about Howlin Rain so often now that my admiration for the band is reaching mildly stalkerish levels. Last night’s show at the Scala, though, was a big leap on from this one that I frothed over a few months ago.


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First, a couple of lyrics (and God knows, there are plenty to quote on the Hold Steady’s fourth album). From the opening song, “Constructive Summer”: “Let this be my annual reminder that we can all be something bigger.” From the last song, “Slapped Actress”, repeated by Craig Finn while the music swells and a rabble choir add “woah-oh”s: “Man, we make our own movies.”


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I couldn’t make it to Howlin Rain’s London show the other night, but my colleague Miles did, and came back impressed and bearing a very neat new CD that he bought at the gig. “Wild Life” has two tracks, lasts for about half an hour, and may provide some succour for Ethan Miller fans who’ve been unnerved by his transition from the flat-out psychedelic gloop of Comets On Fire to the sepia-tinted classic rock of the Rain.


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A busy and deeply professional couple of days listening to a backlog of CDs, MP3s, secure streams, dodgy downloads and so on, which involved us having another go at the Coldplay album. Apparently there's some sort of embargo on revealing opinions about "Viva La Vida". One question that occurred to me, however: when was the last time Brian Eno produced a really interesting album? I'm struggling to think of one here, but if you have any suggestions, let me know.


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The 43rd Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Very taken with Africa Express' version of "In C", by Terry Riley, this week. I have a few takes on the piece (50 years old this month, incidentally), the latest being one by Portishead's Adrian Utley from a couple of years back, though I still probably default to what I think is the original...