It's odd, but the two albums I've played most in the past week both remind me a bit of LCD Soundsystem. This might be because I've played the LCD album more than anything else this year. But 1990s and Von Sudenfed both have strange affinities with James Murphy, I'm convinced.


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Hey, one last report from last week's South By Southwest festival. This one is by Ben Perreau, who edits Uncut and NME's websites. Ben seems to have spent most of the week failing to get into parties and fantasising about Smashing Pumpkins, but he did manage to see the mighty Gallows, The Gossip and plenty more cool stuff. . .


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I received an interesting message yesterday from SAm, responding to my preview of the forthcoming Elliott Smith album. "It bothers me a little bit to read, here and elsewhere, Elliott's 'strummed melodies' described as 'simple'," he writes.


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Another guest blogger today, as I put my feet up, listen to an excellent Terry Riley reissue and hand over Wild Mercury Sound to April Long. Like Luke, who did my work for me yesterday, April spent last week at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. And like Luke, she completely let Uncut down by missing Psychedelic Horseshit. Oh well, here's her fine report:


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As promised, I have a guest blogger at Wild Mercury Sound today. Luke Torn is Uncut's man in Austin, Texas, and here is his report on last week's South By Southwest shenanigans - the 21st SXSW he's attended. Luke didn't get to see Psychedelic Horseshit, sadly, but at least he saw Holy Shit...


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Just a quick post today, since I'm waiting for a couple of reports on South By Southwest to be filed by Uncut writers. In the meantime, I've been listening to some new stuff from the Vancouver family of bands centred around Black Mountain.


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There's something a little disingenuous about opening your album with a song called "Do I Disappoint You?". This is how the fifth album by Rufus Wainwright begins: with wave after wave of opulent, complex orchestral flourishes, building and building; with a multitracked Martha Wainwright screaming "CHAOS!" and "DESTRUCTION!"; and with Wainwright himself, coy in the midst of so much melodrama. It's a theatrical set-piece pretending to be an anti-climax. It's both lovely and knowingly ridiculous. And it's also rather good.


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It seems a long time ago now, when I thought post-rock was the most exciting music in the world. The thing with those early records by Tortoise and such was that they made anything seem possible. Post-rock was never going to supersede rock, but in the mid-'90s it still felt like a fantastically open-minded scene. The bands weren't hung up on the old signifiers of rock, they had this voracious appetite for so much music: jazz, electronica, Krautrock, endlessly obscure diversions from the well-beaten path. There were no apparent rules, which made it all the more disappointing that it became so formulaic so fast.


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I got a message the other day from Erin Palmer, encouraging me to go and see Jandek at South By Southwest. Unfortunately, I've had to cancel my trip to Texas, so if anyone sees the Jandek show, please let us know. Erin, it transpires, is the daughter of Bruce Palmer, the giant bassist who drove down to LA with Neil Young in his hearse and went on to join Buffalo Springfield.


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As I mentioned yesterday, Wild Mercury Sound is taking a holiday in Texas next week. The pile of new albums will have to wait a while; I've got fine things by Rufus Wainwright, Battles, The 1990s and Alberta Cross here that I haven't had time to write about yet. Next week, though, I'll be filing slightly frantic daily reports from the South By Southwest festival in Austin, as I try and see a good dozen or so newish bands a day. I've just been having a quick look through the list of artists playing, and I really want to check all these out, for a start.


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Editor's Letter

Some more thoughts on Kate Bush and Alice Gerrard


On Sunday, Kate Bush inadvertently staged a one-woman assault on the British charts. This week, 11 records in the Official UK Albums Chart are by Bush – not bad, really, for a woman who has only really released nine new studio albums in the past 36 years.

Apart...