I’ve not been hugely interested in much of the end-of-the-decade stuff that’s been appearing over the past few weeks, but this piece by Simon Reynolds at the Guardian is worth a read.

I’ve not been hugely interested in much of the end-of-the-decade stuff that’s been appearing over the past few weeks, but this piece by Simon Reynolds at the Guardian is worth a read.



Without wanting to grotesquely oversimplyfy the argument, Reynolds’ premise is that more good music has been released in the past ten years than in previous decades, but less Great music. He suggests that it’d be easier to find 2,000 good records of the Noughties, but harder to identify 200 Great ones; 200 which achieve a certain kind of critical consensus. A couple of years ago, I suppose we’d be calling this The Long Tail

A fair bit of Reynolds’ recent writing has struck me as oddly gloomy, seeming to reflect a disappointment with where music is at the moment and – more pertinently to him, I suspect – where it might be going. As a consequence, he implies that the lack of Great albums is a problem.

As a more optimistic critic, though, and one generally unconcerned with continuum or whatever, the piece made me wonder: do we actually need these kind of Great, uniting records any more? With so much good music available – for free, potentially – should we crave a small, canonical selection of records which everyone, more or less, agrees upon, and play them again and again? Isn’t a wider choice of good things, tailored to your own specific tastes, more desirable?

It’s that glut of random good things which sustains blogs like this, I guess – and which may well frustrate critics (like Reynolds, and unlike me) who are preoccupied with identifying overarching narratives of musical development. Have a read, anyhow, and we can talk about it.

In the meantime, here’s this week’s clutch of goodish things. Haven’t mentioned this for a while, but following correspondence from one or two PRs, I probably should reiterate again that these playlists are just records we’ve played in the Uncut office, and aren’t necessarily things I actually like.

That said, there’s only a couple of things on this one that I wasn’t particularly keen on. Here we go…

1 Field Music – (Measure) (Memphis Industries)

2 The Next Uncut Free CD

3 Retribution Gospel Choir – 2 (Sub Pop)

4 Various Artists – Bob Blank: The Blank Generation, Blank Tapes NYC 1975-1985 (Strut)

5 A Load Of Albanian Folk Music (A CD-R From Mark’s Friend)

6 VoicesVoices – Flulyk Visions (http://www.myspace.com/wearevoicesvoices)

7 Smoke Fairies – Gastown (Third Man)

8 Jack Rose – Luck In The Valley (Thrill Jockey)

9 Steve Mason – All Come Down (Black Melody)

10 Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté – Ali & Toumani (World Circuit)

11 Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago (Matador)

12 Various Artists – Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero Group)

13 Various Artists – Dim Lights, Thick Smoke & Hillbilly Music: Country & Western Hit Parade 1954 (Bear Family)

14 Lonelady – Intuition (Warp)

15 Natural Snow Buildings – Shadow Kingdom (CD-R)