Elisa Bray

Elisa Bray is The Independent's Rock & Pop Editor

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Strum as you are: Kurt Cobain

The week in music: Riotous story of how Brixton became a rock fans' nirvana

What is the best gig you've been to at Brixton Academy? Perhaps it's Public Enemy, or The Smiths' final show in 1986? Simon Parkes bought the seminal venue for £1 in 1982 and what stories he has to tell in his new memoir Live at the Brixton Academy: a Riotous Life in the Music Business.

Saddled with success: (from left) Suren de Saram, Ed Nash, Jack Steadman and Jamie MacColl of Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club interview: Saddled with success

The band’s latest album takes them way beyond the jangly indie-pop for which the quartet are still known

In the spotlight: Brit Award nominee John Grant

The week in music: How I'd love to see John Grant win at the Brit Awards

This year's Brit Award nominations highlight the strength of new music, with breakthrough acts Bastille, Disclosure and Rudimental dominating the British Group and Album categories.

Brute Force: Wild Beasts
Fringe benefits: Stephen Malkmus

The week in music: A chance to wig out to the indie rockers who are no Scrooges

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.

Hark the herald alt-popsters sing: Christmas albums from the most unexpected angles

Watch the exclusive Erasure video for 'Make it Wonderful' above

Man in black: Nick Cave

The Week in Music: Nick Cave is No 1 with a brooding classic that reaches for the sky

It's that time of year when music magazines and websites report their best of 2013 lists. In its latest issue, NME picks Arctic Monkeys' AM as their No 1 album of the year – expected given their rave 10/10 review on its release.

Rita Ora joins Fifty Shades of Grey cast: how she made the big time

From stage school to Jay-Z school, here's how she got there

Phosphorescent, gig review- 'rich and powerful'

Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

Heart and soul: Jessie Ware

The Week in Music: Jessie Ware is still pulling all the strings

With Mercury and Brit nominations, Jessie Ware has had a stellar year. The singer is unveiling her latest song, written with the Blue Nile's Paul Buchanan, at the ASOS All-Nighter (an online house party) on 12 December. She's dedicated the next few months to writing the follow-up to her debut album. "I want my album out next year," she tells me. "It's definitely going to be electronic, but if I can have strings I'm definitely going to!" Expect more collaborating with Julio Bashmore, Kid Harpoon and Dave Okumu.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial