The full line-up for this year’s Great Escape festival in Brighton was announced today and along with it the line-up for the Uncut Stage at the Pavilion Theatre, where we’ll be hosting three nights of great music from May 16-May 18, with four bands each night. It’s probably our strongest-ever Great Escape bill and includes several of my own current favourites, among them Phosphorescent, Allah-Las, Lord Huron and Mikal Cronin, although there’s no one I’d really want to miss.


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“To make true political music,” the great American critic Greil Marcus wrote nearly 25 years ago, “you have to say what decent people don’t want to hear; that’s something that people fit for satellite benefit concerts will never understand, and that Elvis Costello understood before anyone heard his name.”


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When I first started reading what used to be Melody Maker, in a time now shrouded not so much in what are usually called the mists of time as they are in a fog as dense as anything that might gather over Dogger Bank, I used to accept its weekly delivery in the manner of some kind of jackal, cur or otherwise fanged and ravenous critter.


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Shameless plug coming your way! This Thursday, March 14, the next in our ongoing series of Ultimate Music Guides hits the shops. This one is dedicated to The Smiths.


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The world and nearly everyone in it has been reduced to trembling excitement by the return of David Bowie, but for some of us there is another recent resurrection perhaps even more miraculous and just as unexpected, a comeback by The Replacements, who today release online the Songs For Slim EP, their first new recordings in more than 20 years.


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David Bowie’s return to active service with The Next Day has been described as the greatest comeback ever and I’m sure every Bowie fan is hoping this will in fact be the truth of the matter when they finally get to hear the album, which is released on March 11, still a tantalising couple of weeks away at the time of writing.


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In his memoir, Prince Among Stones: That Business With The Rolling Stones And Other Adventures, which I’ve just reviewed for the next Uncut, Prince Rupert Loewenstein, who was the band’s financial adviser for nearly 40 years, reflects at one point about how time as he gets older has started, as they say, to fly. Thinking about this, he is reminded of a famous quote by the grand old thespian, John Gielgud, who wryly remarked that in his old age time had started to speed by at such a pace that it seemed like breakfast was being served every 10 minutes.


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There’s been a lot of excitement around the office over the last couple of weeks, with the imminent arrival of the first David Bowie album since what seems like the end of rationing causing a certain giddiness in the Uncut ranks, followed by the actual release of the long-promised new My Bloody Valentine album, a mere 22 years after Loveless.


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Tom Waits is staring back at me from the cover of the new Uncut, which goes on sale this Thursday, January 31. It’s a picture of the young Tom that I’m looking at, long before he ended up with a face that now makes you think a tractor tyre must recently have run over it, a corrugated look he shares with his friend, Keith Richards. He is in fact startlingly young in the picture, even though it would seem he hasn’t shaved for a week and for just as long has been sleeping in the clothes he’s wearing.


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The next Uncut Ultimate Music Guide goes on sale on Thursday (January 17), hot on the heels of our special on The Kinks, and is dedicated this time to The Beatles. There’s the usual mix of brand new reviews of all The Beatles albums by our current team of writers alongside some truly remarkable interviews from the archives of Melody Maker and NME, for which the description ‘mind-blowing’ seems barely adequate.


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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...