Watch a video for Modern Nature’s new song, “Flourish”

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Modern Nature have announced a new seven-track mini-album called Annual, due for release by Bella Union on June 5.

Watch a video for lead track “Flourish” below:

Annual was recorded in December 2019 at Gizzard Studio in London, with Jack Cooper joined by saxophonist Jeff Tobias and percussionist Jim Wallis (keyboardist Will Young didn’t appear this time, concentrating on his work with Beak). The album features guest vocals from Kayla Cohen of Itasca on “Harvest”.

Cooper explains how Annual came about: “Towards the end of 2018, I began filling a new diary with words, observations from walks, descriptions of events, thoughts…free associative streams of just… stuff. Reading back, as the year progressed from winter to spring, the tone of the diary seemed to change as well… optimism crept in, brightness and then things began to dip as autumn approached… warmth, isolation again and into winter.

“I split the diary into four seasons and used them as the template for the four main songs. The shorter instrumental songs on the record are meant to signify specific events and transitions from one season to the next. I figured it wouldn’t be a very long record, but to me it stands up next to [2019’s] How To Live in every way.”

Pre-order Annual here.

The 4th Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2020

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Apologies for what feels like a massive delay since the last Playlist; crazy deadlines plus, you know, real world events have pushed everything back a little. Anyway, there’s a ton of good stuff here — Modern Nature AND Modern Studies, together in the same Playlist! Plus the return of Sonic Boom, Brigid Mae Power, Phoebe Bridgers, Angel Deradoorian and plenty more.

1.
BRIGID MAE POWER

“On A City Night”
(Fire)

2.
MODERN NATURE

“Flourish”
(Bella Union)

3.
PHOEBE BRIDGERS

“Garden Song”
(Dead Oceans)

4.
MODERN STUDIES

“Heavy Water”
(Fire)

5.
SONIC BOOM

“Just Imagine”
(Carpark)

6.
ROSE CITY BAND

“Only Lonely”
(Thrill Jockey)

7.
MARKER STARLING

“Waiting For Grace” [feat. Laetitia Sadier]
(Tin Angel Records)

8.
DERADOORIAN

“Saturnine Night”
(ANTI –)

9.
ARBOURETUM

“Let It All In”
(Thrill Jockey)

10.
MAGNETIC FIELDS

“The Day the Politicians Died”
(Nonesuch)

11.
YĪN YĪN

“Thom Kï Kï”
(Bongo Joe)

12.
JASON SIMON

“The Same Dream”
(BYM)

Hear two new tracks by The Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis

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Warren Ellis of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds has penned the soundtrack to a new documentary by Arno Bitschy, called This Train I Ride. The film tells the story of women hopping freight trains around America.

The soundtrack will be released on vinyl and digitally by Invada on April 24. Hear two tracks from it below:

Warren Ellis says: “This project took flight when I met Arno Bitschy in Paris, February 2019. He showed me several sequences with music I had sent to him and I committed without hesitation. The beautiful images and closeness to the women he had achieved over three years, hopping trains with them across the USA, floored me. How he managed to tell their story is a film in itself. Their defiance, quest to be self-reliant and desire to not be victims of the past is so empowering.

“A week later I was walking out of the Metro from a therapy session and received a text from Brian Eno, inviting me to see an orchestra rehearse in Théâtre du Châtelet under the baton of Teodor Currentzis. Serendipity. My idea was to record, collate and produce the music on trains, in the spirit of the women in this documentary. Brian was so encouraging with this approach and told me about a train journey he had taken in the ’80s with no fixed destination.

“Over the next month I sat with my computer, loops, iPhone, Reface DX synthesiser and forgotten ideas and composed the music on the Metro and Eurostar and in various hotels while working on Ghosteen. I would send the pieces to Arno from the train, or wherever I was located, and he edited them into the film. The narrative of these women is the heart of this meditation.”

Throbbing Gristle’s Genesis P-Orridge has died, aged 70

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Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, co-founder of seminal industrial groups Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, has died aged 70.

P-Orridge, who identified as pandrogynous and used the pronouns s/he and h/er, was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia in 2017. H/er death on Saturday (March 14) was confirmed in a statement by h/er two daughters Genesse and Caresse.

Born Neil Andrew Megson in Manchester, P-Orridge first made waves with h/er confrontational performance art collective COUM Transmissions, founded in Hull at the turn of the 1970s. P-Orridge formed Throbbing Gristle in 1975 alongside COUM’s Christine Newby AKA Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson as a way of pushing COUM’s transgressive ideas out of the art world and into popular culture.

They made an instant impact, with an early Throbbing Gristle performance at London’s ICA in 1976 leading to the group being branded “wreckers of civilisation” by a conservative MP in Parliament. The group’s combination of pioneering electronics and provocative subject matter spawned an entire genre, named industrial after Throbbing Gristle’s record label of the same name.

In the 1980s, P-Orridge went on to found Psychic TV, applying occultist philosophy to murky psychedelic rock and, later, acid house. Along the way, he alienated most of his former bandmates, who accused him of tyrannical behaviour and running Psychic TV like a cult. In her memoir, Cosey Fanni Tutti went further, claiming that P-Orridge’s abusive behaviour included attacking her with a knife and throwing a breezeblock at her head.

In the ’90s, Genesis and h/er second wife Lady Jaye (Jacqueline Breyer) embarked on the “Pandrogeny Project”, undergoing plastic surgery to to resemble each another, and identifying themselves as a single pandrogynous being. P-Orridge continued to refer to h/erself in this way even after Lady Jaye’s death in 2007.

“It is shocking and uncanny to read that Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is gone, even as I knew it was coming,” wrote Matmos’s Drew Daniel on Twitter. “I have complicated and mixed feelings about their actions and legacy but absolute and deep gratitude for their musical work and artistic example. R.I.P”

Robin Rimbaud, AKA Scanner, tweeted: “Farewell to Genesis P-Orridge, a controversial and troubling figure for some, an inspiration and icon for others. For me, s/he was part of my musical and cultural upbringing and will certainly miss his/her presence”

Record Store Day postponed until June 20

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This year’s Record Store Day, originally due to take place on April 18, has now been postponed until June 20.

In a statement on their website, the organisation wrote: “We think this gives stores around the world the best chance to have a profitable, successful Record Store Day, while taking into consideration the recommendations of doctors, scientists, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and the need to be good citizens of both local and worldwide communities.

“We’re working with all of our partners and our stores to make this change as smooth as possible for everyone who participates in Record Store Day: customers, record stores, artists, labels and more. Record Store Day is everywhere and we want to hold our party when everyone can gather around safely to celebrate life, art, music and the culture of the indie record store.”

Highlights of this year’s RSD include an unheard David Bowie 1974 live album and Uncut’s Wilcovered CD coming to vinyl.

Record shops around the country have been keen to stress that they remain open for business as usual.

The Allman Brothers Band – Trouble No More: 50th Anniversary Collection

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It began with a jam. Fresh off a tour with pop star Tommy Roe, Chicago-born bass player Berry Oakley settled down in Sarasota and embedded himself in the local music scene. In the late 1960s he began hosting unrehearsed concerts every Sunday at Willow Branch Park. Free to the public and open to anybody with an instrument, these events gave young musicians from Central Florida an opportunity to play together, share notes, possibly form bands, and of course jam for as long as they liked in whichever directions the music took them.

Most weekends Duane Allman, a burnout on the LA rock scene and a lauded session guitarist looking to launch a solo career, would make the four-hour drive from Jacksonville to sit in on these open-air sessions. The two players developed a close friendship and an even closer musical relationship, and Duane eventually invited Oakley to join his as-yet-unnamed band, pairing him with a guy named Johnny Lee Johnson (known far and wide as Jaimoe) to create a flexible and formidable rhythm section.

As The Allman Brothers Band coalesced into a tight, resourceful sextet – rounded out by Duane’s kid brother Gregg Allman on vocals, Dickey Betts on guitar, and Butch Trucks as a second drummer – they wrote songs out of necessity but jammed with determination. Their first two studio albums flopped primarily because they focused more on the former and less on the latter. What made them legends was 1971’s double live At Fillmore East, which fit a mere seven tracks on four sides and remains one of the most electrifying concert albums ever released. And on “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed” or even the instrumental portions of the Willie Cobbs cover “You Don’t Love Me”, The Allman Brothers Band managed to shed most of the narcotic associations of rock improvisations: they weren’t setting controls for the heart of the sun like Pink Floyd, nor were they soundtracking your trip like the Grateful Dead.

Instead, their jams sound like expeditions into the dark woods of Southern music and heritage, like opportunities for them to explore old-school rock’n’roll, gritty R&B, Georgia funk, rural blues, ecstatic gospel, even double-jointed jazz. For a demonstration of The Allman Brothers Band’s improvisational powers, spin the live version of “Mountain Jam” they recorded at Watkins Glen, New York, during a show they co-headlined with the Grateful Dead. It’s one of a handful of previously unreleased tracks that sweeten this anniversary boxset. Using the version on their 1972 album Eat A Peach as only a loose blueprint, they settle quickly into the gently rushing rhythm, letting the melody ebb and flow gracefully. No-one really solos; instead, they trade out leads almost telepathically, more like a jazz ensemble than a rock band, which lends the music an organic and unpredictable quality.

Sprawling across 10 LPs or five CDs, Trouble No More showcases a band torn between tight songcraft and wide-open jams, and that conflict would persist even as the lineup changed. The Allman Brothers Band seemingly were always in the process of adding and shedding members, the former usually by incredibly tragic means. Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971. A year later, Oaklay died the same way.

Their departures destabilised the band for most of that decade, as Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts struggled for control of the group. Betts was responsible for their biggest chart smash and arguably their signature tune, a chugging and catchy number called “Ramblin’ Man” that remains a staple of classic rock playlists. Like Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, it’s become a bit too familiar, overshadowing better and more representative recordings in their catalogue. However, sequenced between the swampy, sarcastic blues “Wasted Words” and the funk-rock workout “Southbound”, its casually racing tempo and jittery sentiments about transience and impermanence sound fresh and lively on Trouble No More, effectively translating blues tropes to the travails of a touring musicians.

Gregg Allman addressed similar themes in his lyrics, but drew more heavily from blues imagery to lend weight to his thoughts on masculinity, heartache, life on the road. While they’re not bogged down by the South’s disreputable iconography – no rebel flags as stage backdrops, for example – The Allman Brothers Band rarely question or upend the received history of their home region, at least not as determinedly as Lynyrd Skynyrd or, decades later, the Drive-By Truckers. As a result, some of their songs sound moored to the past and an older attitude toward race and music. Written and sung by Gregg, “Whipping Post” equates the emotional pain inflicted by a straying women to the physical violence inflicted upon slaves. Despite Duane’s ferocious guitar riffs and the rhythm section’s relentless pace, the song sounds uncomfortably glib 50 years later.

Trouble No More takes its title from the first song the original lineup played together back in 1969, a Muddy Waters cover that set the tone for most nearly everything that followed. It’s also the final song The Allman Brothers Band played at what at the time was their final show on October 28, 2014. That encore, along with their farewell remarks to an audience rowdy in their affection, closes this boxset on a poignant note: “I know you’re leaving,” Gregg Allman rasps, “if you call that gone.” It’s a fitting way to end this 50th-anniversary set, which depicts their entire career as one long, inspired ramble: nobody knew exactly what the next note was going to be, and they all played better for it.

Extras: 8/10. The 10-LP packaging consists of a wood veneer wrapped slipcase with gold graphics, five gatefold jackets and a 56-page book. It includes an 8,900+ word essay on the 50-year history of the band by John Lynskey, unreleased band photos along with newly shot photos of memorabilia from the Big House Museum, Macon, GA and a recap of the 13 incarnations of the lineup.

Cornershop – England Is A Garden

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When Tjinder Singh’s father told him, “There will come a day when they want to chuck you out,” these words had a profound bearing on the person he would become. “I’ve always lived with that in my background. This has made the group political,” he said in a recent interview with Snack, before adding: “It’s always nice to have something other than love to write about.”

While England Is A Garden is by no means Cornershop’s Brexit album – the band have addressed issues of race, immigration and multiculturalism since they first appeared at the start of the 1990s – it was written and recorded while the mad fog of Brexit descended, and now that a divided UK has formally left the EU, the band’s rather glorious seventh album does carry a certain weight, a poignancy perhaps not immediately apparent in the freewheeling rock’n’roll being liberally doled out here. Is the day that Singh’s father warned him about inching ever closer or is it already here, fast-tracked by Brexit into reality? Depending how you voted, you’ll know the answer.

You don’t need to look far to note Singh’s views on the issue – “Brexit was always about racism,” he wrote in a recent tweet, while the band’s “Demon Is A Monster” instrumental is the opening theme of the popular Remainiacs podcast – and although we’re a long way from the band who set fire to a poster of Morrissey in 1992 at the beginning of their career, calling out the singer’s views in a prescient stunt, Brexit appears to have sanctioned the kind of nationalism that Cornershop warned us about. “Baby, I can see it in Enoch’s eyes,” Singh sang on “Roof Rack” back in 1995. “Because breaking these borders will bring new orders.” England might still be a garden, but it’s choked by weeds.

Rather than dwell on differences, this latest set sees Cornershop focusing on the things that bring people together. Much like the work of Jeremy Deller, whose playful art explores ideas of cultural difference and community by drawing on seemingly disparate elements to find common unifying threads, this record uses Singh’s familiar tropes – the Black Country, heavy metal, Marc Bolan, empire, songs that scan like ’70s sitcoms – to paint an eccentric picture of modern-day Englishness. Of course, this is what Cornershop have always done, but the last time we heard from them in any meaningful way was more than a decade ago, in 2009, with Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast, a mixed bag that arrived seven years after the excellent Handcream For A Generation (a record that featured both Noel Gallagher and Oasis bassist Guigsy, to illustrate how long ago that was).

There have been other LPs – a collaboration with the Indian singer Bubbley Kaur in 2011 and, in 2015, Hold On It’s Easy, a lounge version of their shambolic debut, Hold On It Hurts – but Cornershop’s return resonates this time not just because of the pitiful state of the nation but because they’ve made such a joyous album, one that doesn’t wander off along unnecessary tangents and keeps their indulgence in check. Singh today is something of the elder statesman, which suits the classy Kinksian soul of “St Marie Under Canon” – “the story of charge and attack” he sings – and the hard Memphis blues of “No Rock: Save In Roll” where he riffs on his Wolverhampton roots, repping the Black Country as the place that forged heavy metal.

It’s tempting to accuse Singh and guitarist Ben Ayres of ripping off Marc Bolan, but you soon realise (or remember) that this glam grind and righteous groove is the Cornershop house style. It’s there in the endless boogie of “I’m A Wooden Soldier”, a number violated by a ripe Moog squiggle in the manner of Denim’s Back In Denim, and frames “The Cash Money” and “Highly Amplified”, the latter laced with sitar and flute.

Throughout the record Singh sings of combat and confrontation, of cultures clashing and historical battles. On the sugar-coated Velvets romp “Everywhere That Wog Army Roam” we learn that “policeman follow them” wherever they go. Singh has long used “wog” in his material but in this current climate the word feels especially charged. The album closes with a nine-minute devotional jam called “The Holy Name”, where Singh and a school choir sing of “nothing to lose but all to gain” as an agreeable cacophony bubbles up. It’s a tremendous note to end on. Cornershop are back, then, better than ever, and now there’s every reason to pay attention.

The Who postpone UK tour

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The Who have been forced to postpone their upcoming UK tour due to coronavirus concerns.

The tour was due to start on Monday (March 16) at the Manchester Arena and finish at Wembley SSE Arena on April 8. The dates will be rescheduled for later in the year and all tickets will be honoured.

The Who will also be unable to appear at the Royal Albert Hall on March 28 as part of the annual Teenage Cancer Trust shows but intend to reschedule that show as well, with more news to follow.

“Haven’t reached this decision easily,” says Pete Townshend, “but given the concerns about public gatherings, we couldn’t go ahead.”

Greg Dulli has also had to cancel his imminent European tour. While his team are working on rescheduling the dates, refunds are available from the point of purchase.

As more tours and concerts face cancellation in the coming days, check NME’s liveblog for updates.

Glastonbury adds Kendrick Lamar, Thom Yorke, Lana Del Rey and many more

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Kendrick Lamar has been unveiled as Glastonbury 2020’s third pyramid stage headliner, alongside the previously announced Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift. Diana Ross will occupy the Sunday afternoon legends slot.

Among the slew of other acts to be confirmed for the festival are Thom Yorke, Lana Del Rey, Pet Shop Boys, Gilberto Gil, Brittany Howard, Candi Staton, Angel Olsen, Anna Calvi, Big Thief, Caribou, Cate Le Bon, Crowded House, EOB (Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien), Elbow, Fontaines DC, Goldfrapp, Happy Mondays, Herbie Hancock, Jarv Is…, The Isley Brothers, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Kacey Musgraves, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Primal Scream, The Specials and Suzanne Vega. See the full line-up poster below:

In a statement, Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis addressed fears that the festival might be postponed or cancelled due to coronavirus. “As things stand we are still working hard to deliver our 50th anniversary Festival in June and we are very proud of the bill that we have put together over the last year or so,” she wrote. “No one has a crystal ball to see exactly where we will all be 15 weeks from now, but we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that it will be here at Worthy Farm for the greatest show on Earth!⁣”

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So, after much consideration given the current circumstances, and with the best of intentions, here is the first list of musical acts for Glastonbury 2020. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ As things stand we are still working hard to deliver our 50th anniversary Festival in June and we are very proud of the bill that we have put together over the last year or so. No one has a crystal ball to see exactly where we will all be 15 weeks from now, but we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that it will be here at Worthy Farm for the greatest show on Earth!⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ As always this is just a taste of what is to come, we plan to announce many more artists and attractions, area by area, over the coming weeks leading up to the full line-up in May. ⁣⁣ In the meantime we post this with much love to all. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ (There’s also a non-circular version of the line-up – and full text list – on our website now) Artwork by Stanley Donwood

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Watch a video for Margo Price’s new single, “Twinkle Twinkle”

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Margo Price has announced that her new album That’s How Rumors Get Started will be released by Loma Vista on May 8.

Watch a video for lead single “Twinkle Twinkle” below:

That’s How Rumors Get Started was produced by Sturgill Simpson at Los Angeles’ EastWest Studios. Tracking occurred over several days while she was pregnant with daughter Ramona. “They’re both a creation process,” says Price. “And I was being really good to my body and my mind during that time. I had a lot of clarity from sobriety.”

Most of the songs were co-written with Price’s husband Jeremy Ivey, and recorded with a band including guitarist Matt Sweeney, bassist Pino Palladino, drummer James Gadson and keyboardist Benmont Tench. Background vocals were added by Sturgill Simpson and the Nashville Friends Gospel Choir.

Check out the tracklisting and cover art for That’s How Rumors Get Started below:

That’s How Rumors Get Started
Letting Me Down
Twinkle Twinkle
Stone Me
Hey Child
Heartless Mind
What Happened To Our Love?
Gone To Stay
Prisoner Of The Highway
I’d Die For You

Neil Young reveals release date for Archives Volume 2

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Neil Young has updated the timeline at Neil Young Archives to include dates for five upcoming archive titles scheduled for release during 2020.

First on the slate is shelved 1975 acoustic album Homegrown, which is given a release date of April 18 – Record Store Day – despite the album disappearing from the official RSD list over the weekend.

According to the timeline, it will be followed on June 19 by Return To Greendale, the concert film of Young’s 2003/4 Greendale tour; and most excitingly on July 24 by Archives Volume 2, reportedly covering the years 1972-82. It’s thought that it may contain unreleased albums Chrome Dreams and Oceanside/Countryside.

The other planned 2020 releases are Rust Bucket (October 16), a live album and film of a mammoth November 1990 show that Young has called “one of my all-time favorite Crazy Horse performances!”; and Young Shakespeare (November 27), another live release dating from January 1971, billed as the earliest known film of any Neil Young performance.

Hear Sharon Van Etten’s new song, “Staring At A Mountain”

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Sharon Van Etten has shared a new song called “Staring At A Mountain”, which plays over the credits of Eliza Hittman’s film Never Rarely Sometimes Always. Listen below:

Van Etten also stars in Never Rarely Sometimes Always as the mother of the young protagonist, played by Sidney Flanigan. Julia Holter wrote the score for the film, which hits US cinemas on Friday (March 13), with a UK release to follow later in the year.

Watch the trailer below:

Uncut’s Wilcovered CD comes to vinyl for Record Store Day

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Back in Uncut’s November 2019 issue, we gave away a fairly astonishing free CD of Wilco covers by the likes of Kurt Vile, Cate Le Bon, Courtney Barnett, Low, Ryley Walker and The Handsome Family that understandably proved to be one of our most popular covermounts ever.

Now that compilation – Wilcovered – is coming to vinyl for Record Store Day (April 18) courtesy of Renew/BMG, with two bonus Wilco covers from Yo La Tengo (“If I Ever Was A Child”) and ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons (“Casino Queen”).

Initially, there will be 3000 copies of Wilcovered released via participating stores on Record Store Day – 2500 in the US and 500 in the UK – with a wider release to follow in October.

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy helped to put the compilation together. “A lot of [the covers] are real improvements on the songs,” he says. “The interesting thing to me is how much everybody sounds like themselves doing a Wilco song… everybody across the board brought something new and interesting to their track.”

You can read more from Jeff Tweedy on Wilcovered – and the rest of his plans for 2020 – in the next issue of Uncut, out next week.

Bob Dylan announces new tour dates

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Bob Dylan has announced a new American tour for the summer.

He’ll play a string of dates across the country in June and July, supported by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Hot Club Of Cowtown. Peruse the full schedule below:

06-04 Bend, OR – Les Schwab Amphitheatre
06-06 Ridgefield, WA – Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
06-07 Auburn, WA – White River Amphitheatre
06-09 Eugene, OR – Matthew Knight Arena
06-12 Stateline, NV – Harveys Outdoor Amphitheatre
06-13 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
06-14 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
06-17 San Diego, CA – Pechanga Arena
06-18 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
06-20 Las Vegas, NV – Mandalay Bay Events Center
06-21 Glendale, AZ – Gila River Arena
06-23 Albuquerque, NM – Tingley Arena
06-24 Amarillo, TX – Amarillo Civic Center
06-26 Irving, TX – The Pavilion @ Toyota Music Factory
06-27 Little Rock, AR – Simmons Bank Arena
06-28 Southaven, MS – BankPlus Amphitheatre @ Snowden Grove
06-30 Brandon, MS – Brandon Amphitheatre
07-02 Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
07-03 Alpharetta, GA – Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
07-05 Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre
07-07 Wilkes-Barre, PA – Mohegan Sun Arena
07-08 Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Stadium
07-09 Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
07-11 Essex Junction, VT – Champlain Valley Exposition
07-12 Bethel Woods, NY – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Meanwhile, Pearl Jam have postponed their upcoming North American arena tour over coronavirus fears. It was due to kick off in Toronto on March 18, but will now be rescheduled for a later date. Their European shows later in the year, including BST Hyde Park, currently remain unaffected.

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As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate. Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. So we are being told that being part of large gatherings is high on the list of things to avoid as this global health crisis is now beginning to affect all of our lives. Unfortunately, communing in large groups is a huge part of what we do as a band and the tour we’ve been busy planning for months is now in jeopardy… We have and will always keep the safety and well-being of our supporters as top priority. So it is with deep frustration and regret that we are forced to make this most unfortunate of announcements… This scheduled first leg of our PJ/Gigaton tour will need to be postponed and shows rescheduled for a later date. We’ve worked hard with all our management and business associates to find other solutions or options but the levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level. Add to that we also have a unique group of passionate fans who travel far and wide. We’ve always been humbled by this and respect their energies and devotion. However in this case, travel is something to avoid. It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work. Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead. Again, here in Seattle what we are witnessing we would not wish for anyone. What we do wish for the rest of the country is that they can avoid the harsh negative effects of this and retain their sense of community and take care of one another. Just as we look forward to our next concerts and the ability to gather together and play loud songs as energized as ever. We are so sorry… And deeply upset.. If anyone out there feels the same based on this news, we share that emotion with you. – Ed & Pearl Jam

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Send us your questions for Steve Howe of Yes

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Next to undergo a gentle grilling at the hands of you, the Uncut readers, is guitar adventurer Steve Howe of Yes.

Having witnessed London’s psychedelic revolution first-hand – one of his early bands, Tomorrow, played The 14-Hour Technicolor Dream at Alexandra Palace in 1967 – Howe helped expand the possibilities of rock music when he joined Yes in 1970.

His virtuosic playing in a number of different idioms – rock’n’roll, jazz, blues, folk, classical, you name it – allowed Yes to conquer new realms and chart topographic oceans, becoming the absolute epitome of progressive rock (though Howe, who has always emphasised the considerate, environmentally-aware aspect of the band’s character, says he would have preferred the term ‘soft rock’).

When Yes first split in 1981, Howe formed the supergroup Asia; and he’s released numerous genre-spanning solo albums, as well as playing on records by both Lou Reed and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Howe eventually returned to the Yes mothership, a vessel he still pilots today. Indeed, Howe’s iteration of the band are about to tour the US, playing 1974’s Relayer in its entirety.

On top of that, Howe is poised to release a new solo album Love Is on BMG in April, alongside a memoir, All My Yesterdays, on Omnibus.

So what do you want to ask an original guitar wizard? Send your questions to audiencewith@uncut.co.uk by Friday March 13 and Howe will answer the best ones in a future issue of Uncut.

Blondie – Ultimate Music Guide

Celebrating the influential new wave band and their iconic singer Debbie Harry, we present the Ultimate Music Guide to Blondie. From punk to new wave, CBGB to the top of the charts, and the band’s glorious return – all told in insightful new reviews and revealing archive interviews. Features new band interviews, and an exclusive foreword by Debbie Harry herself!

Order your copy by clicking here.

The Divine Comedy announce Barbican residency

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The Divine Comedy will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year by reissuing their entire back catalogue.

They’ll also play a five-night stand at London’s Barbican in September, playing two albums in full each night, before repeating the run at Paris’s Cité de la Musique. See dates below:

September
2nd LONDON, Barbican – Liberation / Promenade
3rd LONDON, Barbican – Casanova / A Short Album About Love
4th LONDON, Barbican – Fin de Siècle / Regeneration
5th LONDON, Barbican – Absent Friends / Victory For The Comic Muse
6th LONDON, Barbican – Bang Goes The Knighthood / Foreverland

25th PARIS, Cité de la Musique – Liberation / Promenade
26th PARIS, Cité de la Musique – Casanova / A Short Album About Love
27th PARIS, Cité de la Musique – Fin de Siècle / Regeneration
28th PARIS, Cité de la Musique – Absent Friends / Victory For The Comic Muse
29th PARIS, Cité de la Musique – Bang Goes The Knighthood / Foreverland

London tickets go on general sale from 10am on Friday (March 13) and Paris from April 27. For ticket links go here.

Prior to the shows, on August 21, Divine Comedy Records will remaster and reissue nine of the band’s albums on CD, LP and digitally: Liberation (1993), Promenade (1994), Casanova (1996), A Short Album About Love (1997), Fin de Siècle (1998), Regeneration (2001), Absent Friends (2004), Victory for the Comic Muse (2006) and Bang Goes the Knighthood (2010).

Each CD release comes with a second CD of B-sides, demos and alternate versions curated by Neil Hannon, much of which has never been heard before. The CD release of A Short Album About Love comes with a DVD of A Short Film About A Short Album About Love – a previously unreleased 50-minute film of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert at which Short Album… was recorded.

Additionally, a 12xCD boxset called Venus, Cupid, Folly And Time – Thirty Years Of The Divine Comedy brings together all the remastered CD albums and bonus material, as well as new editions of 2016’s Foreverland and 2019’s Office Politics updated with bonus material and liner notes. It also features Juveneilia – an exclusive 2xCD compilation of early material put together by Hannon from his personal archive, including recordings stretching back to 1984. It contains the ‘lost’ 1990 album Fanfare For The Comic Muse and long out-of-print EPs “Timewatch” and “Europop.”

All the reissues can be pre-ordered here.

Six Organs Of Admittance – Companion Rises

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Companion Rises is a collection of clarion moments. Take “Pacific”, an organic meditation that opens the record and mirrors rolling waves; it’s cleansing, realigning focus and relaxing the listener into the journey of the album, channeling nature’s vast presence and offering two minutes in which to feel small and thankful. But as calming as it is, it’s also bold, an unmistakable celebration of earth and the cosmos, one that stands at the precipice of new age tropes without toppling over.

It’s also testament to the inventiveness of Chasny’s approach, where what sounds like synthesisers are actually layers of processed guitar. These lines are inspired by the seascape of Chasny’s home state, threaded together for a broader meditation on California’s inherent spiritualism and pull. The state here anchors more celestial lyrical themes, with the earthen and stellar realms represented by this suffusion of analogue and digital sounds.

Yet as cerebral and high-concept as this all sounds, the result couldn’t be easier to take in; its vibe washes warmly over the listener, evoking a passive, calm and blissful state. But the intricacy of the album’s dynamics also invites an active state of examination, to interrogate its layers and words, and investigate the vastness of its universe. It has a rare duality that can inspire one to either check in or drop out.

As the album progresses, new sounds emerge. Acoustic and electric guitar, synthesiser, shakers and other percussive elements merge in an interminable sonic tapestry. “Two Forms Moving” centres on this commingling, a lovely scenario in which opposing ends – like acoustic picking and electric guitar bursts – co-exist in harmony, a reprieve from the harsh polarity of the modern day. “Black Tea” evokes the trace-inducing quality of acid folk, with Chasny repeating “I can barely move” over fingerstyle guitar and washes of electric distortion, an act of semantic satiation that transforms voice to instrument, an added texture in the song’s greater psychedelic symphony.

“The 101”, named for the iconic highway that snakes from southern California to the north of Washington state, evokes the momentum of the road. Layers of acoustic and electric guitar swell and collapse like the patterns of cars, stretching or constricting depending on their concentration. “I don’t mind the days or what the days become/Everything is brighter with the setting sun,” Chasny sings on the title track. It’s the closest he comes to the realm of the singer-songwriter on this album. That line, sung over full-bodied reverberations of fingerpicked guitar, projects the palpable sense of possibility many feel when leaving the East Coast for the stunning landscapes and earthen creative legacy of the Golden State.

To make an album inspired by such an iconic and oft-celebrated place as California is by any stretch a dangerous proposition, but that’s perhaps the most impressive thing about Companion Rises. It manages to do many things, the most unique being that it relays a sense of place and time in a way that is neither cliche or hifalutin. By allowing its spirit to move through his long-honed vision, Chasny presents a satisfying rumination on the state and its many facets – from its new agey-ness to its breathtaking geography and geology – that is both singular and universal, wholly personal yet easily understood. Companion Rises is unmistakably Chasny’s journey, and it’s wonderful to come along for the ride.

Bryan Ferry – Live At The Royal Albert Hall 1974

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Before an unapologetic pursuit of a debonair playboy lifestyle became more of a talking point than his music, Bryan Ferry was nigh-on untouchable. By the time this album was recorded, he had, in a little over two years, made four blow-your-head-off albums with Roxy Music and released two hugely popular solo albums.

The first, These Foolish Things, came out in October 1973, two weeks before David Bowie’s Pin-Ups, similarly an album of cover versions. Bowie’s retrospective focus on Pin-Ups was narrow: his beat-boom favourites, a little psychedelia, mainly British, mostly lacklustre. These Foolish Things, on the other hand, was a triumph; a brilliant pop art collage, a Warholian blending of high and low art that set Bob Dylan’s protest anthem “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” against Lesley Gore’s pop sulk “It’s My Party” and found one as valid as the other. Elsewhere on the album, Ferry covered the Stones, Smokey Robinson, Elvis Presley, The Beatles and The Beach Boys with wit, affection and a refreshing lack of reverence.

His second solo album, Another Time, Another Place, released in July 1974, was a less successful mix of covers, ineffable cool giving way a little too often to suave incorrigibility, one raised eyebrow too many. The album cover, a shot of Ferry dressed as if for dinner on a millionaire’s yacht, inspired much ridicule, with greater derision to follow.

Ferry’s plan to make his solo debut at the Royal Albert Hall in January 1974 was scuppered by a temporary ban on rock and pop acts. Eventually, a three-date solo tour was booked for November, almost immediately following Roxy’s two-month Country Life UK tour. He put together quite an ensemble for the solo shows: a core band of guitarists Phil Manzanera and John Porter, drummer Paul Thompson, bassist John Wetton and Eddie Jobson on violin and piano was supplemented by an 18-piece orchestra, two keyboard players, a percussionist, three female backing singers and a horn section.

On consecutive nights, they played Newcastle, Birmingham and London, rocking up at the Albert Hall on November 19. The live album recorded that night and now released 45 years on, isn’t quite a full account of the concert. The original setlist included three songs from Another Time, Another Place – covers of “You Are My Sunshine”, Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night”. Otherwise, an often wildly exciting night is thrillingly recalled.

The album opens with Ferry’s bold appropriation of “Sympathy For The Devil”, an already cresting wave of power chords, thunderous drums and percussion, the siren wail of the backing vocalists. Ferry’s at the centre of the delirium, a stoic mariner lashed to a mast in the pitch and roil of a mighty storm, not a hair out of place. He plays the song’s amoral narrator with dramatic aplomb, enunciating every word like a Bond villain stroking a cat or Alan Rickman or Jeremy Irons in full international-terrorist-of-indeterminate-origin mode. “I Love How You Love Me”, a nod to early Phil Spector, is swooning, almost devotional, despite the louche horns. Elvis’s “Baby I Don’t Care” is a glam-rockabilly stomper whose velocity inclines to the same kind of hysteria also apparent on a virtually untrammelled version of “Fingerpoppin’”. “It’s My Party” is brasher, more strident than the These Foolish Things version, with blasting horns and shrieking backing voices, taken at the breathless clip of Roxy live favourite “Editions Of You”.

The Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby”, meanwhile, is rendered magnificently, Ferry’s voice rising above lachrymose strings and mistily ethereal backing vocals, Manzanera weighing in with two beautifully wrought solos. The versions that follow of a string-drenched “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and a powerfully put “Tracks Of My Tears” are likewise invested by Ferry with a morbid insecurity, a raw desolation at odds with his reputation for emotional detachment, practised aloofness, whatever. There’s real heartbreak here. The version of The Beatles’ “You Won’t See Me” is brittle, but worth it for another striking Manzanera solo. Among the covers are two Ferry originals: “A Really Good Time”, from Country Life, but not played on the recent Roxy tour, and “Another Time, Another Place” are fraught with regret, an anxious nostalgia.

Ferry’s outrageous reconstruction of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” is a blazing thing here; stomping, brass-heavy, with pummelling drums, much wailing from the backing singers and scything strings. The verses get noisier, bigger and wilder as the song accumulates momentum. Ferry was accused, when his version came out, of turning Dylan’s venerated protest classic into a garish travesty. It’s worth noting, however, that just a year later, on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Dylan performed the song in a similarly barnstorming manner. Ferry’s violent reimagining of Dobie Gray’s “The ‘In’ Crowd” is no less startling. The sleek original is turned into something feral, nocturnal, the ‘in’ crowd as evoked here less an enviably cool bunch of guys than a Ray-Banned hipster super race; vaguely menacing, possibly synthetic. Manzanera’s climactic guitar solo floods the room with a skin-shredding noise.

As the final notes of “These Foolish Things” itself linger and the crowd greets Ferry’s several curtain calls with cheering acclaim, I kept wishing I’d been there that night, 45 years ago, Ferry in his absolute pomp. Then I remember with a grin that, you know, I actually was. Great party later, I recall.

Neil Young’s Homegrown is coming for Record Store Day

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The long-mooted release of Neil Young’s shelved 1974/75 acoustic album Homegrown has finally been confirmed for Record Store Day 2020 (April 18).

Young has been a longtime supporter of Record Store Day, using it to soft-launch releases such as Roxy: Tonight’s The Night Live in 2018. A wider release of Homegrown is expected in the coming months.

Other intriguing releases on the slate for Record Store Day 2020, joining previously announced records by David Bowie and Pink Floyd, include:

The first ever release of Brian Eno’s original soundtrack to Rams, a 2018 documentary about designer Dieter Rams.

The 50th anniversary edition of Paul McCartney’s solo debut McCartney, half-speed remastered at Abbey Road.

A The The 7″ featuring two brand new tracks (“I WANT 2 B U” and “Velvet Muscle Scream”), from the forthcoming feature film Muscle, directed by Matt Johnson’s younger brother, Gerard.

The reissue of Kraftwerk’s first two ‘traffic cone’ albums.

Fela Kuti’s very first recording session from 1959, released for the first time from the master tape, and with two previously unissued tracks from the session.

A transparent blue vinyl 12″ of U2’s 1980 single “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”, including two previously unreleased live recordings.

A brand new 12″ from The Comet Is Coming.

The first ever vinyl release for Galaxie 500’s sole live album, Copenhagen.

A 12″ single featuring two previously unheard outtakes from Slint’s legendary Spiderland album.

Miles Davis’s Double Image: Directions in Music – 10 embryonic recordings from the Bitches Brew sessions, previously only released as part of a 1998 box set.

For the full list of Record Store Day releases, go here.