John Mulvey

"Have Fun With God": Bill Callahan in dub...



"Have Fun With God": Bill Callahan in dub...

Sometimes, with Bill Callahan, the focus on his records is so unwaveringly on his lyrics, it is tempting to treat them as recited poetry rather than actual music. On an old Smog record like “The Doctor Came At Dawn”, say, the music seems barely there; just a little shading to point up the melodic undertow of a baritone that often wanders closer to speech than song.


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John Mulvey

Black Dirt Oak, “Wawayanda Patent”



Black Dirt Oak, “Wawayanda Patent”

When you’re in the business of writing about/codifying/making up a musical scene, it always helps if you can locate its nexus. Reading the small print on record sleeves, a good few of the American musicians negotiating the space between roots music and avant-garde jamming these past few years - part of what used to be called free folk, for a while - all turn out to have recorded at Black Dirt Studios in upstate New York.


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John Mulvey

The First Uncut Playlist Of 2014



The First Uncut Playlist Of 2014

After last week’s Best Albums Of 2014 roundup/provocation, here’s the first proper playlist of the year; with, as you’ll see, a few auspicious new arrivals.


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John Mulvey

On Michael Head's "Artorius Revisited", and beyond...



On Michael Head's "Artorius Revisited", and beyond...

Sometime last autumn, maybe, an EP called “Artorius Revisited” by Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band was quietly released in limited quantities. Last time he surfaced around 2006/2007, in a quixotic, thwarted and mostly transcendent musical career that now stretches back some three decades, Head and his longest-lasting configuration, Shack, were signed to Noel Gallagher’s Sour Mash label. It didn’t last.


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John Mulvey

The Best Albums Of 2014 (thus far...)



The Best Albums Of 2014 (thus far...)

Happy new year, everyone. Since we’re into 2014 now, and (perhaps more pertinently) since all of our 2013 charts generated so much traffic to www.uncut.co.uk last month, I thought it’d be useful/cynical to post a Best Of 2014 (Thus Far) list.


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John Mulvey

Reviewed: The Waterboys play "Fisherman's Blues", London Hammersmith Apollo, December 18, 2013



Reviewed: The Waterboys play "Fisherman's Blues", London Hammersmith Apollo, December 18, 2013

So this, I think, might be a new thing: not so much a live recreation of a classic album, but a live recreation of the sessions which resulted in a classic album. A show predicated not just on evocative songs recorded 25-odd years ago, but on a nostalgia for outtakes that – up until a month or so ago, at least – most of the crowd in the Hammersmith Apollo tonight had never even heard.


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John Mulvey

The 47th Uncut Playlist Of 2013



The 47th Uncut Playlist Of 2013

The last playlist of 2013, I think, and – as you’ll see – a bunch of faithful retainers slipping back in with 2014 releases. Not sure I can believe I’m ending the year with an embedded video of Tears For Fears covering Animal Collective, but there you go.


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The Best Albums Of 2013 - The Uncut Top 80



The Best Albums Of 2013 - The Uncut Top 80

This month’s issue of Uncut, as you may have seen, comes with a free supplement showcasing our extensive end-of-year charts. We’ve decided, though, to post our 80 Best Albums Of 2013 list here.

You can read new assessments of these albums in the booklet. But in the meantime, click on the links to read the original Uncut reviews. A reminder, too, that Uncut staffers have been posting their individual 2013 lists:


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John Mulvey

The 46th Uncut Playlist Of 2013



The 46th Uncut Playlist Of 2013

We have about 24 hours to finish the next issue, and not much longer to complete another Uncut Ultimate Music Guide due in January, so no preamble this week: lots to hear and anticipate below. (Thanks, though, for all your feedback on my Best Of 2013 list; much appreciated, as ever).


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John Mulvey

Reviewed: Linda Perhacs live at Cecil Sharp House, London, December 5, 2013



Reviewed: Linda Perhacs live at Cecil Sharp House, London, December 5, 2013

There are some things you never expect to see. Take, for example, a live performance of “Parallelograms”; a song of uncanny atmospheres and dynamics, recorded in 1970 by a dental hygienist with only a fleeting involvement with the music business.


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Editor's Letter

Reviewed: Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon


As Robert Gordon reminds us in Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion, his terrific account of the rise and fall of the great Memphis soul imprint, the Stax story is more than a record-label history. “It is an American story,” Gordon writes,”...