Arts and Entertainment

Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London

Once of no fixed abode, rapper finds a place on Mercury Prize shortlist

Speech Debelle edges out former favourite Lily Allen to pick up nomination

A bluffer's guide to who's hot in pop

Think Little Boots are toddlers' shoes? With the Mercury Prize shortlist for best album out on Tuesday, Katy Guest leads the more mature reader through the minefield of modern music

Bat for Lashes - Away with the fairies

Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes, sings of a hippy-dippy universe of woodlands and wizards. Fiona Sturges enters her world

Album: Florence And The Machine, Lungs (Moshi Moshi)

The BBC's annual poll to find the "Sound" of the forthcoming year has rapidly developed its own self-fulfilling critical mass, nowhere better illustrated than in the performance of Florence and the Machine's singles so far.

Bruce Springsteen: The man, the music, the politics...the Boss

Intensity, passion, scale and a sincere rapport with his audience are the hallmarks of Bruce Springsteen's finest shows. As the singer's Glastonbury debut approaches, Andy Gill celebrates a great American star and performer

How to tell La Roux from Little Boots

The charts and festivals are bursting with quirky-looking popstrels with weird names and big voices. Confused? Let Gillian Orr be your guide

Bat For Lashes, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Natasha Khan's alter ego, Bat for Lashes, is a daunting live prospect, flitting as she does between dark, otherworldly princess and timid, slightly posh, Brighton-born pop ingénue. A former nursery-school teacher, Natasha Khan's DIY musical creativity is used to harness deep, dark emotions, and if there's a theme for both her Mercury-nominated debut, Fur and Gold, and her recent follow-up, Two Suns, it's the honesty and naiveté of youth mixed with very adult themes of loss and heartbreak. That's not to suggest simplicity, though. The latter of her albums has been described by Khan as an essay in duality, and her lyrics certainly feature the poetic complexity to back the claim up.

Antony And The Johnsons/Florence And The Machine/VV BROWN, Royal Albert Hall, London

Usually the support band has to make do with the chosen stage set-up of the headlining act, but in tonight's imaginatively concocted line up by the Teenage Cancer Trust, each of the three performers has almost equal stage time – and equally large and eccentric personas.

Ones to watch - music's rising stars

Magic Arm

Magic Arm's early singles may have been released by Switchflicker, the label that launched The Ting Tings, but there the comparison ends. Though Manchester's Marc Regisford does have one foot in the world of pop, it's of the more DIY variety; besides, the other is very much in the world of folk.

Interview: C4’s ‘Freshly squeezed’ Rick Edwards

The latest fresh-faced attitude-laden presenter to take up the T4 baton is none other than Mr Rick Edwards. Straight out of the Steve Jones school of chiselled jaws and witty banter, you can watch him weekday mornings fronting Freshly Squeezed on Channel 4 with the ever lovely Alexa Chung.

You write the reviews: Bat for Lashes, Carling Academy 2, Liverpool

All music is a journey, but the audience at this show truly were transported to somewhere dark and enchanting. After the surprisingly strong support act, folky Leeds singer-songwriter Paul Marshall, who was accompanied by a female double-bass player and whose deft guitar picking was reminiscent of Jose Gonzalez, a ghostly white apparition drifted on to the stage. The previously quiet crowd roared in rapture and expectation at the entrance of Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes.

Album: Rasputina

Oh Perilous World (Filthy Bonnet Co)

Pop tops list at Brit nominations

Take That, Mika and Leona Lewis lead the field at this year's Brit Awards in a nominations list that puts the emphasis on pop.

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