Nick Offerman, a 43-year-old actor with a splendid moustache and a key role in what might currently be America’s best sitcom, is an interesting guy. Last year, he wrote and starred in a video for the mediocre LA indie-punk band Fidlar, in which he goes on an extended urinating spree.


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This week’s excuse for briskness is I have a longish review of Real Estate to write for the mag, but some good news in here: not least the appearance of a mighty stash of Fela Kuti albums on Bandcamp and some predictably weird mixtapes, compiled by John Fahey, fetching up on Soundcloud.


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I was struck by a couple of tweets this morning from Peter Watts (@peter_watts and the author of this month’s Ramones cover story in Uncut). The first ran, “I read the word 'liminal' in the Standard the other day. I think that's psychogeography's 'hippie wigs in Woolworths' moment.”


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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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Editor's Letter

The 40th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


A glut of very exciting 2015 music this week, but before you get to that, maybe check out the Milton Nascimento track below which, as KidVinil Vinil pointed out in the comments section beneath...