Always a bit of a gamble doing this, to be honest but, since it’s June, I’ve tried to put together a list of my favourite albums of 2014 thus far. Many caveats forthcoming, not least that my slightly ad hoc way of trying to remember what I’ve liked means I’ve almost certainly missed a few things.


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A few headline comebacks in this week’s playlist, and if you scroll down you should be able to hear strong new music from the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Caribou, David Kilgour and, though perhaps ‘new’ music might be a misnomer, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.


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I must confess that, until very recently, I hadn’t really heard of Mike Cooper; more evidence, I guess, of the apparently boundless reserves of records from the early ‘70s still to be reissued (the Bob Carpenter album, due to be released on No Quarter in the autumn, is another great example I should write about soon).


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Deep into 2001’s Southern Rock Opera , there’s a point where Patterson Hood produces a mission statement for the Drive-By Truckers – and for an enlightened generation of bands from below the Mason-Dixon line. “You think I'm dumb, maybe not too bright,” he sings, “You wonder how I sleep at night/Proud of the glory, stare down the shame/Duality of the southern thing.”


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How does it feel, to be pathologised? A few of you might wonder as much, picking up with some trepidation David Kinney’s “The Dylanologists: Adventures In The Land Of Bob”. For here is a book that purports to expose the eccentricities of Bob Dylan’s most obsessive fans, who – imagine! - spend all their money on bootlegs, rarities and ephemera, follow the Neverending Tour around the world, crowd the front rows of his gigs, meticulously work through his lyrics for meaning and echo. Not to be paranoid here, but is Kinney talking about us?


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Emotional times, as this is Allan’s last day as editor of Uncut. Before we get down to that, though, here are the records we’ve been playing in the office this week.


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A new office this week, although a good few crates remain. These, though, are the tunes that’ve sensitively assisted our transition. Special props to Bob Carpenter’s rediscovered album from ’74, very much kin to “No Other”; to the Mauritanian desert rock of Noura Mint Seymali; to the reissue of an old Imaginary Softwoods ambient set from John Elliott, ex of Emeralds; and to the enduring usefulness of Pye Corner Audio and Girma Yifrashewa.


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Scene of some devastation this morning, as we’re surrounded by crates, packing for a move to new offices on the floor below. In haste, then: this has been the soundtrack for throwing out a load of old shit these past few days. Special attention, please, to the tremendous new Pye Corner Audio business…


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Sometimes great songs fall by the wayside, for whatever reason, and over the past year or so it’s felt that Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Brother, Do You Know the Road?” might unfortunately be one of those.


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So much good here this time out, after missing a playlist last week for various reasons. Where to start?


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Editor's Letter

Introducing… Elvis Costello: The Ultimate Music Guide


In June 1977, Allan Jones of the Melody Maker took a familiar route to the offices of Stiff Records in West London. His appointment, that day, was with a notably irascible young singer-songwriter from Hounslow. In the course of a frequently startling interview, the man who had chosen to call...