Inside the new Uncut: Kate Bush, Ronnie Lane, Blur, Elliott Smith, XTC and more

When Kate Bush was 8 years old – she writes in the introduction to How To Be Invisible, her collection of lyrics – she found a discarded instrument an unlikely outlet for her growing musical ambitions. “I used to play an old harmonium that had ostensibly been dumped in the outhouse in the garden,” she remembered. “It was so exciting. One stop was ‘flutes’, another ‘trumpets’. I adored playing with these different sounds, but then, one by one, the stops were eaten away by the mice who lived in the harmonium.”

It’s an instructive anecdote, not least in what it tells us about the way Bush could find something magical in an object the rest of us might otherwise consider junk. But in essence, Bush has been truffling out enchantments under the ivy – or, perhaps, in the barn – for over 40 years now. As “Running Up That Hill” celebrates passing one billion streams on Spotify, and with the parent album Hounds Of Love due for a reissue later this year, we attempt to reveal the mysteries behind Bush’s idiosyncratic vision, whose determination to bring that vision to fruition, has been there right from the start. Reflecting on Bush’s alchemical gifts for transforming the ordinary into the unexpected, I’m surprised she didn’t write a song about that harmonium – one to add to her uncanny bestiary alongside snowmen, magicians, angels and washing machines…

Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find other exponents of English music, no less surprising than Kate Bush. The many faces of Ronnie Lane – from mod to seeker, gypsy and beyond – are celebrated by a host of friends, including Pete Townshend, while eternal refusenik Andy Partridge shares his inimitable views on XTC’s glorious canon. We travel further afield, to San Fransicsco’s Bay Area circa 1969 to meet Moby Grape, then to New York in the late ‘90s where Elliott Smith finds himself at a pivotal point in his career, and lastly to Paris, in the present day, where Tinariwen are emerging from a period of enforced hibernation. There’s more, of course – Betty Davis, Joan Jett, the return of Blur and a free, 15-track new music CD.


It’s enough, we hope, to keep you entertained for the month ahead…

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