Michael Bonner

Cannes Film Festival -- final report



Though it lacked a clear favourite in the official competition selection, and offered some weaker entries in the rival Critics Week and Directors Fortnight sections, this year's Cannes Film Festival still delivered some interesting movies.

Nothing blew anyone away, mind -- which would have been tricky after last year's amazing 60th anniversary celebrations. But there was confirmation that the newer wave of Cannes discoveries were following up on early promise (Belgium's Dardenne brothers and Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan both scored on awards night, with script and directing gongs respectively). Indeed, the field was so wide open that even the favourite to win, the Israeli animated doc Waltz With Bashir, didn't drop too many jaws when it not only failed to win the Palme D'Or but anything at all. Instead, top-dog honours went to The Class by Laurence Cantet, a superb fly-on-the-wall drama about a teacher coming to terms with his downtrodden students.


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Allan Jones

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss in London



Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
London Wembley Arena
Thursday, May 22 2008

“Good evening” says Robert Plant, flinging back a mane of tangled hair from his face, early on in tonight’s extraordinary show. “And welcome to. . .” he goes on, and pauses. “Well, I don’t know what it is,” he says then with a smile that before it’s finished turns into a grin, and a big one at that, visible evidence of a man clearly enjoying what he’s doing, even if he can’t put a name to it. “But you’re welcome to it,” he adds, “whatever it is.”


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John Mulvey

Endless Boogie: "Focus Level"



I’ve been blown away this week by the first album from a New York band called Endless Boogie. The name was vaguely familiar, and reading through the press release it transpires that the band played Slint’s All Tomorrow’s Parties a few years back. There are some earlier singles, I think, which Bubba helpfully linked to here.


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John Mulvey

The 21st Uncut Playlist Of 2008



I wandered into the office this morning to hear the new album from Stereolab playing – or at least weirdly and abruptly truncated edits of the songs on the new Stereolab album, which weren’t exactly the best way of getting the measure of “Chemical Chords”. The big discovery this week, though, has been the debut album from the pretty self-explanatory Endless Boogie, which I’ll write about properly in the next few days. There’s also, and I apologise, for this, a “Secret” record in the playlist this week, whose title I’m not allowed to reveal since, “All info on this is being kept under wraps until next week so please don't breathe a word to anyone that you even know a XXXXXX album is coming, let alone have heard it.”


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Michael Bonner

The Apprentice



There is, of course, plenty that's wonderful about The Apprentice. Let's start with how a bunch of jumped-up estate agents, regional sales reps and “risk managers” stab each other in the back and bicker while displaying the level of intelligence usually associated with lesser Crustaceans. It’s the same reason you might watch Big Brother, so you can hoot cynically as the worst specimens that a few million years of evolution has to offer parade their tawdry, desperate dreams across the screen.


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Allan Jones

Club UNCUT: Okkervil River and AA Bondy



“This is an old song,” says AA Bondy, introducing the next number in his opening set at the third Club UNCUT night at the Borderline. He’s not kidding, either. What I had presumed would be some lost early gem from his back catalogue turns out to be a dark and powerfully brooding version of Blind Willie Johnson’s apocalyptic “John The Revelator”, originally recorded in 1930, which is going back some.


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Michael Bonner

Clint Eastwood's Changeling -- Cannes Film Festival 2008



Welcome to our first report from this year's Cannes Film Festival, featuring Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski...

Cannes, this year as ever, is about reputations. Some live up, others don't, but in 2008 the big directors are hanging onto their mantle while the arthouse darlings are slipping. Towering over the festival this year, Clint Eastwood is easily in the former camp, bringing a fantastic new film, Changeling (or is it The Exchange? The title keeps, ahem, changing), that proves that, at 78, Eastwood is effortlessly maintaining the rich twilight of an already magnificent career.


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John Mulvey

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy: "Lie Down In The Light"



“NEW HARMONY ON AN AWESOME SCALE,” announces Will Oldham on “Missing One”. Somewhere in the shadows, there’s a singer called Ashley Webber playing a discreet Emmylou to his Gram, the latest harmonious foil chosen to track his tremulous voice. Oldham’s voice is much less wayward than it was on the Palace and early Bonnie “Prince” Billy records, of course, but it’s strange how he’s recently found it useful to match his voice against another: on “The Letting Go”, Dawn McCarthy from Faun Fables; on last year’s overlooked covers set, “Ask Forgiveness”, Meg Baird from Espers.


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John Mulvey

The Necks Live In Dalston



To the Vortex at midnight. Considering it’s still only May, I’ve seen some pretty remarkable gigs this year: Portishead, Vampire Weekend and the mighty Raconteurs last week; Peter Walker’s flamenco/raga masterclass; Neil Young soloing endlessly into the full glare of a Klieg light, and so on.


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John Mulvey

Patti Smith & Kevin Shields: The Coral Sea



A strange moment of the stars aligning, possibly by accident, towards the end of last week, when the remastered My Bloody Valentine reissues turned up in the Uncut office in the same post as Kevin Shields’ collaboration with Patti Smith, “The Coral Sea”. You wait x amount of years for one dreamrock charabanc to arrive, then three arrive, and so on. . .


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Editor's Letter

The 40th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


A glut of very exciting 2015 music this week, but before you get to that, maybe check out the Milton Nascimento track below which, as KidVinil Vinil pointed out in the comments section beneath...