I was thinking last night about the first time I saw The White Stripes. It was spring 2001, and I was in LA to interview Queens Of The Stone Age. The night before I met up with Josh Homme, I went to the Troubadour to see this duo who were just starting to be talked about a lot by some of the smarter music business people back home.


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I know this is going to sound a bit churlish, but is it wrong to expect a very good band to really extend themselves? I ask because, for the past week or so, I've been playing the new Super Furry Animals album most days. It's lovely, without a doubt. But for some reason, it leaves me fractionally disappointed - as if them coming up with another 11 fine songs is somehow not quite good enough.


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Apologies for the lack of blogging action these past couple of days. I have a stack of excuses - perilous deadlines, aborted radio interviews, leaving the Super Furry Animals album at home, that sort of thing, as if you care. I'll try and write something about Super Furry Animals' "Hey Venus" in the next couple of days, as well as Richard Hawley, Caribou, Rilo Kiley, that Jason Isbell record I've been meaning to do something about for a month, and so on.


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Been a bit distracted today, as I've been engaged in a Sisyphean task to try and compile all the catalogue numbers of the Factory label, including the cat, Rob Gretton's dental work and so on. Further to my Robert Wyatt review yesterday, I now have a fraction more info to flesh out my impressions.


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I've been promising to write about this Robert Wyatt album for quite a while now, I'm aware. But it's been hard to blog about this one. Not because of any problems with the music - it's wonderful, actually. The problem I'm finding is that listening to "Comicopera" is a kind of immersive experience, so much so that it's hard to come out of it with a critical angle.


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I just noticed this morning that Jack White has two albums coming out on June 18. There's the White Stripes' "Icky Thump", and then there's "Hentch-Forth.Five" by The Hentchmen.


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To Cargo in East London last night, for the long-awaited UK debut (by me, at least) of Oakley Hall. If you've not come across them before, Oakley Hall are a six-piece from Brooklyn who play a kind of driving, euphoric country psych. The two albums they released last year indicated that they were probably a pretty roistering live band.


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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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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...