One or two hangovers in the Uncut office today, so I'm cheerfully trying to make them worse by playing this new live album by Konono No 1. It's a terrific album, but it also operates on an insistent, reverberant frequency which, I suspect, may well be rattling around the skulls of a few sore heads.


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There's an interesting interview with Steve Albini in the forthcoming issue of Uncut, where he talks about various albums he's been involved with over the years. One of them is PJ Harvey's "Rid Of Me". "Around that point, Polly was a wicked guitar player," Albini says. "One of the things that I think she lost after she moved away from the band format, and into the solo artist format, is that she doesn't show off her guitar playing any more - she's not in a situation where her guitar playing matters as much."


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I guess there are a few recurring subjects on Wild Mercury Sound, little hives of activity that I seem to keep visiting again and again. Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label is one, and I need to tell you about the mighty new Magik Markers LP sometime soon. But the extended, diverse and interwoven Thompson and Wainwright folk dynasties is definitely another.


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The Sly And The Family Stone show in Lovebox and the gigs that preceded it have provoked some pretty interesting responses. Over at the Uncut festivals blog, someone called Alex notes, "Yes it's casualty soul funk - still better than the my little twat club etc (Not sure exactly what he's on about here, but stick with it) who can barely put a riff together. At least the yoof can hear how it should be done - that session band were tight as hell - and maybe we'll get some decent new bands coming through." Dillon, meanwhile, merely writes, "Can Someone say FREEKSHOW?"


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You know those people whose taste you instinctively distrust? Who only ever seem to love music that you can't stand? For me, that's Noel Gallagher. Every time he steps up to proselytise on behalf of a band, my heart sinks. Here, after all, is a man whose every aesthetic decision seems predicated on a terrifying fear of the unknown, whose idea of the avant-garde is Beck. If it doesn't fit Gallagher's conservative idea of The Song, he'll never speak out in favour of it.


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At nine o'clock, the omens are not great. Sly And The Family Stone are meant to be starting their headlining set right now, and the strict curfew on this inner-city festival is 10.30. On the main stage, though, Chris Stein has decided to add a five-minute guitar solo to "Rapture", while Debbie Harry looks on with a sort of professional vapidity. Blondie, in all their lumpen, functional weariness, aren't going to be finished any time soon.


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At nine o'clock, the omens are not great. Sly And The Family Stone are meant to be starting their headlining set right now, and the strict curfew on this inner-city festival is 10.30. On the main stage, though, Chris Stein has decided to add a five-minute guitar solo to "Rapture", while Debbie Harry looks on with a sort of professional vapidity. Blondie, in all their lumpen, functional weariness, aren't going to be finished any time soon.


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Is it weird to like a record even though it reminds you, however faintly, of something you never liked very much? I only ask because I've been playing this new Iron & Wine record quite a lot this past couple of weeks.


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I know we have to stop banging on about the Latitude festival at some point this year, but I've just been going through some of your comments on the Uncut Latitude blog. I've never seen such a positive response on the Uncut blogs before, exemplified by Dave's pithy, "Superb. Great Atmosphere. Great Organisation." I've just done a bit of unscientific number-crunching, and can now exclusively reveal your favourite bands of the weekend.


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Just back from the Mercury Music Prize scrum down in Covent Garden. I realise that making a fuss about this sort of thing is playing into the hands of the organisers, on the grounds that any publicity is good publicity and all. And, yes, there are a bunch of records here that I like: the Arctic Monkeys (a deserving winner, I'd say), Amy Winehouse and the Klaxons, for a start. I guess as a measure of how healthy new British music is right now, it's OK. And the absence of Editors, The Fratellis, The Twang and so on is mildly satisfying.


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Editor's Letter

The return of The Aphex Twin, and Caustic Window


Last year, Warp Records embarked on a campaign for Boards Of Canada's "Tomorrow's Harvest" comeback that was notable for its obtuseness. Unmarked 12-inches were hidden in record stores, strings of numbers and inexplicable broadcasts were strewn enigmatically across the internet. At one point, I...