Michael Bonner

First Look -- Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited



The arrival of a new Wes Anderson film is pretty much always a cause for celebration in the UNCUT office. He's a master of dry, melancholic comedies and a meticulous visual stylist, with a fine ear for music and who's surrounded himself with a peerless roster of actors -- Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Gene Hackman among them -- who faultlessly bring his peculiar, poignant stories to life.

It's perhaps emblematic of Anderson's universe that, in the production notes handed out at last night's press screening for The Darjeeling Limited, Anjelica Huston describes her character in the film as "something of an action hero nun." I am also warned, half-seriously, by the film's press officer to prepare for the continuous use of Peter Sarstedt's ballad "Where Did You Go To (My Lovely)" over the soundtrack. Oh, and Bill Murray crops up for the opening five minutes in a mute cameo.


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Michael Bonner

FIRST LOOK -- Ridley Scott's American Gangster



After a week off, holed up in the Cotswolds since you ask, it's been a busy time for film screenings. I went to see The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford on Tuesday, this time on a proper 35mm print rather than the beta tape I saw a few months back, and tonight there's Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited that I'll hopefully blog about tomorrow.

Last night, though, our album reviews editor John Robinson and I went to see American Gangster, at close to three hours as epic as it gets, with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington manfully chewing chunks out of the scenery in late Sixties/early Seventies' New York.


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John Mulvey

A Bugged Out Mix by Klaxons



It’s easy to be a bit snide about the Klaxons, as some of the fartish blather that greeted their Mercury Prize win proved. “Myths Of The Near Future” (was that the title?) wasn’t the best record on the shortlist, to my mind; I’ve played the Arctic Monkeys and Amy Winehouse albums more, if that’s any measure. Third best is still pretty good, though, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Klaxons were a truly futuristic band (one or two commentators claimed this after the Mercury win. I’m not even sure what “futuristic” means any more with regard to music, but never mind), I certainly like their ideas, their sense of intelligent mischief, and the suspicion that these are men who listen to a much more interesting range of music than their indie contemporaries.


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Michael Bonner

Why We Fight -- Hollywood and the War On Terror



I went to see Atonement over the weekend -- and a very fine film it is, too -- and before the film started, the cinema showed trailers for Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart and The Kingdom, produced by Michael Mann. These are Hollywood's latest attempts to engage with George Bush's misadventures in the Middle East and the fearsome War On Terror.


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John Mulvey

The Uncut Playlist



It feels like time to put together another one of these, so here are the ten records we played in the office yesterday. Pretty quiet here as we've just finished an issue, so I managed to get away with even more psych, folk and drone than usual. And after a week of lost post, wrong addresses and such, the Om album arrived, so that was good. . .


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John Mulvey

Citay's "Little Kingdom" and Concentrick's "Aluminum Lake"



A while back, someone at Uncut pointed out to me that one of the words I overused when writing about music was “feral”. He was right, too: I’d got into a habit of using the term whenever the psychedelia and crypto-primitive folk jams that I listen to so much got a little wilder and smellier, became a bit more instinctual, or at least convincingly pretended to be instinctual.


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Dipping into Johnny Flynn, Malcolm Middleton and The Young Republic



With the Bimble Inn tent's balladeer crown going to Emmy The Great last year, it's deservedly up to multi-instrumental troubadours Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit to nab it in her absence this time round.

One of the strongest members of the alt-folk scene in London at the moment, Flynn's country-tinged songs showed off the band's versatility, with Flynn alone rapidly switching between ukelele, banjo, guitar and violin during the course of an excellent set.


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Drizzled on in between Pete and the Pirates and Euros Childs



After yesterday's blazing sunshine, the near-continuous drizzle has come as a bit of a shock. Lunchtime open mic sessions at The Local got the last of the dry weather, with covers of Herman Dune and Ace of Base's 'The Sign' alongside jazz and some godawful wailing from a man who seemed to have confused Americana with Bon Jovi.

In the Big Top tent, London's Pete and the Pirates gave cause for the crowd to start telling their favourite pirate jokes, despite the indie-rockers looking about as seafaring as milk. Singer Tommy Sanders was unimpressed by a heckler's suggestion that the band meet up with The Local stage's similarly-named Peggy Sue and the Pirates - "Who is she anyway?" "My mum," was the guitarist's helpful suggestion.


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Super Furry Animals downsize but still shine at End Of The Road



The second time we saw Super Furry Animals was on their 'Rings Around The World' tour in 2001. They had complicated visuals, mostly taken from the album's accompanying DVD but screened in perfect time with the music, and a quadrophonic sound system all the better to transmit their electro wigouts.

It was also at a large venue, resulting in an overwhelmingly loud and grand psychedelic AV feast. Seeing them last night at End Of The Road couldn't really have been much more different.


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Flitting between King Creosote, Vandervelde and Reigns at End Of The Road



The great thing about small festivals is that you can flit between stages in less time than it takes an I'm From Barcelona balloon to be passed around the crowd. That's what we did this afternoon at End Of The Road.

After taking in some of Swedish oddballs I'm From Barcelona and Joan As Policewoman with a trusty cider in hand, we decided to stick around for Scottish folky King Creosote.


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Editor's Letter

"Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye": Cosimo Matassa 1926-2014


Among my post last week, I received a nice care package from Ace Records that included one quite weird Duke Ellington album ("My People"); Volume 3 of their "Where Country Meets Soul" series (I cannot recommend Ralph ''Soul'' Jackson's version of ''Jambalaya'' highly enough); and, maybe best of...