What seems like several months since I heard The White Stripes' "Icky Thump", I finally had a few more listens to it over the weekend. Reassuringly, my usual hysterical over-excitement seems to have been pretty justified.


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In these heady days of New Rave and such, it was heartening to be reminded this morning of the last time British bands tried to pull off that trick. "Warming Up The Brain Farm: The Best Of The Lo-Fidelity All Stars" turned up in the post. And amazingly, ten years on, it sounds great.


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Another Thursday morning just behind the Tate Modern, but today we are riding our goblin ship guided by a mermaid. Yes, the new issue of Uncut has arrived and the free CD is on our fancy new stereo. It's called "Fill Your Head With Prog", and it's just about good enough to convince you that punk was nothing more than a minor local disturbance. In 1978, surely, the only place to be was the Deeply Vale Festival with a flagon of Owsley's Peculier, watching Steve Hillage play "Hurdy Gurdy Man" for the best part of a month?


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Should we believe the rumours tonight, this is the last gig Comets Of Fire will ever play in the UK. If that's true, they've found an enterprising way to make us remember, by searing an echo of the gig on onto our eardrums forever.


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Funny that on the same day the new Robert Wyatt album turns up, the post brings three reissues by one of the British bands who learned most from him, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.


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One last contribution to the Smashing Pumpkins war, which I promise I won't write about indefinitely. In response to some comments about my review here. "Funny lot the Pumpkins fans, aren;t they?" writes Chads. "Could never understand why people take it so personally when you don't like a band they do."


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A brief dispatch, since I'm fending off hordes of enraged Smashing Pumpkins fans, some of them Argentinian. My crimes are many, but involve bad grammar, liking Zwan and, OK, disrespecting the the untouchable genius of Billy Corgan.


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First, a couple of housekeeping things. Thanks for all your comments on the Smashing Pumpkins review from last week. In response to TROY, yes, I have definitely heard the album and, yes, I guess I have bad taste according to your criteria. Sorry! If I can just point out again, though, that if I leaked my copy of "Zeitgeist", the iron fist of Warner Brothers would crush this blog instantly. So no go, guys.


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A small bit of history, last night, that I was honoured to witness. Wilco played at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in West London, the scene of some pretty fractious shows by Jeff Tweedy - a fact which made him both self-conscious and extremely funny when he found the courage to open his mouth.


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Billy Corgan is not an easy man to like, but from time to time in his career he's made some pretty good records. I should make it clear from the start that I'm hardly a Smashing Pumpkins obsessive: I liked the psych-grunge of "Gish" a lot, and I was distinctly impressed by the translation of ambition into a new kind of stadium rock on "Siamese Dream".


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Editor's Letter

The 34th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Thanks for all the nice feedback about the Liam Hayes/Plush piece I wrote earlier in the week. Lots of other good new arrivals in the list here, and you could do worse...