Oddly, perhaps, I've just signed off my film pages for the first issue of 2014. January is traditionally a strong month for releases, as the studios hit heavy for the big awards season push, all the same it looks like next year is off to a strong start with new releases from the Coen brothers, Steve McQueen and Spike Jonze.


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There have been plenty of surprises and revelations in music during the last twelve months. Admittedly, perhaps not all of them have had the same impact as the sudden arrival of records by David Bowie or My Bloody Valentine; nevertheless, a Tweet on June 3 from Edwyn Collins’ label AED carried its own quietly momentous piece of breaking news. “A new @RoddyFrame record in the wind, on AED, early 2014. It’s a lovely thing, just wait til you hear it. Watch this space, popsters.”


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Looking back on the ways in which Hollywood had changed since he started out as an actor, Bruce Dern told Uncut in 2004, “Where are the people? Where are the stories? That’s what the ‘70s was, and each of us who survived, those are the kind of movies we always wanted to make. And always will try and make. And whenever there’s one out there like that – look for us to be involved in it. I’m still trying to be a better actor. I’m still hoping I’m growing. Y’know, there’s no retirement. Shit, if you’re 80 play 80!”


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“You Brits need an injection!” rages the Australian in the gents’ toilet.


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I wrote a Throwing Muses feature for the November 2013 issue of Uncut, for which I spoke to all Muses past and present. The key interview, of course, was with Kristin Hersh, which ended up taking place over two lengthy sessions.


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Apologies for the brevity of this blog - we're on deadlines - but I thought I'd share this, a new seven minute short film from Wes Anderson.


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Last year, I interviewed the film director Peter Strickland about Berberian Sound Studio, his tribute to the Heath Robinson-style endeavours of analogue sound designers. Strickland and I chatted about the influences for his main character, a tweedy sound engineer called Gilderoy; Strickland mentioned pioneering figures like Adam Bohman, Vernon Elliott and Basil Kirchin.


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There’s a scene in Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country For Old Men, where sheriff Ed Tom Bell and his deputy arrive at the site of a particularly grisly murder. “It’s a mess, ain’t it sheriff?” asks the deputy. Surveying the corpses and the wreck of a burned out SUV, Bell replies, “If it ain’t, it’ll do till a mess gets here.”


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Celebrating anniversaries has, I guess, become second nature in the music industry now. A quick pass through the reviews pages in the last couple of issues of Uncut reveal anniversary reissues and special editions for Nirvana, Billy Bragg, Tears For Fears, R.E.M, Four Tet and Bob Marley.


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Avatar has much to answer for. Blue-skinned aliens aside, James Cameron’s film was famously heralded (at least by the PR team) as the future of cinema – a digital epic to change the shape of the modern blockbuster.


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Editor's Letter

Reviewed: Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon


As Robert Gordon reminds us in Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion, his terrific account of the rise and fall of the great Memphis soul imprint, the Stax story is more than a record-label history. “It is an American story,” Gordon writes,”...