Perhaps he's been inspired by the way his other half, Joanna Newsom, goes about her work. Perhaps he's up to some clever contract shenanigans. Whatever the real reason, it's pretty easy to read high creative significance into Bill Callahan's decision to drop the Smog brand and release this fine new album, "Woke On A Whaleheart", under his real name.


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I've been thinking some more about that new Wilco album, not least in response to a post from someone called Andrew. "It appears every thinking American songwriter," he writes "has been listening to Midlake's "The Trials Of Van Occupanther" and decided that America and Fleetwood Mac circa "Rumours" and "Tusk" are the way forward."


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Jeff Tweedy has always been a perverse bugger. When Wilco became the toast of the Americana classes, Tweedy did everything in his considerable power to disassociate himself from the scene. He made the two greatest albums of his career, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and "A Ghost Is Born", and saw his band hailed as so adventurous as to be virtually avant-garde. Clearly, though, being stereotyped as a radical is starting to get on his nerves.


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You know, up until a couple of weeks ago, I never thought I'd want to play a Bright Eyes record ever again. Their early records had sounded naive, passionate and interesting. But Conor Oberst's default schtick soon lost it's charm for me, closer resembling a kind of whingeing verbal diarrhoea. I know he was still pretty young - he's only about 27 now - but his pretensions still seemed rooted in adolescence, like a clever 16-year-old trying to cram all the ideas, images and words he knows into one song.


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"Brianstorm", the new Arctic Monkeys single, turned up in the Uncut office yesterday, and it's a relief to report that our first impressions weren't wrong. It's good.


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Thanks to all your responses over the past few days. A couple of people have asked me to write about the Kings Of Leon and Modest Mouse albums, both of which I have here. But to be honest, I'm not hugely keen on either (save the first track of the Kings album, "Knocked Up", which is the best thing they've done by far). The point of Wild Mercury Sound, I guess, is simply to write about things I care for.


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I suspect few records released in 2007 are going to provoke as much argument as this second Arcade Fire album, "Neon Bible". A week before the official release date, you can already feel it coming, as inexorable as the tidal waves and imprecations of doom that fill Win Butler's lyrics.


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Thanks for all your comments on the Arctic Monkeys blog. Hopefully, I should have my own copy of the album in a few weeks, and I'll post something more considered than last week's effort once I've listened to it more than once. In the meantime, I figured I should allay one or two fears.


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So we’re sitting in Domino’s new offices, somewhere on an industrial estate in Wandsworth. There’s a train track outside one window, a gas holder outside the other, and some old Pavement and Sebadoh posters on the floor. Then there’s this massive crash of very heavy drums and guitars. The new Arctic Monkeys album has started, it seems.


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I'm not sure what kind of symmetry this represents, but Richard Swift's new album begins with the sound of tapdancing and nears a close with him crooning, rather sweetly, "I wish I were dead most of the time." "Dressed Up For The Letdown" is Swift's third album, and is a concept album of sorts. It's about a singer-songwriter - let's call him Richard Swift - who struggles for years without success, cursing the ignorance of the labels who refuse to sign him.


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Editor's Letter

Reviewed: Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo, August 27, 2014


There is a song on "Aerial", Kate Bush's eighth and possibly best album, called "Bertie". "Here comes the sunshine," it begins, "Here comes that son of mine/Here comes the everything/Here's a song and a song for him." Nine years later, here, perhaps is a show for him: an unexpected comeback; a...