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Efterklang release their latest EP as a pair of socks

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Danish trio Efterklang have today released a four-track EP called Lyset, a companion to their fifth album Altid Sammen which was released in September.

Lyset is available digitally, on cassette tape and as a limited socks edition with download code. Watch a video for the brand new title track below:

Lyset was recorded in Copenhagen on September 16, 2019, and its title track (meaning “The Light”) was co-written with Swedish artist Sir Was. The rest of the EP consists of reworked Altid Sammen tracks. Lyset features contributions from the South Denmark Girls Choir (70-strong choir based in the trio’s home-town of Sønderborg who also featured on their previous album Piramida) and Efterklang live members Simon Toldam (piano) and Øyunn (drums and vocals).

You can buy the cassette and socks edition of Lyset (the socks come in either burgundy or ‘natural’ colours) from Efterklang’s official store.

Khruangbin and Leon Bridges announce joint EP

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Houston-based downtempo trio Khruangbin have teamed up with fellow Texan Leon Bridges for a new EP to be released jointly by Dead Oceans, Columbia Records and Night Time Stories on February 7.

Hear Texas Sun’s title track below:

“We try not to have too much of an intention, because it gets in the way of what the music wants to do,” says Khruangbin’s Laura Lee. “If you just let the music do what it’s supposed to do, it will reveal itself. We tried to take that same approach with Leon. For us, it was opening up our world to have another person in it. But all of it feels like Texas to me.”

You can pre-order Texas Sun here.

The 26th Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2019

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Any playlist is always going to be boosted by the inclusion of a new Greg Dulli tune; with Afghan Whigs on hiatus, “Pantomima” is the first taster of his debut solo album Random Desire, due out in February. We also welcome back the British DIY pop institution that is Cornershop, there’s a new permutation of mighty feminist supergroup Les Amazones D’Afriques, Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson starts an argument with The International Teachers Of Pop, Trent Reznor covers David Bowie (again), and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo teases his excellent new album with Raül Refree. Plus there’s plenty more besides – and not a Christmas song in sight…

GREG DULLI
“Pantomima”
(Royal Cream/BMG)

CORNERSHOP
“No Rock: Save In Roll”
(Ample Play)

LES AMAZONES D’AFRIQUES
“Heavy”
(Real World)


INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP ft JASON WILLIAMSON

“I Stole Yer Plimsoles”
(Desolate Spools/Republic Of Music)

WRANGLER
“Anthropocene”
(Bella Union)

AVEY TARE
“Midnight Special” / “Red Light Water Show” / “Disc One”
(Domino)

LEE RANALDO & RAÜL REFREE
“Names of North End Women”
(Mute)


TRENT REZNOR & ATTICUS ROSS

“Life On Mars”
(Null Corporation)

SQUIRREL FLOWER
“Headlights”
(Polyvinyl)


KEELEY FORSYTH

“Start Again”
(The Leaf Label)


ALEX REX

“Haunted House”
(Tin Angel)


ANTIBALAS

“Fight Am Finish”
(Daptone)

RUSSELL HASWELL
“The Wild Horses Of The Revolution Have Arrived Without A Knight”
(Diagonal)

Kraftwerk to headline All Points East

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Kraftwerk will headline London’s All Points East festival in Victoria Park, a 2020 UK exclusive for their 3D show.

Also on the bill for the May 29 date are Iggy Pop, Johnny Marr, Kim Gordon, The Orb, Anna Calvi, Chromatics, Grandmaster Flash, Jehnny Beth and John Maus, with more to be announced.

Tickets cost £65 plus booking fee and go on sale on Friday (December 6) at 10am from here.

Pearl Jam unveiled as BST Hyde Park headliners for July 10

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Pearl Jam have announced a European tour for June and July 2020, marking 30 years since the band’s formation in 1990.

The only UK date will be a headline show as part of American Express Presents BST Hyde Park on July 10, for which they’ll be joined by Pixies and White Reaper.

For some of the other dates, Pearl Jam will be supported by Idles. Check out the full itinerary below:

June
Tues 23rd FRANKFURT, GERMANY, Festhalle *
Thurs 25th BERLIN, GERMANY, Waldbuhne *
Sat 27th STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, Lollapalooza Festival Stockholm
Mon 29th COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, Royal Arena *

July
Thurs 2nd WERCHTER, BELGIUM, Rock Werchter Festival
Sun 5th IMOLA, ITALY, Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari **
Tues 7th VIENNA, AUSTRALIA, Wiener Stadhalle +
Fri 10th LONDON, UK, American Express presents BST Hyde Park ** +
Mon 13th KRAKOW, POLAND, Tauron Arena +
Wed 15th BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, Budapest Arena +
Fri 17th ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, Hallenstadion +
Sun 19th PARIS, FRANCE, Lollapalooza Festival Paris
Wed 22nd AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND, Ziggo Dome +

* With special guest Idles
** With special guest Pixies
+ With special guest White Reaper

General public tickets for most concert dates go on sale on Saturday, December 7 at 10am GMT, including BST Hyde Park – tickets for which are available here. Exceptions to that date: Lollapalooza Stockholm tickets are on sale now. Lollapalooza Paris tickets go on sale December 4 at 10am CET. Rock Werchter tickets go on sale Friday, December 6 at 10am CET.

A special ticket pre-sale for all non-festival dates begins today for current Pearl Jam Ten Club members.

Richard Thompson to play Cropredy solo and with Fairport Convention

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The first names have been announced for this year’s Cropredy festival, taking place on August 13-15 at its usual site in North Oxfordshire.

As per tradition, Fairport Convention will open the festival with an acoustic set; while to close the event, the band’s Full House line-up of Simon Nicol, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks and Dave Pegg will be joined by Chris Leslie (standing in for the late Dave Swarbrick) to play the whole album on its 50th anniversary.

Richard Thompson
will also play a solo set. Other acts on the bill include Clannad, Martyn Joseph, Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited, Turin Brakes, Rosalie Cunningham, The Sharon Shannon Quartet, Maddie Morris, Emily Barker and Trevor Horn Band.

Tickets are on sale now from the official Cropredy site. The first 1,000 orders will receive a Christmas card signed by all five members of Fairport Convention.

Sudan Archives – Athena

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To anyone who studied the violin at school, the four notes that open Athena’s ninth track, “House Of Open Tuning II”, will be strikingly familiar. Brittney Denise Parks, however, is more interested in following her own path, so she swiftly deconstructs the commonplace sound of those open strings over a fragmented beat.

That’s Sudan Archives, then: a study of contradictions, the pursuit of a singular vision. Parks started going by the nickname Sudan in her teens, after telling her mother that she didn’t think her birth name “fit”, and then, when her music executive stepfather tried to mould her into a pop duo with her twin sister, she was kicked out of the band and moved from Ohio to Los Angeles. There, she released two critically acclaimed EPs equally inspired by hip-hop and Sudanese fiddle, featuring little more than her voice, her violin and a loop pedal.

Athena, however, swaps those sparse textures for lusher arrangements, direct lyrics and a slate of collaborators. It brings together the many facets of Sudan Archives – religious and sensual, independent and codependent, tender and menacing – in a way that feels very deliberate, particularly when you learn that the final tracklisting was whittled down from around 60 potential songs. The album artwork features Parks posed as Athena, the Greek goddess of war: a reference, Parks says, to Black Athena, a disputed academic work about the forgotten African roots of classical civilisation. Squint and the pose, in 
which a bronze-cast Parks holds a violin aloft, could also be read as a black feminine spin on the most famous probable portrait of Vivaldi – but the Athena track that bears his name would almost certainly make the 18th-century composer blush. On “Black Vivaldi Sonata”, Parks plays both the seduced and seductress, her violin a needling pizzicato under layers of bedroom haze. “Who really needs to be rescued?” she croons, the sound of a woman turning away from her upbringing in the church in favour of more earthly pleasures.

The following “Down On Me” may open with layered violins that call to mind the tune-up of some heavenly orchestra, but the song makes no pretence at duality – this is straight-up raunch. Swirling strings, both plucked and bowed, back playfully liquid vocals in which Parks has great fun with the double entendre of the song’s title. “Green Eyes” almost does away with the vocals entirely: gasps and a hypnotic electronic melody do as much of the 
heavy lifting as the part-threatening, part-enticing repeated refrain: “Just feel it, don’t fight it.”

As if in recognition of the evolution between her earlier work and these atmospheric compositions, Parks takes her time building to that point. Album opener “Did Ya Know” acts as both bridge and jumping-off point, its pizzicato opening vulnerable and sparse before the plucked strings give way to a beat. It’s a breakup song, the yearning buried low in the mix as Parks tries to remind herself that the “little girl” who thought she could “rule the world” wouldn’t settle for somebody who has already moved on.

Lead single “Confessions” opens 
with a powerful orchestral surge, a 
violin riff and some handclap-style percussion – a luscious update of 2017’s “Come Meh Way”, as if to symbolise this new phase. The title alludes to Parks’ childhood performing in Ohio churches, the lyrics to her relocation to LA. “I’m 
too unique to kneel,” she sings, “there 
is a place that I call home but it’s not where 
I am welcome.”

The rhythmic, tender “Iceland Moss” finds Parks back in breakup mode, her soft, soulful voice exploring the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go complexity at the heart of a failed relationship. It lingers long after listening, headphones revealing the complexity of the music’s fades and swells.

The final five tracks fit together as a suite of songs documenting independence, financial and otherwise, and an escape from a controlling relationship. Independence comes with strident beats and, on “Glorious”, a guest verse from Cincinnati rapper D-Eight and the closest thing that the album has to a conventional chorus; entrapment with tremulous vibrato and a sticky, swampy melody. If, on “Limitless”, Parks is giving herself a pep talk, then the church girl who became her own saviour could be her greatest contradiction of all.

The Irishman

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Martin Scorsese has made movies about Jesus, Bob Dylan, Howard Hughes, Italian cinema, even the Dalai Lama and his own parents. But it’s the crime genre that the 76-year-old has most artfully made his own – perhaps because his interests run so much deeper than guns and machismo. The Irishman is a rich and thrilling return to this territory. It tells of one man’s absorption in the East Coast underworld of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and offers echoes of Scorsese’s past mob tales, from the scrappy tussles of Mean Streets in the 1970s to the grand sweeps of Goodfellas and Casino in the 1990s. It comes with familiar faces – Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel – and familiar beats: the rise followed by the fall; the effect of crime on families; the spiritual knock-on of killing. But there’s something wistful about The Irishman that means it has its own mood and momentum. It delivers a dose of dread and regret.

Let’s not pretend The Irishman doesn’t overflow with pleasures you want from a Scorsese mob movie: wicked humour; wordy conversations in dimly lit restaurant booths; sidewalk assassinations; musical coups; seductive period stylings. Also, like many Scorsese films, the shape of The Irishman is bold and playful, revealing itself over the movie. And there’s a lot to reveal as Scorsese takes three-and-a-half hours to tell of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a Philadelphia war veteran and trucker drawn into the orbit of the mob and shady organised labour in 1950s America.

We first meet Sheeran elderly in a care home, reminiscing to someone unseen – presumably Carl Brandt, author of I Heard You Paint Houses, the 2004 book on which Steven Zaillian’s script is based. Those memories plunge us back to the 1950s when Sheeran falls in with mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), who introduces him to corrupt union chief Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). The friendship between Sheeran and Hoffa is the heart of the movie – and the source of the film’s most tense stretch when Hoffa’s stock collapses in the mafia’s eyes in the mid-1970s and Sheeran is left to decide where his loyalties lie.

Scorsese has used a digital de-ageing process to let his actors play their characters across the decades, meaning we see De Niro as we recall him from his ’70s prime, or Pesci as he looked when dissecting funny in Goodfellas. They age before us; or get younger in flashback. The disruption works in the story’s favour: it reminds you of ageing, the deadly passage of time.

The de-ageing also matters less because the performances are so enveloping. Who can deny the buzz of seeing De Niro and Pesci back on screen together? Or Keitel, back in a Scorsese movie for the first time since Taxi Driver, even if his scenes as a senior mob boss are few? Pesci’s face is thinner than we remember from Goodfellas and more wrinkled, 
but the character is more stately than that hothead. 
De Niro and Pacino deliver their best work in years.

Examining a life of crime when the party’s over is nothing new for Scorsese – that’s the second half of Goodfellas. Yet he goes further. He hangs around not only until the party’s over – but until the lights are up, everyone is gone and the hangover has kicked in. This final stretch sets the film apart from Scorsese’s other crime tales and turns it into a requiem for gangster stories. Surely only a filmmaker with plenty of life behind him – and plenty of such stories – could make a film so entertaining and yet so solemn and sad.

Van Morrison: “I’m current – I’m always current”

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The latest issue of Uncut – in UK shops now, or available to buy online by clicking here – features an exclusive interview with Van Morrison to mark the release of Three Chords & The Truth, his sixth album in three years. In contrast to some of his recent media skirmishes, Morrison is (relatively) forthcoming, discussing his current prodigious output with Graeme Thomson.

Are we witnessing a purple patch? “Oh yeah, yeah,” Morrison enthuses. “Definitely!” He goes as far as suggesting that, in fact, he’s just getting the hang of this songwriting lark. “You know, at first, I was learning. I didn’t just start as a songwriter and know everything. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing for quite a while, I had to work it out and, like anything, I had to evolve. Just like if someone only writes one or two books, they have to go on from there.” It’s certainly food for thought. Morrison, it is clear, believes he has not yet delivered his magnum opus.

You’ve released six albums in the past three years. Do you feel like you’re on a roll at the moment? “I do, definitely. I mean, it’s difficult to answer these kinds of questions, because one doesn’t really know. It just is what it is, and it feels like there is momentum at this time. I don’t really like to question what I do… I don’t have to, you know. It’s not necessary for me to question it. It’s probably just momentum.”

You told Uncut in 2017 that you no longer enjoyed making albums. Is that still the case? “No, I think I started to enjoy it again. I did two albums with Joey [DeFrancesco], working really fast, like the way we used to work in the old days. Well, it wasn’t seen as ‘fast’ in the old days, it was just how it was. I haven’t been used to working that way since the ’60s and early ’70s, but getting back to working that way, I got on a roll and I’m enjoying it more now. Also, there is a difference when you are doing it under duress. In the old days I was doing it under duress. The way things were worked out, I was doing it in between gigs, and it was very pressurised. Now it’s not, because I manage it and produce it myself. I’m not going through a record company. I deliver the product to the record company. In the old days it was a very different thing.”

We see Dylan, for example, carefully curating his legacy in his own lifetime with vast boxsets of outtakes, alternate versions, live cuts and films. Does that interest you? “My situation is very, very different to a lot of people, because 
I’m still putting out new stuff, and that’s really what I do. My modus operandi has always been about that, being in the present… I’m current. I’m always current.”

Do you pay much heed to 
the deconstruction and fragmentation of the album format in the age of downloads and streaming? “As we know, record sales for people not doing pop have diminished, and everyone is aware of that. So it is what it is. There is a certain core audience. It’s probably not as big as it was before, but I don’t think anyone’s is, the way things are going with streaming and all that. 
It doesn’t bother me. As long as I have a platform for releasing my product, it suits me fine. We know it’s not going to be Top 10, but 
that’s OK. I’m not really trying to get on the 
record company’s Valentine’s list, know what I mean? I never was!”

You can read much more from Van Morrison as he delves deeper into his past (and future), plus matters of transcendence and mythical bootlegs, in the latest issue of Uncut – in shops now with David Bowie on the cover.

Prog Rock – Ultimate Genre Guide

A deluxe magazine featuring incisive new writing on the greats of golden-age UK progressive rock? Supported by entertaining archive features? And featuring a list of the 40 best UK prog albums? As Pink Floyd put it, it’s “a good concept”. It’s the Ultimate Genre Guide: Prog Rock!

Buy a copy online here.

Send us your questions for Greg Dulli

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Over the course of more than 30 years fronting The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers, Greg Dulli has established himself as one of the most entertaining raconteurs – and most self-examining lyricists – in rock.

Trailblazers when it comes to blending alternative rock with R&B and soul, The Afghan Whigs (from Ohio) were one of the first bands outside of Seattle to sign to Sub Pop. They rode the major label grunge boom in the 90s with classic albums Gentlemen, Black Love and 1965, before splitting – and then triumphantly reuniting at the beginning of this decade, having amassed even more hard-won wisdom to share.

Outside of the Whigs, Dulli’s worked with a staggering array of musicians and singers, from Dave Grohl to Prince protégé Apollonia. He was in the all-star Beatles tribute band assembled for 1994’s Backbeat film (alongside Grohl, Thurston Moore and REM’s Mike Mills) and teamed with Mark Lanegan for a 2008 album as The Gutter Twins.

He’s also managed to find time amid all this to run a few bars in LA and New Orleans. Basically, what we’re saying is: Greg Dulli’s seen a few things.

So what do you want to ask him? Send your questions to audiencewith@uncut.co.uk by Monday December 2 and Greg will answer the best ones in a future issue of Uncut.

Neil Young to release Homegrown in early 2020

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Neil Young has revealed that his shelved 1975 acoustic album Homegrown will be getting its long-rumoured release early next year.

Homegrown will be our first release in 2020, sounding great in vinyl – as it was meant to be,” wrote Young on Neil Young Archives. “Made in the mid-nineteen seventies! …A record full of love lost and explorations. A record that has been hidden for decades. Too personal and revealing to expose in the freshness of those times. The unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes A Time, Homegrown is coming to NYA first in 2020!”

A video on the NYA homepage shows Neil Young’s long-time engineer John Hanlon mastering Homegrown in “an all analog chain. This is the way records were made when we started out. This is the way we made them sound great. We were told that this was impossible now, the Homegrown tapes were too damaged to use; we had to use Digital. We didn’t agree. We did not accept. We painstakingly restored the analog masters of Homegrown.”

More news on a firm release date for Homegrown when we have it.

Marriage Story

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A few years ago, Noah Baumbach fell into a groove. His earlier films The Squid And The Whale and Margot At The Wedding had been wry portraits of families at war. But as the director entered his forties, his films shifted focus onto younger people – in particular While We’re Young and Mistress America, which tapped into a fresh, funny, zeitgeisty spirit. However, Baumbach’s previous film The Meyerowitz Stories revisited the familial furies of his earlier films, as does Marriage Story, his new film, set around a devastating separation.

The Squid And The Whale, about the fallout from urban middle-class family breakdown, was largely assumed to be based on the rupture between his own parents – novelist Jonathan Baumbach and Georgia Brown, ex-film critic of The Village Voice, who divorced when Baumbach was 14 and his brother was nine. Marriage Story is autobiographical, too, drawing from Baumbach’s own recent divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh.

As you’d expect from Baumbach, there are plenty of witty observations, while some of the wonderful farcical moments showcase his ability to pivot from tragedy to comedy, often within the same scene. Adam Driver’s Charlie and Scarlett Johansson’s Nicole are typical of the bohemian protagonists familiar from all Baumbach’s films; he’s a hip New York theatre director, and she’s the Hollywood starlet whose career he transformed. Somewhat unrealistically, the script has Nicole ditch both Charlie and her artistic cred to return home to LA to make a dreadful TV series, which is where their marriage unravels, with their infant son caught in the middle.

Baumbach’s film is sincere, even affectionate, as it follows this disintegrating family unit. There are flashes of something darker – the machinations of the divorce industry allow for some juicy, scenery-chewing appearances by Laura Dern and Ray Liotta as the pair’s bulldog lawyers. But mostly Marriage Story is a low-key but compelling tale of a conscious uncoupling.

Gene Clark – No Other

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Gene Clark was a restless character, never staying in one place musically for too long. Handsome and intuitive, with a fine, soulful voice and a prodigious gift for poetry and songwriting, after some brief early successes he seemed singularly incapable of making the most of his profile; one narrative has Clark as the perpetual commercial underachiever, the lost star hiding from the light. With this reissue of No Other, Clark’s finest hour, another, much more important narrative gets reinforced – the visionary not so much ahead of the game as far removed from it, a creative talent inhabiting his own universe, the spirit guide asking questions about the very core of life as we live it. Wisdom hard-won from the highs and lows of the everyday? He 
knew all about that.

Clark first came to some notice as a member of the New Christy Minstrels, whom he joined in 1963; one year later, he was out of the group and working with Jim McGuinn and David Crosby, pulling together the first lineup of The Byrds. Clark contributed some of their early classics – “Set You Free This Time”, “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”, “Eight Miles High” – but left in 1966, tired of being a pop star, overwhelmed by expectations. 1967 brought an album with the Gosdin Brothers, featuring a clutch of Clark classics; over the next few years, he explored country in the Dillard & Clark duo, and in 1971, released his first solo gem, White Light, its nighttime hues granting songs like “From A Spanish Guitar” and “With Tomorrow” a most mysterious tenor.

That album appeared at a time of change for Clark. He’d married Carlie Lynn McCummings and settled in Mendocino, California. Soon after the LP’s release, he was tapped by Dennis Hopper for some songs for his film The American Dreamer, and he also recorded some still-unearthed demos with Terry Melcher. Clark’s writing was prolific, but a brief reformation with The Byrds in 1972 promised much and delivered little. It was time for Clark to cut loose and make his masterpiece. So, in April 1974, Clark shacked up in The Village Recorder studio in Los Angeles, with producer Tommy Kaye – who’d already made a stir by lavishly overspending on Bob Neuwirth’s debut album – calling in a cast of session musicians to coax musical poetry from some of Clark’s most open-ended, multi-layered writing. Big and bold, the album that resulted was ambitious, expensive and a commercial flop.

It was also deeply felt and visionary, though, and No Other more than withstands the ex-post-facto hype that’s been flung its way. The songs came out of a meditative period – talking about the writing process, Clark told Paul Kendall in 1977, 
“I would just sit in the living room, which had a huge bay window, and stare at the ocean for hours at a time… In many instances with the No Other album, after a day of meditation looking at something which is a very natural force, I’d come up with something.” Certainly, there’s something oceanic about both the songs and the production here. No Other is wide-eyed, unwieldy at times, awash with gospel backing vocals, swirls of keening strings, a hybrid monster voraciously swallowing genres – no surprise, really, given Clark later said the album was influenced by two similarly catholic sets, the Stones’ Goats Head Soup and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions.

“Life’s Greatest Fool” opens No Other, its lilting gait and countrified melancholy soon cleaved apart by a soaring choir, rising from the song with breathless intent. “Silver Raven” glitters, an incandescent light shimmering through its liquid languor; “No Other” itself is a late-night reverie, a down ’n’ dirty dirge, an epically over-fuzzed bass rutting its way through the song. “Some Misunderstanding” is Clark at his most tender, and accordingly, the song’s verses are open and spacious; in the chorus, this most questing of lyrics is undergirded with rattling organs and swooning gospel singers.

There are moments of gentleness, like the sweet country soul of “The True One”, perhaps the most straightforward number on the set. Throughout, though, No Other plays deceptively, a complexly structured beast that manages to feel loose, funky, vibrant, sometimes swampy, sometimes epic, no more so than on the cosmic dialectics of “Strength Of Strings”, its centrepiece, a stirring hymnal lost in its own reverie, nimble bass plumbing the depths while tremolo slide guitar and clusters of chordal piano corral around one of Clark’s greatest vocal performances. Heavy and hypnotic, it’s no surprise that Ivo Watts-Russell’s This Mortal Coil chose it to cover on 1986’s Filigree & Shadow.

It makes sense, then, that this reissue of No Other is being released by 4AD; in its first, finest blush, across the ’80s, under the guidance of Watts-Russell, the label balanced rococo flourishes with a classicist air informed by the progressive singer-songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s. Helped by Sid Griffin and others, it has unearthed session tapes that yielded two discs’ worth of previously unreleased takes, though to hear everything, you’ll need to drop some serious coin for the deluxe silver boxset, which also features a lavish book, a DVD including a film about the making of No Other, and an exclusive 7in. The album’s been remastered at Abbey Road and there’s a HD 5.1 surround mix, too. If that’s not enough, there are two flexi discs with otherwise unavailable takes if you order the box directly from 
the label.

It’d be churlish to begrudge the label its enthusiasm – the album’s certainly worth the treatment. And digging into the unreleased material, what you hear proves revelatory in many respects – a lot of these earlier versions, as works in progress, lack the luxuriant arrangements of the finished LP, and the cosmic visionary at the heart of the final product falls away, revealing a gorgeous collection of beautifully played country-rock songs, touched at times by the kinetic energies of the best soul and R&B, placed in service to an unfaltering voice. The players may drift in and out of orbit a little, but Clark sits there through it all, the unflappable centre of attention.

Among the highlights of this material are a few lovely versions of “Train Leaves Here This Morning”, a number from The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark, from way back in 1968 – its ease and breeziness, laid-back and cantering, is a little at odds with the No Other songs, and it makes sense that Clark held it back. The understated third version of “Some Misunderstanding” reveals the simple tale of sadness that is, maybe, a little lost in the expansive warp and weft of the album version. Tracking the development of “Strength Of Strings”, No Other’s epic, is thrilling, from a formative, almost stumbling first version, through the confidence of the second take, and on into the album’s mindboggling feat. Throughout, Griffin and John Wood’s mixing is spot on.

Some will prefer the stripped-back, elemental performances that are compiled on the extra discs, and they are certainly magnificent recordings in their own right. But part of No Other’s magic is its ambition, Clark’s desire to reach for a music well beyond the pop, country and folk rock he’d already pioneered. That vision, enabled by a producer who didn’t really seem quite to know when to reign things in, is matched here by songs that take on the very essence of existence as their métier. It would read as ridiculous if it wasn’t so powerful, but part of the joy of No Other is the way it skirts the improbable, the laughable. Sometimes, throwing it down for all to hear means you’ve got to take some big risks.

The Specials’ Terry Hall: “I feel blessed”

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The current issue of Uncut – in UK shops now and available to order online here – features a candid interview with Terry Hall, as he looks back over a triumphant year during which The Specials enjoyed both a 40th anniversary and a No 1 album with Encore.

“A lot of things open up if you get a No 1,” he tells Uncut’s John Lewis. “You get to go on BBC local news if you want. If you get a No 3 record, not so much. It tied in nicely with the 40th anniversary, and the dates grew and grew – I think we did 70 or 80 dates this year. So it’s been hectic and very, very tiring – there was a lot of moaning from knackered sixtysomething men! But it was all good.”

In June, The Specials celebrated their 40th anniversary by playing four nights at the ruins of Coventry Cathedral. “The only thing they’ve hosted there was some murder mystery thing, where someone pretends to be the butler or something,” says Hall. “But the gigs were really lovely – a real event. A bit of civic pride.”

The singer reflects on how The Specials’ audience has changed in the 10 years since they reformed: “After the 30th anniversary, there were a lot of blokes, like a football crowd, but in the last 10 years it’s really changed. Especially in America. We’ve even noticed women in the audience. Women! That’s like, ‘Woah, what are you doing here?!'”

As well as all those group milestones, 2019 also saw Hall turn 60 – a moment he’s been looking forward to all his life. “I’ve wanted to be 60 since I was about 27, because at that point everything I liked was being performed by 60-year-olds like Andy Williams, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra,” he says. “I love how they’d carry on doing what they do. You have to shut everything out to do that. I feel blessed to have reached that stage. A lot of people think that 60 is part of the downward spiral, which it is if you allow it to be, but you can fight it and say, no it isn’t, it’s just part of this story.

“It means I got my Freedom Pass from Transport For London,” he adds with a grin. “I bloody love travelling around London on buses, and I plan to fully abuse this pass as much as I can. I bloody love being 60… I’ve always thought I’d make my best music in the years between 60 and 70.”

You can read much more from Terry Hall and The Specials in the new issue of Uncut, out now with David Bowie on the cover.

Hear The Who’s new single, “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise”

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The Who are poised to release their new album Who via Polydor on December 6.

Hear the latest single to be taken from it, “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise”, below:

The band have also today revealed details of the deluxe editions of the album, which includes two previously thought ‘lost’ tracks from the 1960s: “Got Nothing To Prove” (on the deluxe CD) and “Sand” (on the triple red, white and blue coloured vinyl edition).

Of these tracks, Pete Townshend says: “Both these songs are from the summer of 1966. They would not have been rejected by the band members but rather by my then creative mentor, Who manager Kit Lambert. In 1967, when the song seemed destined for the bottom drawer, I did offer “Got Nothing To Prove” to Jimmy James And The Vagabonds who used to support us at The Marquee in 1965. Jimmy liked the song, and suggested making it more R&B, in a slower tempo, but nothing happened. I have a feeling Kit may have felt the song sounded as though it was sung by an older and more self-satisfied man than I was in real life. That would have applied to Roger too I suppose. Now, it works. Back then, perhaps it didn’t. [Who co-producer] Dave Sardy and I decided to ask George Fenton to do a ‘Swinging Sixties’ band arrangement to make the song more interesting, but also to place it firmly in an Austin Powers fantasy. I love it.”

Of the track “Sand” (that will be released as a red vinyl 10” as part of the triple vinyl package), Townshend says: “This is a simple idea, about a sunny beach vacation romance that doesn’t last once the lovers get back home to the rain. Again, Kit passed on this, even as an album track, and it simply got filed away. I have always loved it, but have been waiting for computers to get smart enough to fix some of the tape stretch problems that had affected the demo. I also revived this in my home studio by doing roughly what I felt the Who would have done had this ever been recorded by them. So there is added backing vocals, Rickenbacker, and acoustic 12 string, and a feedback section to properly evoke the era.”

The deluxe CD of Who also features “This Gun Will Misfire” and “Danny And His Ponies” – two tracks recorded and sung by Townshend during the sessions for the album. You can pre-order the album here.

Hear U2’s new song with AR Rahman

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To mark U2’s first ever performance in India – The Joshua Tree Tour visits Mumbai on December 15 – the band have released a new collaboration with composer AR Rahman.

“Ahimsa” is titled after the Sanskrit word for non-violence. Hear it below:

“It has been an absolute joy to work with AR on this track,” says The Edge. “A superstar and a talent both towering and generous, we are especially excited to visit his homeland in just a few weeks. India has been on our bucket list for a very long time, the principles of ahimsa or non-violence have served as an important pillar of what our band stands for since we first came together to play music. We can’t wait to experience the culture of India first hand, a place that brings together the modern and the ancient all at once.”

AR Rahman adds: “Ahimsa requires courage and strength. A quality that is impervious to weapons or power. It’s a mission which is most needed to heal the modern world and it is incredible timing to collaborate with U2, with their amazing legacy, to revive this movement.”

This standalone single will be followed by the digital release of several remixes of songs from U2’s back catalogue by Indian artists.

Drive-By Truckers announce new album, The Unraveling

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Drive-By Truckers have announced that their 12th studio album The Unraveling will be released by ATO Records on January 31.

It was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis by engineer Matt Ross-Spang and longtime DBT producer David Barbe.

Hear the first track from it, “Armageddon’s Back In Town”, below:

“The past three-and-a-half years were among the most tumultuous our country has ever seen,” says the band’s Patterson Hood, “and the duality between the generally positive state of affairs within our band while watching so many things we care about being decimated and destroyed all around us informed the writing of this album to the core… I’ve always said that all of our records are political but I’ve also said that ‘politics is personal’. With that in mind, this album is especially personal.”

Drive-By Truckers have also confirmed two UK shows in June, check out their full list of 2020 tourdates below:

JANUARY
16 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theater
17 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
18 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre

FEBRUARY
13 – Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
14 – Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
15 – Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
18 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
19 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater
21 – Webster Hall – New York, NY
22 – Boston, MA – Somerville Theatre
23 – Portland, ME – State Theatre
25 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
27 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
28 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
29 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

MARCH
20 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
21 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
22 – Arcata, CA – Van Duzer Theatre
24 – Petaluma, CA – Mystic Theatre
26 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
27 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater
28 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
31 – Albuquerque, NM – El Rey Theater

APRIL
2 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
3 – Austin, TX – Scoot Inn
4 – Austin, TX – Scoot Inn
16 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
17 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
18 – Charleston, NC – High Water Festival *
21 – Winston-Salem, NC – The Ramkat
23 – Lexington, KY – Manchester Music Hall
24 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
25 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
27 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
28 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Live
29 – Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

MAY
1 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City
2 – Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees *

JUNE
1 – Raalte, NL – Ribs and Blues
3 – Dublin, IE – Vicar Street
5 – Leeds, UK – Irish Centre
6 – London, UK – O2 Forum
7 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
8 – Antwerp, BE – De Roma

Baxter Dury announces new album, The Night Chancers

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Baxter Dury has announced that his new album The Night Chancers will be released by Heavenly on March 20.

The album was co-produced with longtime collaborator Craig Silvey, and was recorded at Hoxa studios in West Hampstead, London, in May 2019.

Watch a video for lead single “Slumlord” below:

The Night Chancers is about being caught out in your attempt at being free,” says Dury. “It’s about someone leaving a hotel room at three in the morning. You’re in a posh room with big Roman taps and all that, but after they go suddenly all you can hear is the taps dripping, and you can see the debris of the night is around you. Then suddenly a massive party erupts, in the room next door. This happened to me and all I could hear was the night chancer, the hotel ravers.”

Dury has also announced a European tour for the spring, dates below:

Apr 17 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Apr 18 Glasgow St Luke’s
Apr 19 Hebden Bridge Heavenly @ The trades Club
Apr 21 Cardiff Tramshed
Apr 22 London Kentish Town Forum
Apr 23 Birmingham Institute
Apr 24 Manchester Academy 2
Apr 25 Bristol SWX
Apr 26 Brighton Concorde 2

Apr 29 Paris Gaite Lyrique
Apr 30 Paris Gaite Lyrique
May 2 Brussels Les Nuits Botanique
May 3 Amsterdam Zonnehuis
May 4 Hamburg Mojo
May 5 Berlin Kesselhaus
May 6 Cologne Gebaude 9

Tame Impala unveiled as first All Points East headliner

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Tame Impala have been unveiled as the first major act for 2020’s All Points East festival, taking place at London’s Victoria Park in late May.

The Aussie psych-rockers headline on Saturday 23, supported by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Caribou, Whitney, Glass Animals, Holy Fuck and Kelly Lee Owens, with more to be announced.

This will be the only UK show of 2020 for Tame Impala, who are poised to release their new album The Slow Rush on February 14.

Tickets are priced £65 (£99.95 VIP) for the day, and go on sale at 10am on Friday (November 22) from here.