Home Blog Page 8

Springsteen! Fela! Miles!

0

This year’s BFI London Film Festival has come rolling round and, as ever, there’s a slew of Uncut-friendly music docs in the programme. Springsteen fans will enjoy the companion piece to the Boss’s Western Stars album; Ron Wood‘s fascinating life in and out of the Stones is the focus of a Mike Figgis film; there’s also new docs on the endlessly fascinating stories of Fela Kuti and Miles Davis. And among the more leftfield inclusions, there’s a dive in the Mexico City punk/New Wave underground of the mid-80s while Eldon Wayne Hoke – aka El Duce – and his punk band The Mentors also feature. Trailers for most of ’em below. Meanwhile, here’s a link to the full festival line up, how to buy tickets and all that.

Should quickly remind you that we have a marvellous new issue out – Patti Smith on the cover – which you can buy in the shops or direct from our friends here. Free UK P&P, I should mention, too.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

WESTERN STARS
[DIR: THOM ZIMNY]

MYSTIFY
[DIR: RICHARD LOWENSTEIN]

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME
[DIR: MIKE FIGGIS]

MY FRIEND FELA
[DIR: JOEL ZITO ARAUJO]

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

MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL
[DIR: STANLEY NELSON]

THE EL DUCE TAPES
[DIR: RODNEY ASCHER, RYAN SEXTON, DAVID LAWRENCE]

THIS IS NOT BERLIN
[DIR: HARI SAMA]

CUNNINGHAM 3D
[DIR: ALLA KOVGAN]

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

Rodney Crowell – Texas

0

It seems strange that it’s taken Rodney Crowell until now to make a record like this: a concept album devoted to his home state, recorded in cahoots with the compadres he has acquired along the way, among them Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett and others. At the risk of giving away the ending, Crowell sums up Texas – and indeed Texas – impeccably with the last line of the concluding track. “Texas Drought Part 1”, 
a stately trundle that sounds like something misplaced by The Traveling Wilburys, leaves the listener with “The sidewalks are blazing hot/Like white-fire from a pistol shot/The sun at its zenith is proudly displayed”. So far, so received-wisdoms-of-Texas: sun, guns and pride. As always where Crowell is concerned, however, there’s more than meets the eye.

A lot of what’s going on here is big-hearted fun: though Texas is not lacking for piquant commentary on the current state of the state, this is no pious manifesto of dissent, at least not exclusively. “56 Fury” is an exultant tribute to the titular twin-finned Plymouth coupe, and the people who drove it – the leather-jacketed tough with the “spit-curl down his forehead” and his paramour in the passenger seat with “hair stacked up and twisted/Like some beehive made in France”. It might as well have been a ZZ Top song even before Billy Gibbons was asked to play guitar on it.

“Treetop Slim & Billy Lowgrass” is a similarly good-humoured homage to Texan tradition, acknowledging the swing of Texan country music and the hefty canon of tall stories about tearaway outlaws in Texan folk mythology. “You’re Only Happy When You’re Miserable” is – the title notwithstanding – a joy, Crowell relishing the chance to deliver an unabashedly spiteful farewell to some soul-sucker. Ringo Starr (not, of course, a Texan) keeps the beat behind an appropriately snarling boogie.

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

Crowell could always have made a living cranking out uptempo country hits, kin to such well-loved earlier cuts as “She’s Crazy For Leavin’” and “I Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried”, but he’s also always been too curious a writer to resort to such an easy option: when he duetted with his former father-in-law Johnny Cash on 2001’s “I Walk The Line (Revisited)”, he cast Cash as a ghost in his father’s car radio. Throughout Texas, the guests are serving the record, rather than the other way around. So it would be safe enough to ask Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack and Ronnie Dunn, late of Brooks & Dunn, to sing on something hokey, perhaps in 3/4 time. “Deep In The Heart Of Uncertain Texas” features that trio, and is a waltz, but – as the insertion of “Uncertain” into the familiar title suggests – it’s not altogether at ease with itself. What might be mistaken for a portrait of a down-home idyll, all crickets and fireflies and catfish and beer, is betrayed by one killer line (“I’ve tried hard to leave here, but never did could”) as something that might be more clammy and claustrophobic. You can check out any time you like, as someone once sang of another place, but you can never leave.

As to what Texas might have to be uncertain about, the album offers a few suggestions. “Brown & Root, Brown & Root” is cued by a terse monologue from Steve Earle explaining that Brown & Root are the Texas construction company eventually bought out by Halliburton, supplier to military misadventures in Vietnam, Iraq and elsewhere. Crowell and Earle’s baleful duet is the lament of the poor man who finds himself toiling to make rich men richer. “The Border”, one of the best things Crowell has written, is a Springsteen-esque study of a good man upholding order amid moral chaos. It is laced with reminders that the divide between Texas and Mexico is more fluid than some US presidents prefer to believe, with flamenco guitar and accordion.

As always with Crowell, the essence is in the characters, drawn vividly with a few drawled lines. Crowell’s influence on subsequent generations of wry troubadours – Hayes Carll, Todd Snider, Rhett Miller et al – is considerable, but surely only Crowell could inhabit the delusional barfly of “I’ll Show Me” sufficiently convincingly to land, “I kind of see myself as a young Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas to some Welsh coquette.” If Texas is a deliberately ambiguous assessment of Crowell’s home state, it’s also a resounding endorsement of the enduring powers of its composer.

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

The Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru The Passion

0

Five years ago, when The Hold Steady toured in support of their last album, Teeth Dreams, there was something small but significantly different about the band. Craig Finn, for the first time, didn’t have his battered black Gibson Melody Maker with the Minnesota Twins sticker hanging from his neck. It didn’t make much difference to the way the band sounded, but it seemed symptomatic of a band who had slightly lost their way, like Kiss without makeup, or Thin Lizzy with Midge Ure in the lineup.

When keyboard player Franz Nicolay – who left in 2010, before fifth album Heaven Is Whenever – rejoined in 2016, and the band changed from a hard-touring group to one who’d play occasional residencies in big cities, it seemed as if The Hold Steady had resigned themselves to being a nostalgia act. Instead Nicolay’s return rejuvenated the group. Before their four-night run at the Brooklyn Bowl in December 2017 they gave a surprise online release to two new songs, and more kept popping up with every new set of shows. The Hold Steady were suddenly more productive than they had been in years.

Thrashing Thru The Passion brings together five of those previously released songs and five that have been played live but not been put online, recorded in a series of sessions over the past 18 months or so (four more that have been released haven’t made the cut). It’s not an album that was conceived as an entire collection, but that doesn’t stop it working: if Separation Sunday was The Hold Steady’s The Queen Is Dead, this is their Hatful Of Hollow. They sound like a band at ease with themselves and having fun, and for the first time since their debut became an unexpected critical cause célèbre, they sound free of the pressure that at first inspired them, then seemed to weigh on them.

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

This isn’t an album of surprises. Some of the musical references are more brazen than ever: the one-two guitar punches used by Jimmy Page from the opening notes of “Good Times, Bad Times” on “Epaulets”; the combination of riff and sax that opens “Traditional Village”, which sounds very much like The Hold Steady have wholly embraced the commonest point of comparison and gone shopping on E Street; the Malcolm Young crunch of “Confusion In The Marketplace”. Finn’s lyrics, as ever, are packed with pop culture references, some of them so brisk they fly past, some of them jokes that still raise a smile on the umpteenth play: “Sorry I’m late, I got caught in a mosh/With this dude who said he used to play with Peter Tosh.”

But where, on Heaven Is Whenever and Teeth Dreams – and, arguably, on Stay Positive – you could hear the effort, the grinding of gears, there’s no sign of that here. For one thing, the nature of the record means there’s no epic closer. The “big” track here comes at the end of Side One, and even then it’s not a giant of a song. “Blackout Sam” is a piece of understatement, gently soulful, a little like The Band, perhaps. And the figure at the heart of it isn’t spinning out of control, just a little pitiful, viewed with empathy: “Blackout Sam don’t have the answer/He keeps waking up in parking ramps/He can never find his keys.” With no overarching narrative theme, Thrashing Thru The Passion plays out like a series of miniatures, impressionistic portraits, with only “The Stove And The Toaster” telling 
a clear story, a drugs heist gone wrong.

It’s worth remembering, though, that for all the attention lavished on Finn, behind him is a fantastic, supple rock band. The melodies on Thrashing Thru The Passion are indelible, returning more to the bastardised classic rock of their early records, rather than the slightly generic alternarock of Teeth Dreams. It’s not just the return of Nicolay that adds colour: there are horns all over the album, giving depth and texture. And there’s space again, with not every moment of every song filled with noise. It might not be the best Hold Steady album, but it might be their most purely enjoyable.

The opening track, “Denver Haircut”, ends with lines that might sum up this era of a band who’ve fought through to find a purpose: “It doesn’t have to be pure/It doesn’t have to be perfect/Just sort of has to be worth it.” Thrashing Thru The Passion isn’t perfect. But damn right it’s worth it.

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

Peter Baumann remembers Tangerine Dream’s Virgin years: “How did I stumble into that situation?”

0

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

I reviewed the excellent, exhaustive Tangerine Dream boxset, In Search Of Hades: The Virgin 
Recordings 1973–1979, in a recent Uncut, and also spoke to synthesist and keyboard player Peter Baumann about those years. Here’s a slightly longer version of our chat, taking in Edgar Froese’s metaphysical interests, electronic improvisation and their wild 1977 US tour.

______________________

UNCUT: There are some fantastic live sets here, the sound quality is amazing.
PETER BAUMANN: I remember we recorded all those on a little four-track machine! Very often we’d listen back to them – sometimes we’d think, ‘Ah, tonight wasn’t worth listening to!’ But we took it along to every concert.

Do you think Phaedra marked a big change?
It’s hard to say, because there was nothing to compare it to. We felt it was like a progression from Zeit and Atem. Those were released in Germany, and I don’t think Virgin ever got the rights to them. Certainly, Phaedra was a major step forward. The times had changed, the equipment we got had changed, and Richard Branson came to Germany and said, ‘Hey, I want to sign you!’ We were the second artist that Virgin released, after Mike Oldfield.

And, like Mike Oldfield, you sold a lot of records!
I remember I was with my girlfriend in Italy on vacation, and I got this telegram from Richard Branson saying, “Your record is in the Top 10, you’ve gotta come to London and do interviews.” I said, “What Top 10?” I mean, it never dawned on me that the record could actually ever be in charts. It was a big surprise.

Your equipment seemed to change for Phaedra
With Phaedra, there were a couple of things. The Moog sequencer was critical, but we really used the Mellotron quite extensively, we had custom tapes made for that. I think we had three Mellotrons in all! For Phaedra especially, we really used outboard gear in the studio during the mixing, which was an integral part of the sound. We cranked up the tape delay and reverb and phasers and chained them together. The mixing session was really a part of the whole production process.

The tape delay seemed important, especially live, when everything was fed through it.
They were Revox tape recorders that we had customised so you could vary the speed on them, that was our main delay. We each had our own little mixing board and our own tape delay, so we were really three stations that could all make music and were all tied together to a main mixing board – three stereo outputs, basically.

You improvised both live and in the studio, didn’t you?
They were all improvised. That was part of the fun, and when it worked it really worked. Sometimes it didn’t work and it was less cool, but we took the chances. After having done maybe a dozen or two dozen concerts, some things that really worked well we started to repeat, intuitively – we’d have little themes, little sequences, that we’d reuse and then improvise out of that base.

How did you decide who would start a piece, and what instruments you’d use within one improvisation?
Usually we would decide on a key, and we’d start it with one note. There were some abstract sounds on top of that, and the sequencer would be introduced after a few minutes. The sequences were improvised, the sequencer had many different modes that you could change live, so there was never a completely predictable sequence that you’d play. None of us were conventionally great musicians, but the combination really came up with something quite unique for the time. We had instinctively unique contributions that we made – Christopher was a little bit more musical, he put more of the rhythm in as he used to be a drummer, Edgar would put in a lot of harmonies and I would put in most of the melodies and was involved in the mixing, the post-production. So we all had our slot within the group.

Ronnie Wood announces new documentary, Somebody Up There Likes Me

0

Ronnie Wood is the subject of a major new documentary, Somebody Up There Likes Me.

The film, directed by Mike Figgis, will premiere on October 12 at this year’s London Film Festival. It covers both Wood’s music career, from his upbringing in West London, through The Birds, The Jeff Beck Band and up to the Stones – as well as his work as an artist.

“Who would have thought that a lad from Hillingdon would be able to combine all his hobbies and convert them into such diverse careers,” says Wood. “It’s such an incredible feeling to look back on my life and discuss key moments along the way that I remember vividly as if they were yesterday. I am flattered that so many talented people took the time to say such nice things about me!”

The film features interviews Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Rod Stewart.

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

“I was intrigued by Ronnie,” says Figgis. “The combination of his eclectic musical range and his love of painting seemed like a promising start to a documentary. I decided to jump in and we began talking, the first of a really interesting series of conversations. We covered so much ground in these talks and that led to interesting encounters with the likes of Damien Hirst and then a lovely music session in a studio. The remaining Stones chimed in with interesting stories and the result is the film. Ronnie Wood is a very interesting guy, so many personas.”

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

Hear new Neil Young & Crazy Horse track, “Milky Way”

0

Neil Young & Crazy Horse have released a track for their new album, Colorado.

You can hear “Milky Way” below.

Colorado is Young’s first album with the Horse since 2012’s Psychedelic Pill and will be released by Reprise Records on October 25.

Colorado was recorded mostly live in the studio in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and was produced by Young and John Hanlon with additional mixing at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu.

The album will be available on high resolution digital audio through Neil Young Archives, and on a three-sided, double vinyl album packaged with a bonus 7” vinyl single. The bonus single contains two non-album tracks: “Rainbow Of Colors”, which was recorded live by Neil Young solo; and “Truth Kills”, a studio track by Young with Crazy Horse.

Colorado will also be available on CD and digitally at all streaming and digital outlets. It’s now available to pre-order by clicking here, with “Milky Way” provided as an instant download.

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

The tracklisting is:

Side 1
‘Think Of Me’
‘She Showed Me Love’

Side 2
‘Olden Days’
‘Help Me Lose My Mind’
‘Green Is Blue’
‘Shut It Down’

Side 3
‘Milky Way’
‘Eternity’
‘Rainbow Of Colors’ (studio version)
‘I Do’

Side 4
Etched artwork

Bonus 7” Single:

A-Side:
‘Rainbow Of Colors’ (solo, live in Portland, Oregon, May 17th, 2019)

B-Side:
‘Truth Kills’ (Neil Young with Crazy Horse – studio track)

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

Pink Floyd announce The Later Years box set

0

Pink Floyd have announced details of The Later Years box set.

A 16-disc collection of materials from 1987 onwards, it includes over six hours of previously unheard audio and over seven hours of previously unseen audiovisuals alongside other late Floydian goodies.

The key elements are:

* A Momentary Lapse Of Reason updated and re-mixed by David Gilmour and Andy Jackson

* Over six hours of previously unheard audio and over seven hours of previously unseen audiovisuals from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, The Division Bell and The Endless River albums

* Full unreleased audio and remastered films from 1989’s Venice concert and 1990’s special Knebworth concert: unseen for decades
Unearthed footage of Pulse rehearsals and full-length Ian Emes film of The Endless River

* First ever release of Pink Floyd’s last live performance with David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright together at the 2007 Syd Barrett Tribute Concert included on Blu-ray, DVD and 7” vinyl

* New 5.1 mixes, first ever Blu-ray releases and unique 7” singles included

* Memorabilia including replica tour programmes, a lyric book and a 60-page photo book

*2-LP / 1CD highlights package also to be released

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

Here’s the details of what’s inside:

CD 1
A Momentary Lapse Of Reason updated & remixed

CD 2 & 3
Delicate Sound Of Thunder remixed

CD 4
Live Recordings, 1987 & 1994 unreleased studio recordings

CD 5
Knebworth Concert 1990

Blu-ray 1
Surround & Hi-res audio mixes

Blu-ray 2
Delicate Sound Of Thunder restored & remixed

Blu-ray 3
Pulse restored & re-edited

Blu-ray 4
Venice concert 1989 & Knebworth concert 1990

Blu-ray 5
Unreleased live films music videos & concert screen films

Blu-ray 6
Documentaries & unreleased material

2 x 7” vinyl singles in brand-new picture sleeves, featuring “Arnold Layne” performed live by Pink Floyd at the Syd Barrett Tribute concert, 2007 and “Lost For Words” from the Pulse tour rehearsals at Earl’s Court

60-page hard backed book of photos designed by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis and Peter Curzon of StormStudios, including many previously unseen images.

A newly-created set of reproduction tour programmes (Pink Floyd World Tour 1987/1988, Pink Floyd Live 1989, Pink Floyd European Tour 1994), plus a brand new Lyrics Book, designed by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis and Peter Curzon of StormStudios.

A collection of reproduction memorabilia including tour passes, stickers and posters, all printed to replicate the originals, and contained in a prestige card envelope.

You can pre-order the set by clicking here.

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

The October 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from August 15, and available to order online now – with Patti Smith on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Bon Iver, Robbie Robertson, Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Brittany Howard, The Hollies, Devendra Banhart, Neil Young and Bob Dylan and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Wilco, Oh Sees, Hiss Golden Messenger and Tinariwen.

Tributes paid to Neal Casal, who has died aged 50

0

Neal Casal has died aged 50.

News that the guitarist – who recorded and performed with acts including Ryan Adams And The Cardinals, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Circles Around The Sun – had passed away was shared (August 27) via the musician’s Twitter account.

“It’s with great sadness that we tell you Neal Casal has passed. As so many know, Neal was a gentle, soulful human who lived life through artistry & kindness. His family, friends & fans will always remember the light that he brought to the world. Rest easy Neal, we love you,” the statement reads.

Casal began his career in the late 1980s playing in Florida rock band, Blackfoot. After his debut solo album, 1995’s Fade Away Diamond Time, Casal embarked on a wide-ranging career including several more solo LPs.

Long-term Uncut readers will remember Casal’s “Today I’m Gonna Bleed”, which appeared on our first Sounds Of The New West compilation in 1998.

Casal also performed with the Cardinals from 2005 until 2009, where he played on on releases by Ryan Adams and Willie Nelson.

Adams is among those who paid tribute to Casal, writing that his “heart is broken”.

“Oh man. My heart is broken What an honor to have known you, true believer. I love you,” Adams wrote.

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

Bob Weir shared a photograph of him and Casal – presumably taken Saturday at Virginia’s Lockn’ Festival, where Weir and his late friend shared the stage – with the caption, “My last memory of Neal will be the smile he left me with.”

“I can’t believe I’m having to say goodbye to my friend and my brother,” Chris Robinson wrote in a statement. “It’s almost too painful. When I think about the songs we’ve written, the shows we’ve played and all the laughs and great times we shared, it’s almost unbearable to know you’re gone.”

Tributes were also paid by Jason Isbell, William Tyler, Hiss Golden Messenger‘s Mike Taylor, Ryley Walker and Shooter Jennings.

Last week Casal announced on Twitter that he would “be producing a new record for the amazing singer/songwriter Kenny Roby” in the coming weeks.

The cause of Casal’s death has not been announced.

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

The October 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from August 15, and available to order online now – with Patti Smith on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Bon Iver, Robbie Robertson, Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Brittany Howard, The Hollies, Devendra Banhart, Neil Young and Bob Dylan and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Wilco, Oh Sees, Hiss Golden Messenger and Tinariwen.

Introducing Elton John: A Life In Pictures

0

A few years ago, some of you will remember, we ran a new series of specials under the A Life In Pictures aegis. This month, we’ve chosen to revisit Life In Pictures as a means of celebrating the extraordinary, colourful life and career of an artist who appears to have been tailor-made for such a striking visual accompaniment. Behold! The glasses, the costumes, the sheer maximalist splendor of Elton John in all his many, wonderful guises – from Troubador balladeer and beyond. The Elton: A Life In Pictures is in the shops now and you can also buy a copy from our online store. Here’s John Robinson, our one shots editor, to tell you more about it.

I should quickly mention we have a marvellous new issue of Uncut out – Patti Smith on the cover – which you can buy in the shops or direct from our friends here. Free P&P in the UK, I should mention, too.

Anyway, here’s John…

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

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

Elton: A Life In Pictures is a lavish 100 page tribute to pop’s most enduringly outrageous performer, saluting the 50 plus years he has spent as the lord of the keyboard.

What a life – and what pictures! The team behind Uncut’s long-running Ultimate Music Guides have brought their passion and expertise to this deluxe new product, which uses classic and rare photographs to fully chronicle Elton’s extraordinary musical journey.

With rare shots of his first band, to his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road farewell tour, via glam rock, massive ballads (and bigger shoes!), this is a life that can be vividly seen as well as heard. Thanks to the man’s great candour in interviews, we’ve been able to extract entertaining comment from the archives of NME, Melody Maker and Uncut to accompany each one.

With his dues paid, Elton’s rise was rapid, and his enjoyment of his fame enormous. Here you’ll find handsome documents of the many career high points – the Troubadour, 1970; Dodgers Stadium, 1975 – that we’ve since seen dramatized in his biopic Rocketman. You’ll also find a window into Elton’s celebrity life: his pals, the parties, the costumes.

Electric boots and a mohair suit – we’ve got those and all the rest. You can read it in our magazine…

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

Elvis Costello by Elvis Costello: “Time is going backwards!”

0

To mark Elvis Costello’s 65th birthday, here’s the Album By Album feature from Take 260 [January 2019], which the man himself wrote for us…

“With stupefying arrogance, we set about showing our contemporaries what could be done with their winning formulas,” Elvis Costello tells Uncut, discussing his 1981 LP Trust. The new-wave upstart turned renaissance man could almost be describing any of his albums, though; from the audacious mix of fury and classicism on 1977 debut My Aim Is True, and the extravagant, Beatles-esque Imperial Bedroom (1982), to the sombre torch songs of 2003’s North and his eclectic, impressive latest, Look Now, Costello has aimed high and invariably succeeded.

When Uncut invited the songwriter to discuss nine of his finest albums, Costello suggested that he instead write his own reflections on some of his personal favourites with the Attractions, the Imposters, The Roots and solo 
– plus a fond look back at the demos he recorded with Paul McCartney, only released in 2017. Here, then, is Costello’s own personal history.On completing his ‘classic’, he says he left the NYC studio at 1am “thinking this was a movie that will probably never get made again”….

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

ELVIS COSTELLO
MY AIM IS TRUE

STIFF, 1977
Costello’s first recordings were so striking, Stiff signed their songwriter as an artist in his own right
ELVIS COSTELLO: Rehearsed in 
a rat-infested country house and recorded in a cardboard box in Islington [Pathway Studios] in a total of 24 hours’ studio time, on sick days and holidays from my office job as a computer operator. Having only heard my voice, mumbling under 
a bare bulb, club stage or on a borrowed reel-to-reel in my bedroom, I never imagined I would be in that studio with a band as good as Clover, a Marin County outfit whose Fantasy albums I’d had to hunt down in secondhand shops. They spoke in code about the songs – “Red Shoes” was “The One That Sounds Like The Byrds”. I didn’t mention that “Waiting For The End Of The World” was supposed to sound like “I’m Waiting For The Man”. I don’t think they had ever heard The Velvet Underground, and perhaps that was for the best. You can listen to a new take on “Mr Moon” from Clover’s recent Homestead Redemption (on which they revisit their ’70s songs and I deputise for vocalist Alex Call on an alternate take) and hear John McFee quote his own guitar part from “Alison”. Time is going backwards. 
I liked the sound of Pathway so much that I went back there with just me and Pete Thomas to cut “Kinder Murder” for Brutal Youth, and The Gwendolyn Letters, demos of the 12 songs that I wrote for Wendy James over one weekend in the ’90s.

ELVIS COSTELLO
THIS YEAR’S MODEL

RADAR, 1978
His second album, featuring “Pump It Up” and “Night Rally”, remains one of Costello’s best
Before we left Pathway, Nick Lowe had showed me that we could paint pictures with sound on “Watching The Detectives”. Steve Nieve had arrived by then to play the keyboards. I told him I wanted the piano to sound like “Hitchcock”, when I think I meant “Bernard Herrmann”. However, I needed all 
of the Attractions to work at speed of life for “Lipstick Vogue”. “Pump It Up” was scrawled on a hotel fire-escape in Newcastle, in the last days of the Stiff Tour, and cut at Eden Studios in Acton just before I left for our first American misadventure. You could say “we never looked back”, but having crossed the United States for the first time and been thrown off SNL and had a mince 
pie, when we returned home, we finished the album in the rest of the 11 days that we could afford. And then we went back to America, again and again… Look Now co-producer Sebastian Krys pushed up the faders on “This Year’s Girl” recently, adding the voice of Natalie Berman (from Wilde Belle) for a remix for the opening titles of the second season of The Deuce. These are very big shoes to fill after Curtis Mayfield’s 
“If There’s A Hell Below” had opened Season One, but Pete Thomas, Bruce Thomas and Steve Nieve’s playing sounded as mighty as ever and we even uncovered an unused background vocal idea, lifted from our inspiration – The Rolling Stones’ Aftermath.

Happy Mondays on “Step On”: “It was dead easy!”

0

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

Originally published in Uncut’s Take 157

It started out as a trenchant political protest song by two white South African folkies, a song that drew parallels between the oppression of black South Africans and the genocide of Native Americans. It ended up in the hands of a bunch of fried Scallies and a south London wide-boy producer who turned it into an Ecstasy-soaked dance classic, the acme of early-’90s Madchester.

The Happy Mondays, who recorded it just as they were on the verge of being the biggest band in Britain, didn’t even want to do it at the time, but ended up having their arms gently twisted by their late, great mentor Tony Wilson. In the end everyone was seduced by the track, one that kicked off with an Italo-house piano fanfare, a thunderous funk shuffle, an incendiary guitar riff and Shaun Ryder’s random exhortations to “call the cops”. And it set the tone for their following LP, Pills’N’Thrills And Bellyaches.

Even the lyrical observations – about how the oppressor “can make you forget you’re a man” – became retooled for the ’90s dancefloor. Instead of being about the dehumanising effect of racism, it morphed into a reflection of the way in which psychotropic drugs can break down divides of race, gender and sexuality. As Shaun Ryder observed: “I suppose it’s about how Ecstasy made the white man dance, innit?”

_______________________

SHAUN RYDER (vocals): The initial thing was that Elektra, our record company in America, wanted us to do a cover version of a song by an Elektra recording artist for this fucking tribute album they were putting together, to commemorate 40 years of their label. They sent us a shit load of tunes on tape. “Tokoloshe Man” was the first one and “Step On” was the second. I don’t think we got past those two. At first we just said, “Fuck off, no, we’re not doing it, we don’t do covers. We haven’t got time ’cos we’re writing our own gear.” But Tony [Wilson] was saying, “Hey lads, let’s just do it, it’ll keep us nice with the American label.” He said it wasn’t going to be coming out in England, just on a compilation in America.

GAZ WHELAN (drums): It wasn’t our idea, it was Tony Wilson who convinced us. We all got given Omega watches from Elektra, who were being nice to us. The initial idea was that we did “Tokoloshe Man”. That was quite easy, it was a tribal riff, based around a single chord. After we did it, Tony suggested we do “Step On”, as it was next on the tape of suggestions Elektra gave us. So we played it in the studio once, and it seemed like a good idea.

JOHN KONGOS (co-writer): These were two big hits I had in 1971. They were co-written with a fellow South African called Chris Demetriou, my musical partner for many years. Me and Chris moved to London together in around 1967, but Chris had written the lyrics for “He’s Gonna Step On You Again” when we were living in South Africa. It started out as a protest song about the political situation under apartheid, and it was drawing connections between that and the abuse of the Native Americans. So we had that Native American theme running through it, those drums, the lyrics and that strong guitar riff. The lyrics are still very political.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news from Uncut.

Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold

0

Something of a survivalist drive has sustained Sleater-Kinney over their 25 years as a band. Together, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss have braved the hardships of their early days in Olympia, Washington, as well as the inevitable stresses of growing fame in the 2000s. They even weathered a decade apart, returning triumphantly in 2015 with No Cities To Love, which showed that, despite approaching an age at which it’s often judged unseemly for women to still be making rock music and with multiple successful parallel careers, Sleater-Kinney had lost none of their focus, nor any of their righteous, feminist post-punk energy.

The Center Won’t Hold, however, is far from the comfortable victory lap they might otherwise deserve. “The band is heading in a new direction,” wrote drummer Janet Weiss on Twitter at the start of July, “and it is time for me to move on.” “We are saddened by Janet’s decision to leave Sleater-Kinney,” countered her former bandmates. “It has been an incredible privilege to work with such a talented musician and drummer over the course of so many albums, including The Center Won’t Hold.” So just what is it about the “new direction” of their ninth album that has apparently alienated Weiss?

In its message at least, the new record is furiously, vitally Sleater-Kinney: Corin Tucker has called it “a power grab”, while Carrie Brownstein describes it as “an unabashed expression of existence”, with the band taking a stand at a time when threats to women’s freedoms in the west are, at both micro and macro levels, becoming ever more overt, organised and persistent.

But in its sound, sizeable changes have occurred. Firstly, there was a new MO enforced by simple geography: when Brownstein and Tucker started work on the new songs, the former was living in LA, Tucker in Portland, Oregon, so instead of playing together and talking ideas over in the same room as usual, they each worked at home on demos, writing on synthesiser and keyboard – in itself a change – and exchanging sound files. It was a process Brownstein describes to Uncut as “telling stories and sending the next chapter back. Corin would send something, so I would think, ‘OK, what’s another version of the story?’ So it felt novelistic in that way, or even like a series of short stories. And I think that’s where a lot of the different sounds came from – that allowance of someone else’s vision to hopefully take hold before we’d even finished writing the song.”

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

Sleater-Kinney then took those demos into the studio in July of last year with producer Annie Clark, aka electro-avant-pop maximalist St Vincent. It’s proved a controversial appointment and The Center Won’t Hold certainly features Clark’s fingerprints across its 33 minutes: there are more major keys, heightened dynamics and newly prominent synths and keyboards that mine novel seams of distortion, notably blown-out low-end frequencies. These are used most strikingly on the panoramic “Ruins”, the boldly overdriven “Bad Dance” and the title track, whose metallic buzz reflects the urgent mood that looms over the whole set. These may be fresh textural settings for S-K, but they’re still very much in step with the band’s take on drama, common to their whole catalogue. And while much has been made of the hiring of St Vincent, she came in as a longtime fan of the band – covering “Modern Girl” early last year, in fact. S-K themselves are hardly allergic to ’80s pop, either, with No Cities To Love’s title track and “Hey Darling” demonstrating that they’ve inherited as much from The B-52s and Pat Benatar as from Patti Smith and Poly Styrene.

As Brownstein tells it, three songs are presented as “poke holes” into the album: the title track, with its restrained first half later submerged by riotous punk fuzz; “Ruins”, where Tucker’s lyrics summon a metaphorical monster of our own making (“You’re a creature of sorrow, you’re the beast we made/You scratch at our sadness until we’re broken and frayed,” she states in her magnificent, throaty contralto); and “Hurry On Home”, a spiky comment on issues around compliance and amenability in relationships in which Brownstein’s declaration – “You know I’m unfuckable, unlovable, unlistenable, unwatchable” – speaks to the internalised fear of Everywoman and is carried by a high-stepping, punk-pop melody, a disco beat and a new digital crispness. “We thought, ‘This is the album’,” she says. “It’s scary, it’s vulnerable, it’s personal but it’s character-based at times, but also unmasked.”

Self-exposure and truth-telling – each as much political act as human connector – have always been central to S-K’s ethos, and The Center Won’t Hold is no different. It emerged from the fallout of the 2016 US presidential election, with the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the rise of our new world (dis)order. Friendship and music provide solace for the trio on “The Future Is Here” (“I need you more than I ever have because the future’s here and we can’t go back”) and “Reach Out”, 
a triumphantly roaring power ballad that finds Tucker announcing, in what might be interpreted as a prediction of Weiss’ departure, “I can’t fight without you, my friend…” “Broken” is its polar opposite: the album’s final track, written by Brownstein on piano and with a melody sung by Tucker, it applies a melancholic, supper-club lustre to its homage to Christine Blasey Ford and all the other women who’ve spoken out publicly against their sexual aggressors: “She, she, she stood up for us when she testified/Me, me too, my body cried out/When she spoke those lines.” It’s an artfully powerful song, but it’s not inconceivable that one of rock’s most fluid and wild drummers might have been slightly put out by this new style. Similarly, the doo-wop-influenced disco of “Can I Go On” finds little room for Weiss’s freewheeling talents.

It’s the joyously defiant and hopeful “LOVE” and “Bad Dance” that are the album’s existential axis, however. In the former, Brownstein recaps the story of S-K’s genesis in her friendship with Tucker and her own rescue by music as a young girl who “came up in the void” outside Seattle. “Heard you in my headphones, slipped you my address/Call the doctor, dig me out of this mess/ Tuned it down to C, turned the amps to 10/A basement of our own, a mission to begin,” she sings to a cheerful new-wave tempo, referencing S-K’s second and third albums. Brownstein then turns her attention to society’s expectation that women over 40 take up less space – diminishing themselves physically and muting their expression – and surrender the rock music game to a younger gang: “Done with being told that this should be the end/Fighting is the fuel and anger is a friend/There’s nothing more frightening and nothin’ more obscene/Than a well-worn body demanding to be seen.” In the swaggering “Bad Dance”, we’re commanded by Brownstein to “be the weapon, be the love”, and to dance off our rage against the chaotic end, however futile that might be.

Sleater-Kinney may have changed significantly, then, in sound and now in lineup, and if they manage a 10th record those changes will perhaps be even 
more pronounced; but their inimitable fury and drive is intact. A paean to survivors and those struggling to endure, The Center Won’t Hold shouts affirmation to all those listening, of course, but in particular to women: it’s not you, the songs seem to say – it’s Them.

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

The October 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from August 15, and available to order online now – with Patti Smith on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Bon Iver, Robbie Robertson, Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Brittany Howard, The Hollies, Devendra Banhart, Neil Young and Bob Dylan and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Wilco, Oh Sees, Hiss Golden Messenger and Tinariwen.

Shannon Lay – August

0

Trust me,” Shannon Lay sings on “Sunday Sundown”, a soft yet forceful standout on her new album, August. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter repeats those two simple words one more time, prompting you to lean in and listen closely to what she’s about to tell you: “Love is hard to find, with the shadows of your mind tellin’ you otherwise.” That’s a hard sentiment, but it derives so much of its power from that insistent set-up, as though she’s reached through the speaker and put a sympathetic hand on your shoulder. Lay uses similar techniques throughout August, peppering her songs with entreaties meant to make you pay special attention. On “Nowhere”, she turns syllables into sharp staccato jabs and sounds like she’s trying to call from across a crowded room. On the intense “Unconditional”, she cautions you, just on the cusp of outraged: “They’ll take all they want and they’ll give nothin’ back to you.” Then she punctuates it with an exhaled, not-quite-defeated, “It’s true.”

That trick makes Lay’s quiet songs sound loud and disruptive. Her melodies are pretty, her singing often beautiful, but August is never merely pretty and beautiful. Rather than inert or passive, her songs are active and lively, even a little prickly, from her deft finger-picking to her assertive vocal phrasing. The album strives to connect artist with audience, to speak directly to you, the individual listener. If she’s a confessional singer-songwriter, then she’s writing your confessions as well as her own. That makes her music both bracing and enticing, as she invites you into her world but doesn’t let you get too comfortable.

Fittingly, the title comes from an event that made Lay very uncomfortable. In August 2017, Lay quit her day job at a vintage store in Los Angeles called Squaresville and devoted herself fully to music. The experience was both fretful (would she be able to pay rent?) and freeing. Almost immediately she booked a tour opening for Kevin Morby, who thought so highly of her that he launched a special label imprint to release her album, Living Water, later that year. Since then she’s barely rested, balancing the demands of a solo career with her garage-punk band Feels and a touring gig in Ty Segall’s Freedom Band.

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

Lay recorded August with Segall at his LA home studio, emphasizing voice and guitar. She’s a precise instrumentalist who favours a finger-picked style that recalls Nick Drake or Paul Simon. You can hear her hands running along on the fretboard on “November”, which reinforces the song’s autumnal intimacy as well as its impression she’s aiming the song right at you. And her voice is gentle but steady, a bit like Sibylle Baier on “Shuffling Stoned”, insinuating the melody more than stating it outright. But there is something insistent in Lay’s phrasing, especially on “Past Time”, and her stoicism only makes her disdain for a self-involved someone so much more withering: “Tell me again about the things your mother made and how no-one did it better and no-one ever will,” she sings, her voice like an eye roll. “How I do love this time.”

To this foundation of voice and guitar she adds judicious flourishes that accentuate the songs without weighing them down. There’s emphatic percussion on “Wild”, droning violin and a locomotive snare on the title track, and a ramshackle indie-rock band on “Nowhere”, complete with keyboard solo and handclap rhythms. Mikal Cronin adds a fluttering sax to the stark opener “Death Up Close”, which adds breath and life to a song about their opposites. Many artists deploy that instrument for its dated associations, but there’s nothing ironic about Lay’s harrowing brush with mortality. Rather, it’s almost celebratory, as though our stories are more dramatic for having endings. When she sings three simple words at the end of the song – “I love you” – they have the weight of radical sincerity.

Perhaps Lay’s riskiest songwriting gambit is “The Dream”, on which she switches from acoustic to electric guitar, its notes sustained instead of short, each flowing into the other to create a cloudy, floating sensation. “It seems to me all a dream,” she sings, then repeats the phrase like a half-remembered mantra. Those are, in fact, the only words to the song, but Lay explores every fluttering facet of those syllables, as though trying to remember something her subconscious dredged up the night before. It’s a remarkable moment that closes an album that takes nothing for granted, that doesn’t consider your attention a gift, that wants to impart something profound to you. Trust her.

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

The October 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from August 15, and available to order online now – with Patti Smith on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Bon Iver, Robbie Robertson, Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Brittany Howard, The Hollies, Devendra Banhart, Neil Young and Bob Dylan and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Wilco, Oh Sees, Hiss Golden Messenger and Tinariwen.

Watch Bill Callahan cover Silver Jews’ “I Remember Me”

0

Bill Callahan has covered Silver Jews’ “I Remember Me” in concert.

Pitchfork reports that the show took place New York’s Webster Hall during Callahan’s current Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest tour

Callahan played “I Remember Me” as tribute to his friend and fellow Drag City artist, David Berman, who died earlier this month aged 52.

“The world is and will always be a David Berman lyric,” Callahan wrote on Twitter after Berman’s death was announced. “I miss you so much, David.”

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

View this post on Instagram

Bill. Thank you. #billcallahan

A post shared by J (@thefriendsofcoal) on

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

The October 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from August 15, and available to order online now – with Patti Smith on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Bon Iver, Robbie Robertson, Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Brittany Howard, The Hollies, Devendra Banhart, Neil Young and Bob Dylan and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Wilco, Oh Sees, Hiss Golden Messenger and Tinariwen.

Elton: A Life In Pictures

He’s the rocket man!
Elton: A Life In Pictures is a lavish 100 page tribute to pop’s most enduringly outrageous performer.
What a life – and what pictures!
The team behind Uncut’s long-running Ultimate Music Guides have brought their passion and expertise to this deluxe new product, which uses classic and rare photographs to fully chronicle Elton’s extraordinary musical journey.
Electric boots and a mohair suit – we’ve got those and all the rest.

International readers can pick up a copy of Elton: A Life In Pictures at the following stores:

The Netherlands: Bruna and AKO (Schiphol)

Sweden: Pressbyrån

Finland: Akateeminen Kirjakauppa TurkuFood Market Herkku Jumbo VantaaK-CitymarketKioski Stop@station HelsinkiMestarin Herkku Elintarvike, Minimani, Prisma, R-kioski, S-Market, SokosSuomalainen Kk and Tavarapuoti/Velj. Keskinen Oy

U.S.A.: Barnes & Noble

Canada: Indigo Books & Music

Watch the lyric video for Bruce Springsteen’s “I’ll Stand By You”

0

Bruce Springsteen has released a lyric video for his song, “I’ll Stand By You“.

The previously unreleased studio recording appears in the new film, Blinded By The Light – based on the memoir by former Uncut writer Saf Manzoor.

Springsteen reportedly originally wrote the song for his oldest son, Evan, between 1998 and 2001 after reading the Harry Potter books to his children.

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

According to Springsteen in a 2016 interview with BBC2, “I’ll Stand By You” is “a song that I wrote for my eldest son, it was a big ballad that was very uncharacteristic of something I’d sing myself. But it was something that I thought would have fit lovely.”

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

The October 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from August 15, and available to order online now – with Patti Smith on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Bon Iver, Robbie Robertson, Jeff Buckley, Miles Davis, Brittany Howard, The Hollies, Devendra Banhart, Neil Young and Bob Dylan and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Wilco, Oh Sees, Hiss Golden Messenger and Tinariwen.

Watch the video for Kim Gordon’s “Sketch Artist”

0

Kim Gordon is to release her first ever solo album on October 11 – watch the video for “Sketch Artist” below.

The Matador-released album, No Home Record, was recorded in Los Angeles, and features production work from Justin Raisen, primarily, alongside Shawn Everett and Jake Meginsky.

As well as “Sketch Artist”, it features “Murdered Out”, originally released by Gordon as a single in 2016.

“‘Why a solo record? And why now?,’” says Gordon in a press release. “I don’t know, but it wouldn’t have happened without the persistence of Justin Raisen. Living in LA the last few years it feels like home, but the transience of the place makes it feel sometimes like no home.”

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

75 Dollar Bill – I Was Real

0

It seems that both guitarist Che Chen and percussionist Rick Brown baulk at their music being described as blues; but it’s not because they have lofty pretensions or lack respect for the most elemental, culturally pliable and migratory of genres – they just see it as category error. Minor pentatonic scales – common to the folk music of places as unalike as Bamako and Chongqing, Kilkenny and Kabul – are a key element of the New York duo’s intensely absorbing instrumentals, more familiar due to their migration to the Southern US states and reincarnation as what we call the blues. Chen’s time in Mauritania in 2013, where he studied guitar with master Jeiche Ould Chigaly, has clearly made its mark, too.

But however you label it, there’s no denying the ecstatic power of Brown’s deceptively simple, plywood-crate thwackings, bells and rattles, with Chen’s subtle but insistent manipulations of drones, open tunings and overtones, exercised in a seemingly infinite number of patterns and at frequently epic length. Wrangled over two full-length official LPs – 2015’s Wooden Bag and Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock from 2016 – theirs is a particular kind of elegant primitivism, both trippily transcendental and rooted to the earth in a truly profound way. Despite loose kinship with the likes of Sir Richard Bishop, Steve Gunn and Henry Flynt, 75DB are really out there on their own. Their sound hypnotises in much the same way as a car’s headlights fatally hypnotise a deer: the mesmerism is pure, neuro-physical reaction, not a choice.

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

On I Was Real (not a Zen koan but the misremembering of an old Motown song title, apparently) they shift ground significantly while cleaving to their core, in changes that are as much operational as conceptual. Most significantly, maybe, there are eight extra players in various combinations, including repeat collaborators Steve Maing (quarter-tone guitar), Sue Garner (guitarist/bassist and Brown’s wife) and saxophonist Cheryl Kingan.

The set runs at 79 minutes over nine tracks, was recorded over a four-year period and sees the pair cannibalising and/or reconfiguring earlier material for major studio in(ter)ventions. “C Or T (verso)” was “realised” by the pair – both reject the title of producer and the album credits deliberately omit any mention – using what Chen calls “spare parts” from the backwards intro to opener “Every Last Coffee Or Tea”, while “New New/The Worm/Like Laundry” is a suite of sorts, connecting several sections of the album in different keys with an extended chord change. And the intro of “WZN#3 (verso)” is a “ghost” of the outro – what remained when the original double guitar/bass part that several players overdubbed was removed. Which seems like both a wilfully awkward way of making a few minutes of new music and exactly the kind of thing that would please veteran explorers.

These studio techniques are quite a shift from 75DB’s usual unmediated sound, but the results are absolutely one with the set’s overall sensual delirium. The centrepiece is the title track – at 17 minutes comparatively short, given that live, it’s sometimes stretched out to 30 – and it’s a triumph of almost funereal drone featuring two super-subtle tonal shifts on Chen’s 12-string, the whole anchored by Brown’s nimble, polyrhythmic pulse.

Equally strong and dizzyingly pleasurable is “Every Last Coffee Or Tea”, which is from their 2013 self-released Cassette, but rearranged here for six players. It features a multiplicity of overlapping and heavily rhythmic, improv guitar, upright bass and amplified viola parts, plus a reassuringly thumping pulse – together, a masterclass in delayed gratification that conjures up a desert ceilidh. “Tetuzi Akiyama” (after the Japanese avant guitarist) is very different, with its unarguably bluesy, percussive stomp and hammered central riff leading what you’d swear was a dozen guitars, as is the uncharacteristically frantic “There’s No Such Thing As A King Bee”, an impromptu studio jam with hissing hi-hat.

The album’s closer is the terrific “WZN#3”, which is a reference to Chen’s time in Mauritania and has been played 
by more band permutations than any other 75DB piece. In tunings so open you can almost feel a breeze blow through, Chen’s and Maing’s guitars establish a thrillingly repetitive, seesaw dynamic whose relaxed feel belies the intuitive control needed to sustain it, twangling away as if in a trance and connecting West Africa to the Appalachians.

These are ageless, thrillingly energised devotionals for our secular and fast-moving times, full of euphonious noise and the dust kicked up by their deep-dug grooves. Somehow, 75 Dollar Bill push forward even while their music hovers in the eternal present.

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

The 21st Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2019

A lot to recommend – not least the Michael Kiwanuka, Big Thief, Kacy & Clayton and Simon Joyner tracks. Plenty else besides. Should quickly mention we have a marvellous new issue out – Patti Smith on the cover – which you can buy in the shops or direct from our friends here. Free P&P, I should mention, too.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

1.
MICHAEL KIWANUKA

“You Ain’t The Problem”
(UMG)

2.
BIG THIEF

“Not”
(4AD)

3.
OMNI

“Sincerely Yours”
(Sub Pop)

4.
KACY & CLAYTON

“High Holiday”
(New West)

5.
BATTLES

“Titanium 2 Step” [feat. Sal Principato
(Warp)

6.
MIKAL CRONIN

“Show Me”
(Merge)

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

7.
THE MAGPIE SALUTE

“In Here”
(Provogue)

8.
MICA LEVI

“Monos”
(Invada)

9.
DIIV

“Skin Game”
(Captured Tracks)

10.
SIMON JOYNER

“Tongue Of A Child”
(BB*Island)

11.
LANA DEL RAY

“Season Of The Witch”
(BMG)

The September 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from July 18, and available to order online now – with The Who on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Blue Note, Dr John, Quentin Tarantino, Joan Shelley, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks, Ride, Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Cole and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Modern Nature, Sleater-Kinney, Ezra Furman and more.

 

The making of Peter Fonda’s The Hired Hand

0

Subscribe to Uncut and make huge savings on the cover price – find out by clicking here!

In memory of Peter Fonda, who died on August 16, 2019; this was originally published in Uncut’s January 2002 issue (Take 52)

RETURN OF THE WILD ANGEL
Two years after he became a counterculture star with Easy Rider, PETER FONDA made his directorial debut with a lyrical western, THE HIRED HAND, as a newly restored version opens in the UK this month, he talks to Damien Love

Synchronicity they call it. Shortly before I’m due to speak with Peter Fonda, I flick on the TV, and there’s his father, Henry – “Hollywood’s statue of liberty,” to borrow David Thomson’s phrase – standing in a black-and-white hotel corridor, speaking with a gathering of Runyonesque Times Square natives, that unmistakable voice kept low, a sound as gentle as a warm breeze, but carrying echoes of broken glass.

His children inherited traces of that cadence along with their bone structure. It’s still there, faintly, when I ask the 61-year-old Peter Fonda how he’s doing, and he says, “I’m pretty good. I’m alive. People think I’m cynical when I say that, but it’s the only way to start the day. And the best way to finish it.”

The film on my TV is an almost-forgotten thing called The Big Street, released late in 1942, when Peter Fonda was just shy of his third birthday, just before his father would disappear from the house and go off to fight a war.

Fonda remembers the movie. He remembers going to watch his father’s films in movie theatres back then as a little kid. Seeing his dad up on cinema screens during that period, in films about cowboys and circuses and rum doings in New York City, the boy would get confused. His dad was supposed to be away fighting the Japanese, after all. Eventually, he decided the man on the movie screen wasn’t his dad at all. He just looked like him. Then he’d get freaked out when his dad came home on leave, because he didn’t look like his dad – he looked like the man from the movies.

This was the earliest manifestation of an awkward distance between father and son which, as anyone familiar with his consistently entertaining memoir Don’t Tell Dad will be aware, would come to be a defining characteristic in their relationship, and which the younger Fonda spent many years breaking down.

In The Big Street, anyway, the man who looks like Henry Fonda plays a decent, lovelorn busboy who pushes a bitter, semi-crazy Lucille Ball in a wheelchair from Manhattan to Miami. What really strikes me as I watch a few scenes on TV, though, is that it also features Agnes Moorehead and Ray Collins, both members of the Mercury Theatre stock company Orson Welles brought to Hollywood, and that it was made when members of Welles’ contingent were being given a particularly rough ride.

Seen as East Coast longhairs, an invading bohemian force come to overthrow the system, there had been not-so-private jubilation among sectors of the Hollywood establishment when Citizen Kane (1941) stiffed at the box-office. Taken from him and recut, Welles’s second picture, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) was given only a desultory release by a studio that didn’t care about it, buried. Just off of that film, with their Mercury unit shut down by the RKO studio, as they talk with Henry Fonda in The Big Street, Moorehead and Collins are beaten refugee fighters from a failed revolution.

Twenty-seven years would pass before Hollywood had to deal with another longhair revolution. When it came, it was an attack from within, prodigal sons coming home to kill their elders. Peter Fonda – the Statue of Liberty’s kid, goddamn it – and Dennis Hopper, the ungrateful little punk who’d married Margaret Sullavan’s daughter and been a long-term houseguest of David O Selznick and Jennifer Jones, made this foul hippy thing called Easy Rider…

But you know all about that. How the film was no Citizen Kane, but became a box office sensation in a way Welles’ movie never did. How Peter Fonda’s Captain America seemed to represent something for a generation the same way that, out along different highways, his father’s Tom Joad once had for a generation before. How it made back its $400,000 budget 100 times over. And how, even if they didn’t get the dirt, the drugs, the hair and the music, studio chiefs understood those numbers and scrambled in fright to mine this incomprehensible new “youth market”.