Since I first wrote about the new Babyshambles album, there’s been a huge amount of on-line traffic about both the initial preview and what some correspondents have been concerned is guarded praise on my part for the record.
Some good neu-Krautrock this morning, coming from an American/German duo called, evocatively, Cloudland Canyon. I first came across them last year, I think, with an album called "Requiems der Natur 2002-2004" which fitted in with the ambient-cosmic end of the new psych stuff I listen to a lot.
“Good idea this, weren’t it?” shouts Alex Turner from the stage. It was billed as a momentous event and in the end, that’s exactly what it was. Arctic Monkeys have just played the biggest headlining gig of their career at LCC, in front of a deafening 50,000 people and a sea of inflatable hammers. More of which later, as it’s been a terrific day all round.
One or two hangovers in the Uncut office today, so I'm cheerfully trying to make them worse by playing this new live album by Konono No 1. It's a terrific album, but it also operates on an insistent, reverberant frequency which, I suspect, may well be rattling around the skulls of a few sore heads.
There's an interesting interview with Steve Albini in the forthcoming issue of Uncut, where he talks about various albums he's been involved with over the years. One of them is PJ Harvey's "Rid Of Me". "Around that point, Polly was a wicked guitar player," Albini says. "One of the things that I think she lost after she moved away from the band format, and into the solo artist format, is that she doesn't show off her guitar playing any more - she's not in a situation where her guitar playing matters as much."
I guess there are a few recurring subjects on Wild Mercury Sound, little hives of activity that I seem to keep visiting again and again. Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label is one, and I need to tell you about the mighty new Magik Markers LP sometime soon. But the extended, diverse and interwoven Thompson and Wainwright folk dynasties is definitely another.
The International Festival de Benicassim is over, and we're back in a grisly ill-weathered England - craving sunshine, and the return of destroyed brain cells...
Muse, closed the Fib festival with great space rock aplomb - the soaring nature of the trio combined with their spectacular video projections that included giant marching robots and melted acid-like views from the stage - proved to be amazing.
The Sly And The Family Stone show in Lovebox and the gigs that preceded it have provoked some pretty interesting responses. Over at the Uncut festivals blog, someone called Alex notes, "Yes it's casualty soul funk - still better than the my little twat club etc (Not sure exactly what he's on about here, but stick with it) who can barely put a riff together. At least the yoof can hear how it should be done - that session band were tight as hell - and maybe we'll get some decent new bands coming through." Dillon, meanwhile, merely writes, "Can Someone say FREEKSHOW?"
Such has been the drooling media focus on Kate Bush this week, it might be tough to imagine British music journalists listening to anything else these past few days. I'm not, in fairness, exempt from the hysteria: here's...