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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I wonder if, when Klaus Dinger identified “Gigantic possibilities” in the middle of “Cha Cha 2000”, he had any idea of the gigantic possibilities his music would offer to thousands of artists in the future?


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Joan Wasser has, for a long time, been in the periphery of my vision: I remember catching The Dambuilders by chance at CBGB’s on a bill with Teenage Fanclub and Madder Rose; a presence with violin in both The Johnsons and in Rufus Wainwright’s band; a member of Dave Shouse’s excellent post-Grifters project, Those Bastard Souls.


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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...