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What better way to celebrate the remaining 16 dates of the Sleaford Mods tour than with a review of their Key Markets album written for a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates? All references to beer were removed from the published version.

Someone said at work yesterday that Sleaford Mods would probably write a song about “Pig-gate”. I would suggest that “Rupert Trousers” on this record actually sees it coming.

I’m a fan of Sleaford Mods, and I think they’re a great live band. Below this is a review I wrote for Uncut last year (with a pic of their great guestlist wristband). Apparently, though, my even-tempered preview of an earlier tour didn’t completely pass muster with the band’s fans (click on images to enlarge).

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I was proud to be asked to write sleevenotes for the 1966 Bert Jansch/John Renbourn album Bert and John, and happy the other day when a finished copy turned up. I’m hopeful a cheque will follow. Anyway, for anyone who has never heard it, this is a great album – and it was nice to be able to include some thoughts from Bert and John themselves – even though I never exactly grilled them on this topic when I met them – and from Heather Wood from The Young Tradition. The notes themselves are after the break, while there’s more from Heather down the column.

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Steve Albini On Nirvana’s In Utero

A few years ago I interviewed Steve Albini for Uncut. He is a great person to talk to, read blogs by, generally have opinions confirmed by. We’re kind of all on about In Utero again at the moment, and it’ll be hard to get a more lucid account than one from the man who produced it – someone who, a bit like Bob Johnston on the new Dylan Bootleg Series release, is kind of being titoped around by the official channels/current administration.  Anyway. May post the rest of this later for the other 14 or so Melt-Banana fans/ATP 90s guys. The word count for this is  666, just so you know.

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Lawrence Q&A, Part 4: Denim

For the last couple of weeks, what with the Felt Q&A at Rough Trade, my continued enjoyment of the bookzine compiled and edited by the folks at and the arrival of the very nice Felt book from I’ve been putting up a pretty much unedited Q&A with Lawrence, which was the product of a piece I wrote for Uncut magazine before Christmas. One of the subjects alluded to artfully in Paul Kelly’s Lawrence Of Belgravia film is that of Lawrence’s problem with addiction, which seem to have begun around the time of Denim’s demise.

I felt this was the sort of thing to bring up, if not to exactly press the point on. So, about an hour and forty minutes into the interview, as he talked about the end of Denim’s particular road, I did, and Lawrence, not angrily or with any side at all, simply said, “I don’t want to talk about that.” He may have added “…if that’s all right” because I do remember saying, “No, that’s fine.”

He liked the way the subject had been treated in the film, and suggested that equally, it was my job to handle it somehow, not his to explain it. I can’t quite face transcribing the exchange word for word, because, if I’m completely honest, I’m in no enormous rush to listen to it again. The interview didn’t, happily, end there, as I asked a bit more about Felt (which I have cut into the Felt part of this transcript, which can be found in earlier posts) and we talked a bit more about that.

We finished talking about twenty minutes afterwards, and I got up to leave. Lawrence, someone with no shortage of enthusiasms to expand on, said ,“Oh, are you going?” signed my record, gave me the notes he’d prepared for me and gave me a quick tour of his flat. A room with many shelves, housing his magazine collections (“Pared down to the absolute minimum,” he said, indicating several substantial stacks). Some pieces of cardboard with quotations ascribed to himself.  This room, he said, will be his studio when it’s finished, and its transformation was chiefly the handiwork of a young man called Ralph, who appears in the film, and who in addition to his practical talents is, Lawrence says, “the world’s best drummer” and has played with Scritti Politti.

A detour into his hallway reveals his bookshelves (“all curved edges”), filled with vaguely esoteric cult lit and, on the way out, his records – again with some inessential items put to one side to sell. One of these is an album by The Butts Band. “It’s just total shit,” Lawrence explained. “How could you go from the Doors to this?”

Lawrence accompanied me to the lift and then out of the building, and on to the Hot Dog Streets…

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