Very taken with Africa Express' version of "In C", by Terry Riley, this week. I have a few takes on the piece (50 years old this month, incidentally), the latest being one by Portishead's Adrian Utley from a couple of years back, though I still probably default to what I think is the original recording from '68.


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One bright Sunday morning, MC Taylor is driving through his patch of North Carolina, past New Hope Creek and the Eno River, over the Chatham County Line and the James Taylor Bridge in Chapel Hill, near the Haw River and the valley that he has meditated upon in song these past few years. Through apparently endless forests, Taylor's destination is Saralyn, a kind of hippy settlement just outside of Pittsboro.


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On April 18, 1970, an unusual dispatch from Paul McCartney appeared in the NME. Instead of participating in a normal interview, McCartney had sent the UK media a printed statement, in which he (or, at least, a shadowy enabler at Apple) asked the questions as well as supplying the answers. A delicate situation, he believed, needed to be micromanaged with extreme care.


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I guess, since Uncut's end-of-year issue goes to the printers today, we should formally declare open season on Best Of 2014 speculation, if you're that way inclined. Our writers' charts fished up 401 new albums from the year worth voting for, and coalesced into a pretty eclectic Top 75, I think.


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Around the turn of the millennium, Jeff Tweedy merrily nurtured a reputation as a contrarian. How best could a man, sanctified as the archetype of what was once called alt-country, confound his fans? With antsy powerpop? Radio static? Fifteen-minute ambient noise jams? The recruitment of a fiendish avant-jazzer to take over on lead guitar? A song for a Spongebob Squarepants movie?


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In haste this week, as we're finishing our end-of-year review issue and our next Ultimate Music Guide (on Paul McCartney, I can reveal), I've just completed writing up an interview with one of 2014's key figures, and I have a review of this 4CD Wilco retrospective to file as soon as possible.


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While the latest issue of Uncut was turning up in the UK last week, I was a long way from “Basement Tapes” frenzy, on holiday in Athens. I saw all the classical sites, accidentally walked into both a Tino Sehgal performance piece and a NATO delegation, and also, true to form, found time to do a little record shopping.


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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 last week's Uncut Playlist, is worth comparing with David Bowie's "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)".


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By its very nature, garage rock can be a trashy, erratic business - inevitable given the unbridled spontaneity it privileges. One of the many amazing things about Ty Segall and the ever-expanding circle of artists around him, however, is how they've found a way of adding consistency to the volatile mix of productivity and excitement.


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A lot to get through here, but I'm indebted once more to the resource that is www.nyctaper.com, who this week have posted two amazing live sets by Steve Gunn and Ryley Walker. Elsewhere, there's a new Waterboys track to check out, plus something from the Rhyton LP I listed last week, more Greek-tinged jams from Jim White and George Xylouris, and our stream of the great Bruce Langhorne "Hired Hand" soundtrack. I like the new Bowie song, too.


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Editor's Letter

The Father, The Sun And The Holy Ghost… An interview with Hiss Golden Messenger


One bright Sunday morning, MC Taylor is driving through his patch of North Carolina, past New Hope Creek and the Eno River, over the Chatham County Line and the James Taylor Bridge in Chapel Hill, near the Haw River and the valley that he has meditated upon in song these past few years. Through...