After the rush of Christmas albums and deluxe repackagings, it remains a thin time for music. But that's all set to swerve in a more exciting direction. First up are albums by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks and Ed Harcourt, both out on Monday. As a new year's gift to the fans, Malkmus's sixth studio collaboration with the Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags, is being streamed in full on Amazon. Pepping up a weak month for gigs, they start their UK tour on 13 January, reaching London's Forum on 16 January.
Select stores remain the vinyl destination
Thank goodness for the remaining 300 UK independent record stores and Record Store Day which honours them every April. They are responsible for half the vinyl sales of last year. And, with 780,000 LPs sold, sales of vinyl are double the previous year according to BPI/Official Charts. While there are no surprises among the best-selling albums of the year (One Direction is No 1, followed by Emeli Sandé, with only one of the 10 – Arctic Monkeys' AM – on an independent label), the vinyl chart reads like a best-of-2013 list. And eight are released on independent labels. Arctic Monkeys top the list, with Arcade Fire, Daft Punk and Vampire Weekend also featuring, suggesting that it's a wide age range buying vinyl. Long live the independent record store and vinyl's continuing resurgence.
Smashing snaps of Townshend and the band
This year marks 50 years since The Who formed. To celebrate the UK's best live rock band, the Proud Galleries, in London, are holding a photography exhibition by Colin Jones from February to March. Expect a comprehensive exhibition of the band's wild and domestic sides: Keith Moon's drum-thrashing, Pete Townshend sitting in front of the guitars he has just smashed on stage… and John Entwistle practising guitar at home while his mother darns his socks.
Rufus Wainwright plays three shows to mark his Best Of album, Vibrate, out on 3 March. He's chosen the ideal venues for his ornate theatrical chamber pop, including London's Theatre Royal on 6 April.
Gig of the week
There are slim pickings this week, but luckily hip London venue the Lexington has opened its doors for its Fortuna POP! Winter Sprinter series. The four gigs feature ramshackle indie-rock from Let's Wrestle and Herman Dune's jangly indie-pop, among others, from Monday to Thursday.