A load of new stuff again this week, much of it pretty interesting. The Brethren Of The Free Spirit, incidentally, are a duo featuring the guitarist James Blackshaw, who's received much love here over the past year.


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It’s a strange thing that, as Mark Lanegan becomes more ubiquitous, his own material seems to be scarcer and scarcer. Since Lanegan’s last solo album, the fine “Bubblegum”, came out in 2004, his voice has been everywhere, but his substance has been hard to track down.


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As Latitude 2008 approaches (it's on between July 17 and 20, lest you forget), here's an exceptional chance to help write a play that'll be performed at the festival.


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As a general rule, music doesn’t have that much of a nostalgic function for me. Without sounding too bloodless, I’m only interested in a record if it sounds good to me right now; the fact that it might have soundtracked various epiphanies/crises/whatevers in my life is, by and large, irrelevant. If I were ever to end up, God forbid, on some “Desert Island Discs” thing, I’d maybe choose something from “On The Beach” (a review of Neil's first Manchester show is over at the Reviews Blog, incidentally), even though I might have actually spent 1974 listening to Mud. I’m not ashamed of my musical past, I just don’t like those records any more.


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I have to admit to a certain amount of anxiety tonight. It’s not just the weather, which is, of course, rotten, the wind howling like it’s fit to tear chunks from rooftops from miles around.


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It’s been something like four months since I first mentioned the debut album by Bon Iver, and since then, there have been few records I’ve played as much. In Uncut’s world, I suspect “For Emma, Forever Ago” may turn out to be one of the most significant albums released in the UK in 2008. I certainly hope so, anyway.


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The playlist comes a bit earlier than usual this week, since we've been finishing the next issue today, and I haven't had a chance to write a proper preview. You probably should know, though, that the new Fall album on first listen appears to include, besides the usual murky paranoia, a faintly jazzy song about crows (and possibly "J-Loaded Brown", though we could have misheard that) called "Alton Towers".


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We've just heard from Festival Republic that they'll be announcing the line-up for this year's Latitude on March 19. That's also the day when tickets will go on sale.


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The last time I saw Neil Young at the Apollo was in 2003, when he was touring to promote his ecological country rock opera, Greendale, still unreleased at the time, which meant no one had heard any of the songs. The unfamiliarity of what he then played provoked among the audience a certain restlessness that quickly gave way to collective dismay when it dawned on them that he wasn’t going to play merely a selection of songs from the record, but the album in what turned out to be its indigestible entirety.


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In the midst of Neil Young fever this week, I’ve been distracted by another Canadian musical superstar. While I was waiting for my useless computer to fire up this morning, I finished the last pages of “Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey To The End Of Taste”, a fascinating book by the Canadian music journalist, Carl Wilson.


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Editor's Letter

Introducing… Elvis Costello: The Ultimate Music Guide


In June 1977, Allan Jones of the Melody Maker took a familiar route to the offices of Stiff Records in West London. His appointment, that day, was with a notably irascible young singer-songwriter from Hounslow. In the course of a frequently startling interview, the man who had chosen to call...