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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John Mulvey

The Raconteurs Live In London



It begins looking more or less, as Jack White has argued ad nauseam, like a democracy. White, Brendan Benson and Little Jack Lawrence are clustered around Patrick Keeler’s drum riser, smartly waistcoated, backs to the audience, flexing their metaphorical rock muscles. They’re playing the title track from “Consolers Of The Lonely”, and the way the song switches back and forth between White and Benson, the way their vocals are tracked by harmonies from Lawrence and Mark Watrous, the new keyboards and fiddle player, the power-packed tightness of it all is overwhelming.


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John Mulvey

The 20th Uncut Playlist Of 2008



Some interesting correspondence on the blog over the past week or so, not least on the subject of Brian Eno, after I posed a mildly provocative question about his recent work here.


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John Mulvey

Wooden Shjips and Howlin Rain live



I suspect I’ve banged on about Howlin Rain so often now that my admiration for the band is reaching mildly stalkerish levels. Last night’s show at the Scala, though, was a big leap on from this one that I frothed over a few months ago.


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John Mulvey

The Hold Steady: "Stay Positive"



First, a couple of lyrics (and God knows, there are plenty to quote on the Hold Steady’s fourth album). From the opening song, “Constructive Summer”: “Let this be my annual reminder that we can all be something bigger.” From the last song, “Slapped Actress”, repeated by Craig Finn while the music swells and a rabble choir add “woah-oh”s: “Man, we make our own movies.”


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Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 46th (And Last) Playlist Of 2014


Sorry I didn't manage to post a playlist last week; a combination of germs, deadlines and various other professional/seasonal distractions meant that I ran out of time.

Here, though, is our last office list of 2014, with lots of strong new entries. A few highlights...