A couple of weeks ago, I was writing here about the excellent new No Age album, and about indie orthodoxy masquerading as somehow adventurous in the world of shoegazing. Without going over the whole argument again, I think the gist was that early ‘90s shoegazing - which mainly sounds so bland now - acted as a gateway for me into a whole world of ambient, avant-garde music.


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A tremendous amount of proofreading this afternoon, and we haven't had much time to go through new releases, or write proper blogs. So here are the 36 songs that have just been played on John Robinson's bulging iPod. One of those shuffle sessions that turn out to work rather well, I reckon...


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I wonder if, when Klaus Dinger identified “Gigantic possibilities” in the middle of “Cha Cha 2000”, he had any idea of the gigantic possibilities his music would offer to thousands of artists in the future?


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Joan Wasser has, for a long time, been in the periphery of my vision: I remember catching The Dambuilders by chance at CBGB’s on a bill with Teenage Fanclub and Madder Rose; a presence with violin in both The Johnsons and in Rufus Wainwright’s band; a member of Dave Shouse’s excellent post-Grifters project, Those Bastard Souls.


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One of those professional obligation sessions in the Uncut office right now: we’re on Track Eight of the Panic At The Disco album, “Pretty. Odd”. Interest piqued by some frothing and slightly dubious suggestions that “Pretty. Odd” is a landmark of WEIRD! and AMBITIOUS! rock music, imagine our surprise when it seems to sound a bit like The Feeling and those shabby Beatles pastiches that Tears For Fears came up with in the ‘80s. We do, however, have new records by Paul Weller, Peter Walker and James Blackshaw.


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Someone from a site called Splicetoday spammed one of my old REM blogs last week, posting a link to an interesting compare-and-contrast piece on both “Accelerate” and Mark Kozelek’s new Sun Kil Moon album, “April”. It reminded me, amongst other things, that I’d been sleeping on the Sun Kil Moon record; that maybe the embracing familiarity of Kozelek’s latest doleful epic had made me take it for granted. Or maybe it was just that I’d been listening to it on one of those moody secure streams, and today a CD arrived.


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A few years ago, I spent a good while being evangelical about something that was excruciatingly, and probably briefly, labelled ‘folktronica’. Before a bunch of rather insipid bands like Tunng seemed to take up that banner in earnest, I wrote a lot about the solo work of Kieran Hebden, who as Four Tet had moved through an electronic reconfiguring of ecstatic, cosmic jazz and was (circa 2001) building new music out of his computer and a bunch of arcane folk records.


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I was listening to some generally unfunny show on Radio 4 last week, when some comedian who should really remain nameless – but whose uselessness compels me to identify him as Mitch Benn – sang a song, notionally in the style of David Bowie, on the subject of, if memory serves, farting in space.


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Thanks for all your responses to the Raconteurs and REM blogs yesterday. I'm glad I wasn't the only one to feel underwhelmed by the REM Albert Hall show.


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The Raconteurs album is playing for the second time this morning, and I’ve just got round to reading the paperwork which arrived in my inbox with the download just before 9am. “Consolers Of The Lonely”, it notes, is “loud, bombastic and littered with changes of tempo.” Can’t argue with any of that.


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Editor's Letter

Inside The New Uncut… The Best Albums Of 2014!


At some point in October, I started receiving emails from record labels and publicists about their Tips For 2015. A new year loomed, distantly, and with it the annual music business imperative to embrace a tranche of new artists. Around the same time, the 2014 Mercury Prize hoopla culminated...