The Jam announce huge memorabilia auction

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The Jam are auctioning off all the items from their memorabilia exhibition to raise money for charity.

About the Young Idea, the band’s collection of memorabilia, is currently on display in Liverpool’s Cunard Building; the exhibition closes on October 6 then the auction will take place on site on October 7 and 8.

The collection contains over 800 lots, all of which will be sold with a possible sale total of over £500,000.

“This is an unbelievable collection and some of the lots will be dream keepsakes to fans of the band and fans of British music,” said Chris Surfleet from Adam Partridge Auctioneers and Valuers.

“The drum kit could be yours for £20,000-£30,000. We have every record pressing from every one of their releases, all original recording acetates, tour jackets and clothing worn by the band during their time together 78-82, including one of Weller’s pin stripe suits and a Wembley dressing gown,” Surfleet added.

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions share new track featuring Kurt Vile

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Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions will release their third album, Until The Hunter on their own Tendril Tales label via INgrooves on November 4.

To coincide, the band – comprising Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval and My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O’Coisog – have released the first single from the album – “Let Me Get There”, a collaboration with Kurt Vile.

Says Vile, “It was a total honor to sing along to a beautifully hypnotic soul groove with heavyweights like Hope, Colm, and all the other top notch musos. To respond to Hope’s call in song of letting her get there felt right and real and gave me chills while singing, even though I knew they already got there years before I walked in the building.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGtDIEvg0Ag

The new album also features guest performances from Dirt Blue Gene, singer Mariee Sioux and street musician Michael Masley.

Until the Hunter is Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions first album since 2009 and first release since Mazzy Star released their 2013 album Seasons Of Your Day. The album was mixed at Cauldron Studios in Dublin and mastered by longtime engineer Mark Chalecki in Los Angeles.

Into the Trees
The Peasant
A Wonderful Seed
Let Me Get There
Day Disguise
Treasure
Salt of the Sea
The Hiking Song
Isn’ t It True
I Took A Slip
Liquid Lady

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Little Men

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The pitfalls of urban living have made their mark on the films of Ira Sachs. In Love Is Strange, Alfred Molina and John Lithgow played a New York couple forced to live apart due to circumstances; for his new film, Little Men, Sachs focuses on a tug-of-war over a Brooklyn dress shop. Admittedly, a film whose narrative pivots around gentrification and rising rents might look like indie middle-class navel gazing, but the strength of Little Men lies in its canny casting and Sachs’ way with quiet, emotional beats.

Greg Kinnear plays Brian, an actor, who moves into his late father’s house in Brooklyn with his family – psychotherapist wife Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) and 13 year-old son Jacob (Theo Taplitz). Considering the erratic nature of Brian’s work, it is Kathy who has carried the family financially; the newly inherited apartment provides some relief from that burden. There’s a dress shop on the ground floor, run by a Chilean woman, Leonor (Paulina García), whose friendship with Brian’s father meant she enjoyed low rent. Encouraged by his sister, however, Brian proposes to hike the rent in line with the area’s increasing upward mobility.

Kinnear, Ehle and García are all predictably low-key and excellent; but the heavy lifting is done by Tapliz and Michael Barbieri, who plays Leonor’s son, Tony. The same age, Tony and Jacob become inseparable; but as their families fall out, their friendship becomes tested. Barbieri in particular is superb: he has a soulfulness and petulance, like a kind of teen Pacino.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

The 32nd Uncut Playlist Of 2016

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A quick reminder, before we dig into this week’s motherlode, that the new issue of Uncut is on sale now, and features some excellent writing on The Specials, Bob Weir, Bon Iver, Shirley Collins, Leonard Cohen and more, plus a CD which puts a lot of our recent playlists into physical form. Also I reviewed an amazing Björk gig the other night, if you haven’t seen that one.

You’ve probably heard the new Cohen track by now, and may have a clearer idea of why I’m so taken with that album, but I’ve pasted it in the list below just in case. Other new highlights this week come from the Danny Brown album, in the shape of his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt that’s my favourite hip hop track of 2016; NxWorries and MV & EE; the very compelling Norah Jones album; and, last but very much not least, Hope Sandoval’s duet with Kurt Vile. Thanks!

Follow me on Twitter @JohnRMulvey

1 Steve Hauschildt – Strands (Thrill Jockey)

2 Neil Young – Indian Givers (Youtube)

3 Loscil – Monument Builders (Kranky)

4 Kim Myhr – Bloom (Hubro)

5 Wolf People – Ruins (Secretly Canadian)

6 Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition (Warp)

7 Lambchop – FLOTUS (City Slang/Merge)

8 Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker (Sony)

9 NxWorries (Anderson Paak & Knxwledge) – Yes Lawd! (Stones Throw)

10 MV & EE – Feel Alright (Woodsist)

11 The Growlers – City Club (Cult)

12 Nick Jonah Davis – House Of Dragons (Thread)

13 Julius Eastman – Femenine (Frozen Reeds

14 Last Of The Easy Riders – Last Of The Easy Riders (Agitated)

15 Botany – Deepak Verbera (Western Vinyl)

16 Omni Trio – Renegade Snares (Moving Shadow)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkWrzrcv738

17 Björk – Vulnicura (One Little Indian)

18 Various Artists – The Man Who Fell To Earth: OST (UMC)

19 Norah Jones – Day Breaks (Blue Note)

20 Thurston Moore – Chelsea’s Kiss (Blank Editions)

21 Endless Boogie – Rollin’ And Tumblin’ (Bandcamp)

22 Dirty Projectors – Keep Your Name (Domino)

23 The Notwist – Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff (Alien Transistor)

24 Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Until The Hunter (Tendril Tales)

Marc Almond: “The teenage me would have been a bit in awe of the person I am now”

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Marc Almond discusses his career and his new anthology, Trials Of Eyeliner, in the latest issue of Uncut, dated November 2016 and out now.

The Soft Cell and Marc & The Mambas singer recalls his artistic ambitions when he was a teenager, and explains that he would have “laughed off the idea” of a successful chart career.

“Even though I was an obsessed music fan from a very early age,” Almond tells Uncut, “and was in my first local band aged 17 playing rock and hits of the day, I thought my career would take me in a different direction – art and experimental theatre.

“I’d never have dreamed that I would have become a pop star, appeared on Top Of The Pops, had two No 1s and had a successful musical career, still going strong after 35 years. I would have laughed off the idea. The me then would have been a bit in awe of the person I am now. I still think of myself as someone in the third person, ‘that other person’. I don’t take anything for granted.”

In the interview, Almond also discusses his influences, why he’s drawn to voices that sing of the margins and the lost artform of the single. The 10-disc Trials Of Eyeliner: Anthology 1979-2016 is also extensively reviewed in the new issue.

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Paul Weller: “It’s almost like a curse – music is all I can do in life”

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No longer Spokesman For A Generation, Weller is a revitalised solo artist, grappling with more introspective matters than political ones. “I really believe I’m just good at what I do. Playing guitar, singing songs and that’s about it,” he tells IESTYN GEORGE. Has his fire really gone out? Hardly… Originally published in NME’s 04/09/1993 issue, and later reproduced in Uncut’s Paul Weller Ultimate Music Guide.

Paul Weller and The Jam are on the cover of Uncut’s History Of Rock 1979 edition, in stores now or available to buy online.

_____________________________

For Paul Weller, 1989 was a bad year. After 12 years of crafting some of the most memorable moments in British music history, he reached a creative dead-end. The Style Council, for a brief time regarded as the saviours of pop, looked out on their feet.

Five LPs along the line, the record company eventually drew proceedings to an untidy close by refusing to release an album adopting an out-and-out house direction. That, so it seemed, was that. Like Lydon, Strummer, Jones, Shelley and to a lesser extent Costello, yet another ’70s icon – perhaps the finest of them all – had fallen by the wayside before achieving true greatness. No more heroes – that was their catchphrase…

Fast forward to July 1993 and Weller’s appearance on Jools Holland’s BBC2 series, Later…. Looking tanned and sturdy, he rips the place apart from the first chord of “Sunflower” to the dying moments of “Has My Fire Really Gone Out?”. Sinewy, rough-edged riffs compete with Steve White’s pounding drum assault. Weller confidently stomps around the studio floor wearing the broadest of smiles, his face soaked with sweat. For the first time in years, Paul Weller’s enjoying himself, dropping the mask of earnest singer-songwriter and just letting himself go in public.

But is this apparent return to form merely a nostalgic reflection of past glories? Sure, he’s arguably had a broader influence on current music than any other artist – from The Wonder Stuff and Ride through to Carter and Blur – but does he have anything new to offer?

_______________________

A month later we’re at The Manor, the Oxfordshire studio where Weller recently finished his second solo LP, Wild Wood. As the first single, “Sunflower”, suggests, it’s a blistering return to form. A spacious country house, fringed by greenery and a clear water stream, The Manor is home-from-home in a stately kind of way. We’re greeted on arrival by the generously waisted Kenny Wheeler – minder, gofer and moral support to the Weller clan for over 16 years. Still managed by his father John, Weller has kept this close-knit unit with him throughout his days with The Jam, the Council and, now, his solo career.

On first meeting, you can see why he relies so heavily on this extended family set-up. Much has been said about his shy, awkward manner in the past and the first thing you notice about him is the way his eyes dart uncomfortably around the room, like a cat looking for an escape route from the clutches of an over-zealous child.

Still, he makes conversation, trying you out for size. What do you think of the album? When do you want to do the interview? Where do you want to do the photos? And gradually, with the formalities over, you begin to realise the characteristically fragile Weller persona is not as accurate as it first seems. He’s no after-dinner speaker for sure, but there’s a quiet calm about him, and a warmth of character that overrides his initial shyness.

No longer the spokesman for a generation, political firebrand nor champion of causes, Paul Weller, the bloke, sits cross-legged on the living room floor next to a pile of Stax and Motown rarities, talking comfortably about the past, quite obviously at ease with himself.

But to understand his current state of serenity, it’s important to note the desperate trough he’d sunk into with The Style Council. A rapidly disillusioned Weller had already decided to split the band by the time Confessions Of A Pop Group was released in July ’88.

“I couldn’t say it was a mutual decision,” he explains, “but I wanted to get out.” Things had become stale and he and songwriting partner Mick Talbot were bored by it all. The reaction to Confessions… made him feel that he’d become isolated from the real world. He thought it was the best record he’d ever made – critics and fans thought otherwise. It threw him that he’d become so far removed from his audience.

“After The Style Council, I felt totally unleashed,” he says, looking wistfully into the middle-distance. “I had no record deal, no publishing deal – for the first time since I was 18 I was a free man. But I went through a period when I thought, ‘What do I do now?’ because I’d spent so many years doing the same thing, going down to the studio every day, and when you haven’t got anything to work towards, it can really throw you. I had to just have some time to decide what I wanted to do. It was probably the first time I’d had the opportunity to stand still and take stock of what I was doing in life.”

In praise of Playing With Fire by Spacemen 3

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In Playing The Bass With Three Left Hands, his superb memoir of his time as a member of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, Will Carruthers remembers his first interview and photo shoot for a music magazine. It was, it transpired, illustrative of the band’s general behaviour. The interview took place in the bedroom of his flat in Rugby; also present were his Spacemen 3 co-conspirators, Peter Kember (aka Sonic Boom) and Jason Pierce. “Pete did all the talking, while me and Jason just sat there saying nothing,” Carruthers writes. “Pete handled the press fairly well. He talked about drugs quite a bit, and we were fine with that too. When the photographer took the photos, I was completely stoned on hash and wine. All the way through the photo session, the cameraman kept saying, ‘Just try to open your eyes a bit more.’ I suppose we looked a bit stoned.”

The photo eventually also appeared on the rear sleeve of 1988’s Playing With Fire, the band’s third album and first to feature Carruthers. Playing With Fire was a creative highpoint for the band: a moment where the combative psych-metal of the band’s earliest recordings had been replaced by more delicate, elliptical textures. If the early albums – Sound Of Confusion, The Perfect Prescription – channelled MC5, the 13th Floor Elevators and the Cramps, by the time they came to record Playing With Fire, Spacemen 3 were drawing from a more diverse, exploratory pool of influences including John Cage, Steve Reich, the Velvet Underground and Kraftwerk. Although the album satisfyingly hits a number of marks – the way guitars on “Honey” are processed to make them resemble synthesizers, the soft-focus melodies pillowing “Come Down Softly To My Soul”, the enveloping minimalism of “How Do You Feel?” and the 11-minute, two-chord guitar drones propelling “Suicide”.

jason-will-pete-2

“The band was slowly starring to split up, and although it didn’t become common knowledge until later on, it was happening,” Kember told me in 1999. “It was a lot less collaborative than the two previous records. Half the band had just left – the bass player and drummer had left, or to be honest, the drummer had left and we’d kicked the bass player out. We went off to Cornwall with a new bass player [Carruthers] and initially no drummer to start recording the album. We had some weird deal in the studio where we had run of the place – it was this converted cottage in the middle of nowhere, which was very pleasant, very out of the way – but we kind of fell out with the guy who was looking after the place. The recording equipment was a bit primitive, so we ended up having to rerecord parts of it when we got back to Rugby.”

“We started recording in Cornwall,” Pierce told me in 2009. “It was quite a funky little house in the middle of nowhere. Kind of hippie, log burners… I’d never been anywhere like that. I’m from the town. Also, to be honest, I’d never really travelled, we never had money when we were kids. In Cornwall, we were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. But it only works if everyone gets on, and it was getting to the point with Pete where we couldn’t be in the same room together. He got crueller, and it was very hard to deal with, especially as we were in such a close scene. I’d started going out with Kate [Radley, future Spiritualized keyboardist], and Pete was so childish – ‘You can’t do that.’ It became miserable, but making this music was never about misery – there’s a beautiful sorrow, a beautiful longing about the music. Even in the more heavy-duty drones there was a kind of epiphany.”

Pierce subsequently finesse this notion of “beautiful longing” with his next band. “Lord Can You Hear Me?”, the closing track of Playing With Fire, is essentially a template for Spiritualized: gospel tropes, horns, religious imagery. Similarly, Kember continued to explore drones and longer, experimental pieces in Spectrum and E.A.R.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxgrxD674IY

“It’s hard for me to be objective about my own songs, but certainly Jason’s songs on Playing With Fire are among the best he’s done,” said Kember. “We tried to be different here, but there were inherent limitations in our approach. If you’re writing two-chord songs, you have to work a certain way. It can be very restrictive, but that forces you to try harder to come up with ways to make the songs different.”

Playing With Fire demonstrates the high standard of the work Kember and Pierce achieved – if not entirely collaboratively, then at least within close proximity of one another. Piece had some views on the way their songwriting processes during this period functioned.

“‘How Does It Feel?’ was originally called ‘Repeater’, which is the sound a Vox Starstreamer makes: you hit the guitar and that’s what comes out of it, it plays itself. Pete put down this long repeater thing and then I constructed a melody over the top, and his claim was that it was his song, because he’d put down the original track. I joked that if you owned the tape, you owned the first part, so you could make this claim that I own the silence that the Starstreamer is going on to. I mean, you can’t make songs with people who are putting flags in them – saying, that’s my bit, that was my melody. We wrote songs together – no, we wrote songs and then we shared the credit. It doesn’t matter whose song it was, or who did the greater or the lesser part of it, it was just that was what you did. Done.”

“On Playing With Fire, Jason’s songs were minimal – both the songwriting and the amount of sound on tape,” said Kember. “When he’s good, he’s fucking amazing; when he hits the mark, he really delivers. There’s songs on Playing With Fire like ‘Lord Can You Hear Me?’ which can make me cry.”

The band recorded one final album, Recurring, where the divisions between Kember and Pierce were more pronounced. “People always point to Recurring and the fact my songs and Jason’s songs are on two different sides,” noted Kember. The end of Spacemen 3 was, as Carruthers’ documents in his book, a fairly bloody business. It’s a shame; but the way these things go. There is, at least, a fine body of work spread out across the band’s four studio albums (and, with Performance and Dreamweapon, two excellent live albums).

Spacemen 3 represented a particularly British kind of psychedelia. I don’t mean a Lewis Carroll-style whimsy, but something firmly rooted in Kember and Pierce’s experiences in the Midlands during Thatcher’s Eighties; a dank, urban misery marked by a withdrawal into drugs and a proclivity for inner flight. Accordingly, the band’s mesmerising effects, loops and drones felt just as mind-altering as the exploratory sounds of an earlier generation. Playing With Fire captures the moment where Spacemen 3 were at the top of their game: tuned in and, despite their pharmacopoeia of drug references, remarkably switched on.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Björk live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, September 21, 2016

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It can, admittedly, be quite hard work to sell Björk as a visceral rather than ethereal artist. Take the way she arrives onstage at the Royal Albert Hall, for her first full show in a year: a figure in avant-garde classical drapery, masked to resemble some fluorescent hybrid of cat and orchid. Adjectives of magic and otherness still inexorably cluster around her as they have done so often, and so tiresomely, over the past three decades.

But while her features may be obscured, this is a defiantly flesh and blood manifestation of Björk, re-engaging after a year of apps, masks and augmented reality obfuscations. Tonight’s show is constructed around 2015’s Vulnicura, a suite of songs so intimate that her retreat into safe virtual spaces seems understandable, and her return to performance a harrowing trial. The digital edges of the Vulnicura songs are absent here, with Björk’s exegesis of her ruined marriage exposed further by the extravagant simplicity of the settings: nothing but voice and string orchestra, whose size never mitigates against subtlety.

“Black Lake”, even more so than the original recorded version, is punctuated by long passages of minimalist catgut drone, slowly fading out of audibility before Björk starts singing again. There are no visual distractions, just an unforgiving focus on her words, her voice – still astounding – and her movements. These small expressive gestures and half-dance moves have a fallible, humane grace that comes from a gawkiness, at times verging on clumpiness, powerfully at odds with the radical couture decisions and spritelike clichés.

As with Nick Cave’s recent Skeleton Tree, it’s easy to be distracted by the emotional heft of the Vulnicura songs, and hard to separate their aesthetic potency from the context in which they were written. Sometimes the invocations have a desperate sort of urgency: “Love will keep us safe from death,” she promises in “Notget”, at the fraught climax of the concert’s first half. At others, the experience can feel voyeuristic as, amidst the blasted expanses of “Black Lake”, she sings, “Family was always our sacred mutual mission/Which you abandoned.” Hiding at least some of her emotions behind diaphanous masks then seems a necessary, if flimsy, defence.

Still, a short second set, including some earlier songs, points up how the likes of “Stonemilker” and “Lionsong” now rank among the very best work of a storied career. Prefaced by Vulnicura’s litanies of heartbreak, Björk’s old paeans to love and security accumulate a new and fragile poignancy. The ship’s horns of “Anchor Song” are replaced by gently ebbing strings as she relocates a place of safety, while “I’ve Seen It All” seems to balance precariously between the wonder of the original and an earned world-weariness.

The most daring reinvention comes in the encore, as the punishing techno of 1997’s “Pluto” is reconfigured into a matrix of orchestral stabs and wordless ululations. As with many attempts to make scores out of dance music, a certain menace comes to the fore, with the strings taking on a Bernard Herrman-esque timbre of encroaching horror, even as Björk’s raw energies seem to be channelled into something closer to joy and, after a fashion, abandon. Afterwards, the crowd keep singing the refrain like an Icelandic football chant, clapping and stamping out the rhythms so that the whole Albert Hall is transformed into a frantic Luddite rave, a demonstration so overwhelming that it forces Björk back out of her dressing room to offer further benedictions and thanks.

The evening’s highlight, though, comes a little earlier, when “Pagan Poetry” turns into a revelatory enactment of the bond between singer and audience. As she stomps at the edge of the stage, as disdainful of her autocues as she has been all night, she chants “I love him” a cappella over and over, then is visibly rattled by the crowd adding the record’s harmonies of “She loves him”. Here, perhaps, is how a performance of such intimate personal material can turn out to be consolatory rather than masochistic. An answer, perhaps, to the question posed earlier in “Lionsong”: “These abstract complex feelings/I just don’t know how to handle them.”

   First Set

  1. Stonemilker
  2. Lionsong
  3. History Of Touches
  4. Black Lake
  5. Family
  6. Notget

Second Set

  1. Aurora
  2. I’ve Seen It All
  3. Jóga
  4. Pagan Poetry
  5. Quicksand
  6. Mouth Mantra

Encore:

  1. The Anchor Song
  2. Pluto

Picture: Santiago Philipe

 

Watch Shirley Collins new video for “Death And The Lady”

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Shirley Collins has released a new video for “Death And The Lady“, which you can watch below.

The song is taken from Lodestar, her first album in 38 years.

You can read our exclusive interview with Shirley Collins in the new issue of Uncut, which is on sale now

“This is another centuries old song,” says Collins. “It reminds me of a wonderful scene in Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ where, on a wild, lonely beach a knight plays a game of chess with Death – which of course he can’t win.”

The tracklisting for Lodestar is:

Awake Awake – The Split Ash Tree – May Carol – Southover
The Banks of Green Willow
Cruel Lincoln
Washed Ashore
Death And the Lady
Pretty Polly
Old Johnny Buckle
Sur le Borde de l’Eau
The Rich Irish Lady/Jeff Sturgeon
The Silver Swan

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Hear Leonard Cohen’s new song, “You Want It Darker”

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Leonard Cohen has released the title track from his forthcoming album, You Want it Darker, today – his 82nd birthday.

The album is due on October 21; it has been produced by Cohen’s son Adam.

You can hear the song below.

The song features the Montreal’s Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir; part of the song appeared in an episode of the BBC series, Peaky Blinders.

Click here to read Leonard Cohen’s 20 greatest songs as chosen by friends, family and collaborators

The tracklisting for You Want It Darker is:

You Want It Darker
Treaty
On the Level
Leaving the Table
If I Didn’t Have Your Love
Travelling Light
Seemed the Better Way
Steer Your Way
String Reprise/Treaty

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Paul Weller to reissue first two solo albums on vinyl

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Paul Weller‘s first 2 solo albums are being remastered for a vinyl reissue by UMC on November 18.

Out of print for many years, the self titled debut and Wild Wood will be available on heavyweight vinyl and packaged in the original release gatefold sleeve artwork.

Paul Weller (originally released on Go! Discs in 1992) will feature an 8 page stapled colour booklet while Wild Wood includes a colour sticker and a poster.

Paul Weller includes the singles, “Above The Clouds”, “Uh Huh Oh Yeh” and “Into Tomorrow“. Wild Wood, meanwhile, features the title song, “Sunflower“, “Hung Up”, “The Weaver” and “Out Of The Sinking”.

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Ultimate Music Guide: Jimi Hendrix

“If you can just get your mind together…”Uncut’s latest Ultimate Music is dedicated to the life and work of Jimi Hendrix. In one of the most handsome and useful editions of this acclaimed series, you’ll find rare, cherishable Hendrix interviews, rediscovered in the NME and Melody Maker archives. Alongside them, we’ve put together an essential guide to one of rock’s most complicated catalogues: new reviews of the landmark albums made by Hendrix during his lifetime, and forensic guides to the often confusing albums released after his death.

“Nobody cages me,” Hendrix tells NME in 1969. Here, then, is the whole story of a genius and his legacy: from Club Wha? and The Scotch Of St James to Monterey and the Isle Of Wight, via riots in Zurich, go-kart tracks in Majorca, Electric Ladyland and a remote corner of Woodstock. Have you ever been experienced? Well, we have.

 

Order a copy

Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide: The Smiths

“Unite and take over!”

For our latest upgraded and updated, deluxe Ultimate Music Guide, Uncut presents the complete story of The Smiths, as their epochal “The Queen Is Dead” celebrates its 30th anniversary.

From the archives of NME and Melody Maker, we’ve uncovered extraordinary interviews, unseen for years: “People are dedicated to us because we deserve it,” Morrissey is announcing, even before “This Charming Man” has become a hit.

Alongside all these classic quotefests, we have in-depth reviews of every Smiths and Morrissey album, forensic surveys of Johnny Marr’s post-Smiths career, an intro from Mike Joyce, and a necessarily contentious Top 30 Smiths songs… Plus: rare pictures, Smiths collectables and Morrissey’s remarkable letters to NME in full.

That’s The Ultimate Music Guide: The Smiths – You’ve got everything now!

 

Order a copy now

The Kinks announce 10-disc mono vinyl collection

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The Kinks have announced details of a mono vinyl box set.

The Mono Collection contains 10 discs from 1964 to 1969. It will be released on November 18 by BMG through Sony Music Entertainment.

The box packages the first 8 albums in mono, including Live At Kelvin Hall. The set also includes the bonus double LP compilation The Kinks (aka The Black Album) as well as a hardcover 48-page book including never-before-seen photos and new interviews with Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory.

The Mono Collection contains:

Kinks (1964)
Kinda Kinks (1965)
The Kink Kontroversy (1965)
Face To Face (1966)
Something Else By The Kinks (1967)
Live At Kelvin Hall (1967)
The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire (1969)
The Kinks (a.k.a. The Black Album) (Compilation 1970)

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Sid & Nancy

John Lydon has never received his due as a film critic. To be fair, we only really know the great man’s opinions on a single movie, but almost all his key objections to it are on the money. Three decades on, even the film’s director has largely come round to his way of thinking: “All the advice [Lydon] gave us, we should have followed…”

Alex Cox, quite cheerfully, makes this declaration in a short but fascinating interview included among the extras on this new edition of his 1986 biopic, tracing the downward spiralling love affair between Sid Vicious, his American girlfriend Nancy Spungen and heroin.

When the film first appeared, Lydon was vociferous in his condemnation of factual inaccuracies and a failure to look beyond Sid’s bloodied cartoon yob public image. For audiences not so intimately involved with the story – i.e. everyone else – those faults are less glaring. Indeed, it’s Cox’s balance between personal passion and ironic distance that gives this movie its particular life. Cox drew boundless inspiration from punk, but as the UK scene was breaking, he was already far away, a Brit-abroad in LA, soaking up the west coast iteration of punk that soundtracked his debut, Repo Man (1984).

Above all, though, Lydon objected to Cox’s final scene, and the damage it does is more profound. In reality, released from jail on bail under suspicion for the killing of Nancy Spungen in their Chelsea Hotel room, Sid scored more smack and swiftly died. In Cox’s movie, Nancy, resplendent in bridal white, comes back to earth to pick Sid up in a heavenly New York taxicab that ferries them off toward some strung-out punk Nirvana, away from a world never meant for ones as beautiful as them.

The sequence is one of several semi-surreal moments injected amid an otherwise fairly straight, if energetically cartoonish, rendering of recent history by Cox, who, directing only his second feature, was exploding with ideas. 1986 was a year of flux for British cinema. On one the hand, the 1960s old guard – Nic Roeg, Ken Russell and Alan Clarke – all released new movies that year, as did a new generation of punk-inspired filmmakers including Derek Jarman and Julien Temple.

Cox fitted in well. It is the filmmaker’s anarchic poetic realism that makes Sid & Nancy linger in the mind, alongside two striking lead performances – in his movie debut, Gary Oldman brings to Sid both feral energy and a blockhead shtick reminiscent of Vyvyan from The Young Ones; as Nancy, Chloe Webb delivers a horrendous nasal whine that could cut concrete, yet suggests buried traces of a lost and damaged girl. Often, the film slips into dreamlike moments: a gorgeous long take of the couple walking unscathed amid the carnage as the Pistols’ Jubilee boat ride degenerates into a mini-riot; snogging in a Manhattan alley while garbage cans rain softly down around them.

Sid & Nancy is frequently funny, too. Miguel Sandoval’s scene as the American record company executive singing Johnny Rotten his “punky” song “I Wanna Job” is eternally hilarious. But the second half, as the couple fall into junkiedom, grows increasingly bleak and cold – until that last scene, a sentimentalised moment of rock death romanticism. Elsewhere, Courtney Love takes a small role as Nancy’s hanger-on friend.

But a curious, constant ambivalence is Sid & Nancy’s defining characteristic. Simultaneously seeking authenticity and subverting it, it is precisely this odd sense of pulling in different directions that makes all Cox’s films so fascinating – and also saw him quickly banished from the mainstream, following the commercial failure of his follow-up, Walker (1987).

If John Lydon has never forgiven Sid & Nancy, surely even he would appreciate that Cox made it with the best intentions. As he says here, the main reason he started it in the first place was to scupper another planned Sid & Nancy movie, projected, horrifically, to star Rupert Everett and Madonna. As for Lydon: “I have nothing but respect for the man, and I would love to see him again and embrace him warmly.” Maybe the BBC could get the two of them together to do a film review show.

EXTRAS 7/10: The Blu-Ray’s big draw is the new restoration, supervised by cinematographer Roger Deakins. Elsewhere, fine, if short, interviews with Cox, Deakins and Don Letts.

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Reviewed! The Rolling Stones – Havana Moon

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Over the weekend, Bill Murray worked a couple of shifts behind the bar at his son’s Brooklyn restaurant. You can watch footage online of Murray, wearing a striped shirt over a t-shirt, pouring shots of whiskey or tequila. As he served customers – and, on occasion, himself – the actor sang along to Stones’ hits, “Start Me Up” and “Miss You”. It strikes me that should they need one, Murray would make an ideal host for the Stones’ next gig – at the Desert Trip festival, where they will share a bill with Dylan, McCartney, Neil Young, The Who and Roger Waters.

In some ways, the Stones’ presence on the Desert Trip bill feels like part of the band’s ongoing commitments to reshape their touring practices. Rather than quantity, quality has become the watchword at the heart of the Stones’ live experience. The band no longer head out on exhaustive 147-date treks like the Bigger Bang tour, instead they have favoured smaller runs: the 50 & Counting tour (30 dates), its counterpart 14 On Fire (29), the Zip Code Tour (17) and América Latina Olé Tour (14) earlier this year. This has allowed them to mix the thrillingly low key (Sticky Fingers, in full, at Los Angeles’ 1,300-capacity Fonda Theatre) with the high profile event (2 nights at Hyde Park, 44 years after their 1969 performance.

Havana Moon distinctly falls into the latter camp: a document of their March 25 performance in Cuba’s capitol, the first major international rock act to play the island (the Manic Street Preachers notwithstanding). The Stones have always understood the purpose of grand gestures – free concerts a speciality, playing to 1.5 million people on Copacabana beach in 2006 among them – and the show in Cuba was another historic first for the band. A text crawl at the start of Havana Moon gives us some insight into the behind-the-scenes admin: 58 trucks, 500 tonnes of kit, 21 days to build the set.

The Stones show on the island represents a gradual ideological sea change on behalf by both the Stones and the Cuban authorities. Once, the Stones music was banned on Cuba; during an interview segment at the start of Havana Moon, Mick Jagger is quick to recognize the country’s “weird romantic aura. It was the country that stood up to the United States. There is still this attraction of people like Fidel and Che Guevara.” Both Cuba and the Stones – considered dangerous in the Sixties, currently enjoying greater diplomatic access – now play host to world leaders and elder statesmen. “They times are changing,” says Jagger.

stones_cuba_poster

As a concert film, Havana Moon demonstrates the assiduous way the Stones continue to manage their legacy. In the absence of a new studio material since 2005’s A Bigger Bang, the Stones have relied on a mix of canny reissues (Exile On Main Street, Some Girls, Sticky Fingers) and an ever-expanding catalogue of live releases. They’ve released 11 concert DVDs since 2007’s The Biggest Bang, stretching from Hyde Park in 1969 to the Marquee in 1971, Hampton Coliseum in 1981 and Tokyo Dome in 1990 up to Martin Scorsese’s peerless film of their 2006 show at the Beacon Theatre in New York.

What, then, Havana Moon offers us is a robust underscoring of the Stones’ key strengths: showmanship, craft, strong tunes. Director Paul Dugdale brings a sense of the Stones’ live experience – the crane shots hovering above a vast crowd, the close ups of banners fluttering in the night air, the fleeting constellations of iPhone flashes, those two crazy guys down the front with John Pasche’s lips and tongue logos painted on their cheeks. These kind of images have become stock elements of concert footage, although it would be hard to dispute their particular potency here; Havana Moon isn’t just a celebration of the Stones doing what the Stones do best, it is freighted with a deeper sense of liberation and of possibility. “The Stones can do things that governments can’t,” acknowledges Keith Richards. “It’s just because of our peculiar situation. You can affect people in a different way without it being official.”

We’re in a setlist that with very few exceptions doesn’t stray much beyond 1980 – which is part of the contract that the Stones have with their audience. Although the songs are instantly familiar, the band consistently manages to find more resonances, more inflections and more variations of texture, rhythm and mood. Bridges To Babylon’s “Out Of Control” enjoys some fiery back-and-forth between Jagger on the harmonica and Richards’ guitar solo, while the interplay between Chuck Leavell’s mellow keys, Richards’ acoustic guitar and Ron Wood’s delicate lead lines on “Angie” is well captured by Dugdale’s camera crew. Other intimate highlights include Wood’s beautiful, sympathetic slide playing on “You Got The Silver” and the few moments at the beginning of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, with Jagger and Richards bringing the song into focus together on acoustic guitars.

Meanwhile, “Paint It, Black” is thrilling and nihilistic, driven by Charlie Watts’ pummelling beat and a powerful, hypnotic guitar attack from Richards and Wood. “Midnight Rambler” might lack the extra level of guitar brilliance Mick Taylor brought to the 50 & Counting shows, but it’s still a mighty thing to behold, with Richards and Wood locked in a complex groove of solos and riffs. For all the theatricality of a Stones’ show these days – the costume changes, video screens, fireworks – the inherent dramatic tensions of songs like “Midnight Rambler”, “Gimme Shelter” and “Sympathy For The Devil” are never quite lost, the band’s darker, lysergic impulses just a shot away.

In a show of supremely well-judged pace, it is to the Stones credit that any songs from the final third of the set – “Gimme Shelter”, “Start Me Up”, “Sympathy…”, “Brown Sugar”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – would be an acceptably impressive closing number. Of course, “…Satisfaction” has long been their final song and tonight it carries additional heft. It would be foolish to suggest that the Stones playing Cuba is somehow going to accelerate the democratic process – but what, after all, could be more appropriate in this specific location than a song about alienation and impatience and frustration? Now, as then, the Stones’ capture the spirit of the times.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

Havana Moon is in UK cinemas on September 23; you can find more information by clicking here

The November 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on The Specials, plus Bon Iver, Bob Weir, Shirley Collins, Conor Oberst, Peter Hook, Bad Company, Leonard Cohen, Muscle Shoals, Will Oldham, Oasis, Lou Reed, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, Michael Kiwanuka and more plus 140 reviews and our free 15-track CD

Introducing the new issue of Uncut…

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We have a new issue of Uncut, out today in the UK; maybe some of you, especially the subscribers, are already in possession of a copy? It’s the second we’ve published since we gave the magazine a significant overhaul, and includes a bunch of pieces I’m really proud of.

If there’s a prevailing theme to the issue, it’s one of notable comebacks. Our cover stars are The Specials, returning to action, scarred by bereavements, but aware that their anti-racist manifesto has a new urgency in 2016. Bon Iver tells Stephen Deusner about the complicated gestation of his eagerly-awaited third album. Bob Weir resurrects his long-neglected solo career, while still being deeply invested in the ongoing story of The Grateful Dead: “It would be sinful to walk away from that body of work,” he says to Andy Gill. “All those songs are still alive, and still evolving, and will continue to, for me, until I breathe my last breath.” We even visit an American town making its own kind of comeback – the musical crucible of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, flourishing again long after the heyday of FAME Studios and the legendary Swampers.

There are also remarkable contributions from two potent octogenarians. This month, at the significant age of 83, Leonard Cohen will release his 14th studio album. His third album in just over four years, You Want It Darker is the culmination of one of the most productive periods in Cohen’s career and, I think, one of the best albums he has ever made (Jason Anderson agrees, and his definitive review of You Want It Darker is a fitting way to open this month’s retooled reviews section). Before the appearance of Old Ideas in 2012, plenty of things had kept Cohen from the recording studio: long stretches of monastic retreat; pragmatic tours to recoup a lost fortune; and, most profoundly, a perfectionist streak that ensured every last word and note would be considered and reconsidered, year after year, until Cohen was satisfied enough to release them into the public domain.

Cohen did not, though, ever lose the ability to sing; I suppose some of his detractors might argue he never had much traditional aptitude for singing in the first place. Shirley Collins, on the other hand, has barely sung in public for nearly 40 years, her confidence deserting her when her then-husband, Ashley Hutchings, left her for another woman. “Dysphonia is the name that’s given to it now,” Collins tells Jim Wirth in one of this issue’s key features, as she heroically prepares to release her first (and very fine) album in 38 years, “but it was a mixture of grief, and nerves and humiliation – and just terror. Fright. Fear.”

Uncut is committed to new music, and in the new issue you can read about Frank Ocean, Weyes Blood, DD Dumbo, Xylouris White and many more fresh and exciting discoveries (I should mention that personal favourites 75 Dollar Bill make an appearance on our free CD). But 81-year-olds can encapsulate the past, present and future of great music, too. “Having listened all my life to field recordings, I feel these people behind me,” says Shirley Collins, referring to the singers who passed on the uncanny songs she loves, over the course of centuries. “I’m responsible for those songs. I’m a conduit. I think I understand this music better than anybody else.”

Trust, I guess, the experts.

This month in Uncut

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The Specials, Bob Weir, Peter Hook and Leonard Cohen all feature in the new issue of Uncut, dated November 2016 and on sale now or available to buy digitally by clicking here.

The 2 Tone survivors are on the cover, and inside the magazine the group take us through their 40-year history, uncovering a tale of endurance in the face of racism, bereavement and rifts.

Discussing their decision to reconvene for a tour that will reassert their importance as one of the great British bands, Horace Panter says: “Injustice is timeless. The same message from 1979 is relevant in 2016… There’s something about us: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

As he returns with his first studio album for 30 years, Bob Weir meets Uncut to discuss the long, strange saga of the Grateful Dead, his new record and the band’s “final farewell”. “From my point of view,” he explains, “it would be sinful to walk away from that body of work.”

Peter Hook answers your questions on topics ranging from Ian Curtis, Peter Saville, leather pants and throwing six dozen eggs at the Buzzcocks. “New Order did so much together, it breaks my heart every day,” he tells us.

Elsewhere, Leonard Cohen‘s new album, You Want It Darker, is our album of the month, and Jason Anderson writes an extended, in-depth review of the record.

Shirley Collins, the grande dame of English folk, tells the fascinating story of her 81-year odyssey, ghosts and all, as she prepares to release Lodestar, her first album for 38 years. “I’m finding my nerve again,” she tells Uncut. “I lost it for too many years.”

We also look at the past, present and future of Muscle Shoals, the cradle of Southern soul and rock, and shine the spotlight on four new Alabama bands that you need to hear. “People are protective of the Shoals and want to keep it goin’,” says John Paul White.

Bad Company take us through the making of their hit “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, which includes medieval banquets, haunted studios and Californian hitch-hiking, while Conor Oberst discusses his greatest albums, from Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, Monsters Of Folk and solo – “We were really ambitious,” he explains, “but the charm is that we didn’t know what the fuck we were doing.”

Bill Wyman, Prophets Of Rage, Will Oldham and DD Dumbo appear in Uncut‘s Instant Karma! section, while new albums from Frank Ocean, Hiss Golden Messenger, David Crosby and more are reviewed, alongside archival releases from Marc Almond, Otis Redding, Lou Reed and Steve Hillage. Films including Werner Herzog‘s Lo And Behold, Ken Loach‘s I, Daniel Blake and OasisSupersonic are reviewed, while we catch live sets from Miracle Legion and some of the best acts at End Of The Road festival.

Our free CD, Stereotypes, features new music from Conor Oberst, Kristin Hersh, Goat, Xylouris White, Weyes Blood, Purling Hiss and more.

The new issue of Uncut is out now.

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

November 2016

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The Specials, Bob Weir, Peter Hook and Leonard Cohen all feature in the new issue of Uncut, dated November 2016 in UK shops now and available to buy digitally online.

The 2 Tone survivors are on the cover, and inside the magazine the group take us through their 40-year history, uncovering a tale of endurance in the face of racism, bereavement and rifts.

Discussing their decision to reconvene for a tour that will reassert their importance as one of the great British bands, Horace Panter says: “Injustice is timeless. The same message from 1979 is relevant in 2016… There’s something about us: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

As he returns with his first studio album for 30 years, Bob Weir meets Uncut to discuss the long, strange saga of the Grateful Dead, his new record and the band’s “final farewell”. “From my point of view,” he explains, “it would be sinful to walk away from that body of work.”

Peter Hook answers your questions on topics ranging from Ian Curtis, Peter Saville, leather pants and throwing six dozen eggs at the Buzzcocks. “New Order did so much together, it breaks my heart every day,” he tells us.

Elsewhere, Leonard Cohen‘s new album, You Want It Darker, is our album of the month, and Jason Anderson writes an extended, in-depth review of the record.

Shirley Collins, the grande dame of English folk, tells the fascinating story of her 81-year odyssey, ghosts and all, as she prepares to release Lodestar, her first album for 38 years. “I’m finding my nerve again,” she tells Uncut. “I lost it for too many years.”

We also look at the past, present and future of Muscle Shoals, the cradle of Southern soul and rock, and shine the spotlight on four new Alabama bands that you need to hear. “People are protective of the Shoals and want to keep it goin’,” says John Paul White.

Bad Company take us through the making of their hit “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, which includes medieval banquets, haunted studios and Californian hitch-hiking, while Conor Oberst discusses his greatest albums, from Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, Monsters Of Folk and solo – “We were really ambitious,” he explains, “but the charm is that we didn’t know what the fuck we were doing.”

Bill Wyman, Prophets Of Rage, Will Oldham and DD Dumbo appear in Uncut‘s Instant Karma! section, while new albums from Frank Ocean, Hiss Golden Messenger, David Crosby and more are reviewed, alongside archival releases from Marc Almond, Otis Redding, Lou Reed and Steve Hillage. Films including Werner Herzog‘s Lo And Behold, Ken Loach‘s I, Daniel Blake and OasisSupersonic are reviewed, while we catch live sets from Miracle Legion and some of the best acts at End Of The Road festival.

Our free CD, Stereotypes, features new music from Conor Oberst, Kristin Hersh, Goat, Xylouris White, Weyes Blood, Purling Hiss and more.

The new issue of Uncut is out now.

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.