To paraphrase Dolly Parton, it must take a lot of care to look as chaotic as this. I’m referring not to Neil Young himself, not exactly, but to the astonishingly cluttered stage around him, dressed to look like – well, backstage, really, behind the scenes at some lost old-time opry.


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A couple of things I played rather a lot over the weekend: the second Brightblack Morning Light album from 2006, which reminds me of unbearably hot afternoons in our old office, and which still sounds gorgeous on a windy Saturday afternoon in March; and “Supreme Balloon”, the 24-minute title track of the new album from Matmos.


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As regular readers may have spotted, I’ve been droning on about the second Howlin Rain album since the end of last summer, when an early copy reached me by mildly nefarious means. I’ve regularly postponed blogging on “Magnificent Fiend”, mainly because Rick Rubin signed up the band in the States and the release date has been unusually volatile (it’s now due out in April in the UK, possibly a little earlier in the US). The other reason for the delay, though, is that I’ve played it so much, it’s weirdly become harder to write about. It’s time, though, to attempt to do it justice: though I usually try and avoid crude empirical hype, it’s hard for me to imagine many better rock albums will be released in 1974. Or even in 2008.


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That time of the week again. Here are the records that we've played over the last day and a bit in the Uncut office. One thing here worth explaining: Retribution Gospel Choir are fronted by Low's Alan Sparhawk and produced by Mark Kozelek.


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Yesterday, I watched a DVD of “Love Story”, a documentary about Love and Arthur Lee. It’s not the most elegant piece of film-making I’ve ever seen, but the research and the storytelling of Lee, Johnny Echols, Bryan Maclaine, Jac Holzman (who should have a film devoted to him and Elektra, I think) and many others make it compelling.


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A couple of quick things for your delectation today. One is a clip of Black Mountain sleepily invading the mainstream by playing “Stormy High” live on the Conan O’Brien show. Look at all that beautiful hair and how they avoid looking at the cameras at all costs. Mighty impressive.


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Hey, I've just posted a review of Vampire Weekend at London ULU, over at my own daily blog, Wild Mercury Sound. Cheers....


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Given how everyone has fixated on their Ivy League background, the sticky-floored ambience – the quintessential redbrick-ness - of ULU shouldn’t be quite right for Vampire Weekend. Surely, we should all be watching them in an immaculate marquee, in the grounds of an Oxford college, shortly before a long and intense reading party in the Cotswolds?


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Just remembered: following the blog on Plush last week, Jon Dale has sent me a link to another new Liam Hayes song.


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I was too busy last night to watch the Brits - well, OK, I was hooked on Masterchef and Grand Designs - and this excellent blog articulates perfectly the reasons why I can't bring myself to tune in, year after year. As one of the elite thousand or so who voted, however, I was pleased to see one of my ballot-spoiling choices, The Arctic Monkeys, win a couple of things.


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Editor's Letter

Steve Gunn, "Way Out Weather"/Nathan Bowles, "Nansemond"


How does a questing psychedelic guitarist transform themselves into a classic singer-songwriter? By compromising, in many cases. Steve Gunn, however, is managing the transition with uncanny elegance. Maybe you've already heard the latest album from this languidly prolific Brooklyn guitarist: it'...