Send us your questions for Damo Suzuki

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Damo Suzuki was famously discovered by Can’s Holger Czukay while performing some kind of noisy happening outside Munich’s Europa Cafe in April 1970. Hours later, he was in the band, adding his noisy happenings to Can’s ‘imperial phase’ run of albums: Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days.

For many, Suzuki’s ecstatic hollers and apocalyptic whispers were central to Can’s antic, otherworldly appeal; the perfect vocal interpretation of the strange rhythmic sorcery being summoned around him. Yet in his new autobiography, I Am Damo Suzuki – named after The Fall’s heartfelt homage – he makes clear that his tenure with “That German Band” was only one aspect of his lifelong mission: to spread peace by making “a kind of music that can communicate directly with the people”.

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Before he joined Can, Suzuki was a hippie traveller who left Japan to see if he could make a connection with people on the other side of the world. For the last 25 years or so he’s continued on much the same path, as the only permanent member of Damo Suzuki’s Network. The others are local pick-up musicians or ‘Sound Carriers’ who typically only meet Suzuki at Soundcheck.

Despite battling colon cancer in recent years, Damo Suzuki’s Network is still going strong, with a run of UK dates forthcoming in March.

So what do you want to ask one of music’s genuine free spirits? Email your questions to us at uncutaudiencewith@ti-media.com by Tuesday (February 26) and Damo will answer the best ones in a future issue of Uncut.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive

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“It’s getting shitter!” spits Jason Williamson on “Big Burt”, and a sense of bilious negativity is the sustaining force of Eton Alive, Sleaford Mods’ latest studio album, cathartic in its honesty but no less depressing for that. It’s like Mike Leigh’s Meantime in musical form: bitter, funny, confusing and bleak, as Williamson and Andrew Fearn navigate the seemingly bottomless national decline with a torrent of smart rhymes, cheap synths and itchy loops. Eton Alive – the pair’s first full-length since leaving Rough Trade and forming their own label – doesn’t fiddle too much with a working formula while still sounding like the work of a band that have no plans to vacate their unexpected platform any time soon.

Where Eton Alive differs from previous albums is with the presence of a trio of what Williamson happily describes as “pop songs”. These are pretty much unprecedented in the Mods’ canon, starting with “When You Come Up To Me”, which features an almost unrecognisable Williamson practically crooning, making a strange, stark beauty of Fearn’s beats. The band have always tangoed with grime, but here the influence is more that genre’s R&B/gospel inclinations or a scratchy version of the poppy garage of The Streets. Later comes “Firewall”, a little rawer but with a similar vocal sensibility, while the album closes with “Negative Script”, which has Williamson alternating between singing and his usual staccato John Cooper Clarke-style semi-spoken rap.

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Also offering something a bit different is the aforementioned “Big Burt”, a freewheeling character piece that Fearn gave the working title “Oasisim”. The lyric sees Williamson having a go at everything from “Airfix dickheads” to “namedropping ’90s pricks”, namechecking a variety of children’s TV shows and rejecting “God’s plan”. As ever with the Sleaford Mods, there’s a lot of humour in tracks like “Big Burt” and coke-rant “Top It Up”, but it’s the sort of humour you’re never sure whether it’s safe to laugh at in case Williamson takes offence and pops you on the nose for not taking him seriously. Humour is often used to put the listener at ease, but with Williamson it’s another avenue for confrontation. “Graham Coxon looks like a left-wing Boris Johnson,” he snarls on the abrasive “Flipside”, a line he insists isn’t meant to be taken personally, and like many of the best insults is at once very funny and not entirely fair.

You suspect that Sleaford Mods are confrontational because they feel any other response to the human condition would be regarded as an abdication of responsibility. This can be exhausting, but Williamson has been scornful of the more energising, consensual approach of a band like Idles and on Eton Alive regularly lambasts those he considers “fakes”. Williamson’s targets are ignorance, isolation and mindless consumption, but he also points a finger at the political/media classes with the album title. On the defining “Policy Cream” he insists “Sit down, just shut up, I’ll talk,” before berating the vacuity of political policies that make no difference but are endlessly repeated in a negative spiral. “There’s no witchcraft here, it’s just fucking hell,” he despairs overt Fearn’s a suitably ominous backdrop.

“Policy Cream” ends with a bit of drunken chanting recorded off the street during the 2018 World Cup. The band love to pepper their arrangements with found sounds and unusual samples, everyday noises that give street life and texture to the music. The thuggish drawl of “Into The Payzone” features the sound of an electric drill – a reference to drill music – and touch card beeps, much like the corner shop ring used on “Drayton Manored” from 2017’s English Tapas. The brilliant “OBCT” even has a mournful kazoo solo, as Williamson wrestles with his own conscience, having recently moved into a bigger house in a posh suburb populated by “Oliver Bonas and Chelsea tractors”.

Williamson is angry but he’s no revolutionary, or at least he’s one who is honest about what is possible and what he is personally capable of achieving. The apocalyptic and punky stream of consciousness “Subtraction” sounds like a computer malfunctioning and includes the telling lines “it’s not enough anymore to want change, you have to do change”, before Williamson backs down… “but the only change I like sits in my pockets, I’m a consumer”. It’s this sense of powerlessness that makes the Mods such a difficult but necessary band. There’s no pretence at simple solutions, no fake idealism. It’s getting shitter, and Sleaford Mods aren’t pulling their punches.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Various Artists – Kankyō Ongaku

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Given the recent rediscovery of so much enthralling music that was formerly consigned to the uncool category of New Age, there’s no excuse for operators of holistic wellness spas and massage therapy clinics to torment their clients with tired playlists full of Enya and babbling brooks. Surely our present-day quests for serenity would be better facilitated by the sounds on Kankyō Ongaku, whether the shimmering electronic tones in Yoshio Ojima’s “Glass Chattering” or the gentle clatter of chimes, drums and synthetic equivalents in Jun Fukamachi’s “Breathing New Life”.

Whatever becomes of that hope, the latest in Light In The Attic’s Japanese Archival Series is another invaluable example of the mindful crate-digging that has fostered a new vogue for private-issue, synth-slathered, ’80s-vintage mellowness, along with the overdue reappraisal of composers such as Joanna Brouk, Laraaji and Suzanne Ciani. If some of this music still bears the whiff of eucalyptus oil and yoga sweat, then it’s a small price to pay for the awe it elicits.

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Compiled by Spencer Doran of Portland duo Visible Cloaks, this survey extends Light In The Attic’s mission to broaden awareness of Japanese sounds that had been little heard in the west. The Seattle label’s Japanese Archival Series has already produced treasure troves in the early-’70s folk-rock compilation Even A Tree Can Shed Tears and reissues of five solo albums by Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Happy End. Of the artists collected on Kankyō Ongaku, YMO and Hosono are likely to be the two most familiar to listeners outside Japan, though devotees of anime director Hayao Miyazaki may recognise the name of his regular collaborator Joe Hisaishi. There was also a modicum of American exposure for Interior, a minimalist, avant-rock quartet who somehow ended up on Windham Hill, the label that was to new age what Sub Pop was to grunge. Sure enough, Interior’s selection “Park” bears less resemblance to George Winston than it does to This Heat at their eeriest.

Doran aims to create a wider context for a musical phenomenon that was quintessentially Japanese in many respects while also part of a longer exchange of artistic ideas between east and west. In his thoughtful liner notes, Doran roots the emergence of “kankyō ongaku” (a term used since the ’60s and which translates as “environmental music”) to the spike in popularity for the music of Erik Satie in late-’70s Japan. One reason was the affinity between the French composer’s concept of “furniture music” and Japanese traditions in which natural sounds were integrated into meditative and musical practices. It also aligned neatly with the enthusiasm for John Cage’s ideas and Eno’s ambient recordings among Japan’s musical vanguard. Doran sees that affection as somewhat ironic since these westerners’ eagerness to blur boundaries between music and non-music (as well as art and life in general) owed much to 
the teachings of Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, a Buddhist scholar who had a profound influence on Cage.

Nor are those the only ironies at hand. These simulations of natural tranquility became Walkman fodder for members of a rapidly urbanising society, more and more of the country’s natural spaces becoming forests of glass and steel. And as much as this music may encourage blissful states of Zen detachment, it was often created for purposes that were rather worldlier. One originally accompanied an ad for Seiko watches. Other pieces were made to be piped into the postmodernist architecture and gleaming buildings that exemplified Japan’s economic boom. A rapturous work of nigh-perfect stillness by Haruomi Hosono, “Original BGM” was commissioned by the Muji department store. Yet those origins may be more fitting than you think – after all, Eno has always been frank about ambient music’s potential applications as a balm for harried travellers and consumers.

Elsewhere, the music’s signifiers of the organic – like the volcanic stones used in “Ishiura”, a spacious and spellbinding piece by Toshi Tsuchitori – were surrounded by elements that were unabashedly synthetic. Many of the highlights of Doran’s compilation demonstrate the sumptuous capacities of the era’s most advanced musical tech, like the Oberheim OB-8 in Yoshio Suzuki’s Satie-like “Meet Me In The Sheep Meadow”.

An act that delighted in both innovation and provocation, YMO are represented by “Loom” from their more generally uptempo 1981 album BGM. (As in the title of Hosono’s composition, the name is derived from the tag for “background music”.) Largely the handiwork of YMO’s unofficial fourth member Hideki Matsutake – who’s equally mischievous with the sound of a passing train on his solo selection “Nemureru Yoru” – the piece combines a water drip with the vertigo-inducing audio illusion known as the Shepard-Risset glissando. Like so much of the music on Kankyō Ongaku, it makes for an utterly confounding yet lushly immersive listening experience. It also goes to show that no matter what kind of environments these artists were aiming to simulate or create – imaginary zen gardens for alienated salarymen and soundtracks to consumerist utopias being just two of many – their works feel like strange and captivating worlds unto themselves.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Hear a new song by surviving members of The Fall

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Three members of The Fall’s final and longest-serving line-up – Keiron Melling, Dave Spurr and Pete Greenway – have formed a new band called Imperial Wax with vocalist/guitarist Sam Curran.

Hear their debut single “No Man’s Land” below:

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It’s from the album Gastwerk Saboteurs, which will be released by Saustex Records on May 17.

Imperial Wax head out on tour in May and June, see the full list of dates below:

Thursday 30th May Huddersfield, The Parish
Friday 31st May Manchester, Night People
Saturday 1st June Birmingham, Castle & Falcon
Sunday 2nd June Brighton, Prince Albert
Monday 3rd June – Bristol, Rough Trade
Thursday 6 June London, The Islington
Friday 7th June Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Thursday 13th June Glasgow, Broadcast
Friday 14th June Newcastle, Think Tank Underground

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Hear Jack White’s Led Zeppelin playlist

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Led Zeppelin have released a playlist generator, allowing you to create your own personalised playlist from their catalogue – finished off with your name in the famous Led Zeppelin font.

One of the first people to take advantage of this neat little gimmick was Jack White. Hear his Led Zeppelin playlist below:

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Have a go at making your own here.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Kate Bush to release four-disc collection of rare tracks

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On March 8, Kate Bush will released a 4xCD collection of rare tracks called The Other Sides.

This is the standalone release of non-album tracks that were originally compiled as part of last years’s Remastered Part II box set.

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Peruse the full tracklisting for The Other Sides below:

Disc One. 12″ mixes

• Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
• The Big Sky (Metereological Mix)
• Cloudbusting (The Organon Mix)
• Hounds Of Love (Alternative Mix)
• Experiment 1V (Extended Mix)

Disc Two. The Other Side 1

• Walk Straight Down The Middle
• You Want Alchemy
• Be Kind To My Mistakes
• Lyra
• Under The Ivy
• Experiment 1V
• Ne t’enfuis pas
• Un baiser d’enfant
• Burning Bridge
• Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) 2012 Remix

Disc Three. The Other Side 2

• Home For Christmas
• One Last Look Around The House Before We Go…….
• I’m Still Waiting
• Warm And Soothing
• Show A Little Devotion
• Passing Through The Air
• Humming
• Ran Tan Waltz
• December Will Be Magic
• Wuthering Heights (Remix)

Disc Four. In Others’ Words

• Rocket Man
• Sexual Healing
• Mna Na Heireann
• My Lagan Love
• The Man I Love
• Brazil (Sam Lowry’s First Dream)
• The Handsome Cabin Boy
• Lord Of The Reedy River
• Candle In The Wind

Pre-order The Other Sides here.

Bush has also officially shared the video for “Rocket Man” for the first time since its original TV broadcast. Watch it below, and read a Kate Bush exclusive about the recording of the song over at NME.com.

Buy a copy of Uncut’s Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide to Kate Bush here.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

The Monkees: “We were essentially a garage band, but we had no control”

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Originally published in Uncut’s August 2015 issue

Even 50 years after their formation, Peter Tork marvels at the sheer thrill of being in The Monkees. “It was a lot of fun,” the singer, bassist and keyboardist says. “I mean, you’d wake up every day like, ‘Oh boy, oh boy, it’s another day!’ eyes all shiny and bright – who wouldn’t want to do that?”

Four very different individuals forced together for a TV show, Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones became a real band, performing their own material alongside songs written for them including “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Daydream Believer”. They also pioneered countercultural independent film-making with Head and introduced John Lennon to the delights of the moog synthesiser’s “flying saucer sounds”.

“You know, though, The Monkees were essentially a garage band,” says drummer and singer Dolenz. “even on the television show, remember, we never made it – we never got any success. It was that struggle for success that was so important, and I think that’s what made it so endearing to so many kids around the world.”

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The Monkees
Colgems/RCA Victor, 1966
The band’s huge-selling debut, featuring “Theme From The Monkees” and “Last Train To Clarksville”.

Micky Dolenz: I love those first two albums. I think they’re just wonderful. I mean, God, just think about the songwriters that we were blessed to have writing for us. With Boyce and Hart, but also Carole King, Gerry Goffin and David Gates. It’s just mind-boggling. It’s no wonder the records sold so well, and they still do. They’re still brilliant.

Peter Tork: This really stands up. Looking back, I see that I didn’t know anything about the process and how it was done, but being young and a bit stupid, I got a little shirty about it. Don Kirshner, who was in charge of the music, did not have a clue how to deal with people, but he really did know what he was doing in the music department. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart didn’t know anything about us or the idealism of the folk-hippy world, but they knew how to make pop records. Apparently, they got the four of us into the studio and we did so much cutting up and goofing around that they thought, ‘Let’s not have all four of them in the studio at the same time anymore,’ and they just invited us one at a time to come in and do lead vocals.

Dolenz: Sometimes we would all try the leads, but it was usually David and I that were chosen. David tended to do the ballads, and had a couple of big hits, too. I ended up singing the theme song for instance, “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “Steppin’ Stone” and “I’m A Believer”. I guess they just considered that I had some sort of a commercial voice.

___________________

More Of The Monkees
Colgems/RCA, 1967
The best-selling album of 1967 in the US, The Monkees’ second was a pop tour de force, despite having very little input from the band aside from their vocals.

Tork: When the first album did well, that created a budget for a lot of producer types to go into the studio and make songs and charge it to The Monkees. So they may have made 30 songs for this – a lot more than the 12 on the album, I’ll tell you that. This album was awful for us, personally; Don Kirshner released it without ever having played it for us. He didn’t think we were anything. After this, Don got fired. The sad thing about that was, from my point of view, I didn’t want Donny out of the picture. I wanted him to go on choosing songs and bringing them to us. I wanted to avoid the silliest bubblegum things if we could, but Donny knew a lot about music, he had his finger on the pulse.

Dolenz: I didn’t have a problem with the lack of control at the time. I understood the process. I wasn’t a very prolific songwriter. I was happy to take guidance and instructions. It was mainly Mike who said, “I want my songs to be on some of these albums, I wrote them, I’m one of The Monkees.” He had every right to say that. I think, frankly, that he may have been misled slightly in the early days. He would go in with some of his material, and the producers would say, “Well, thank you very much, but we just don’t think that’s a Monkees song.” Funnily enough, The Monkees were the group that got the most static for using session musicians, the most criticism for it. And we were the ones who had the least control over it. We had absolutely no control.

The Wave Pictures Q&A: “We’re really against chord changes…”

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Just before Christmas, I reviewed The Wave Pictures’ excellent Look Inside Your Heart, a raw, vibrant record that moves from the bluesy garage of “House By The Beach” and the chooglin’, stately “Hazey Moon”, to the Dylan-esque storytelling of “Tell Me That You Weren’t Alone”. I spoke to the band’s singer and guitarist David Tattersall for the accompanying Q&A, but 220 words didn’t quite do justice to our extensive chat. Here’s the full thing, featuring David’s thoughts on songwriting, the band’s career and the route to happiness…

____________________________

The snippets of other takes sprinkled throughout Look Inside Your Heart are really unusual. How did they come about?
When we got the rough mixes, Laurie [Sherman, engineer] had just chopped it roughly, and we liked it. There’s something about tape that’s really tactile, just something nice about those rough edits and the other sounds that are on the tapes. There’s a little bit of a track that we were taping over, because there’s only so many tape reels, so you record and then you dump the tape reels onto a computer. So there’s no recording done with the computer, but there’s a limited number of tape reels. So you get those nice chops and things. It was just a decision to not clean it up, it was good the way it was. You always get that, and before we topped and tailed it, but it just sounded good this way – there’s something about a tape machine in that room.

What’s the Booze Cube studio like?
It’s not a proper studio, it’s just a room. You can more have a party when you go in there, there’s no glass partition and there are no professionals around. You can go much later into the night, so we did Brushes With Happiness in the nighttime rather than in the daytime to be more relaxed. And Look Inside Your Heart was kind of like a party – there was even more of the tape machine, you had even more of a room feeling in the experience of making it. Laurie bought an old reel-to-reel tape machine and wanted to learn how to record it. So first of all we did Brushes With Happiness for him to practice. I wanted to do a totally improvised record, so we did that, but then we decided to release it. Then we had a whole other album, which would have been our [proper] album, we had 20 or 30 songs for that, so we were so happy we went back in again and did Look Inside Your Heart. It wasn’t a plan to do two albums, although once I realised that that’s what we had, I wanted to do two albums on one day! But the label wanted to stagger it a bit. I thought that would be the ultimate show-offy thing to do!

How long were you recording there for?
I think we did two sessions, so two days. We like to be very quick, spontaneity’s a big part of what we’re hoping to get. And also a little bit of vulnerability. So it’s not necessarily desirable to spend longer when those are the things that you treasure, I suppose. There are things that we’ve taken longer over, but they weren’t necessarily better – there’s something about that when you get something then move on to the next thing and start writing again and record something new, and just keep going, rather than just spend ages trying to polish it up. I suppose partly it’s because I don’t like that kind of music, and never have responded to it really, as much as other people seem to, and partly because I think it’s nice just to show what you really are. There’s a sort of arrogance to it, polishing up everything. I’d rather listen to field recordings or live albums or garage-rock or blues – we’re all that way, we like it rough and ready. Now a tremendous amount of thought might have gone into the lyrics or the music – we’re always talking about music constantly, and gigging all the time, refining what we do – but it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to kill a song by constructing it in a baroque way. You do a lot of thinking, but you go quite fast when you record. That’s what we enjoy.

It’s nice to hear mistakes on records, but I guess it’s hard to leave your own mistakes on…
A lot of records that I like a lot have a lot of mistakes on them, but you never want your own mistakes… so as quickly as possible I try to think, ‘What would I think if I heard this and it was somebody else?’ It’s preferable to embarrass yourself in that way than to go the other way. Not to compare us to Bob Dylan, but the spontaneity with which he made his albums is a part of why they’re so fresh. Of course you can’t copy the part where he’s just a genius, but…

John Lennon: “He wanted to break out of the box of being a Beatle”

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The new issue of Uncut – in shops now and available to buy online by clicking here – follows John Lennon throughout a turbulent 1969 as he embarks on a series of wild avant-garde experiments with Yoko Ono on the way to extricating himself from The Beatles and establishing himself as a solo artist.

As well as the famous bed-ins, the naked experimental films, the avant-garde albums and the political campaigns, there is the formation of a new musical outfit, The Plastic Ono Band, hastily assembled to play the Toronto Rock’N’Roll Revival festival at the invitation of Kim Fowley on September 13, 1969.

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The Plastic Ono Band bassist Klaus Voorman remembers rehearsing their set of rock’n’roll classics on the plane from London. “We went once through each song,” Voormann tells Peter Watts. “Then we got to ‘Cold Turkey’. I thought it was a great song and we should spend time to 
get the right feeling, but we didn’t.”

Inside the venue, the band got another chance to rehearse in the dressing room, although the bass and two guitars were plugged into a single amp and they didn’t have a drum kit. A nervous Lennon threw up backstage. Voormann was worried his friend was going to stain his fine white suit. “One thing hardly anybody realised is that John wasn’t a frontman, that wasn’t his thing,” he explains. “Paul was the frontman of The Beatles. John didn’t know how to handle the crowd. It was wrong to play ‘Cold Turkey’, it was a lousy version and the crowd didn’t like it. John got angry. That wasn’t cool.”

After playing a few rock standards, “Yer Blues”, “Cold Turkey” and “Give Peace A Chance”, the set 
took an unexpected turn. “I heard this feedback and thought somebody needed to turn the mic down,” says drummer Alan White. “But it was Yoko, in a bag, on the floor, howling through a microphone. That was a bit of a shock and the audience were as stunned as I was. It was weird – but it was exciting too and that’s what she was into, that’s what she wanted to get over.”

Voormann thinks that Ono’s performance was amazing. “She was doing everything she could possibly do to let the people know that war was terrible,” he says. “By the end she was croaking like a dying bird. It was heartbreaking. I really heard tanks and soldiers and people dying. At the end, John came and embraced her. You could see exactly what he saw in her. He was proud of her and loved her, and in a way he couldn’t care less about the public, but in another way they were trying to spread this message.”

On the plane back to London, Lennon decided The Plastic Ono Band were his future now. On September 
20, during a meeting at Apple’s headquarters, he told Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr that he was leaving The Beatles. Ten days later, he invited Voormann and Eric Clapton to join him and Starr at Abbey Road. Lennon’s post-Beatles career was to begin in earnest.

“John said we would do ‘Cold Turkey’ and I was happy about that,” says Voormann. “We went in the studio and John and Eric were playing lots of different riffs until we created this haunted thing.” When the single was released on October 20, the credit on the green Apple label read simply “John Lennon”: Lennon-McCartney was no more.

Sean Ono Lennon feels that some of his father’s more radical interventions in 1969 were partly inspired by a deliberate attempt to break with his own weighty history: “It was a reaction to being a Beatle and being told what to wear and say. He wanted to break out the box of being a Beatle. He always had an instinct that wasn’t rebellious as much as a need to escape the confines of conventional society. He was intellectually driven and wanted to figure out what the world was and who he was and what love was.”

You can read much more about John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 in the new issue of Uncut, on sale now.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Stereolab announce 2019 world tour

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Stereolab have confirmed their reunion by announcing a lengthy world tour kicking off in late May.

On May 3, they will also reissue 1993’s Transient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements and 1994’s Mars Audiac Quintet as expanded and re-mastered editions via Warp Records and Duophonic UHF Disks.

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Each album has been remastered from the original 1/2″ tapes by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering and overseen by Tim Gane. Bonus material will include alternate takes, 4-track demos and unreleased mixes. The initial vinyl editions will be pressed onto triple clear vinyl with a poster/insert containing sleevenotes by Gane. They will also include a lottery-style scratch card – all winners will receive a limited edition 12″ EP.

Listen to an early version of “French Disco” from the Transient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements reissue below:

Peruse the full list of Stereolab 2019 tourdates below:

May 30th | Brussels, BE – Botanique/Orangerie
May 31st | Hilvarenbeek, NL – Best Kept Secret
June 1st | Barcelona, ES – Primavera Sound
June 6th | Porto, PT – Primavera Sound
June 6th | Bordeaux, FR – Rock School Barbey
June 9th | Paris, FR – Vilette Sonique
June 11th | Brighton, UK – Concorde 2
June 12th | London, UK – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
June 15th | Bristol, UK – SWX
June 16th | Birmingham, UK – O2 Institute 1
June 18th | Sheffield, UK – Leadmill
June 19th | Manchester, UK – Albert Hall
June 20th | Newcastle, UK – Boiler Shop
June 21st | Leeds, UK – Leeds Uni Stylus
June 22nd | Glasgow, UK – SWG3 Galvinisers
June 24th | Belfast, UK – Empire

June 25th | Dublin, IE – Vicar Street
Aug 6th-10th | Oslo, NO – Oya Festival
Aug 15th-18th | Brecon Beacons, UK – Green Man Festival
Sept 16th | El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
Sept 17th | Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf
Sept 19th | San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
Sept 20th | Austin, TX – Mohawk
Sept 21st | Dallas, TX – Granada Theatre
Sept 23rd | Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
Sept 25th | Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
Sept 26th | Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Sept 27th | Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
Sept 28th | Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
Sept 29th | Boston, MA – Royale
Oct 1st | Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
Oct 2nd | Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
Oct 3rd | Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
Oct 4th | Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
Oct 5th | Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Oct 7th | Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
Oct 8th | Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall
Oct 10th | Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
Oct 11th | Joshua Tree, CA – Desert Daze
Oct 13th | Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Oct 14th | Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
Oct 15th | Seattle, WA – The Showbox
Oct 18th | San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Oct 19th | San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore

Tickets go on general sale on Friday (Feb 22) although you can sign up to a pre-sale here.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

David Bowie’s January 1969 demos to be released as new 7″ box set

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Following the release of Spying Through A Keyhole, Parlophone have announced that they’ll release a further 7″ box set of early David Bowie demos on May 17.

Clareville Grove Demos contains six tracks recorded in January 1969 in Bowie’s London flat with John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, following the end of the Feathers trio which featured Bowie’s then girlfriend Hermione Farthingale. Four of the tracks are previously unreleased.

Order the latest issue of Uncut online and have it sent to your home!

The photograph on the front is by Bowie’s then manager Ken Pitt and was taken in the Clareville Grove flat he had shared with Hermione. His short-haired look was due to him filming his role in the movie The Virgin Soldiers.

Read Parlophone’s annotated tracklisting for Clareville Grove Demos below:

Single 1
Side A
“Space Oddity”
Now featuring the final lyrics, this version of the demo first appeared on the long deleted Space Oddity 40th Anniversary 2CD release. It’s making its debut on vinyl and predates the 2nd February Morgan Studios recording that featured in the unbroadcast Love You Till Tuesday television film.
Side B
“Lover To The Dawn”
This song aimed at a former lover would eventually morph into “Cygnet Committee” recorded for the David Bowie (aka Space Oddity) album later in the year.

Single 2
Side A
“Ching-a-Ling”
Previously recorded in October 1968 by the trio Turquoise featuring David, Hermione and Tony Hill (who became Feathers when Hutch replaced Hill). David and Hutch continued to perform the song as a duo following Hermione’s departure.
Side B
“An Occasional Dream”
Slightly different lyrically to the later album version, this version of the demo also first appeared on the deleted Space Oddity 40th Anniversary release.

Single 3

Side A
“Let Me Sleep Beside You”
A studio version was first recorded in September 1967 but remained unreleased until The World Of David Bowie album in 1970. The song was later recorded in session for the BBC in October 1969 and was one David clearly believed in, recording it once more for the unreleased Toy album 30 years later. That version finally saw the light of day on the Nothing Has Changed 3CD set in 2014.
Side B
“Life Is A Circus”
A cover of an obscure song written by Roger Bunn and recorded by vocal/instrumental quartet Djinn. Vocals are shared, Simon and Garfunkel-style, by David and Hutch.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Euros Childs has joined Teenage Fanclub

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Following the departure last year of founding member Gerard Love, Teenage Fanclub have unveiled their new line-up. It features Euros Childs of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci on keys and backing vocals, with Dave McGowan moving across to bass.

You can watch the new-look Teenage Fanclub in action on a video for new single “Everything Is Falling Apart”:

Order the latest issue of Uncut online and have it sent to your home!

“Everything Is Falling Apart” was recorded at Hamburg’s Clouds Hill Studios in January, ahead of Teenage Fanclub’s US tour which starts tomorrow (full dates below). A press release states that “The band will be playing tracks from their extensive 30-year catalogue, plus brand-new never heard before tracks including ‘Everything Is Falling Apart’.”

Feb 21 Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom^
Feb 22 Seattle, WA – Neptune^
Feb 23 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom^
Feb 25 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore (Noise Pop)^
Feb 26 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom^
Feb 27 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom^
Mar 02 Denver, CO – Bluebird^
Mar 04 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater^
Mar 05 Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre^
Mar 06 Chicago, IL – Metro^
Mar 07 Detroit, MI – El Club^
Mar 08 Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre^
Mar 09 Montreal, QC – Petit Campus^
Mar 11 Boston, MA – Paradise Theatre^
Mar 13 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom^ [SOLD OUT]
Mar 14 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg^
Mar 15 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer^
Mar 16 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club^
Mar 18 Saxapahaw, NC – Haw River Ballroom (MRG30 kick-off)^*
^ w/ The Love Language
* w/ Eric Bachmann

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Watch a video for The Dream Syndicate’s new song, “Black Light”

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The Dream Syndicate have announced that their new album These Times will be released by Anti- on May 3.

Watch a video for the song “Black Light” below:

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These Times
is the band’s second album since reforming 2012. It was recorded at Montrose Studios in Richmond, Virginia, and co-produced by John Agnello.

“These Times. That’s it. It is all we’re talking about, all we’re thinking about,” says lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn. “There is no avoiding the existential panic of a world that’s hurtling somewhere quickly, evolving, and shifting course by the hour. It seems like a lie to not address or reflect the things that we can’t stop thinking about—the whole world’s watching indeed. The lyrics are just a mirror of the dread, panic, mania, speculation, melancholy and ultimately shrugging abandonment that just might follow. It’s just all about where we are.

“When I was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with Donuts by J-Dilla,” adds Wynn. “I loved the way that he approached record making as a DJ, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favourite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. I was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops—anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though I was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same’. You might not automatically put The Dream Syndicate and J-Dilla in the same sentence, but I hear that album when I hear our new one.”

Check out the cover art below and pre-order These Times here.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Win vinyl copies of The Smiths and The Queen Is Dead

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The Smiths’ eponymous debut album was released 35 years ago today (February 20).

To celebrate this momentous anniversary, we’re giving away two vinyl copies of the album (2011 remaster), along with two copies of The Queen Is Dead (the 5LP box featuring the 2017 master of the album, additional recordings and the ‘Live In Boston’ set).

Order the latest issue of Uncut online and have it sent to your home!

All you have to do to win a copy of both albums is answer the following question:

Who is the actor depicted on the cover of The Smiths?

a) Terence Stamp
b) Alain Delon
c) Joe Dallesandro

Send your answers to UncutComp@ti-media.com by Friday February 22. The first two correct respondents picked at random from the Uncut inbox will win the LPs.

Remind yourself of what The Smiths sounds like below:

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Bikini Kill announce London show

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Earlier this year, trailblazing riot grrrl band Bikini Kill announced they were reforming to play a short run of shows in the US.

They’ve now added a sole European show to their 2019 itinerary, at London’s O2 Academy Brixton on June 10.

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The band’s original line-up of Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail and Kathi Wilcox will be joined by Dawn Lyle on guitar.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday (February 22) from here.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Watch a video for Aldous Harding’s new single, “The Barrel”

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Aldous Harding has announced that her new album Designer will be released by 4AD on April 26.

Watch a video for the first single, “The Barrel”, below:

Order the latest issue of Uncut online and have it sent to your home!

Designer was recorded in Monmouth and Bristol by John Parrish, and features contributions from Huw Evans (H. Hawkline), Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo), drummer Gwion Llewelyn and violinist Claire MacTaggart.

View Aldous Harding’s full 2019 touring itinerary below, including a new date at London’s Roundhouse on December 5 (tickets available here):

8 April – BROOKLYN, NY, Rough Trade
9 April – WASHINGTON, DC, DC 9
10 April – PHILADELPHIA, PA, Johnny Brenda’s
11 April – KINGSTON, NY, BSP
12 April – MONTREAL, QC, Sala Rosa
14 April – CHICAGO, IL, Empty Bottle
15 April – MINNEAPOLIS, MN, First Ave Presents @ Turf Club
18 April – SEATTLE, WA ,Tractor Tavern
19 April – PORTLAND, OR, Mississippi Studios Presents @ Polaris Hall
22 April – SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Rickshaw
24 April – LOS ANGELES, CA, Zebulon
12 May – BERLIN, Privat Club **SOLD OUT**
14 May – BRUSSELS, Rotonde Botanique **SOLD OUT**
15 May – BRIGHTON, Concorde 2
16 May – CAMBRIDGE, Junction 2
17 May – LEEDS, Brudenell
18 May – GLASGOW, The Art School
19 May – NEWCASTLE, The Cluny 2 **SOLD OUT**
21 May – MANCHESTER, Gorilla
22 May – LONDON, EartH **SOLD OUT**
23 May – BRISTOL, Trinity
25 May – PARIS, La Maroquinerie
26 May – LILLE, Maison Folie Wazemmes
28 May – NANTES, Stereolux
29 May – BORDEAUX, Rock School Barbey
30 May – NIMES, This Is Not A Love Song
31 May – BARCELONA, Primavera Sound
1 June – HILVARENBEEK, Best Kept Secret
7 June – PORTO, Primavera Sound
7 July – BRUGES, Cactus Festival
12 July – DUBLIN, Iveagh Gardens
25-28 July – ST GERMANS, Port Eliot Festival
2-4 August – KATOWICE, OFF Festival
15-18 August – BRECON BEACONS, Green Man Festival
5 December – LONDON, Roundhouse

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

Uncut – April 2019 issue

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John Lennon, Keith Richards, Anne Briggs and Jenny Lewis all appear in the new issue of Uncut, out on February 21.

Lennon is on the cover, and inside we look at his revolutionary, pivotal 1969: from bed-ins and radical, experimental films to free jazz and acorns.

“He never said to me, ‘I’m doing this to blow up The Beatles,’” says one confidant, “but I felt that was what was happening.”

Keith Richards revisits his solo debut Talk Is Cheap, recorded during that long ’80s hiatus when the Stones’ future looked uncertain to many. Not Richards, of course: “I had no doubt the Stones would regroup,” he says. “They’ve got nowhere else to go!”

Uncut also meets the elusive folk singer Anne Briggs for a very rare and frank discussion of her life and talents. “I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what I am,” she tells us, “but I am.”

Jenny Lewis takes us through her finest albums to date, from Rilo Kiley’s debut Take Offs And Landings to her new solo album On The Line, while Edwyn Collins invites us up to his home in the remote north of Scotland to discuss the local herring industry, beachside epiphanies and his new album, Badbea. “It does look back a little more than I’m used to,” admits Collins.

In our An Audience With feature, Robert Forster answers your questions on The Go-Betweens’ legacy, bunking up with The Birthday Party and his close shave with hairdressing.

Steve Marriott’s ex-bandmates reveal the full story of Humble Pie, from the bad decisions to bad behaviour of this heavy ’70s supergroup.

Lou Reed’s New York album turns 30, and we tell the tale of its creation, from the death of Andy Warhol to the revitalisation of Reed’s career. Moe Tucker, Reed’s ex-wife Sylvia, producer Fred Maher and more recall this pivotal period.

Elsewhere, we detail the making of James Brown’s “Say It Loud – I’m Black And Proud”, catch The Specials and Patti Smith live, and discover the records that have impacted Patty Griffin’s life.

In our Instant Karma front section, we hear about the Elton John biopic Rocketman and a new film about the troubled life of The Sound’s Adrian Borland, and speak to Judy Collins, Dr Strangely Strange and Kel Assouf.

Our extensive reviews section takes in new albums from Pond, Lambchop, Patty Griffin, The Comet Is Coming, Stephen Malkmus and Better Oblivion Community Center, and archive releases from the Flamin Groovies, Keith Richards, Curtis Mayfield, Shirley Collins and The Ruts.

We also look at DVDs, films and TV including Under The Silver Lake, Burning Men and Paul Weller live, and books from Poly Styrene and Damo Susuki.

Our free CD, Holy Rollers, includes 15 tracks of the month’s best music, including Robert Forster, Ex Hex, Lambchop, Pond, Patty Griffin, Stephen Malkmus, Laure Briard, Strand Of Oaks and The Unthanks.

The new Uncut is out on February 21.

Introducing the new Uncut

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Welcome to the new issue of Uncut. Our cover star is John Lennon, whose momentous 1969 is documented here by Peter Watts – with a little help from assorted eyewitnesses. You could argue that every year during the 1960s was similarly dramatic for the Beatle – but even by those dizzying standards, 1969 found Lennon at a pivotal point in his life, ready to embrace new possibilities. This, then, was a bewildering 12 months that took in four albums, three concerts, two bed-ins and a marriage. Join us for free jazz in Cambridge, rock’n’roll in Toronto and Peace And Love For Christmas; radical interventions, performance art and the amazing Plastic Ono Band. “He never said to me, ‘I’m doing this to blow up The Beatles,’” says one confidant. “But I felt that was what was happening.”

Keith Richards revisits his solo debut Talk Is Cheap, recorded during that long ’80s hiatus when the Stones’ future looked uncertain to many. Not Richards, of course; “I had no doubt the Stones would regroup,” he says confidently. “They’ve got nowhere else to go!” We talk to the reclusive English folk singer Anne Briggs talks about her brief but indelible career – and why it had to end so soon. It’s a haunting interview; full of darkness, anger and revelations. “I learned to read when I was about five years old and all I wanted to be was Mowgli,” she tells Jim Wirth. “Mowgli could do all of the things I wasn’t allowed to do.”

Elsewhere, Steve Marriott swaps Small Faces for Humble Pie – whose remarkable story is recounted by Marriott’s bandmates Peter Frampton, Jerry Shirley and Clem Clemson. Michael Odell spends a bracing 24 hours in the wilds of northern Scotland with Edwyn Collins and his long-suffering wife, Grace Maxwell. “Do your flies up, we’ve got a guest,” she admonishes her errant husband. And then there is Lou Reed, on the brink of a mid-career renaissance with his New York album. Tom Pinnock talks to Reed’s collaborators (including Moe Tucker) about this brilliant LP – and how it lead to the VU reunion.

Meanwhile, Jenny Lewis talks us through her brilliant albums, we take a sneak peek at Elton John‘s Rocketman biopic, Robert Forster answers your questions and the secrets of James Brown‘s working methods are revealed. There’s Judy Collins, Patty Griffin, The Sound, Kel Assouf and Dr Strangely Strange.

Uncut is committed to new music and in this issue you can read about Ex Hex, The Comet Is Coming and Hand Habits. We also check in with Pond, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus and meet shadowy ‘new’ outfit, The Better Community Oblivion Center.

There’s plenty here; we hope you enjoy it.

The April 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with John Lennon on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Keith Richards, Anne Briggs, Edwyn Collins, Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Robert Forster, Jenny Lewis, James Brown and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Pond, Ex Hex, Hand Habits, Lambchop, Stephen Malkmus, Kel Assouf and Patty Griffin.

The 7th Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2019

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Just a quick note as we’re about to unveil our new issue – more news on that soon – but here’s this week’s selection of top tunes in heavy rotation on the office stereo. That Modern Nature track really is something else. Enjoy!

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

1.
MODERN NATURE

“Supernature”
(Bella Union)

2.
WEYES BLOOD

“Everyday”
(Sub Pop)

3.
FELICE BROTHERS

“Undress”
(Yep Roc)

4.
W.H. LUNG

“Simpatico People”
(Melodic)

5.
AA BONDY

“Images Of Love”
(Fat Possum)

6.
BECK FEAT. ROBYN & THE LONELY ISLAND

“Super Cool”
(Water Tower/Warner Bros)

7.
IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE

“Wanna Come Down”
(Merge)

8.
THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM

“Blood And Rockets”
(ATO)

9.
JULIA JACKLIN

“Comfort”
(Transgressive Records)

10.
HAND HABITS

“what lovers do”
(Saddle Creek)

11.
MATMOS

“Plastic Anniversary”
(Thrill Jockey)

12.
HEATHER WOODS BRODERICK

“Where I Lay”
(Western Vinyl)

The March 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with Leonard Cohen on the cover. Inside, you’ll find David Bowie, Bob Marley, The Yardbirds, Lambchop, Jessica Pratt, Crass, Neu!, Sean Ono Lennon and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Cass McCombs, Sleaford Mods, Julia Jacklin and Royal Trux.