Nick Cave: the mysteries of Ghosteen revealed in the new Uncut!

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The new issue of Uncut – in UK shops now or available to order online by clicking here – features an access-all-areas investigation into the making of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ recent masterpiece, Ghosteen.

Peter Watts
speaks to band members, collaborators and associates about Cave’s latest voyage into uncharted waters, gaining an exclusive insight into the ideas, conversations and freeform studio sessions that led to one of finest albums of 2019 – and of Nick Cave’s long career.

“It‘s a strange and wonderful thing and very different from what has gone before,” Cave told fans in September 2018 on The Red Hand Files when trying to explain the chemistry between him and fellow Bad Seed Warren Ellis. “I can’t really define it but something happens; something that has to do with intuition and trust and jeopardy – the willingness to risk and, of course, to fail.”

Cave told The Guardian in May 2017 that he was working on new songs, “Not to answer Skeleton Tree… but to artistically complete the trilogy of albums we began with Push The Sky Away.” Work formally began on Ghosteen at Retreat Studios in Brighton during late spring 2018. Over the course of a week or so, Cave and Ellis sketched out pieces of music, with Cave at the piano and Ellis at his Yamaha Reface DX synth. Ellis then selected 20 pieces that they took to Malibu’s Woodshed Recording Studio a few months later.

Andrew Dominik has known Cave since the 1980s when he started dating one of Cave’s ex-girlfriends. Despite this, the pair got on – “I didn’t want to like him but I really did,” jokes the director. In 2007, Dominik asked Cave to score his western The Assassination Of Jesse James, although they only became close after Cave invited Dominik to film the final stages of the Skeleton Tree sessions for another documentary, One More Time With Feeling. By 2018, Dominik found himself with nowhere to live. “I broke up with my girlfriend and Nick fed me like a baby bird,” he says. For several weeks in September, Ellis, Cave and Dominik lived together in Malibu.

Joining them in Woodshed, Dominik observed as the material Cave and Ellis began in Brighton gradually evolved. He also witnessed the uncanny creative partnership between the two men in motion. “Nick and Warren sat in the room together playing music,” recalls Dominik. “Warren has an enormous influence on Nick. Nick is more into formal ideas of structure and whether or not a piece of music sounds good. Warren doesn’t give a fuck about anything except how a piece of music feels. Nick doesn’t really let his control go, but working with somebody like Warren allows him to move. He couldn’t do that with any other person. They react to each other. Warren makes sounds that provoke a feeling that Nick writes lyrics for – then Warren reacts to them musically. It’s something chemical between them.”

Up until Push The Sky Away, Cave went to work in his office – a flat connected to his home in Hove – and put in an honest day’s work. Dominik, however, suggests a different approach to songwriting on Ghosteen, whereby Cave would assemble songs from a variety of sources including notebooks, his own memory and on-the-spot inspiration.

“Nick would sing lyrics from this song or that song, bits from all over the place,” explains Dominik. “The songs became a lot less structured. He is approaching the songs in the moment, rather than sitting down and writing more structured material. He talks about the unconscious life of the song – he is most interested when he is doing something but doesn’t know what it is yet. He likes the unknown.”

You can read much more about Nick Cave and Ghosteen in the new issue of Uncut, in shops now.

Ride to headline new Liverpool festival

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Ride have been unveiled as headliners of the inaugural Melon Yellow festival, taking place at Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory venue on Saturday March 14, 2020.

Described as “a celebration of shoegaze, punk, arts and sustainability” Melon Yellow also features American indie-rockers Turnover and The Regrettes, plus Lauren Hibberd, St Martiins and Newmoon, with more acts to be announced.

For more information and tickets, visit the official Melon Yellow site here.

The Who announce intimate show at Kingston Pryzm

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Having just released their acclaimed comeback album Who – read Uncut’s review hereThe Who have announced one of their smallest shows in years, at Kingston’s 2000-capacity Pryzm on February 14, 2020.

The gig will take place 50 years to the day since The Who played the University Of Leeds Refectory, the show that was captured on their legendary Live At Leeds album.

Tickets for what is billed as a “never-to-be-repeated intimate acoustic show” are available exclusively from the online store of Kingston’s Banquet Records, from 11am today (December 11). Standard tickets cost £13, while ticket and LP bundles are available for £25.

The Who
play a series of bigger shows across the UK in March and April, with an orchestra in tow. Dates for those are below, with tickets available here.

March 16 – Manchester Arena
March 18 – Dublin 3 Arena
March 21 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
March 23 – Glasgow SSE Hydro Arena
March 25 – Leeds First Direct Arena
March 30 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
April 1 – Birmingham Resorts World Arena
April 3 – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
April 6 – Liverpool M&S Bank Arena
April 8 – SSE Wembley Arena

Jonathan Wilson announces new album, Dixie Blur

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Jonathan Wilson has announced that his new album Dixie Blur will be released by Bella Union on March 6.

Dixie Blur was recorded at Cowboy Jack Clement’s Sound Emporium Studio in Nashville and mixed at Jackson Browne’s Groovemasters Studio. Unlike Wilson’s previous three albums on which he played most of the instruments himself, this one was recorded primarily live by musicians including Mark O’Connor (fiddle), Kenny Vaughan (guitar) Dennis Crouch (bass), Russ Pahl (pedal steel) and Jim Hoke (harmonica, woodwinds), Jon Radford (drums), and Drew Erickson (keyboards).

Listen to a new track from it, “Korean Tea”, below:

You can pre-order Dixie Blur here, and check out Jonathan Wilson’s European tourdates below:

Friday 27th March – Amsterdam – Het Zonnehuis
Saturday 28th March – Maastricht, NL – Muziekgieterij
Sunday 29th March – Paris, FR – Trabendo
Tuesday 31st March – Copenhagen, DE – Lille Vega
Wednesday 1st April – Oslo, NO – Centrum Scene
Thursday 2nd April – Stockholm, SE – Slaktkyrkan
Friday 3rd April – Gothenberg, SE – Pustervik
Sunday 5th April – Berlin, DE – Silent Green
Monday 6th April – Brussels, BE – Botanique / Rotonde
Wednesday 8th April – London, UK – Lafayette

The Beatles – Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide

I want you so bad it’s driving me mad! Presenting the deluxe 148-page edition of our Ultimate Music Guide to The Beatles. Featuring a blend of entertaining archive features (see: George on Abbey Road) and insightful 21st century writing on the band (Giles Martin’s remixes are reviewed in depth), it’s the definitive guide to the band. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Order your copy online here.

Nick Cave, Massive 2020 Preview, Grace Slick, Fontaines D.C. and more in the new Uncut

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For all the righteous fury of his early years, Nick Cave has learned that songwriting can be a delicate business. How to articulate the most personal and internal thoughts in a way that successfully conveys their sentiment but doesn’t diminish their mystery? Cave’s current album Ghosteen successfully navigates such concerns, of course. Despite arriving on a flotilla of mythic creatures and peppered with haunting, magical visions, Cave’s contemplative maturity, wisdom and humanity are never other than fully present on Ghosteen. There might be horses, flamingos and lions on the cover; but the music itself is inspiring and uplifting.

This month’s cover story is a deep dive into Ghosteen – telling the story of its genesis and mapping Cave’s evolving creative processes over his last three albums. Key collaborators and friends including Andrew Dominik, Marianne Faithfull and Bobby Gillespie offer their insights, while a trove of unpublished photographs and sketches help bring this “gospel record of love songs” vividly to life. We hear, also, from Cave himself and Warren Ellis.

If Ghosteen was one of our albums of 2019, you might find some early favourites for 2020 among this year’s Preview – our biggest ever survey of forthcoming albums. We’ve news and revelations on 21 releases, including those by Paul Weller, The Weather Station, Rolling Blackouts CF, Patti Smith, Shabaka Hutchings, Khruangbin, Stephen Malkmus, David Crosby, The National and more. So far, we’ve heard some or all of about half these records – and I’m pleased to report that 2020 looks set to be a robust year for new music.

I guess about now I should wish you all the best for the season. Thanks, on behalf of the entire team, for the support you’ve shown Uncut, the Ultimate Music Guides and deluxe bookazines over the past 12 months. We’ve been very pleased with all the magazines we’ve published in 2019 – and we’ve got a lot of very exciting plans already cooking for the year ahead.

See you in the New Year.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

UK readers! This issue of Uncut is available to buy by clicking here.

Overseas readers! This issue of Uncut is available to buy by clicking here.

Uncut – February 2020

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Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, our 2020 Preview, Drive-By Truckers, Fontaines DC and Grace Slick all feature in the new Uncut, dated February 2020 and available to buy in UK shops from December 12.

NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS: The full story of Ghosteen, Cave and co’s latest masterpiece, as told by those on the inside, from collaborator Marianne Faithfull and director Andrew Dominik to Bobby Gillespie.

BEST NEW MUSIC CD: 15 tracks of the month’s finest new music, from Bill Fay, Terry Allen, Aoife Nessa Frances, Wire, Field Music, Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, OOIOO, Keeley Forsyth, Mr Elevator, Squirrel Flower and more.

UK readers! This issue of Uncut is available to buy by clicking here.

Overseas readers! This issue of Uncut is available to buy by clicking here.

Plus! Inside the issue, you’ll find:

2020 PREVIEW: A look ahead to some of the key releases due over the coming year, including Paul Weller, David Crosby, Patti Smith, Stephen Malkmus, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, AC/DC and more

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: As the quintet return to action, we join them in Memphis to hear all about their stunning new album

FONTAINES DC: Dublin’s “punk Beatles” look back on a breakthrough year that included riotously received gigs and a Mercury nomination for their debut LP

GRACE SLICK: 30 years after hanging up her mic, the Airplane survivor discusses Janis, Jimi, drugs and Woodstock

GRAHAM COXON: The guitarist and now soundtrack composer takes us through his own work to date, and explains how his move to Los Angeles is working out for him

THE TEMPTATIONS: The making of “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”

DAVE VANIAN: An audience with the Damned man

LAMBCHOP: Kurt Wagner takes us through some of the albums that are most important to his life and work, from Bob Dylan to Bon Iver

In our expansive reviews section, we take a look at new records from Bill Fay, Field Music, Aoife Nessa Frances, Terry Allen, Nicolas Godin, Keeley Forsyth, Sam Lee, Max Richter, Wire, Wolf Parade and more, and archival releases from Frank Zappa, Supergrass, Grateful Dead, The Staple Singers, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Burial, King Crimson, Opal and others. We catch Björk and Iggy Pop live, and also review films including Uncut Gems and The Kingmaker, PJ Harvey’s A Dog Called Money DVD, and Ian Hunter and Prince books.

Our front section, meanwhile, features the return of The Black Crowes, Sampa The Great, Gibby Haynes, Cleaners From Venus and crucial punk document Live At The Roxy.

International readers can pick up a copy at the following stores:

The Netherlands: Bruna and AKO (Schiphol)

Sweden: Pressbyrån

NorwayNarvesen

U.S.A. (out in November): Barnes & Noble

Canada (out December): Indigo

Australia (out December): Independent newsagents

And also online at:

Denmark: IPresso Shop

Germany: Blad Portal

 

 

Hear Brian Eno’s sarcastic election song

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As the UK prepares to go the polls on Thursday, Brian Eno has been moved to abandon his usual ambient milieu and release a Monty Python-style singalong attacking the Conservative Party.

“Everything’s On The Up With The Tories” is a sarcastically jaunty number, ‘celebrating’ the Tories’ record on poverty, Brexit and the NHS: “Everything’s up the creek with the blue boys / They’re selling off the NHS to cowboys / They’re cutting back on nurses but investing it in hearses”. Listen below:

Eno was among 40 cultural figures who last week signed an open letter to the Guardian backing Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. All profits from “Everything’s On The Up With The Tories” will go to homeless charities.

Eagles announce Hotel California shows at Wembley

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Eagles have announced two UK dates in August at which they’ll play Hotel California in full, accompanied by an orchestra and choir.

The shows, at Wembley Stadium on August 29 and 30, will also feature a full greatest hits set. They will be Eagles’ only European dates of 2020.

Tickets go on general sale on Saturday (December 14) at 9am from here.

Send us your questions for Donovan!

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Few people embodied the 1960s’ cultural revolution in the same way as Donovan Leitch.

Hailed as the British answer to Bob Dylan when he broke through in 1965, he ushered in the psychedelic era with the following year’s “Sunshine Superman” and pioneered pop’s obsession with global sounds and Eastern mysticism. Jazz-folk? Bohemian pop? Celtic soul? This guy was there first.

He accompanied The Beatles to India, where he taught them some of the fingerpicking techniques they subsequently employed to great effect on The “White Album”; sessions for his “Hurdy Gurdy Man” single helped bring Led Zeppelin together; he was also great friends with Brian Jones, later becoming stepfather to Jones’ son Julian.

Donovan’s
latest project keeps it in the family: to mark the 50th anniversary of Jones’s passing, Joolz Juke is a live album of covers of Jones’ favourite blues tunes, performed by Jones’s grandson Joolz and band, with Donovan on harmonica and MC duties. Watch their version of “Dust My Broom” below and order the whole album here:

And just to prove he was always ahead of the curve, Donovan has recently issued Eco-Song – a compilation of his songs about saving the planet, dating back as far as 1970.

So what do you want to ask a genuine pop pioneer? Send us your questions to audiencewith@uncut.co.uk by Friday December 13 and Donovan will answer the best ones in a future issue of Uncut.

Crowded House reunite for 2020 UK tour

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The reunited Crowded House have announced a European tour for summer 2020.

Fresh from his stint with Fleetwood Mac, Neil Finn will front the current line-up of the band alongside co-founder Nick Seymour. They’ll be joined by original producer Mitchell Froom, as well as Finn’s sons Liam Finn and Elroy Finn.

Peruse the UK tourdates below:

Tuesday, June 16 Cardiff, UK Motorpoint Arena
Wednesday, June 17 Glasgow, UK SSE Hydro
Thursday, June 18 Birmingham, UK Arena Birmingham
Thursday, July 2 Manchester, UK Castlefield Bowl
Saturday, July 4 London, UK Roundhouse
Sunday, July 5 London, UK Roundhouse

Tickets go on sale on Friday (December 13) at 9am from here. A press release states that “the band also recently noted that they are spending time in the studio with new music on the horizon”.

The Beatles’ Decca audition tape up for auction at Sotheby’s

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On New Year’s Day 1962, The Beatles travelled down to London to record a demo at Decca’s studio in West Hampstead.

Despite playing 15 songs that had been going down a storm at The Cavern, including three self-penned numbers, Decca famously rejected The Beatles in favour of The Tremeloes.

However, Beatles manager Brian Epstein was allowed to keep a copy of the 0.25-inch tapes. The first of those has been lost, but the second, featuring seven tracks – “Money”, “The Sheik of Araby”, “Memphis Tennessee”, “Three Cool Cats”, “Sure To Fall (In Love With You)”, “September In The Rain” and “Like Dreamers Do” – is currently up for auction at Sotheby’s with an estimate of £50,000 – £70,000.

The tape comes with a CD transfer and letters of provenance and authenticity, confirming that it belonged to Epstein. You can read more about the tape and even make a bid here. Online bidding closes on Friday (December 13) at 2pm.

Watch the first episode of Paul Weller’s Black Barn Sessions

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Paul Weller has launched a new YouTube series called The Black Barn Sessions.

It sees some of his current favourite acts playing live at his Black Barn Studios in Surrey, plus Weller and his band performing tracks from his back catalogue.

The first episode stars Miles Kane and Wirral trio The Mysterines, plus Weller performing “Brushed” from 1997’s Heavy Soul.

Future episodes will feature the likes of Villagers and Connie Constance.

Paul Weller’s as-yet-untitled new album is finished and will be released next year. You can read much more about it in the next issue of Uncut, out next week (December 12).

Hear the new single from Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien

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Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien is poised to release a solo album early next year under the name EOB.

Produced by Flood and mixed by Alan Moulder, it features contributions from Laura Marling, Portishead’s Adrian Utley, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and The Invisible’s Dave Okumu.

Hear the first single from it – “Brasil”, featuring Radiohead bandmate Colin Greenwood – below.

“Brasil is a state of mind, not a place or time,” says O’Brien. “H.P. Lovecraft, Kubrick, and Junji Ito have created some of my favorite sci-fi narratives. But I’ve always wanted to reinterpret their horrific premises into a more poetic and optimistic notion. What if an alien or higher being were to come to earth to help us achieve a greater existence, and not to destroy us? What would it look like if everyone on earth shared thoughts, experiences, and actions? The theory that humans, as a species, actually represent one large, singular organism has always fascinated me, and I wanted to explore that concept visually through a variety of different character perspectives, mediums, and impressionistic visual effects. All these layers and ideas culminated into our narrative for ‘Brasil.’”

You can pre-order “Brasil” on 12″ vinyl here.

The Who – Who

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“There has always been a synergy between The Who and our audience,” said Pete Townshend at the time of their 50th-anniversary bash at Hyde Park in 2015, and for all the mind-boggling stats – 100 million album sales in a career spanning six decades – it’s this connection that makes them unique. From the pill-popping inarticulacy of “I Can’t Explain” to the search for identity central to both Tommy and Quadrophenia, The Who have always provided fans with the thrill of recognition, forging a bond that sees them still sell out stadiums despite the loss of rock’s most mercurial rhythm section and an almost pathological aversion to entering the studio. It’s been 13 years since their last studio album, and a whopping 37 since its predecessor, 1982’s It’s Hard.

All of which makes the long-awaited follow-up to 2006’s underwhelming Endless Wire a tantalising prospect. With a combined age of 149, are rock’s most durable double act really still capable of making – as Roger Daltrey has claimed pre-release – their “best album since Quadrophenia”? Recorded in London and Los Angeles between March and August 2019 with producer Dave Sardy (Jet/Oasis), Who answers the question in emphatic style.

Because while the themes may be gloomily topical – ranging from musical plagiarism to the Grenfell Tower tragedy to the humanitarian horror show of Guantanamo – musically and spiritually we’re never very far from the band’s mid-’60s to late-’70s golden period. The sleeve, a pop-art collage by Peter Blake, harks back to 1981’s Face Dances, while the title is as succinct as the music within, reminding the audience that for all the upheavals of recent years – more on which shortly – the band itself remains inviolable; the duo’s rebellious Mod-us operandi unchanged from when they first glared from the cover of My Generation 54 years ago.

The sense of Pete Townshend drawing on The Who’s illustrious back catalogue to address his emotional state in 2019 becomes obvious precisely 11 seconds into electrifying opener “All This Music Must Fade”. “I don’t care, I know you’re gonna hate this song,” snarls Roger Daltrey over a thunderclap powerchord, ushering in a propulsive “Relay”-style rocker lamenting The Who’s demotion to the cultural sidelines. With Townshend’s endorphin-rush rhythmic guitar driving the song along, the singer scowls lines like, “I’m not blue/I’m not pink/I’m just grey/I’m afraid,” until, after three breathless minutes, it ends with Townshend abandoning an a capella backing vocal to mutter, “Who gives a fuck?” It’s both brazen and brilliant – a Victor Meldrew-ish redrawing of the generational battle lines so that, for The Who and their fans, it’s no longer age that matters, but attitude.

It also sets the tone for a record that – for all Townshend’s claims that Who has “no theme, no concept, no story” – feels like a love letter to their audience. The glory days may be behind them, reads the subtext, but we’re all in this together, so we may as well enjoy it while we can – not so much Lifehouse, then, as life raft. “We can’t explain/We lost the force/We went off course,” muses Daltrey in “Detour” – explaining the band’s prolonged studio absence over a thinly disguised revamp of “Magic Bus” – while “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” is a breezy, vocoder-assisted ode to growing old disgracefully along the lines of “You Better You Bet”, complete with the lines, “We still pull/We get smug/And we all like a drug.”

It’s when they move into choppier emotional waters, however, that things get interesting. Set to a string-laden tune reminiscent of Face Dances’ “Another Tricky Day”, “Hero Ground Zero” appears to tackle the thorny subject of Townshend’s temporary fall from grace, when he admitted to paying for child pornography in an attempt to prove British banks were complicit in channelling profits from paedophile rings. If the lyric “In the end every leader becomes a clown” implies a note of contrition, the song’s mood is almost euphoric, the line “On my back is the heat of a new sunrise” suggesting the guitarist’s dark night of the soul has long since passed.

While it’s easy to applaud such dextrous songcraft, it’s Roger Daltrey’s singing that elevates Who into the stratosphere. He’s simply terrific throughout, alternating between terrifying chain-gang howls on “Ball And Chain” — a red-blooded reboot of Townshend’s 2015 solo track “Guantanamo” — Bono-esque stadium bombast (“Street Song”) and, on bizarre tango-centric finale “She Rocked My World”, a grizzled 
late-night croon.

It’s a feat made all the more incredible given his brush with the Grim Reaper in 2015 following a bout of viral meningitis, and one that reaches jaw-dropping proportions on the album’s near-operatic penultimate track, “Rockin’ In Rage”. A slow-burner beginning with a heartfelt admission of self-doubt (“I feel like a leper/Like handing my cards in/Like I don’t have the right to join the parade”), it builds until the singer rages against the dying of the light, screaming, “I won’t leave the stage!” over a molten update of “The Real Me”.

It’s spellbinding, shiver-down-the-spine stuff, and enough to have any self-respecting Quadropheniac dusting down their scooter for one last run down to Brighton. Which, you sense, was the intention all along. Because while Who is an album brimming with experience, emotion and ideas, it’s ultimately aimed at the fans who have always stuck with them, through thick and thin. Their best since Quadrophenia, then. Just don’t leave it 
so long next time, eh?

Watch Courtney Barnett cover Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne”

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Courtney Barnett’s new live acoustic album MTV Unplugged (Live In Melbourne) is digitally released today (December 6).

Recorded on October 22 this year it features five numbers from her back catalogue plus covers of songs by Archie Roach, Seeker Lover Keeper and Leonard Cohen. Watch her performance of “So Long, Marianne” below.

MTV Unplugged (Live In Melbourne) will be out physically on February 21, 2020. Pre-order it here and watch the full video playlist here.

Itasca – Spring

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In the fall of 2017, Kayla Cohen left her home in Los Angeles for a sabbatical in the high desert of New Mexico. The Southwestern state has a long lineage of expats drawing inspiration from its scenery. The American painter Georgia O’Keeffe most famously made her home here, trading the flowers of Upstate New York for the red hills and cow skulls of the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu. 4AD co-founder Ivo Watts Russell settled in Santa Fe in 2002. Judy Chicago, Agnes Martin, Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyath and countless other musicians, writers and visual artists have all felt the mysterious, primordial pull of The Land Of Enchantment.

For her part, Cohen holed up in a 100-year-old adobe-style home, an architectural signature of the area 
drawn from the traditional building techniques of indigenous people. Here, she leaned into space and quiet, creating art in the most pleasant of vacuums. “It had a kiva fireplace, thick adobe walls, a brick floor,” she says. “Like a cocoon to play guitar in.”

The journey to Spring began during a trip to Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, where native Puebloan peoples once thrived. “Came to build up my home/In a valley so deep as to hide inside/And I saw myself/Up on the ridge of the mind,” Cohen sings in “Plains”, over acoustic guitar picking and snare taps. It’s just one in a series of impressionistic songs on Spring where Cohen admires and contemplates her surroundings: “Called that abundant design/Shelter 
for that mind/And a hideout/Look for 
a way to provide.”

On this dream-like work, clarity is drawn from the therapeutic effects of iconic landscapes and simple thoughts – an ancient canyon or a backroad ephiphany – via lyrics that are alternately impressionistic and personal. It’s a 
high form of musical travel memoir, melding the beauty of place with a 
sense of self, leaving it all open-ended enough for the listener to form their own personal picture.

Throughout Spring, Cohen’s singing evokes a dream-like state, where earthen and phantom worlds meet in musical settings that range from acoustic guitar and voice to fuller, more textural surrounds. “Only A Traveler” and “Bess’s Dance” are evocations of British folk-rock’s past, strings and piano melting into acoustic guitars. These accompanying instruments appear sparsely throughout, as on “Golden Fields”, whose piano flourishes evoke a sort of cosmic gospel. “Golden fields meadow valley flats/
You come to me in 
the day/Whispering lines about time 
itself,” she sings, evoking some 
almighty spirit.

What’s perhaps 
more remarkable 
than these dreamy overtones is Cohen’s own guitar playing, alternately studied and primitive. On “Lily” and “A’s Lament”, which bookend the album, Cohen’s 
guitar strings ring as lonesome and 
thin as the traveller she sings about. 
By contrast, on “Voice Of The Beloved”, “Comfort’s Faces” and “Only A 
Traveler”, her guitar sound is robust 
and powerful, recalling masters like Robbie Basho.

Each mode works in service of the vibe Cohen intends, but Spring’s organic easiness belies the evident care in its creation. In this sense, Spring is like a handspun fabric, stunning to behold 
in full, but astonishingly meticulous 
when viewed up close, evidence that 
often the most easygoing work requires 
a tremendous amount of thought 
and editing.

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)