A bit of a catch-up today. First, thanks for the nice response to the Bjork preview I posted on Friday. I've been comparing "Volta" today with the new Timbaland album, "Shock Value".


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As I write, I've just started listening to Bjork's new album, "Volta", for the third time. The first single, "Earth Intruders", is playing right now, a kind of euphoric marching song driven by three radical beat scientists: freestyling avant drummer Chris Corsano; Congolese troupe Konono No1; and, most notably, Timbaland. It's pretty dizzying, as you might imagine.


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I've been meaning to write about the wonderful Marnie Stern album on Kill Rock Stars for a couple of weeks now. I was tipped off about it by one of Uncut's writers, Louis Pattison, who raved to me about it. She's "an extremely proficient one-woman axe hero," he wrote in an email, "a bit like Deerhoof but with better songs and added lead guitar power." Chuck in the battling influences of Sleater-Kinney and Lightning Bolt and damn, he was right.


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So Mark E Smith is a DJ, right? He's booked the club for the night, therefore it stands to reason he can play the records. But then this German guy turns up and says he's the DJ, says he's Sven Vath. Whatever should Mark do? Simple: "I flooded the club," he says proudly. That'll show them.


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In between all the meetings and extraneous stuff today (oh, and kicking myself for missing the Leonard Cohen lig that Allan blogs about here), I've belatedly got round to hearing Gallows.


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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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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'...