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President Barack Obama leads nation in moment of silence, as commemoration ceremonies take place in New York, the Pentagon and the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania

Inside story: The weird world of Mr & Mrs Phil Spector

He is the legendary music producer in prison for murder. She is the young wife protesting his innocence. Welcome to the curious world of Mr & Mrs Phil Spector

Album: John Mellencamp, No Better Than This (Rounder)

The argument between analogue and digital recording methods is neatly summarised this week by comparing this simple, stripped-down offering from John Mellencamp with the second album by Klaxons, on which the songs are hidden away beneath layers of digital blah, track after track of guitar and keyboard and effect piled upon the material until its spine snaps, and all that remains is some amorphous noise begging for your attention.

Minor British Institutions: Alternative comedy

The thing about alternative comedy is that it isn't very alternative any more. Like "New" Labour, time has rendered the adjective redundant, and the nation awaits the alternative to alternative comedy. Maybe comics will go back to wearing dinner suits with frilly shirts and cracking mother-in-law gags.

Album: Los Lobos, Tin Can Trust (Proper)

American rock's most reliable supercharged bar-band is in comfortable, relaxed mode on Tin Can Trust which, after the themed concept of 2006's The Town and the City is just a grab-bag of songs, though none the worse for that.

Laurel Canyon: The paradise where they put up a parking lot

Once upon a time, there was a wooded wonderland where long-haired men and women wore flowers in their hair and often little else, where wood cabins nestled among cypresses and bougainvillea and the sound of birdsong mixed with guitars. Just a 10-minute drive north of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood, Laurel Canyon was home to Joni Mitchell, The Doors, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Frank Zappa, The Mamas and The Papas, Jackson Browne and The Eagles.

Album: The Magic Numbers, The Runaway (Heavenly)

If fashion has forsaken the Magic Numbers, then it's fashion's loss.

Tom Mendelsohn: Has the US right-wing media finally gone too far?

There’s quite the scandal brewing across the Atlantic at the moment, and for once it’s not one Liberals are having to watch through the cracks of their fingers.

Album: Dr John, Tribal (Proper Recordings)

Dr John in mellow mood, closer in temperature to Steely Dan than to the album's dedicatee, Bobby Charles – snakey, low, hip and perhaps a little jazzier than you might have reason to expect.

Tom Mendelsohn: Further thoughts on the US Right and the World Cup

It looks like I inadvertently started a fight with my last blog on soccer and America.

Slovenia v USA player ratings

Man-for-man marking from Johannesburg

Album: Matisyahu, Light (100%)

The Hasidic Jewish musician's follow-up to 2006's Youth was originally scheduled for release over two years ago, before finally securing an American release last August, followed the best part of a further year later by this UK issue.

England v United States player ratings

Man-for-man ratings from the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in South Africa

Album: Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, Come & Get It (Capitol)

Excitable US soul boy. White, be-quiffed, in love with the sound of the late 1960s. Thinks soul is about letting rip until your trousers split.

Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse and that special chemistry

Artists from Amy Winehouse via David Bowie to U2 have had musical masterminds in the control room. Fiona Sturges looks at their influence

Tom 'T-Bone' Wolk: Bass player and multi-instrumentalist known as 'the ampersand' in Hall & Oates

The multi-instrumentalist Tom "T-Bone" Wolk used to joke that he was best known for being "that guy with the hat" who played bass with the American soul duo Hall & Oates. Having joined them in 1981, just after they completed the Private Eyes album, he appeared in the video for the title track and became their longest-serving collaborator.

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Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

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Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

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Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

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