A conversation last week about REM’s South By Southwest show resulted, yesterday afternoon, in me digging out my old copy of “Reckoning”. Apparently, they’d played “Second Guessing” (as well as “Auctioneer” from “Fables Of The Reconstruction”) at the show so, in preparation for the Albert Hall gig, I thought I’d revisit the album.


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I didn’t plan to blog today, fancying a computer-free Easter weekend and all, but this morning I felt compelled to write about Dawn Landes’ show at our first Club Uncut last night. A few days ago, I think I described her as being some kind of cross between Chan Marshall and Laura Veirs. Well, I got that completely wrong.


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A small recurring theme here these past few weeks has been the work of John ‘Speedo’ Reis, with the release of Rocket From The Crypt’s posthumous live album, “RIP” and the appearance of a new band called The Night Marchers on Myspace. Now, the Night Marchers album has arrived, and I reckon it may be the poppiest thing Reis has ever been involved with.


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As a general rule, I must admit to finding most of the stuff that goes by the dubious name of “nu-gaze” pretty lame. If there’s a minor boom in bands who revisit the aesthetics of shoegazing, most of them strike me as being awfully conventional, a particularly insipid kind of indie that revolves around weak vocals, predictable effects and a generally fey take on orthodoxy.


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In the playlist yesterday, I mentioned that James Blackshaw, one of my favourite contemporary guitarists, has a new album out as part of a duo called Brethren Of The Free Spirit. Actually, Blackshaw has two new things in circulation at the moment, and both are excellent.


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A load of new stuff again this week, much of it pretty interesting. The Brethren Of The Free Spirit, incidentally, are a duo featuring the guitarist James Blackshaw, who's received much love here over the past year.


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It’s a strange thing that, as Mark Lanegan becomes more ubiquitous, his own material seems to be scarcer and scarcer. Since Lanegan’s last solo album, the fine “Bubblegum”, came out in 2004, his voice has been everywhere, but his substance has been hard to track down.


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As Latitude 2008 approaches (it's on between July 17 and 20, lest you forget), here's an exceptional chance to help write a play that'll be performed at the festival.


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As a general rule, music doesn’t have that much of a nostalgic function for me. Without sounding too bloodless, I’m only interested in a record if it sounds good to me right now; the fact that it might have soundtracked various epiphanies/crises/whatevers in my life is, by and large, irrelevant. If I were ever to end up, God forbid, on some “Desert Island Discs” thing, I’d maybe choose something from “On The Beach” (a review of Neil's first Manchester show is over at the Reviews Blog, incidentally), even though I might have actually spent 1974 listening to Mud. I’m not ashamed of my musical past, I just don’t like those records any more.


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I have to admit to a certain amount of anxiety tonight. It’s not just the weather, which is, of course, rotten, the wind howling like it’s fit to tear chunks from rooftops from miles around.


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Editor's Letter

The 43rd Uncut Playlist Of 2014


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...