Round these parts there’s a feeling (generated mostly, it must be admitted, from my desk) that Joanna Newsom’s second album, “Ys”, is one of the very best albums released this decade. It was with immense pleasure, then, that we discovered Newsom would be playing a special Sunday lunchtime set at Latitude.


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An interesting post on the Endless Boogie blog over the weekend. “[Endless Boogie] Sounds like a more psyched up Stackwaddy or Edgar Broughton Band Wasa Wasa (which is a good thing),” writes Dave C, “but IMHO if you want real brain crushing psych rock you NEED to get ‘Dead In The Water’ by The Heads, easily the best thing I’ve heard all year.”


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When we were talking about Coldplay the other day, one of the regulars, Jamesewan, posted some thoughts which suggested that the British music scene “has been in a kind of depression for a while now.” It’s not something I worry about a great deal, to be honest, since I don’t really care where the records I like come from – and they usually come from America, realistically.


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From a British music biz perspective, it’s hard to imagine anything else going on this week beyond the small matter of that Coldplay record. This morning, though, a sobering corrective arrived in my inbox. In America, the email announced, “Lil Wayne has broken Mariah Carey’s record for the highest opening album sales of the year. He has sold in one day what Mariah sold in her entire week.” That’s 420,000 sales, incidentally; something for Chris Martin, Guy Hands and their competitive chums to aim for, I guess.


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It’s easy to lose track of actual release dates up here in the ivory tower, but I believe tomorrow is the day that Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” finally comes out. Hence, I guess, the exponential ramping-up of all the furrowed-brow pontificating that seems to be going on about the band all over the internet today, provoked in many places by Andy Gill’s 2,000-word assassination of the band in this morning’s copy of The Independent.


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So this is what we’ve played thus far this week: a glut of hip-hop; a few selections from the private collections of John Robinson and Mark Bentley; a Walter Becker solo album that doesn’t quite cut it next to all those wonderful Steely Dan and Donald Fagen records; and a Radiohead cover of Portishead, which makes this an uncharacteristically prophetic blog.


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Just back from a week’s holiday, and I’m working through the backlog of post that was waiting for me. Now playing: Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III”, from which we’ve particularly enjoyed “Dr Carter”, where the rapper babbles over a generous David Axelrod sample.


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You might remember that last week’s playlist contained a Mystery Record, sternly embargoed and so on by the record company, thoroughly underwhelming to listen to. A few of you had a decent stab at guessing the high-security identity of the artist(s), suggesting I was sat on new MP3s by The Verve, Bob Dylan produced by Rick Rubin, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, The Wu-Tang Clan, Blur, Oasis, Ride, Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk or Rage Against The Machine.


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After my first thoughts on “Stay Positive”, we’re continuing to unpick a record that I’m now suspecting is The Hold Steady’s masterpiece. Allan has been even more dedicated in the pursuit of meaning than I have, assiduously studying John Cassavetes’ “Opening Night”, since Craig Finn mentioned that it had a critical influence on his lyrics, most explicitly in "Slapped Actress".


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Since I wrote about My Morning Jacket’s “Evil Urges” a few weeks back (comparing it unfavourably to the Fleet Foxes debut), I’ve been thinking about the band and the record a lot. Picking up Billboard this morning (not a regular habit, rest assured), I found them staring awkwardly out of the cover. Jim James could barely be spotted in the accompanying feature, overwhelmed by laudatory quotes from a great swathe of on-message, optimum-strategising execs and some head-spinning stats suggesting that, yes, they were set to break into the biggish league in America sometime later in the summer.


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Editor's Letter

D'Angelo's "Black Messiah": some first thoughts


When Thom Yorke sneaked out his new solo album a few months back, I managed to hold out for 66 hours before writing a review of "Tomorrow's Modern Boxes". Since waking up...