Hear previously unreleased Jason Molina song, “Shadow Answers The Wall”

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Secretly Canadian will release a new Jason Molina album entitled Eight Gates on August 7.

The nine previously unreleased songs comprise the last collection of solo recordings that the Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co leader made before he passed away from complications related to alcoholism in 2013. Listen to “Shadow Answers The Wall” below:

The songs on Eight Gates were recorded when Molina was living in London around 2008, with the title referring to the seven gates of the City Of London. Some of them are fully-realised, others more unfinished. Check out the artwork and tracklisting below:

1. Whisper Away
2. Shadow Answers the Wall
3. The Mission’s End
4. Old Worry
5. She Says
6. Fire on the Rail
7. Be Told the Truth
8. Thistle Blue
9. The Crossroad and the Emptiness

Watch a video for Matt Berninger’s new solo song, “Serpentine Prison”

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The National’s Matt Berninger has recorded a new solo album, produced by Memphis soul legend Booker T Jones.

Serpentine Prison will be released on October 2 through Book Records, a new imprint formed by Berninger and Jones in conjunction with Concord Records. Watch a video for the title track now:

“The song ‘Serpentine Prison’ was written in December 2018, about a week after recording The National’s I Am Easy To Find,” Berninger explains. “For a long time, I had been writing songs for movies and musicals and other projects where I needed to get inside someone else’s head and convey another person’s feelings. I liked doing that, but I was ready to dig back into my own garbage and this was the first thing that came out.

“The title is from a twisting sewer pipe that drains into the ocean near LAX. There’s a cage on the pipe to keep people from climbing out to sea. I worked on the song with Sean O’Brien and Harrison Whitford and recorded it about six months later with Booker T Jones producing. It feels like an epilogue, so I named the record after it and put it last.”

Watch a video for Idles’ new single, “Mr Motivator”

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Idles have released a new single called “Mr Motivator” – the first preview of their third LP due out later this year.

Watch a video for the song, featuring fan-sourced exercise footage, below:

Says Idles frontman Joe Talbot: “We want to start this journey with a means to not only encapsulate the album’s sentiment, but to encourage our audience to dance like no one is watching and plough through these dark times with a two tonne machete of a song and the most beautiful community of scumbags ever assembled. Let’s go. All is love.”

Hear Devendra Banhart cover Tyrannosaurus Rex’s “Scenescof”

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Following Nick Cave’s exquisite cover of T.Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer”, another song has been released from upcoming compilation, AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan, due out on September 4.

Listen to Devendra Banhart’s cover of “Scenescof”, from Tyrannosaurus Rex’s 1968 debut album My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair… But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows, below:

“I was completely in love with Marc Bolan, from John’s Children to Dandy In The Underworld and everything in between,” writes Banhart. “I remember the feeling of freedom I got from ‘Scenescof’ … ‘I don’t need anyone to dictate all my fun smile your smile and then run’…. That line gave me the courage to carve out a little bit of fantasy in my life back in my late teens.”

You can pre-order AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan and check out the full tracklisting here. Meanwhile, the new issue of Uncut includes an extensive feature about Marc Bolan, T.Rex and the birth of glam – find it in shops from tomorrow (May 21) or buy it online by clicking here.

Roger Waters reignites Pink Floyd feud

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Following his socially distanced performance of “Mother” earlier this week, Roger Waters has released a video announcement claiming that he has been “banned” from the official Pink Floyd website and social media accounts.

“One and a half million of you have viewed our new version of ‘Mother’, which is lovely… but it does bring up the question of why is this video not available on a website that calls itself the Pink Floyd website?” he asks in a video posted to his own Twitter account. “Well the answer to that is because nothing from me is on the website, I am banned by David Gilmour from the website.

“About a year ago I convened a sort of Camp David for the surviving members of Pink Floyd… where I proposed all kinds of measures to get past this awful impasse… it bore no fruit, I’m sorry to say. But one of the things that I asked for, I suggested that because whoever the 30 million of you are who subscribe to the web page, you do so because of the body of work that the five of us created… in consequence it seems to me that it would be fair and correct that we should have equal access to you all.

“David thinks he owns it. I think he thinks that because I left the band in 1985 that he owns Pink Floyd, that he is Pink Floyd, and that really I’m irrelevant and I should just keep my mouth shut.”

Waters then cites “rumblings and grumblings in the ranks” about how the Pink Floyd website has promoted Gilmour and Polly Samson’s weekly livestreams pertaining to her new novel, but none of Waters’ own recent projects. “This is wrong! We should rise up! Or, just change the name of the band to Spinal Tap and then everything will be hunkydory.”

Watch the full video below:

Uncut – July 2020

Bob Marley, Marc Bolan, John Prine, Courtney Marie Andrews, Joy Division, Joan As Police Woman, Irmin Schmidt, Paul Weller and Captain Beefheart all feature in the new Uncut, dated July 2020 and in UK shops from May 21 or available to buy online now. As always, the issue comes with a free CD – this month we’ve raided the archives of Light In The Attic Records for some incredible cosmic rarities.

BOB MARLEY: We revisit 1977, and a whirlwind 12 months in London for Marley. There he entered an extraordinarily creative phase, recording two landmark albums – Exodus and Kaya – that transformed him into a reggae superstar. Chris Blackwell, Marcia Griffiths, Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, Don Letts, Junior Marvin and other eyewitnesses tell the full story.

OUR FREE CD! Cosmic Cratedigging: 15 fantastic tracks from the archives of Light In The Attic Records, including cuts from Lee Hazlewood, Tim Buckley, Betty Davis, Roky Erickson, Jim Sullivan and Shin Joong Hyun.

This issue of Uncut is available to buy by clicking here – with FREE delivery to the UK and reduced delivery charges for the rest of the world.

Inside the issue, you’ll find:

MARC BOLAN: Tony Visconti, friends and associates recall the transformation of Bolan from hippie duckling to glam-rock swan, and the triumph of one of music’s most complex characters.

JOHN PRINE: We remember the life and work of this master songwriter, from the folk clubs of Chicago to Dylan-endorsed troubadour and beyond.

COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS: This self-confessed “vagabond dirty hippie” has been on the road and releasing self-produced albums since her teens. We catch up with the itinerant singer-songwriter to hear all about Old Flowers, her potent new record.

IRMIN SCHMIDT: The Can co-founder discusses 60 years as a fearless innovator, John Cage, “evil” jazz and magic, as he presents new music in Huddersfield.

PAUL WELLER: We review his new album, and speak to the man himself about its creation.

JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN: Album by album with the Brooklyn singer-songwriter.

SPARKS: An audience with Ron and Russell Mael.

JOY DIVISION: The making of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART: A trip into the archives, as NME visits Don Van Vliet in the Mojave desert in November 1980. “Hey, if you want to be a different fish, you’ve got to jump out of the school!”

In our expansive reviews section, we take a look at new records from Nicole Atkins, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, The Pretenders, Sonic Boom and more, and archival releases from Guided By Voices, Dr John, Rush and others. We catch Supergrass, Modern Nature and Aoife Nessa Frances live online; among the films, DVDs and TV programmes reviewed are Never Rarely Sometimes AlwaysA Rainy Day In New York, Beastie Boys Story and Days Of The Bagnold Summer; while in books there’s Ravi Shankar and Soft Cell.

In our front section, meanwhile, we pay tribute to Florian Schneider and Tony Allen, go behind the scenes of the new David Bowie film Stardust, hear about the art of punk posters, and meet Glasgow indie supergroup Snowgoose. At the end of the issue, Tim Burgess reveals the music that has shaped his life.

You can still pick up a copy of Uncut in the usual places, where open. But otherwise, readers all over the world can order a copy from here.

For more information on all the different ways to keep reading Uncut during lockdown, click here.

The new Uncut: Bob Marley, Marc Bolan, Paul Weller and a free Light In The Attic CD

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Thank you, first of all, to everyone who has taken out a subscription to Uncut, bought a copy from our online shop or downloaded a digital edition recently. I’m humbled and honoured by your continuing support for Uncut – and never more so than during these strange times.

While Uncut endures – alas, the same is not true of some of our musical heroes. During our last week of production on this issue, we lost Tony Allen, Dave Greenfield and – two days before we went to press – Florian Schneider. We have managed to bid to them farewell in this issue, as well as a longer eulogy to John Prine that we’ve been working on for some weeks. Unfortunately, we were too late to pay tribute to Betty Wright and Little Richard: they will both be commemorated in future issues of Uncut.

Speaking of Schneider… Kraftwerk fans, please note, there’s a rather handsome Ultimate Music Guide devoted to Dusseldorf’s finest available to buy now from our online shop.

There’s plenty to look forward to in the next issue of Uncut. Not least our 15-track Cosmic Cratedigging CD – compiled for us by our friends at Light In The Attic Records. This is one for Uncut heads – there’s psychedelic soul, avant-garde pop, weird folk, kosmiche electronics and experimental jazz that’s guaranteed to provide some respite during these troubling times.

Elsewhere, we mark Bob Marley’s 75th anniversary celebrations with a deep dive into one of his most creatively adventurous years – a momentous 12-month period of London exile that not only caught Marley’s uncompromising faith and politics in full flight, but also his charismatic, universalist touch. Graeme Thomson hears the inside story from Chris Blackwell, Marcia Griffiths, Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, Junior Marvin and other eyewitnesses.

Beyond our first Bob Marley cover for 20 years, can I steer you towards John Robinson’s splendid survey of Marc Bolan’s rise to glam superstar, or Rob Hughes moving eulogy to John Prine (assisted by Bonnie Raitt, Margo Price and others), Tom Pinnock’s pre-lockdown encounter with Can’s architect-in-chief Irmin Schmidt or Erin Osmon’s colourful trip through Courtney Marie Andrews’ life and times to date.

There’s much more, too – Joy Division, Paul Weller, Captain Beefheart, Sparks, Guided By Voices, Tim Burgess, Joan As Police Woman. Dig in – and, as ever, let us know what you think…

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

Watch Damon Albarn premiere his new orchestral project

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Last night (May 17), Damon Albarn premiered a selection of music from his new orchestral solo project, The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, via Boiler Room TV in support of The Global FoodBanking Network.

Albarn was due to be performing the work at various concert halls around Europe this month, with conductor André de Ridder and an ensemble of 14 musicians and four singers. Instead, he is filmed alone at the piano in his home studio The Barn, playing along to rehearsal tapes.

The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows takes its title from a John Clare poem called “Love And Memory”, and is inspired by the landscapes of Iceland. Watch Albarn performing a 20-minute extract below:

Rescheduled 2021 live dates for The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows will be announced soon.

Watch Roger Waters and band play a socially distanced version of “Mother”

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Roger Waters has released a new socially distanced version of his Pink Floyd song “Mother”, with his band joining in remotely.

“Social distancing is a necessary evil in Covid world,” wrote Waters on Twitter. “Watching ‘Mother’ reminds me just how irreplaceable the joy of being in a band is.” See the video below:

Waters was due to kick off his ‘This Is Not A Drill’ tour in July, but it has now been postponed until 2021, with ticket-holders advised to hang on to their tickets until new dates are announced.

Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr has died, aged 81

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Photographer Astrid Kirchherr, whose images of The Beatles helped to create their legend, has died aged 81.

The Hamburg-born photographer saw The Beatles playing in a local club along with then-boyfriend Klaus Voormann, and quickly became part of their circle. She took the band’s first proper photos (as a five-piece) in 1960 and helped to style them, encouraging them to adopt their distinctive moptop haircuts.

She became engaged to original Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and was with him when he died of a brain haemorrhage in 1962. Kirchherr remained close to the band, and took behind-the-scenes photos on A Hard Day’s Night, as well as the cover image for George Harrison’s first solo album, 1968’s Wonderwall Music.

Pretty Things frontman Phil May has died, aged 75

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Phil May, co-founder and lead singer of The Pretty Things, has died aged 75.

A statement from his family reads: “Phil May passed away at 7.05am on Friday 15 May at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, Kings Lynn, Norfolk. He was 75. He had been locked down in Norfolk with his family and, during the week Phil had suffered a fall from his bike and had undergone emergency hip surgery, after which complications set in.”

May formed The Pretty Things with fellow Sidcup Art College student Dick Taylor in 1963, after Taylor had quit an early line-up of The Rolling Stones. Initially an R&B outfit, The Pretty Things scored a Top 10 single with 1964’s “Don’t Bring Me Down”. The song was later covered by superfan David Bowie, who also named his song “Oh, You Pretty Things” after the band.

The band embraced psychedelia, releasing pioneering rock opera SF Sorrow in 1968, before graduating to hard rock in the early ’70s and signing to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label.

May was fired from The Pretty Things in 1976, although returned two years later to front various incarnations of the band for another four decades.

May’s emphysema finally forced The Pretty Things to retire from touring in December 2018, following a celebratory farewell show at London’s Indigo2, featuring guest appearances from Van Morrison and David Gilmour. The concert was released as a CD+DVD box set called The Final Bow last year.

“You could have surfed on the warmth that was coming out of that audience,” May told Uncut after the show. “The power of people expressing their gratitude for the music you made, if that doesn’t sound too precocious! It was quite thrilling.”

Neil Innes – How Sweet To Be An Idiot

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Mourning his occasional Monty Python associate in December 2019, John Cleese called Neil Innes: “A very sweet man, much too nice for his own good.” The pastiche master might have been inclined to disagree, his quietly successful career in music, TV and film a measure of what a blessing it can be to be meek.

“I can’t stand the idea of being popular,” the art-school-trained army brat explained late in life, having seemingly made a point of dodging fame. Innes sang the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’s 1968 Top 5 hit “I’m The Urban Spaceman” but ceded centre stage to the band’s deranged frontman, Vivian Stanshall. As ‘Ron Nasty’, he wrote the songs for The Rutles’ 1978 mockumentary All You Need Is Cash, but let Eric Idle front the definitive Beatles parody. Even Innes’ poorly promoted 1973 debut solo LP – which followed a wobbly post-Bonzos effort as The World – seemed to be an object lesson in how not to be seen.

At the time of its release, Innes was anxious to avoid being tagged as a hippie Richard Stilgoe, explaining, “I’m really working towards a situation where I don’t have to be funny.” On How Sweet To Be An Idiot, he mostly isn’t. His Traffic-style takedown of organised religion, “Immortal Invisible”, has a smart pay-off line (“Tell me what could be holier than absurdity?”), but what’s more apparent is the expert musical carpentry that underpins it: the Anglo-Dylan melody, the Jackson Pollock splatters of guitar from Ollie Halsall.

Buffed up by Let It Be arranger Richard Hewson, the wistful title track paints Innes as a feckless innocent (“As much retaliation as a toy”), but Oasis had cause to regret taking him lightly after his publishers asserted they had borrowed the song’s languid, descending melody for 1994’s “Whatever”. Innes apparently received an out-of-court settlement and a share of the writing royalties for Noel Gallagher’s wannabe-Beatles hit. Innes, of course, could ‘do’ the Fab Four better than most, but while the reflective “Singing A Song Is Easy”, the sinister “Dream” and the rooftop hoedown “Feel No Shame” are dead ringers for Abbey Road-era Paul McCartney, the tunes are all his own.

However, for all his skills as a forger, Innes never sings as if his heart is really in it, even his tribute to his wife – “Song For Yvonne” – somewhat lacking passion. His very English tendency to undersell his work explains why How Sweet To Be An Idiot begged to be ignored in its time, but for all that, the passing years have treated this music kindly. Innes was no visionary, but his unshowy delight in crafting a middle eight and whittling a clever chorus shines through. An idiot maybe, but no fool.

Neil Young’s Homegrown confirmed for release on June 19

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Neil Young’s great lost 1974/5 album Homegrown has been confirmed for release on June 19.

The album was originally touted as a Record Store Day 2020 exclusive, but as that event has now been postponed until August, Homegrown will be released on all formats on the same day in June.

Homegrown is available to pre-order here and includes an instant download of the previously unreleased track “Try”, which you can also hear below:

To read a full, extensive review of Homegrown – plus a Q&A with producer Elliot Mazer – pick up the current issue of Uncut, in shops now or available to buy online by clicking here.

Hear Sharon Van Etten and Josh Homme’s new duet

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Sharon Van Etten and Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme have teamed up to cover Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?”

Listen below:

The song, of course, was made famous by Elvis Costello – and was also memorably sung by Bill Murray in the film Lost In Translation. Van Etten referenced Murray’s rendition in a tweet yesterday, writing that Murray is “my spirit animal”.

Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud

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“You have to grow up, start paying the rent and have your heart broken before you understand country,” Emmylou Harris said in 2008, explaining why, as a Southern teen, she initially rejected “boring” country music in favour of the folk revival. It’s a familiar tale to another musician from Harris’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Katie Crutchfield. Raised on classic country, punk led her astray in her early teens, and she joined her twin sister Allison in bands The Ackleys, PS Eliot and Bad Banana. After going solo as Waxahatchee, Crutchfield dissected bad love and directionless feelings with melancholic indie-rock, peaking with 2017’s Out In The Storm, which exorcised a bad relationship in noisy guitars, thrilling in the potential energy of coming back to yourself.

Now, a breakup of a different kind has drawn her back to her musical roots: Saint Cloud was written and recorded during a period when Crutchfield decided to get sober, and seeks a new way to be by the light of “country powerhouse women”, a musical obsession sparked by an epiphanic conversion to Lucinda Williams’s Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.

Of course, Saint Cloud, whose players include members of Detroit alt.country crew Bonny Doon, doesn’t sound quite like Williams, or Harris, or Linda Ronstadt: Crutchfield’s country is flavoured by decades of alt- and indie- hybrids, particularly the likes of Crutchfield’s avowed heroes Jenny Lewis (she has a Rilo Kiley tattoo) and Neko Case. And despite country’s longstanding romance with the rich melancholy that collects in the bottom of an empty bourbon glass, there are no gory addiction-memoir specifics here: none of the “bottles in my closet” mentioned in passing on Cerulean Salt’s “Swan Dive”, just a feeling of reckoning, resolve and clarity, if not contentment.

Even as Crutchfield pushes her voice in her most beguiling melodic hooks yet, her words explore ongoing restlessness. The sense of warmth and uplift is all in the music, rich with bright chords and hooks, pulling her forward even as she sings of feeling pulled back on the likes of “War”, with its rolling drums and attacking, ringing strums hitting a three-note reveille, or “Can’t Do Nothing”, which, over rich golden twangs, captures Crutchfield’s twitchy transition in a line worthy of Emmylou: “My eyes roll around like dice on the felt… my uneasiness materialised.”

“Lilacs”, in particular, bristles and sparkles with the interplay of frustrated struggle and the beauteous ease of the sound: Crutchfield finds herself irritable, empty, sitting at her piano looking for a song as fruitless time is measured in the water sucked up by thirsty flowers. Tension builds in the sparkling strums and metronomic beat to a radiant explosion of a chorus, breaking down, circling back and rebuilding over and over, as Crutchfield resolves to fake it until she makes it: “Lean in to an urgent falter, spin silence into gold… I run it like I’m happy, baby/ Like I got everything I want.”

Sobriety isn’t a magic fix, and neither is love, of course. Many of the songs find Crutchfield spooked and reluctant as she relearns romance. The hard ringing strums of “Hell” blossom into gorgeous beauty, Crutchfield’s voice deep and tough as she wrangles an uneasy but honest happiness: “I hover above like a deity, but you don’t worship me/You strip the illusion, you did it well.” On “Fire”, written shortly after getting sober, piano glows softly and guitars pulse and chime as she addresses the even thornier problem of trying to love herself, and resolves to take things a day at a time: “I’m wiser and slow and attuned… I can learn to see with a partial view.”

Waxahatchee’s vision is clearer on Saint Cloud as its songs range from Barcelona in grungy, meandering opener “Oxbow”, to her father’s Floridian home town in the closing title track, but the sunlit uplands seem always over the horizon. The journey, soundtracked by the music of the great American vista, is more than enough, and she doesn’t find herself alone on the road: in the bouncy, punchy “Witches”, female friends and family (Marlee, Allison, Lindsey) give her hope for the future. “The myth without struggle, babe,” Crutchfield reminds herself as she leaves the rock’n’roll lifestyle in the rearview, “it can’t fill your heart.”

Watch James Elkington’s lockdown session for Uncut

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As announced yesterday, Uncut has launched a new series of lockdown sessions in conjunction with the consistently excellent Paradise Of Bachelors label.

First in the weekly series is James Elkington, whose recent album Ever-Roving Eye earned a 9/10 review in the magazine and is available to buy or stream by clicking here.

Watch James’s six-song session, recorded at his Chicago home, below:

James Elkington played:

1. Nowhere Time
2. The Hermit Census
3. Carousel
4. Sleeping Me Awake
5. Leopards Lay Down
6. Make It Up

Check back at 6pm BST next Thursday (May 21) for a spectacular session from Itasca! Jake Xerxes Fussell follows on May 28, with Michael Chapman on June 4.

Laura Marling announces Union Chapel livestream

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Laura Marling has announced that she will livestream a pair of solo concerts from London’s Union Chapel on June 6.

One set, for British and European fans, will start at 8pm UK time with tickets costing £12 available from here.

The second set, for North American fans, will start at 7pm EST with tickets costing $12 available from here.

According to a press release, “The unusual undertaking at one of her favourite venues will involve skeletal staff and crew, but benefits from full production and a multi-camera shoot, bucking the trend for widespread artist live show postponement right across the globe. The announcement also offers a tentative step in helping to aid the flagging live sector, and sets a potentially positive new precedent for other artists suffering from the loss of live earnings.”

Uncut launches lockdown sessions with Paradise Of Bachelors

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Uncut will launch a new series of lockdown sessions in conjunction with the esteemed Paradise Of Bachelors label from 6pm BST tomorrow (May 14).

First in the weekly series will be James Elkington, followed by Itasca, Jake Xerxes Fussell and Michael Chapman. All four artists have taped the sessions live from their respective lockdown retreats, exclusively for Uncut.

To watch, simply click back to the Uncut website from 6pm tomorrow. The sessions will remain posted indefinitely.

To give you an idea of what to expect, follow the links to read Uncut’s reviews of the terrific recent albums by James Elkington and Itasca.

Joy Division’s Closer reissued on clear vinyl for 40th anniversary

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Joy Division’s second and final album Closer is to be reissued on clear vinyl for its 40th anniversary on July 17.

The same day will also see the reissue of three non-album singles, “Transmission”, “Atmosphere” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” on 180g 12-inch vinyl with remastered audio. These singles have never been repressed or reissued since Factory Records closed.

Check out the new Closer packaging and watch a teaser video below – and be sure to pick up the next issue of Uncut, out next week, which features the surviving members of Joy Division looking back at the making of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

Yes reschedule UK leg of Relayer tour for 2021

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Yes have rescheduled the UK leg of their Relayer tour for spring 2021.

The tour was originally due to kick off this month in Liverpool and will now begin on May 16, 2021, in Manchester. Check out the new dates below:

Sun 16th May – Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Mon 17th May – Birmingham Symphony Hall
Wed 19th May – York Barbican
Thurs 20th May – Gateshead Sage
Sat 22nd May – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Sun 23rd May – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Mon 24th May – London Royal Albert Hall
Fri 28th May – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

All tickets remain valid for the rescheduled shows; new tickets are available via the official Yes site.

You can read an interview with Yes guitarist Steve Howe in the current issue of Uncut, in shops now or available to buy online by clicking here.