2016, almost done

Almost four months since my last update is surely a new record (not that I can quite bring myself to check… the shame of it). It’s all been a blur, of deadlines, of noise, of teaching, of coming up with headlines that are funny but not libelous, of chasing a two-and-a-half-year-old all over the place. But I did some other stuff!

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Most recently, I undertook the horrific task of selecting ten of the finest moments from Public Enemy’s back catalogue. Sadly the comments have now closed so you missed your chance to tell me I am an idiot.

Over the Summer, I got the chance to interview the wonderful Michael Kiwanuka for the wonderful MOJO magazine. It was in the issue with the wonderful Lou Reed on the cover, and you might still be able to find a copy at Soho’s wonderful Vintage Magazine Shop… Oh, no, it’s closed. Get thee to eBay, then.

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While you’re there, see if you can find this Kerrang! cover story, where I interviewed Butch Vig on the experience of producing Nevermind. “I’ll see what I can remember, it was twenty-five years ago,” Butch said, at the beginning of the interview. Turns out he could remember loads, and writing the story helped illuminate an album that was a gateway drug for my generation, from the mainstream to the underground. You might think you know all there is to know about Nevermind, but trust me: Butch still had some secrets left to share.

And finally: Loose Lips Sink Ships, the zine the devastatingly talented Steve Gullick and myself run, is making its way from the internet back onto paper at some point in the new year. If you want in on this – and of course you do – drop us your email address HERE.

I’ll try not to leave it another four months. Have a great Xmas and New Year.

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Fishbone / Betty Davis / Vodun

Hello!

Long weekend ahead – in case you were stuck for something to read…

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I wrote about wonderful, life-affirming, ill-starred ska-funk-punk fusioneers Fishbone and their mercurial stabs at greatness.

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I wrote about obscenely brilliant funk queen Betty Davis, and the sinful, unimpeachable music she made in the mid-70s.

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And I wrote about ecstatic, voodoo-powered thrash trio Vodun, who are one of the most exciting groups of right this minute.

Whatever you do, have a great one.

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Bernie Worrell / Minnie Riperton

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The wonderful genius Bernie Worrell, the Woo himself, left us this weekend. I wrote about his storied career, from taking ParliaFunkadelicMent into the synth-era, to helping Talking Heads find the funk within them, to his fractious period seasioneering for The Pretenders. Farewell, Bernie, and thanks for all that music.

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I also wrote a Ten Of The Best for the glorious, much-missed Minnie Riperton, though it could easily have stretched to a Twenty Of The Best, or a Thirty, and so maybe you should just buy Come To My Garden, Perfect Angel and Adventures In Paradise and be done with it?

Thanks for your time, and let’s keep it European.

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Sassyblack feature in Noisey

Hello!

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THEESatisfaction were one of my favourite new groups of recent years – last year’s EarthEE LP was one of the finest of the year, and the duo have always been great fun to interview. They’ve recently called it a day, but before you get too upset, one half of THEESatisfaction – Cat Harris-White, whose dulcet jazz tones often sent their futurist screeds spinning far OUT, in the best possible way – has released her first album-proper as her alter-ego Sassyblack. No More Lame Dates is a smart, funny, honest take on the dating game from a black queer woman’s perspective, and I talked with Cat about it for Noisey. You can read it here.

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New Kingdom on Red Bull Music Academy

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Hey! I got to interview and tell the story of one of the most wonderful, head-mangling, booty-destroying hip-hop groups of the 1990s at Red Bull Music Academy. If you ever owned either of New Kingdom’s sublime albums, you’ll know theirs was a unique, DNA-rearranging sound. If you’ve never heard of them, get discovering.

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Corinne Bailey Rae

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Buy the new issue of MOJO! There’s a killer interview with Sonny Rollins, a massive Syd-era Pink Floyd feature and a great piece on Santana, and also my feature on Corinne Bailey Rae, whose forthcoming album The Heart Speaks In Whispers is one of the year’s best.

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Sturgill Simpson in MOJO,

Hello again, 2016…

I wrote about Sturgill Simpson‘s remarkable new album, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, in the new issue of MOJO! I think this is my album-to-beat so far this year, an extraordinary work.

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Also, after spending the winter hibernating, I went out to a bunch of gigs! Pretty great ones, actually: Kurt Vile, Big Sexy Noise, At The Drive-In. And I wrote about them! Fancy that.

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