Best of 2014: Pop preview
Andy Gill picks this year's must-hear pop music
Broken Bells: After The Disco
The second album from the alt-pop duo of Shins songwriter James Mercer and Midas-touch producer Danger Mouse (Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley, Black Keys), last seen working at Electric Lady Studios on a new U2 album, itself slated for an April release. Released 3 February, Columbia
With their homeland in chaos, the Mali desert-blues titans relocated to Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert to record Emaar, with various American guests such as fiddler Fats Kaplin and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Expect particularly poignant, impassioned reflections on displacement, tradition and togetherness. Released 10 February, PIAS
Having announced her retirement from music in 2009, Lily Allen burst back onto the scene in November with a typically outspoken, sweary, synthpop single, Hard Out Here, which railed against the industry’s sexism. Her new album – her first in five years, and produced by Greg Kurstin who was behind the controls for It’s Not Me, It’s You – is due anytime now. Release TBC, Warner Bros
The missing-presumed-dead Mexican-American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, whose rediscovery was so arrestingly related in the documentary In Search Of Sugar Man makes a single rare UK appearance on the south coast. 9 March, Bournemouth BIC
The north-west’s favourite sons return with a new album and tour. Guy Garvey has described it – working title All At Once – as reflecting the band’s thoughts on turning 40, with one song being about “an old man in a young person’s bar”. Album released 10 March; touring from 5 April to 16 April
Elvis Presley: On Stage
As disingenuous titles go, this one takes some beating. But there’s a strange allure to the prospect of seeing video footage of the King (culled from the 1968 comeback special and 1970’s That’s The Way It Is) accompanied by a live band and backing singers. Of course, it could be a grisly disaster, but that might be just as entertaining. Touring from 30 April to 25 May
Arctic Monkeys/Tame Impala
Newly revitalised as Anglo-American art-rockers, Arctic Monkeys become the latest act to play Finsbury Park, heading a bill that offers a rare opportunity to take in acclaimed Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala. 23 & 24 May, Finsbury Park, London
Their new album may be misstep, but Canada’s finest always come good in live performance, especially when their natural exuberance isn’t constrained by a small venue – and they don’t come much bigger than Earls Court. Hopefully, they’ll play a few more old favourites than at the recent Roundhouse show. 6 & 7 June, Earls Court, London
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world