Jurassic 5: Jurassic 5 (Pan) These Californian rappers aim for the warm, mellow, cheeky hip-hop of De La Soul rather than the gangsta groove, so we can be grateful for one thing - Puff Daddy does not produce this, sing on it, or remix it. Phew. That said, beyond a bit of family-friendly street philosophising and acrobatic rhyming, Jurassic 5 fail to define their territory radically enough to compete with spilt blood, foxy ladies and drug running. HH

Elliott Smith: Either/Or (Domino, below) The delicate but wilful guitar musings recently gained Elliott Smith an Oscar nomination for a song in Good Will Hunting, which tells you the class of the individual we are dealing with here. Initially, his bedroom blues seem threadbare, but his bleak lyrical directness makes this a sweetly mournful experience that sucks you in. HHH

Ebba Forsberg: Been There (Maverick) As a Maverick signing, initial suspicions are that Ebba must be the Swedish version of Alanis... groan. Far from it. Ebba's voice is agonisingly gorgeous, a slow release of pain on tracks like "Been There" where she reaches the parts even folky long- servers like Suzanne Vega cannot reach. "You Surprise Me" is invested with dark powers of charisma and intelligence - more Billie Holiday than Sheryl Crow. Good. HHHH

The Delgados: Peloton (Chemikal Underground) The Glasgow indie rumblers make up for what they lack in a decent album name with a refreshing mix of the oblique and straight-ahead pop in tracks like "The Actress", which also shows them playing with ideas in a more confident way than on their debut album Domestiques. Through their label Chemikal Underground, The Delgados helped push the likes of Bis and Arab Strap on to greater things - now they've done wonders for themselves. HHH

Angela Lewis