Rare candour from a musician in a press release today. This is Stephin Merritt talking about the Magnetic Fields album, “Distortion”. The goal, he says, was “to sound more like Jesus And Mary Chain than Jesus And Mary Chain.”


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Some thought-provoking responses to my No Music Day blog yesterday; scroll down to the bottom of my waffle and have a look. I particularly like Nigel's idea of Total Music Day, where we concentrate utterly on records without any distractions. Though realistically - as he acknowledges - that'd be as tough to pull off as No Music Day.


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I had a big plan this morning to try and observe Bill Drummond's No Music Day for as long as we could stick it out. But I got here a bit late and Rufus Wainwright doing his Judy Garland turn was already on the stereo.


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Quite a curious, though vaguely welcome, phenomenon in London at the moment, where a few American garage and artpunk bands appear to have been adopted by the sort of fashion scene who normally favour pseudo-transgressive electro over gnarly old rock'n'roll. The belated deification of Les Savy Fav is probably the most obvious manifestation of all this. But the sudden prominence of a sloppy-as-hell garage band from Atlanta is definitely another.


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Apologies there was no blog on Friday: I spent the day at home, mucking about with several thousand CDs and trying, successfully, to buy My Bloody Valentine tickets. Today has been another complicated one of meetings and Italian lessons and list-making, but it did come to a happy zenith about an hour ago when we saluted the undervalued excellence of U-God, footsoldier of the Wu-Tang Clan and one of the stars of their new "8 Diagrams" album, which miraculously arrived in the office this morning.


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For many who’ve seen Cat Power gigs over the years, calmness is not a word that immediately springs to mind when trying to describe Chan Marshall. Neither has she been, for large tracts of her confounding and exceptional career, much of a populist, exactly. Her distrait otherness might have been part of the appeal to some of us, but it would hardly work as a mainstream draw.


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We just had one of those weirdly serendipitous moments on the stereo, accidentally finding affinities, as you don't, between Kanye West and Jackie O Motherfucker.


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Just looking at the booklet which comes with the new Aidan John Moffat (out of Arab Strap) CD. Opposite the page which begins, in big letters, “PART ONE: POOP”, there’s something that isn’t a disclaimer, more a claimer, I suppose. “The characters portrayed in this work are non-fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely intentional.”


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Mild frenzy at Uncut today as we put the finishing touches to our end-of-year issue. As a consequence, I've not had a chance to do the full blog, but here's the music we've played in the office. Favourites?


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Which comeback is this again? As The Verve mooch onto the stage at the Roundhouse, I’m reminded of a night at Glasgow Barrowlands maybe ten years ago. Nick McCabe had just rejoined the band, and I guess “Bittersweet Symphony” was about to be released. The lights went down, and the impeccable DJ played David Axelrod’s “Holy Are You”. Then the band came on: Simon Jones lunging at the crowd triumphantly; Ashcroft imperious, transported; McCabe a self-effacing figure consumed with his work. Men spilled beer and hugged each other. They’re back!


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Editor's Letter

D'Angelo's "Black Messiah": some first thoughts


When Thom Yorke sneaked out his new solo album a few months back, I managed to hold out for 66 hours before writing a review of "Tomorrow's Modern Boxes". Since waking up...