Introducing the new Uncut: Robert Plant, Malkmus, Iggy, Elton and more

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The 4th Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2020

Apologies for what feels like a massive delay since the last Playlist; crazy deadlines plus, you know, real world...

Thanks, first of all, for the overwhelmingly positive response to Sounds Of The New West Volume 5 last month. We’re all acutely aware of the series’ legacy – how critical it has been, over the years, in helping develop a key part of Uncut’s aesthetic – and this latest instalment seems to have struck a significant chord. I promise we won’t leave it another four years until we compile Volume 6.

As for this issue, if there’s a loose theme between all the features, I guess it’s that they all capture artists during transitional states. For our cover star Robert Plant, it’s about the complex, digressive path he’s taken in the 40 years since Led Zeppelin finished. “I’m not asking anybody to get into the groove of what I do,” he tells us in a new, exclusive interview. “I just do it. I’m never gonna be everybody’s favourite. I don’t do it in the way that everybody would probably like it.”

For Iggy Pop, it’s the period where he belatedly begins his solo career in earnest – holed up in France and Berlin with his friend and co-conspirator David Bowie, where the two men made some of the greatest music of their careers. Tony Visconti, a man with a valid inside take on all this, talks at one point about the 1977 Quartet – explicitly acknowledging the creative connectivity between The Idiot, Lust For Life, Low and “Heroes”.

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Then there is Shabaka Hutchings, whose career seems to be one endless transitional state – from his early days in the progressive East London jazz scene to Sons Of Kemet, Comet Is Coming and now the latest album from Shabaka And The Ancestors. Meanwhile, Stephen Malkmus’ current creative surge has taken him off in a weird new tangent – acoustic folk, but with a very Malkmus’ spin. And then there is Elton John, witnessed during his remarkable run of ‘70s albums, writing classic songs in 15 minutes, masterminding complete albums on an ocean liner, making a rare and radical appearance in Russia.

In our Reviews pages, you’ll find us rounding up the best new music from Arborteum (recommended: the 11-minute jam, “Let It All In”), Nadia Reid, Soccer Mommy, Swamp Dogg, Cornershop, Circles Around The Sun and Real Estate as well as the best Archive releases from Karen Dalton, the Allmans, Charlie Parker and more.

There are also new interviews with Greg Dulli, Maria McKee, Brittany Howard, Roedelius and Pale Saints. We bid farewell to Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill, celebrate The Band and usher in Juniore’s “joyful apocalypse”.

Plenty for everyone, then. Let us know your thoughts once you’ve had a look at the issue: letters@uncut.co.uk.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner

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