Strong haul of rad gumbo here, as we’ve taken to saying. Never thought I’d want to hear another Hold Steady album after the last one, but “Teeth Dreams” pretty much reaffirmed the faith. And if you’re that way inclined, I can recommend the new Men album, too; their best, I think.


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“I want to be mothered,” Mark Kozelek sang in 1993 on “Mother”, one of the more startling tracks on the second Red House Painters album. “I want you to give attention to my belly button/Mother, I want to have bobby pins stuck in my ears.”


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A week of revelations here, I suppose, since a bunch of albums that I’ve had to strategically redact from recent lists, until they’re formally announced, can now be identified and previewed.

Please note, then, the appearance of new albums by Damon Albarn, Elbow and Real Estate among the 20-odd things below. The Real Estate is especially fantastic – more like Felt and The Feelies than ever, maybe – and I’ll try and write something more extensive about it in the next week or so.


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Quickly today, as there’s an issue to be flung together, but a plug in passing for our latest Ultimate Music Guide, on sale today and dedicated to Lou Reed. More on that later.


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Sometimes, with Bill Callahan, the focus on his records is so unwaveringly on his lyrics, it is tempting to treat them as recited poetry rather than actual music. On an old Smog record like “The Doctor Came At Dawn”, say, the music seems barely there; just a little shading to point up the melodic undertow of a baritone that often wanders closer to speech than song.


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When you’re in the business of writing about/codifying/making up a musical scene, it always helps if you can locate its nexus. Reading the small print on record sleeves, a good few of the American musicians negotiating the space between roots music and avant-garde jamming these past few years - part of what used to be called free folk, for a while - all turn out to have recorded at Black Dirt Studios in upstate New York.


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After last week’s Best Albums Of 2014 roundup/provocation, here’s the first proper playlist of the year; with, as you’ll see, a few auspicious new arrivals.


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Sometime last autumn, maybe, an EP called “Artorius Revisited” by Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band was quietly released in limited quantities. Last time he surfaced around 2006/2007, in a quixotic, thwarted and mostly transcendent musical career that now stretches back some three decades, Head and his longest-lasting configuration, Shack, were signed to Noel Gallagher’s Sour Mash label. It didn’t last.


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Third Man Records has announced the release of all the singles from The White Stripes’ ‘Elephant’, together in a vinyl boxset.


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Happy new year, everyone. Since we’re into 2014 now, and (perhaps more pertinently) since all of our 2013 charts generated so much traffic to www.uncut.co.uk last month, I thought it’d be useful/cynical to post a Best Of 2014 (Thus Far) list.


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Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 27th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


A bit of a manic week, for various reasons, not least the fact that we've finished two magazines: the next issue of Uncut, which should be coming your way on July 29; and an Ultimate Music Guide dedicated to the genius of…

Tom Waits! More about all...