Sounds Of The New West! The History Of Rock! End Of The Road!

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Just back in the office after a fortnight of dodging wild boar, mountain goats and various other bits of unidentifiable Mediterranean wildlife, and am massively gratified by the positive vibes from so many of you about our newly re-upholstered Uncut. Genuine thanks to everyone for the kind messages I’ve found all over Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere about the redesign, the upgraded Reviews section, the Bowie cover and, especially, the long-awaited fourth volume of our Sounds Of The New West comps, which seems to have struck a significant chord; there seem to be lots of pictures of the CD sleeve sat next to the original comps from the turn of the millennium. After such a lot of work – most notably by Marc Jones, our designer – I’m thrilled and relieved it’s worked out so well. Anything else you’d like to tell us, please get in touch via uncut_feedback@timeinc.com.

Obviously I’ve arrived back as the next issue is being knocked into shape, and have been confronted with a great weight – actual and virtual – of new music to work my way through. Already today I’ve listened to Steve Hauschildt, Leonard Cohen, Cyrus Gengras and this Prophets Of Rage supergroup featuring Chuck D, B Real and three-quarters of Rage Against The Machine (it sounds exactly how you’d imagine), plus reissues from Dennis Bovell, Low and Julius Eastman. Lots more to get through, of course, not least the Frank Ocean album and – sorry to be a tease – some enticing stuff from Light In The Attic, among other labels, that hasn’t been officially announced yet, as far as I can tell.

More jobs: to write a review of the 75 Dollar Bill album that I keep banging on about. I didn’t listen to much while I was away, apart from the new Factory Floor album that my wife favoured for driving music as we were getting lost on precipitous mountain passes, but I did keep coming back to the New York desert blues of “WOOD/METAL/PLASTIC/PATTERN/RHYTHM/ROCK”, which is rapidly shaping up as one of my favourite releases of 2016, not least because it made for an amazing descent/touchdown experience on the plane home.

I’ll try and fold some of this stuff into one of my other tasks: to prepare for the End Of The Road festival this weekend, and patch together a soundtrack to play between the bands – Teenage Fanclub, Scritti Politti, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Jenny Hval, and more – when Uncut takes over the Big Top stage there on Sunday. I’ll be there with Tom Pinnock, Laura Snapes, Mark Bentley and Charlotte Treadaway from Uncut, reporting live from End Of The Road with news, reviews and so on to keep you up to speed, whether you’re on site or wishing you were. Also, Tom and Laura will be hosting a series of Q&As with some of the festival’s key attractions:

FIELD MUSIC – 3.30pm FRIDAY – TIPI TENT BAR
JEFFREY LEWIS – 2.30pm SATURDAY – TIPI TENT BAR
KEVIN MORBY – 2.15pm SUNDAY – TIPI TENT BAR
DEVENDRA BANHART – 5.00pm SUNDAY – PIANO STAGE

Again, please drop by and say hi.

One last thing before I go. Our archive-digging History Of Rock series reaches 1979 with its next edition out next week. But in case you missed it, we’re also making available again the first volume of the series, dedicated to 1965. It’ll be in UK shops this Thursday, but you can buy History Of Rock: 1965 now from our online shop.

Here’s the introduction from John Robinson:

“Welcome to 1965. As the year dawns, the personalities who will define much of the music of the next 50 years – be that The Beatles, Bob Dylan, or the Rolling Stones – are all still in their early 20s. They are already working at an extremely high level, producing classic work like “Help”, “Highway 61” and “Satisfaction”. In their wake, a second wave of innovators are busy determining their own paths, inspired by the work of others (“they knocked us out” is a phrase you’ll read a lot) and their own unique visions.

“The music writers of New Musical Express and Melody Maker were there with them all. These were not by any means the faintly dandyish figures of the following decades. Rather, these were diligent newspapermen with musical leanings; dedicated record “trade” professionals who uncovered pivotal detail by their fastidious reporting of music events. They skilfully captured the major personalities up close, at a time where music – and along with it, music writing – was undergoing rapid change.

“This is the world of The History Of Rock, a new monthly magazine and ongoing project which which reaps the benefits of this access for the reader decades later, one year at a time. In the pages of this first edition, dedicated to 1965, you will find verbatim articles from frontline staffers, compiled into long and illuminating reads. You will be present as enduring reputations (“the witty Beatles”; “the battling Kinks”) are formed, but also to discover fascinating byways off the main track.

“You will recognize many of the names, faces and places here, but you’ve perhaps never quite seen them quite so innocently, or so intimately in their time. Here, Carnaby Street is still a fashionable destination. A Rickenbacker guitar, as advertised by John Lennon, will cost you 150 guineas. Andrew Loog Oldham seems to have a hand in everything. America? America is spoken of as an extremely remote place indeed, and a sense of spirited transatlantic competition thrives in the language of much of the reporting.

“What may surprise the modern reader most is the access to, and the sheer volume of material supplied by the artists who are now the giants of popular culture. Now, a combination of wealth, fear and lifestyle would conspire to keep reporters at a rather greater length from the lives of musicians.

“At this stage, however, representatives from New Musical Express and Melody Maker are where it matters. At John Lennon’s dinner table. Being serenaded by John Coltrane in his hotel room. In a TV studio with the Rolling Stones.

“Join them there. You’ll be knocked out!”

Hell Or High Water

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Pitched as a heist movie, David Mackenzie’s latest film feels more like a contemporary Western set in a time of heightened financial anxiety. Rather like Andrew Dominik’s outstanding Killing Them Softly, Hell Or High Water is a film about recession-hit criminals, burdened by reverse mortgage loans and back taxes.

The genre’s classic signifiers are there – Texas Rangers, Comanche Indians, bank robbers – but they have been pushed close to extinction by economic collapse, foreclosures and debt. Chris Pine and Ben Foster play brothers who rob a number of Texas Midland Bank branches to raise enough funds to cover debts incurred by the family farm – debt that is owed to the same chain of banks. It’s a devilish, if grim irony.

They’re pursued by a pair of Texas Rangers – crusty Jeff Bridges and his stoical deputy Gil Birmingham. Mackenzie and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (who wrote last year’s crime thriller, Sicario) let the film unfold leisurely – though Sheridan sometimes makes his points about the iniquities of the banks a little laboriously.

Pine – rangy, hawk-like – resembles Robert Ryan as the “good” brother, while Bridges is satisfactorily curmudgeonly as the old timer enjoying one last hurrah before impending retirement. It’s hard to find a thread between Mackenzie’s films – from the magic realism of Young Adam and Hallam Foe to the shouty violence of Starred Up. Hell Or High Water, meanwhile, is another career swerve: though it is pretty good.

Meanwhile, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis provide a score that typically shifts between scratchy and twangy.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Kristin Hersch announces new album and book

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Kristin Hersch is to release a new double album and hardback book, Wyatt At The Coyote Palace.

The album and book are released on October 28 in the UK by Omnibus Press.

It follows on from her previous book/album releases, Crooked in 2010 and 2013’s Throwing Muses’ project, Purgatory/Paradise.

Pitchfork reports that the book is inspired by her autistic son Wyatt and “his fascination with an abandoned apartment building inhabited by coyotes.”

“I had so loved his love of the place,” Hersh said in a statement. “Throwing Muses’ drummer, Dave [Narcizo] — my best friend since third grade — decided that Wyatt needed to encapsulate his sense memories of the coyote palace, make the experience finite, like bottling a memory. Dave thinks we’ll see it again, and Wyatt’s love of the place will come back, when the images have been filtered through Wyatt’s intense and fascinating psychology.”

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Hear Devendra Banhart’s new song, “Saturday Night”

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Devendra Banhart has shared a new track from his upcoming album, Ape In Pink Marble.

Saturday Night” follows on from “Middle Names”, which Banhart shared in June.

The Ape In Pink Marble tracklisting is:

Middle Names
Good Time Charlie
Jon Lends a Hand
Mara
Fancy Man
Fig in Leather
Theme for a Taiwanese Woman in Lime Green
Souvenirs
Mourner’s Dance
Saturday Night
Linda
Lucky
Celebration

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Sex Pistols – Live ’76

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When the Sex Pistols took the stage at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4, 1976, Great Britain didn’t look especially great. Politically, economically, socially – in every way possible – the country was a shambles, with inflation sending the price of food well beyond the budgets of middle- and working-class shoppers and average wages plummeting to £72 a week. The value of the pound was dropping precipitously, to the extent that the country was offered a bailout loan by its former colony, the United States of America. The Pistols appeared as though summoned from the depths of the British psyche: the nation’s darkest fears and starkest desires manifest in safety-pinned T-shirts and frayed guitar riffs. The band weren’t simply responding to all the shit going down in the mid-’70s. Rather, they represented a collective response to a crumbling world.

Their performance in Manchester stands as one of the most important concerts ever played on British soil, spurring the Manchester music scene and creating a new rock capital to rival London. While Live ’76 gathers this and other shows from that bellwether year, it’s impossible to reconstruct such a moment 40 years later, especially now that punk has been so thoroughly absorbed into the mainstream and Never Mind The Bollocks… is available in exclusive pink vinyl at HMV. In 2016 it’s not always easy to tell what the hubbub was all about. Running blithely and recklessly through Paul Revere & The Raiders’ “Stepping Stone” and The Stooges’ “No Fun”, the Sex Pistols sound like any old punk band, churning out a brash rumble and conveying squalid bravado common to the acts that followed in their wake.

This show, much like the others in this 4CD boxset, has long been available as a bootleg, and this version sounds like it: the sound quality ranges from murky and indistinct to safety-pin-in-your-ear shrill. Steve Jones’ guitar sounds like it’s holding a razor to your throat, but Johnny Rotten gets lost in the mix, his disgust fatally muted. Not even a year old at the time, the band sound like they’re only just getting used to their power, learning how to wield it before they would eventually turn it outward in a spray of spittle and vitriol.

The Sex Pistols grew cockier as the year bore on and as conditions in Britain worsened. When they played Islington in late August, racial tensions were coming to a boil in London, culminating in a massive riot at the Notting Hill Carnival. It must have seemed like an ominous sign when even Big Ben stopped working. It would be months before it faithfully told the time again. The Pistols sound like they’re internalising all of this national angst and rendering from it smeary, taunting punk rock. They open their set with a new song, “Anarchy In The UK”, which was written only a few weeks beforehand and must have sounded like a reasonable prediction for Britain. They sound tentative at first, as though gauging the crowd; soon enough, the song turns ferocious and mean, the musicians playing with a new sense of mission and a fresh relentlessness to their attack. That would only intensify with subsequent shows.

Live ’76 presents a band in the process of becoming a legend – not simply developing a reputation as a fiery live act, but rethinking the role pop music could play in society. American punk bands like the Ramones and the New York Dolls were largely apolitical (or, at least, not explicitly political), but the Sex Pistols sound political out of necessity, as though outrage might be the only sane reaction to Britain in the mid-1970s. By September, the country was requesting a nearly £4 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the Sex Pistols had played their first international show in Paris, returning home emboldened by the experience.

On September 17, they played HM Prison in Chelmsford, a high-security facility for young male offenders. In such a setting anything less than a riot would be anti-climactic, but at least Rotten tries to rile things up: “This is about Harold Wilson, it’s called ‘Liar’,” he cajoles, growing more comfortable in his contrariness. “Well, come on, have a riot! Boo! Boo!” If anything, the rhythm section – drummer Paul Cook and bass player Glen Matlock – keep things from getting too out of control, their taut interplay preventing the songs from falling all apart completely.

Just a week later the Sex Pistols played the 76 Club in Burton Upon Trent, which marks a tipping point for the band and the movement they represented. Punk was becoming more visible in the mainstream, and the band play with no presumptions. In fact, they might sound even hungrier on these songs, even more confrontational than usual, especially on “Problems”, with its feedback-drenched false start and its violent ending. Two weeks later the Pistols would sign with EMI. Before 1976 was over they would drop the f-bomb on the BBC and nearly get Bill Grundy fired. Live ’76 plays like a prelude to the Pistols’ short career, but they sound like they’re warning the empire of even worse days to come.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Wild Beasts – Boy King

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For music fans of a certain age, there is something both thrilling and reassuring about Wild Beasts, these four working-class northern school friends who make adventurous and literary art rock. They sing about fighting and fucking, about football and chip butties, but do so while invoking obscure French philosophers and highbrow novelists. In interview, they recall a time when the rock inkies were full of post-punk bands earnestly discussing Derrida and Truffaut: the band’s first four albums all but came with reading lists, with the band citing Nabakov, Rimbaud, Larkin, JG Ballard, Henry Miller and the feminist literary critic Helene Cixous.

On their fifth album, they have decided to strip away all the book learning and play dumb. Of course, this being Wild Beasts, “playing dumb” still means invoking Byron and TS Eliot, but here the lyrics are relatively blunt, more like haiku than sonnets. The album runs in at a lean, mean 40 minutes and each track – every one in a doomy, minor key – fulfils its duties within three or four minutes.

And, working with Texan producer John Congleton, the musical accompaniment has also been pared back. The drums are minimal and funky. The basslines twitch and squelch, leaving lots of space. Heavy metal riffs are played through masses of effects units, to the point where the guitars barely sound like guitars any more. Moreover, the vocal hooks are stronger, catchier and more insistent. This is an album filled with earworms, with hooklines and stray phrases that burrow deep into your consciousness.

The band has always alternated between its lead vocalists, the gruff baritone of Tom Fleming and the eerily androgynous operatic countertenor of Hayden Thorpe; here it’s Thorpe who dominates proceedings. His disembodied, ethereal falsetto has always chimed with the lyrical tone of Wild Beasts songs: a world in which masculinity is in crisis, where machismo is a drag act. But here the gender politics sound darker and more despairing than ever.

Alpha Female” sees them accepting masculine frailties and ceding control to the opposite sex, although this praise of womankind is set to an oddly butch backing (what Fleming describes as “feminist cock rock”). The dramatic “Tough Guy” starts with an aggressive statement of self-pity (“Now I’m all fucked up and I can’t stand up/So I’d better suck it up like a tough guy would”) before adopting the carapace of masculinity.

Elsewhere, the band both have their cake and eat it. They critically present a world in which men are narcissistic, self-harming and mindlessly hedonistic but cannot resist celebrating it. On the creepy industrial electronica of “Eat Your Heart Out Adonis”, Thorpe whispers about nihilistic carnal desires (“Carnivores just want the dark meat/Won’t get off until they taste it”). The lead single “Get My Bang” is a shimmering piece of synth funk in which the protagonist seems to celebrate the pursuit of pleasure, be it through empty consumerism or mindless sex. “There’s no getting it right, no getting it wrong,” he howls, “just getting it on.” The juddering basslines and sequenced synths of “Celestial Creatures” turns a riotous night out in a lairy nightclub into a transcendental moment to celebrate. On the electronic sludge-rock of “He The Colossus”, Hayden’s courtship ritual is more brutal than ever. “You can stuff your chastity,” he coos, like an innocent choirboy gone bad. “We are vigilantes/We’re on the streets/We’re running free.”

Fleming sings lead on just two tracks. The jerky synth pop of “2BU” is a song of impotent rage and revenge fantasies, while “Ponytail” is an R&B groove which sees Fleming duetting with a munchkin-style, sped-up vocal sample; the lyrics describe the “beautiful agony” of a sado-masochistic relationship where the female “victim” is ultimately in control.

In stark contrast to this nihilistic mood, the drumless closing track, “Dreamliner”, is a rare moment of respite. Here Thorpe’s voice, accompanied by just muted piano and synthesized strings, sounds like the lairy, priapic protagonist of so many of these songs taking a walk of shame. “Keep the peace or fight the most gorgeous of wars,” he sings. It’s a perfect rejoinder to an album where male cynicism sometimes seems to be eating away at itself, and where masculine crisis has never sounded so much fun.

Q&A
Tom Fleming
How did you hook up with producer John Congleton?

We loved a lot of his recent work, especially the Grammy-winning album he produced for St Vincent and his work with the likes of Swans, John Grant, Blondie and all the rest, and we were surprised when he actually approached us. It’s not every day you get contacted by a big-name, Grammy-winning producer! We did actually meet other very good producers, but John seemed to have some ideas about what he liked and didn’t like about our music. He wanted us to sound more spontaneous, to leave mistakes in, to sound like a band making a mess. He had a very Texan, no-bullshit approach, which was refreshing. You realise that English feyness and intellectualism doesn’t count for much in Texas.

Your previous albums have always come with a bit of a reading list. This album less so…
On “He The Colossus”, there’s a glancing reference to TS Eliot’s line in The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock – “Shall I part my hair behind?/Do I dare to eat a peach?” It’s the idea of performance versus impotence. But, generally, we wanted to get away from being typecast as a “clever band”. We wanted to kick against that. We wanted the lyrics to be self-explanatory.

Initially, it doesn’t sound like a guitar record…
Our last album, Present Tense, was almost all synthesizers. This one is actually the most guitar-heavy album we’ve made! John [Congleton] had a treasure trove of weird fuzz pedals, and we used them to weaponise the guitars. We wanted to use the tropes of rock’n’roll in a more interesting way, to “shred” without making it sound like a Van Halen record. Not that there’s anything wrong with a Van Halen record, of course…

Would you say the mood is more lustful and hedonistic than romantic?
Absolutely. There’s a lot of sex, but not a lot of love. It’s a crueller record. None of us were in a place where we wanted to make a collection of romantic ballads. We wanted it to be more performative. There are lots of big, stupid gestures. A lot of it is about impotent rage, about narcissistic personality disorder, about the nihilistic pursuit of hedonism. Sometimes we analyse it, sometimes we just revel in it!

Was it a conscious decision to make Hayden’s voice the focus?
Yeah, it was an intense collaboration, but you learn that an important part of collaboration is knowing when to shut the fuck up! There’s still lots of my backing vocals and guitar. And, where we used to sing our own lyrics, it was much more fluid and mixed up here.
INTERVIEW: JOHN LEWIS

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Todd Phillips’ War Dogs reviewed

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The film opens with a flashback: a body in a car boot, an act of violence, a voiceover. Events revolve around an unreliable protagonist of questionable moral fibre while his partner-in-crime is unpredictable, prone to sudden profane outbursts; there is another figure, a ruthless, inscrutable older man. But which film is this? You could be forgiven that War Dogs was the latest film from Martin Scorsese – so heavily does it borrow from the director’s box of tricks – rather than Todd Phillips, the guy who brought you The Hangover films.

As in those films, there is bromance and there is chaos; a scattershot black comedy of excess and adrenalized peril. It follows the true-life exploits of David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), schoolfriends who made a fortune as arms dealers in the last days of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. They began buying weapons at police auctions and sold them on the internet – a military site Diveroli describes as “eBay, but for war” – before finding themselves on top of a huge deal to sell outdated Chinese ammunition to the Pentagon.

Phillips film riffs on any number of Scorsese films. Hill’s Diveroli is a version of Donny Azoff, his character in The Wolf Of Wall Street, who was essentially a cuddlier Joe Pesci. The show-and-tell business of how the arms business works from the top down – told in voiceover by Packouz – replays Scorsese’s introduction to the day-to-day operations of the Tangiers in Casino. More generally, the voicovers, flashbacks, jump cuts, music cues are familiar from many Scorsese films; the presence of Bradley Cooper, as a corrupting figure, aims for a De Niro-esque cameo.

Another reference here is Adam McKay’s The Big Short – which similarly focused on characters making cash from crisis. Although McKay’s film was about hedge fund managers, Phillips’ guys are arms dealers: what’s the difference? While The Big Short largely took place in offices and financial institutions, War Dogs at least gets out a bit. Packouz and Diveroli find themselves heading into Iraq for some bantz on the road to Fallujah. There is some crude ethnic stereotyping. On learning they are in a region called “the triangle of death”, Diveroli laughs, “We drive through all triangles. Including your mum’s.” It is danger played for LOLZ.

Phillips is so focused on the double act between Teller (subdued, bland) and Hill (maniac, dirty) that he literally forgets to bother with any other characters. Packouz’ wife, played by Ana de Armas, exists solely as a narrative point, as a reminder of the ‘normal’ life he is slowly disappearing from. What does she do, apart from worry about him and raise their child? Cooper’s arms dealer fares better, with a couple of meaty scenes where he is required to be shadowy and threatening. He vaguely recalls Will Ferrell’s cameo at the end of Wedding Crashers, as Chazz Reinhold, a legendary retired crasher who now lives at home with his overbearing mother.

Everything else is turned up to 11. Phillips seems to be aiming for maximum impact. A massive Scarface mural hangs on the wall in Diveroli’s office. Yes! We get it!

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

REM on Out Of Time: “This is a record of challenges”

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The wisdom of Michael Stipe is put to the test, as REM retire from touring and expand their sound on Out Of Time. Gavin Martin takes the Athens heritage tour… “I’ve never written upfront love songs,” says Stipe, I’ve never lip-synched in videos…” Originally published in NME’s 23/03/91 issue, and reprinted in Uncut’s REM Ultimate Music Guide.

____________________________

Michael Stipe’s car stinks. Michael is reversing it out of the parking lot beside the wooden 18th-Century carriage office in Athens, Georgia, that houses REM’s small rehearsal room and management headquarters.

The journalist is squeezed into the back seat with thick crusts of mud and a large bundle of coarse, uprooted brown grass. Stipe says he stole the grass and plans to plant it in his garden, along with some recently acquired Georgia pines. The grass smells like it’s provided a home for several dogs in the interim, some of them dead ones.

A few minutes ago, Stipe was in the REM office discussing deals and demos for local bands with Peter Buck, suggesting suitable poster photos for advertising the new LP, pondering possible benefit concerts and feigning amazement that only a few days previously he was mistaken for a secretary when answering the office phone.

“He didn’t recognise me? Didn’t recognise what is probably the most distinctive and important voice in American rock’n’roll today…?” Then Stipe stood in the middle of the office gazing at the sweet-smelling pine striplings. His face, which has deep crevices and can look stern and aged, was all boyish and wide-eyed, as he gave us a fulsome and impassioned account of the history, beauty and cultivation of Georgia’s state tree.

But right now the pines are laid out on a desk upstairs and the fetid odour of the recently liberated marsh grass is filling up his Volvo estate. The singer is oblivious to the hum. He’s busy telling us about his car window sticker, which urges the good folk of Athens to “Vote Gwen O’Looney”, as indeed they did when they made her Mayor some months back. Stipe says this was a long overdue chink in the armour of the “fat white boys’ club” that tends to steer local politics in these parts. But his excitement is tempered by the awareness that the O’Looney factor could turn
into “a Jane Fonda thing”.

By his own admission a pretty haphazard driver, Stipe swings a right at the lights as he points out “ye olde court house” and “yonder warehouse district” – local buildings under threat from bullish building contractors. “What this place needs,” he muses, “is a radical political fringe.”

Stipe is taking us back in time. We are driving down to the still functioning wooden railway bridge featured on the cover of the first REM album Murmur. It was Peter Buck who mooted the idea, not for reasons of nostalgia, but because it was an involving landmark that matched the photographer’s request for an interesting backdrop.

“Yes,” said Buck, “especially with a band like ours, you want to find something that is going to distract from the faces as much as possible.”

On the eve of the release of their second major label album, Out Of Time, the three “faceless” REM men and the hyperactive, newly-goateed Stipe line up under the bridge, which runs over a river five minutes from Athens town centre.

Today is President’s Day, a US public holiday. Downtown Wuxtry Records, the shop where Peter Buck once worked and first fuelled his cosmopolitan and “pretty major” vinyl addiction, is closed, and the winos are raiding the bottle bank. You can walk round the town and come upon a plaque commemorating the Civil War on nearly every corner, but Athens is kind of sleepy today. Behind the bridge a few kids have turned up to taunt the hat-swirling, constantly singing Stipe and his cohorts, punctuating the photo shoot with a chorus of “What the fuck y’all doing?”

None of the group seem too sure exactly what President’s Day is celebrating. They are more excited by the news that fate has decreed their new album is timed for release on Jack Kerouac’s birthday. Out Of Time is a whirlwind of styles and song structures, a study in all kinds of emotional extremism. Coming after their fin de siècle masterpiece Green (released two-and-a-half years ago on George Bush’s inauguration day) and the accompanying mould-breaking, corporate-lambasting stadium shows, the album is a pause for breath and a profound assessment of themselves and their abilities.

There will be no exhausting world tour trek to accompany Out Of Time. By mutual consent the group have agreed that, with the Green tour (captured on majestically bonkers video TourFilm), they came close to burnout. Though some members seems to regret it more than others, the fact remains that, after spending the best part of a decade travelling the backroad bars and forgotten towns of the heartland, America’s foremost grassroots rock’n’roll roadshow is both out of time
and off the road.

The public’s loss has been the recording studio’s gain. Peter Buck says he can’t decide whether the band are “a democracy or a communism that actually works” and the record bears him out. A reluctant guitar hero, Buck swaps his axe for mandolin for most of the record. “Thank God,” he says. “I was almost getting competent.”

Mike Mills takes lead vocals on two tracks, Michael Stipe dispenses with voice entirely for his tune “Endgame”, an orchestral instrumental highlighting the newly baroque-besotted Buck. On several tracks there are no drums, so sticksman Bill Berry keeps time by playing the bass.

Elsewhere there are guest vocalists (Stipe favourites – activist rapper KRS-One and hometown legend B-52 Kate Pierson), sax players, extra keyboardists, extra guitarists and – would we lie to you? – The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Bill Berry, while voicing regret that the group can no longer do the things they used to do on the road, says it’s “the record we were always too cautious to make in the past, probably because we knew we had a tour. This time, due to the success of Green, we didn’t have to go out on tour.”

Mike Mills, who was Berry’s best friend when the pair met up with Buck and Stipe at the end of the ’70s, is responsible for many of the group’s snap-jawed, counterpoint harmonies. He believes this interaction is the key: “I love harmony, I always have. We’re very fortunate we have three people who can sing in this band. I sing, I’ve always sung, Bill has always sung, but it still seems to come as a surprise to y’all. I think it’s what sets us apart. One line of harmony can make or break a song.”

Kings Of Leon announce new studio album, Walls

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Kings Of Leon have announced details of their new studio album, Walls.

The band’s seventh studio release, Walls will be released on October 14 through Columbia Records.

It was recorded in Los Angeles by Arcade Fire producer Markus Dravs.

You can watch a teaser for the album below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIir79GiwNw

The tracklisting for Walls is:

Waste A Moment
Reverend
Around The World
Find Me
Over
Muchacho
Conversation Piece
Eyes On You
Wild
WALLS

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

R.E.M. announce 25th anniversary reissue of Out Of Time

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R.E.M. will reissue Out Of Time on November 18 via Concord Bicycle.

The 25th Anniversary edition will be released in three different formats.

The 2 CD Set will include a remastered version of the original album alongside demo versions of every album track, as well as demos for two non-album b-sides and a previously unreleased song.

The 3 LP Set will include remastered vinyl versions of the original album and the demos.

The 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will include 4 discs, featuring the remastered album, demos, recordings from the band’s performance at Mountain Stage in 1991, and a Blu-Ray disc with hi-resolution audio and 5.1 Surround Sound versions of Out Of Time, all of the music videos from the album, and the 1991 electronic press kit Time Piece, featuring in-studio footage, exclusive performances and more. All versions will feature extensive liner notes featuring interviews from all four band members and producers Scott Litt and John Keane.

‘OUT OF TIME’ – 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (2 CD SET):

DISC 1
‘OUT OF TIME’

Radio Song
Losing My Religion
Low
Near Wild Heaven
Endgame
Shiny Happy People
Belong
Half A World Away
Texarkana
Country Feedback
Me In Honey

DISC 2
‘OUT OF TIME’ DEMOS

Losing My Religion 1 (demo)
Near Wild Heaven 1 (demo)
Shiny Happy People 1 (demo)
Texarkana 1 (demo)
Untitled Demo 2
Radio – Acoustic (Radio Song 1 demo)
Near Wild Heaven 2 (demo)
Shiny Happy People 2 (demo)
Slow Sad Rocker (Endgame demo)
Radio – Band (Radio Song 3 demo)
Losing My Religion 2 (demo)
Belong (demo)
Blackbirds (Half A World Away demo)
Texarkana (demo)
Country Feedback (demo)
Me On Keyboard (Me In Honey demo)
Low (demo)
40 Sec. (40 Second Song demo)
Fretless 1 (demo)

‘OUT OF TIME’ – 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (3 LP SET):

DISC 1
‘OUT OF TIME’

Time Side
Radio Song
Losing My Religion
Low
Near Wild Heaven
Endgame

Memory Side
Shiny Happy People
Belong
Half A World Away
Texarkana
Country Feedback
Me In Honey

DISC 2
‘OUT OF TIME’ DEMOS

Side 1
Losing My Religion 1 (demo)
Near Wild Heaven 1 (demo)
Shiny Happy People 1 (demo)
Texarkana 1 (demo)
Untitled Demo 2

Side 2
Radio – Acoustic (Radio Song 1 demo)
Near Wild Heaven 2 (demo)
Shiny Happy People 2 (demo)
Slow Sad Rocker (Endgame demo)

DISC 3
‘OUT OF TIME’ DEMOS

Side 1
Radio – Band (Radio Song 3 demo)
Losing My Religion 2 (demo)
Belong (demo)
Blackbirds (Half A World Away demo)
Texarkana (demo)

Side 2
Country Feedback (demo)
Me On Keyboard (Me In Honey demo)
Low (demo)
40 Sec. (40 Second Song demo)
Fretless 1 (demo)

‘OUT OF TIME’ – 25th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION (4 DISC SET):

DISC 1
‘OUT OF TIME’

Radio Song
Losing My Religion
Low
Near Wild Heaven
Endgame
Shiny Happy People
Belong
Half A World Away
Texarkana
Country Feedback
Me In Honey

DISC 2
‘OUT OF TIME’ DEMOS

Losing My Religion 1 (demo)
Near Wild Heaven 1 (demo)
Shiny Happy People 1 (demo)
Texarkana 1 (demo)
Untitled Demo 2
Radio – Acoustic (Radio Song 1 demo)
Near Wild Heaven 2 (demo)
Shiny Happy People 2 (demo)
Slow Sad Rocker (Endgame demo)
Radio – Band (Radio Song 3 demo)
Losing My Religion 2 (demo)
Belong (demo)
Blackbirds (Half A World Away demo)
Texarkana (demo)
Country Feedback (demo)
Me On Keyboard (Me In Honey demo)
Low (demo)
40 Sec. (40 Second Song demo)
Fretless 1 (demo)

DISC 3
LIVE AT MOUNTAIN STAGE

Introduction
World Leader Pretend
Radio Song
Fall On Me
It’s the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Half A World Away
Belong
Love Is All Around
Losing My Religion
Dallas
Radio Song
Disturbance At The Heron House
Low
Sawn Swan H
Pop Song 89

DISC 4
OUT OF TIME – BLU-RAY

Out Of Time – Hi-Resolution Audio
Out Of Time – 5.1 Surround Sound
Radio Song (music video)
Losing My Religion (music video)
Low (music video)
Near Wild Heaven (music video)
Shiny Happy People (music video)
Belong (music video)
Half A World Away (music video)
Country Feedback (music video)
Time Piece

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Watch Hiss Golden Messenger’s new video for “Tell Her I’m Just Dancing”

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Hiss Golden Messenger will release a new album called Heart Like A Levee on October 7.

The follow-up to 2014’s Lateness Of Dancers, the record finds frontman M.C.Taylor joined by Megafaun’s Bradley and Phil Cook, Bon Iver’s Matt McCaughan, Tift Merritt and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig among others.

The new release from the album is the video for “Tell Her I’m Just Dancing”. It follows “Biloxi“, which Taylor released in July.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Prince’s Paisley Park to open for public tours

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Prince’s Paisley Park estate is to open to the public from October.

The property served as both a production studio and creative hub from 1985 to his death in April this year.

“Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime,” said a statement from his family. “Now, fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince’s world for the first time as we open the doors to this incredible place.”

Tours of the site, located in Minnesota, will take in the main floor that houses the recording and mixing studios, along with tours of his video editing suite, rehearsal rooms, private NPG Music Club and personal concert hall.

Visitors will also be able to see thousands of personal artefacts from Prince’s archives for the first time, including concert wardrobe, awards, instruments, artwork, rare recordings and more.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Betty Davis – The Columbia Years 1968 – 1969

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A name on the guestlist of greatness, the former Betty Mabry had hip cachet in the ’60s, and has it again now. A model, a songwriter and a friend of both Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis (who she married), her trio of mid-1970s albums (Betty Davis, They Say I’m Different and Nasty Gal) established her as a powerful female performer. A cross between George Clinton and Bette Midler, she played sex music with no implied candlelit dinner, a hard and uncompromising funk in which she inhabited an aggressive, theatrically sexual persona. At the time, she outraged nearly everyone.

Hers is a story with some great records, a lot of interesting associations, and – possibly the most important factor – many years of unaccounted time, into which mystery and supposition has since enticingly poured. Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock remember her as charismatic, beautiful and vibrant, someone pushing at boundaries as Madonna and Grace Jones later would. An early single, a Phil Spector-style production called “Get Ready For Betty”, sketched out her early manifesto, warning women to “keep your fella under lock and key…”

These songs, recorded with boyfriend Hugh Masekela (’68, in LA) and a year later in New York with Miles Davis, find her in transition, almost precisely halfway between her vaguely spicy early soul and her later incarnation in silver hotpants. The fact that the sub-Dusty supper club strings of “Live, Love, Learn” was released as an A-side in 1968 in favour to its superior flip, the belting “It’s My Life” suggests there was some confusion over what precisely her proposition was. An interesting detail in this package is a Columbia Records memo which debates whether she should even be recorded again. “PS:” it concludes, a word of friendly advice, “Betty Mabry is now Mrs Miles Davis.”

Patriarchal career influence isn’t, perhaps, an easy fit into the narrative of an empowered woman writer/performer, but it is part of the story. Davis was a scenester, and her work so far had often reflected that sense of place. She had the previous year written “Uptown (To Harlem)”, rendered superbly by The Chambers Brothers, and in 1964 a single called “The Cellar”, about a club she hosted.

Here she hones her skills as a writer on place with the drawling “Down Home Girl”, and the self-explanatory “Hanging Out”, which nails her milieu and the mood of these recordings. Hendrix’s girlfriend Devon Wilson gets an administrative credit on the ’69 session, while the musicians (John McLaughlin, Larry Young, Mitch Mitchell et al) are a team of Miles/Jimi associates otherwise over-qualified for the basic R’n’B comping which is required of them.

There are nods towards the evolution of the feisty Betty persona here (“Ready, Willing & Able”). There are weirder covers (Creedence’s “Born On The Bayou”?), but it’s the Cream song “Politician Man” which really offers a foreshadowing of what is to come. On the talkback, Miles Davis is heard giving his wife some advice on how she might approach the performance. “Sing it just like that,” he says, in his unmistakable croak, “with the gum in your mouth an’ all, bitch…”

In the original version, as sung by an acne-scarred jazz bassist from Lanarkshire, “Politician” is a fairly heavy-handed piece of political satire. In it, the elected official of the title attempts to coerce a young woman into the backseat of his car in order that he may, nudge nudge, “show you what my politics are….” As sung by Betty Davis, it feels transformative, with Betty assuming again the predatory role – as if she is turning the tables on a sleazy politician on behalf of every harassed intern or junior researcher in history.

It clearly made an impression on Miles, who later recorded a number called “Backseat Betty” in honour of how she delivered the song. More importantly, it signposted how Betty Davis might channel her attitude and charisma in the future. She already talked it. In a few years she would walk it on completely her own terms.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Bob Dylan Archive to unveil 10th anniversary extended edition of Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home

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The Bob Dylan Archive will present its first series of Dylan On Film screenings, beginning with the world premiere of the 10th anniversary edition of Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home.

The screening takes place on Wednesday, September 21 at the University of Tulsa’s Lorton Performance Center; the Archive is housed in the University of Tulsa.

The anniversary edition of No Direction Home includes more than 90 minutes of extended scenes and full-length interviews with Scorsese, Dave van Ronk and Liam Clancy that have recently been unearthed.

That evening will also feature the inaugural public exhibition of physical elements from the archive – titled The Ghost Of Electricity – which include Dylan’s handwritten lyrics, the leather jacket he wore onstage at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 and the typescript of his first novel, Tarantula. The Ghost Of Electricity will move to The Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education, where it will be on display from Friday, September 23 through October 10.

The Dylan On Film festival runs from September 21 to 24 and includes Festival! – Murray Lerner’s 1967 documentary about the Newport Folk Festival – and Dont Look Back plus Q&A with director D.A. Pennebaker. The festival will also screen 2007’s 65 Revisited, containing outtakes from Pennebaker’s original film, and Dylan’s first directorial effort, Eat The Document.

The series closes that evening with Bob Dylan: From The Archive, a program of rare and never-before-seen performances spanning 1963 to 2003 and held exclusively in The Bob Dylan Archive.

You can find the full schedule and ticketing details by clicking here.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Joni Mitchell makes first public appearance since brain aneurysm

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Joni Mitchell has made her first public appearance since being hospitalised in 2015 following a brain aneurysm.

She attended a Chick Corea concert on August 20 at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Los Angeles. Photographs were posted on her website the following morning, showing her with Corea, Gayle Moran Corea and Herbie Hancock.

Mitchell suffered a brain aneurysm in March, 2015. Since then, she has continued to recover. Last October, Judy Collins posted to her Facebook page: “I have just heard from a close mutual friend that Joni is walking, talking, painting some, doing much rehab every day, and making good progress.”

Earlier this year, Mitchell won a Grammy Award for best album notes on Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Neil Young to reissue classic 1970s albums on vinyl

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Neil Young will reissue remastered versions of four of his albums from the 1970s on vinyl on September 6.

1973’s Time Fades Away, 1974’s On The Beach, and 1975’s Tonight’s The Night and Zuma have long been out of print and will be reissued separately for the first time after being previously released as a limited edition box set for Record Store Day in November, 2014.

Pitchfork reports that Time Fades Away has been an exclusive on Young’s Pono streaming service.

The 2014 box set was part of Young’s Official Release Series Discs 5 – 8. The albums were originally scheduled for release on Record Store Day on April 18 before being rescheduled for release on Record Store Day’s Black Friday, on November 28, limited to 3,500 copies.

Yesterday, Young announced details of the line-up for this year’s Bridge School Benefit concerts, which includes Willie Nelson, Roger Waters and case/lang/veirs.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Gong co-founder Gilli Smyth dies aged 83

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Gilli Smyth, co-founder of Gong, has died aged 83.

The news was broken by her son, Orlando Allen.

He said: “She passed amongst loved ones reading poetry and singing at exactly 12pm Australian time today. She is flying to the infinite through all the bardots as we speak so all your prayers of light, love gratitude and beaming energies are a shining light for her.

“Bless her psychedelic cotton socks, she will be in our and deeply in my heart forever. One of the strongest, most loving forgiving and powerful shakti being mums I have ever known.

“I give thanks for the blessing of her her being her example and shakti mumma presence and happy she is out of pain now and soon to be with, Daevid her dingo Virgin and all her favourite animals.”

Born Gillian “Gilli” Mary Smyth in June, 1933, she studied at King’s College, London, before a brief spell teaching at the Sorbonne. In 1968, she began doing performance poetry with the Soft Machine, founded by her partner and long-time collaborator, Daevid Allen.

She co-founded Gong with Allen and Smyth also worked on spin-off projects, Mother Gong and Planet Gong.

In 1978, Smyth released a solo album Mother. She emigrated to Australia in 1982 where she continued performance poetry often under the name Shakti Yoni.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

October 2016

David Bowie, Lou Reed, David Crosby and Margo Price all feature in the new issue of Uncut, dated October 2016 and in shops now or available to buy digitally by clicking here.

Bowie is on the cover, and inside, Tony Visconti takes us on a trip into the archives, as Bowie’s lost album, The Gouster, is unveiled 42 years late. Plus, what’s next in the great man’s afterlife?

“David is very quick in the studio,” explains Visconti. “He works out things the night before, he’ll scribble things on a piece of paper, then we get it very quickly. The reason for that is he hires the best people.”

Uncut discovers the harrowing story behind Lou Reed‘s “offensive” 1977 masterpiece, Street Hassle, a tale involving whisky, speed and replica human heads. “That studio was a sight to be seen,” says guitarist Ritchie Fliegler. “You had your amp, but instead of a microphone in front, there were… heads. Heads on sticks. It looked like Vlad The Impaler was making a record with his victims.”

Elsewhere, David Crosby – returning with a new album, Lighthouse, in October – discusses the evils of Desert Trip, endorsements from the Vatican, how Miles Davis discovered The Byrds, and how he’s ready to go into battle with CSNY against Donald Trump. “I’m a bozo, man!” he tells us.

Uncut heads out on a Nashville bar crawl with Margo Price, the runaway country success story of 2016, to discover how hard times and personal tragedy led to her album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. “My first 27 years weren’t a walk in the park,” she says, “so I look at the positives.”

We also explore the strange story of Granny Takes A Trip, and how a gang of psychedelic tailors and shopkeepers changed the look and culture of 1960s London – Marianne Faithfull, Kenney Jones, Joe Boyd, Neil Innes, Granny’s founder Nigel Waymouth and more reveal all. “We were one of the first [boutiques],” says John Pearse, Waymouth’s partner in the store. “I guess it was a time when everything seemed possible – and it was possible, because we made it happen.”

The Turtles recall the creation of their US No 1 hit “Happy Together”, while Van Der Graaf Generator look back on the greatest albums of their career – “From the outside we must’ve looked mad!”

Devendra Banhart answers your questions, while we review new albums from the likes of Drive-By Truckers, Angel Olsen, Wilco, Billy Bragg and Jenny Hval, and archive releases from Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles, Jack White, NRBQ and more…

LCD Soundsystem and Frazey Ford are reviewed live, and we catch the new documentary on The Beatles‘ touring years, alongside a host of other DVDs, Blu-rays and films.

Our front section features Wizz Jones, remembering his late sparring partner John Renbourn, Pete Wylie, Noura Mint Seymali and unseen Kate Bush photos.

Sounds Of The New West: The Class Of 2016, free on the front of this issue, continues our run of Americana CDs, and features the finest modern talents – from Margo Price to Karl Blau, Jason Isbell to Hiss Golden Messenger, William Tyler to Shovels & Rope.

The new issue of Uncut, dated October 2016, is out now.

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Introducing the new Uncut

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Welcome to the new Uncut! As you might have noticed, we’ve spruced things up a little bit. The idea is really to give the place a new lick of paint, as it were; behind our stylish David Bowie cover, the biggest change is that we’ve moved the reviews section to a much more prominent position. As John’s written in his Editor’s Diary blog, the shift emphasizes a critical part of our remit here at Uncut: to champion new music and to place it within the broader context of the rich, musical traditions that we love. For our free 15-track CD, we thought we’d compliment this relaunch issue with a new volume of Sounds Of The New West – our much-loved series of compilations stretching back to 1998. The Class Of 2016 edition features Margo Price, Jason Isbell, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sturgill Simpson, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Drive-By Truckers and many more. It’s out today (23 Aug) or you can download it.

We’d love to know what you think of the new look. The address, as ever, is: uncut_feedback@timeinc.com.

What can I tell you about the contents of the issue, then? In the past few weeks there has been plenty of speculation about David Bowie’s ‘lost’ album, The Gouster. Nothing, however, has been assembled that is quite as comprehensive as our 11-page cover story. Tony Visconti talks John Robinson through the making of this album in astonishing detail, illuminating Bowie’s remarkable working practices. There are 20-page telegrams, conceptual feedback and a love of early R&B records. “With David’s music,” Visconti tells us, “you have to be on your toes.” We also take a revelatory trip into Bowie’s archives and look ahead to what come next. “David was so in control in terms of the creative,” we learn.

Elsewhere in the issue, Stephen Deusner enjoys a long night out in Nashville in the company of Margo Price, David Crosby tells me that he’d happily go out with CSNY on an anti-Trump ticket (among other things), Damien Love talks to Lou Reed’s bandmates and confidants about the sordid madness behind the Street Hassle album while Tom Pinnock discovers how a gang of psychedelic tailors helped shape the culture of Swinging London.

In our regulars, Devendra Banhart talks about hard times on the streets of Paris, military coups in Venezuela and the alien lifeforms within us in An Audience With…, The Turtles remember the Making Of “Happy Together”, Van Der Graaf Generator recall their deep, intense musical journey in Album By Album, and King Creosote’s Kenny Anderson shares his favourite songs in My Life In Music.

Our typically busy reviews pages includes new albums from Drive-By Truckers, Angel Olsen, Wilco, Shovels & Rope, Ultimate Painting, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Okkervil River and Jenny Hall. In our Archive section, we look at reissues from Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin’s Complete BBC Sessions, Jack White’s compilation of acoustic recordings, some welcome reissues from Jack Rose and a look at the East German underground that flourished behind the Iron Curtain during the late Seventies and Eighties.

In film, meanwhile, I review The Beatles tour documentary, David Mackenzie’s neo-Western Hell Or High Water, Viggo Mortensen indie-spirited Captain Fantastic, Ira Sachs’ Little Men and the new Chills doc. In DVD, we revisit Alex Cox’s Sid & Nancy and check out a new Killing Joke doc. In Live, we review LCD Soundsystem and Frazey Ford while in Books Allan catches up with Mike Love’s autobiography and a new (excellent) memoir about his time in Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized by Will Carruthers.

There’s more, of course. In the front section, we showcase some unseen Kate Bush images, Wizz Jones remembers his old friend John Renbourn, Pete Wylie returns and we introduce Noura Mint Seymali, the new African queen of desert blues. We also preview the highlights of this year’s End Of The Road festival.

Taking of which, if any of you are going to End Of The Road, you might want to keep checking back on Uncut’s Facebook and Twitter feeds as we count down to this year’s festival with a series of archive interviews from this year’s fantastic line-up.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.

Exclusive! Hear an unreleased Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell track “Waltz Across Texas Tonight” from Trio box set

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We’re delighted to host an exclusive, unreleased track from the forthcoming Trio box set.

Co-written by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, “Waltz Across Texas Tonight” dates from the recording sessions for the Trio II album.

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris released two albums together, Trio (1987) and Trio II (1999).

On September 9, Rhino will issue The Complete Trio Collection, a three-disc set compiling the two albums and will feature a 20-track bonus disc of previously unreleased material and alternate takes.

On the same date, a limited-edition deluxe set will also be available, featuring all of the music in a clamshell box that features an expanded booklet. Also available will be a single-disc edition titled My Dear Companion: Selections From The Trio Collection, featuring a mix of songs taken from the three-disc set, and Farther Along, a double-LP set of all the bonus material from the collection.

The deluxe set can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

The October 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on David Bowie, plus Margo Price, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Devendra Banhart, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Turtles, The Beatles, Granny Takes A Trip, Kate Bush, Drive-By Truckers, Jack White, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Wilco and more plus 32 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.