Before the rampant egomania, before the bloated double albums, before the mass band purgings and the hagiographic documentary in which Billy Corgan, saintly in white bathrobe, sits in a hotel room writing songs about Nazi Germany and receiving a pair of fans who present him with a huge plaster model of his own head… yeah, it’s easy to forget that before all that stuff, the Smashing Pumpkins used to be a pretty great rock band.


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Thinking about it now, it seems as if many of our favourite film makers decided to take 2011 off. Aside from the Coens' True Grit at the start of the year and Martin Scorsese's foray into children's movies at its close, you could be forgiven for wondering where had all the directors we'd so assiduously championed since Uncut began, in 1997, disappeared off to.


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Elvis Costello wasn’t himself 25 years ago, the musician credits on the two albums he released in 1986 listing him as Little Hands Of Concrete (King Of America) and Napoleon Dynamite (Blood & Chocolate). While the former was a self-mocking reference to his habit of breaking guitar strings, the latter was a more boastful persona who made his stage bow as the mad-eyed master of ceremonies at fairground-like live shows.


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Directed by Steve McQueen
Starring Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan

When the Manhattan branch of the Standard Hotel opened for business in summer 2009, it instantly became the hot topic of conversation among New Yorkers. Not as you might think for its stunning views across the Hudson river – but because people were flocking to the park below to watch guests having sex in front of the hotel’s floor to ceiling windows.


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These are, at last, exhilarating times for Bruce Robinson. In the 26 years since his extraordinary debut, Withnail & I, the writer and director has withdrawn almost entirely from films after the grim experiences of his post-Withnail projects.


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George Clooney’s fourth film as director takes place across a handful of tense days during a primary election in Ohio, where governor Mike Morris (Clooney) is a hair’s-breadth away from securing the Democratic party nomination to stand for office...


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X MEN: FIRST CLASS
HHH
DIRECTED BY Matthew Vaughn
STARRING James McAvoy, Michael Fassbinder
OPENS JUNE 1 // CERT 12A // 131 MINS

As evangelists, millenarians and scholars have learned to their disappointment, predicting the apocalypse has never been an entirely accurate business.


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As the first night of Club Uncut’s annual seaside trip to Brighton’s Great Escape festival comes to an end, a girl passes me yelling “My ears! My ears!”. New York’s Gang Gang Dance have just come off stage at the Pavilion Theatre, where they’ve cranked up the decibels to ear-splitting levels. Really, it was loud. Earlier this week, I’d been listening to their latest album, Eye Contact, recorded in relaxed circumstances near rural Woodstock, and been impressed by the ambient textures of tracks like “Glass Jar”. Live, they’re clearly a very different proposition: the sheer intense forcefulness of their sound physically impacts on the body. It had all been so very different three hours earlier…


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Sad news reaches us this morning about the death of Elizabeth Taylor, aged 79, from congestive heart failure. It's been a pretty grim year so far, with the passing of actors like Pete Postlethwaite and, last week, Michael Gough. Taylor's death, though, feels like the closing of a specific chapter in movie history.


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Hiss Golden Messenger
Slaughtered Lamb, London

“I’ll do my best to put you in a trance here,” says Michael Taylor, aka Hiss Golden Messenger, as he tweaks and tunes his guitar at the start of tonight’s Club Uncut show. This is Taylor’s third London show in a week, including an in-store performance at Rough Trade on Saturday. Clearly, he’s on a roll.


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Editor's Letter

The Father, The Sun And The Holy Ghost… An interview with Hiss Golden Messenger


One bright Sunday morning, MC Taylor is driving through his patch of North Carolina, past New Hope Creek and the Eno River, over the Chatham County Line and the James Taylor Bridge in Chapel Hill, near the Haw River and the valley that he has meditated upon in song these past few years. Through...