Another busy week in the expanding world of Uncut...
Just back in the office after a fortnight of dodging wild boar, mountain goats and various other bits of unidentifiable Mediterranean wildlife, and am massively gratified by the positive vibes from so many of you about our newly re-upholstered Uncut. Genuine thanks to everyone for the kind messages I’ve found all over Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere about the redesign, the upgraded Reviews section, the Bowie cover and, especially, the long-awaited fourth volume of our Sounds Of The New West comps, which seems to have struck a significant chord; there seem to be lots of pictures of the CD sleeve sat next to the original comps from the turn of the millennium. After such a lot of work – most notably by Marc Jones, our designer – I’m thrilled and relieved it’s worked out so well. Anything else you’d like to tell us, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obviously I’ve arrived back as the next issue is being knocked into shape, and have been confronted with a great weight – actual and virtual – of new music to work my way through. Already today I’ve listened to Steve Hauschildt, Leonard Cohen, Cyrus Gengras and this Prophets Of Rage supergroup featuring Chuck D, B Real and three-quarters of Rage Against The Machine (it sounds exactly how you’d imagine), plus reissues from Dennis Bovell, Low and Julius Eastman. Lots more to get through, of course, not least the Frank Ocean album and – sorry to be a tease – some enticing stuff from Light In The Attic, among other labels, that hasn’t been officially announced yet, as far as I can tell.
More jobs: to write a review of the 75 Dollar Bill album that I keep banging on about. I didn’t listen to much while I was away, apart from the new Factory Floor album that my wife favoured for driving music as we were getting lost on precipitous mountain passes, but I did keep coming back to the New York desert blues of “WOOD/METAL/PLASTIC/PATTERN/RHYTHM/ROCK”, which is rapidly shaping up as one of my favourite releases of 2016, not least because it made for an amazing descent/touchdown experience on the plane home.
I’ll try and fold some of this stuff into one of my other tasks: to prepare for the End Of The Road festival this weekend, and patch together a soundtrack to play between the bands – Teenage Fanclub, Scritti Politti, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Jenny Hval, and more – when Uncut takes over the Big Top stage there on Sunday. I’ll be there with Tom Pinnock, Laura Snapes, Mark Bentley and Charlotte Treadaway from Uncut, reporting live from End Of The Road with news, reviews and so on to keep you up to speed, whether you’re on site or wishing you were. Also, Tom and Laura will be hosting a series of Q&As with some of the festival’s key attractions:
FIELD MUSIC – 3.30pm FRIDAY – TIPI TENT BAR
JEFFREY LEWIS – 2.30pm SATURDAY – TIPI TENT BAR
KEVIN MORBY – 2.15pm SUNDAY – TIPI TENT BAR
DEVENDRA BANHART – 5.00pm SUNDAY – PIANO STAGE
Again, please drop by and say hi.
One last thing before I go. Our archive-digging History Of Rock series reaches 1979 with its next edition out next week. But in case you missed it, we’re also making available again the first volume of the series, dedicated to 1965. It’ll be in UK shops this Thursday, but you can buy History Of Rock: 1965 now from our online shop.
Here’s the introduction from John Robinson:
“Welcome to 1965. As the year dawns, the personalities who will define much of the music of the next 50 years – be that The Beatles, Bob Dylan, or the Rolling Stones – are all still in their early 20s. They are already working at an extremely high level, producing classic work like “Help”, “Highway 61” and “Satisfaction”. In their wake, a second wave of innovators are busy determining their own paths, inspired by the work of others (“they knocked us out” is a phrase you’ll read a lot) and their own unique visions.
“The music writers of New Musical Express and Melody Maker were there with them all. These were not by any means the faintly dandyish figures of the following decades. Rather, these were diligent newspapermen with musical leanings; dedicated record “trade” professionals who uncovered pivotal detail by their fastidious reporting of music events. They skilfully captured the major personalities up close, at a time where music – and along with it, music writing – was undergoing rapid change.
“This is the world of The History Of Rock, a new monthly magazine and ongoing project which which reaps the benefits of this access for the reader decades later, one year at a time. In the pages of this first edition, dedicated to 1965, you will find verbatim articles from frontline staffers, compiled into long and illuminating reads. You will be present as enduring reputations (“the witty Beatles”; “the battling Kinks”) are formed, but also to discover fascinating byways off the main track.
“You will recognize many of the names, faces and places here, but you’ve perhaps never quite seen them quite so innocently, or so intimately in their time. Here, Carnaby Street is still a fashionable destination. A Rickenbacker guitar, as advertised by John Lennon, will cost you 150 guineas. Andrew Loog Oldham seems to have a hand in everything. America? America is spoken of as an extremely remote place indeed, and a sense of spirited transatlantic competition thrives in the language of much of the reporting.
“What may surprise the modern reader most is the access to, and the sheer volume of material supplied by the artists who are now the giants of popular culture. Now, a combination of wealth, fear and lifestyle would conspire to keep reporters at a rather greater length from the lives of musicians.
“At this stage, however, representatives from New Musical Express and Melody Maker are where it matters. At John Lennon’s dinner table. Being serenaded by John Coltrane in his hotel room. In a TV studio with the Rolling Stones.
“Join them there. You’ll be knocked out!”