As I read yet another blog rave or lavish review, I keep returning to this Hercules & Love Affair album; a record I keenly want to like, but can never quite get on with. If you’ve somehow missed all the fuss thus far, it’s an opulent nu-disco album, populated by a cast of New York nightlife denizens (including, most conspicuously, Antony Hegarty), and released on James Murphy’s eccentric but generally trustworthy DFA imprint.


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Further to my Portishead blog last week, a CD turned up this morning, so we've finally been able to hear a couple of tracks that wouldn't work on our secure stream. Quite abrasive on first listen, but I'll report back later.


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Now that we've just about recovered from last year's wonderful, Uncut-sponsored Latitude Festival, it's time we started anticipating the 2008 event. As usual, the acclaimed three day event will be held at Henham Park in Southwold, Suffolk. The dates for your diary this year are July 17-20.


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Before I start, a couple of caveats. First, I must admit that I haven’t played either of the first two Portishead albums for a shamefully long time, so I’m going to be struggling a little to put “Third” into context. Second, we’ve been listening to “Third” on a fairly capricious secure stream, which seems to skip a couple of tracks and be a little unpredictable; consequently, if I get titles wrong and can’t give a complete picture of the album, apologies in advance.


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A welcome return to the playlist this week for Howlin' Rain, whose "Magnificent Fiend" has finally got a UK release date in April. I know I've been promising to blog on this for over six months, but I'll get there in the next few days; it still sounds great, fortunately.


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I’ve been feeling a pang for the country for a while now, probably brought on by reading Robert MacFarlane’s two wonderful books, “The Wild Places” and “Mountains Of The Mind”; not even a Sunday spent on Walthamstow Marshes could cure me. In the same mood, I was walking to work through the City this morning, just as the sun was struggling to burn off the fog, playing Vaughan Williams and the second CD of Kate Bush’s “Aerial”.


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The prospect of a new My Morning Jacket album in June is pretty tantalising (though I hope it's better than the fractionally disappointing "Z"). In the meantime, though, an excellent band from Seattle seem to be providing a very useful diversion.


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When The Rolling Stones played at Twickenham in the summer of 2006, I was lucky enough to bag a seat relatively close to the stage. Close enough, in fact, that I could watch Mick Jagger’s extraordinary contortions without having to rely entirely on the big screens.


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I mentioned last week that John ‘Speedo’ Reis had a new band, The Night Marchers, who sound pretty great on Myspace. This week, a new album by his most famous old band, Rocket From The Crypt, has turned up; a live set that reminds me many of the best gigs I saw in the mid to late ‘90s were played by this awesome band.


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I found myself in the centre of a mild media hurricane yesterday, thanks to the musical map of Britain published in this month's Uncut becoming something of a hot topic. If you heard me trying to explain the principle of beats per minute on a local radio station, or trying to convince all of Scotland that they only listened to Runrig, I can only apologise.


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"Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye": Cosimo Matassa 1926-2014


Among my post last week, I received a nice care package from Ace Records that included one quite weird Duke Ellington album ("My People"); Volume 3 of their "Where Country Meets Soul" series (I cannot recommend Ralph ''Soul'' Jackson's version of ''Jambalaya'' highly enough); and, maybe best of...