The last time I saw Neil Young at the Apollo was in 2003, when he was touring to promote his ecological country rock opera, Greendale, still unreleased at the time, which meant no one had heard any of the songs. The unfamiliarity of what he then played provoked among the audience a certain restlessness that quickly gave way to collective dismay when it dawned on them that he wasn’t going to play merely a selection of songs from the record, but the album in what turned out to be its indigestible entirety.


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In the midst of Neil Young fever this week, I’ve been distracted by another Canadian musical superstar. While I was waiting for my useless computer to fire up this morning, I finished the last pages of “Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey To The End Of Taste”, a fascinating book by the Canadian music journalist, Carl Wilson.


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So, the start of Neil Young’s six-night stand in London, and a lot of the schtick will be familiar to anyone who’s read Damien’s review of the Edinburgh show. Neil bumbles around the stage in what we might optimistically call a Proustian reverie, warms his hands on a stage light, plays “Ambulance Blues” and stops time dead in its tracks.


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So, the start of Neil Young’s six-night stand in London, and a lot of the schtick will be familiar to anyone who’s read Damien’s review of the Edinburgh show. Neil bumbles around the stage in what we might optimistically call a Proustian reverie, warms his hands on a stage light, plays “Ambulance Blues” and stops time dead in its tracks.


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As you might imagine, a fair amount of excitement round these parts at the prospect of a six-hour Neil Young gig tonight. I'll report back first thing tomorrow; it's going to be interesting to see how much the show resembles the one Damien saw in Edinburgh. Please keep filing your reviews of the shows, too - I'm fascinated to know how - or if - the spectacle will evolve as the month progresses. Maybe "No Hidden Path" will just get longer and longer?


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First, a quick pointer to Damien’s review of Neil Young in Edinburgh last night, which sounds like it was a pretty incredible night. All being well, I’m going to the first London show, so I’ll try and file something on Thursday morning.


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To paraphrase Dolly Parton, it must take a lot of care to look as chaotic as this. I’m referring not to Neil Young himself, not exactly, but to the astonishingly cluttered stage around him, dressed to look like – well, backstage, really, behind the scenes at some lost old-time opry.


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A couple of things I played rather a lot over the weekend: the second Brightblack Morning Light album from 2006, which reminds me of unbearably hot afternoons in our old office, and which still sounds gorgeous on a windy Saturday afternoon in March; and “Supreme Balloon”, the 24-minute title track of the new album from Matmos.


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As regular readers may have spotted, I’ve been droning on about the second Howlin Rain album since the end of last summer, when an early copy reached me by mildly nefarious means. I’ve regularly postponed blogging on “Magnificent Fiend”, mainly because Rick Rubin signed up the band in the States and the release date has been unusually volatile (it’s now due out in April in the UK, possibly a little earlier in the US). The other reason for the delay, though, is that I’ve played it so much, it’s weirdly become harder to write about. It’s time, though, to attempt to do it justice: though I usually try and avoid crude empirical hype, it’s hard for me to imagine many better rock albums will be released in 1974. Or even in 2008.


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That time of the week again. Here are the records that we've played over the last day and a bit in the Uncut office. One thing here worth explaining: Retribution Gospel Choir are fronted by Low's Alan Sparhawk and produced by Mark Kozelek.


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Editor's Letter

The 46th (And Last) Playlist Of 2014


Sorry I didn't manage to post a playlist last week; a combination of germs, deadlines and various other professional/seasonal distractions meant that I ran out of time.

Here, though, is our last office list of 2014, with lots of strong new entries. A few highlights...