Blur reuniting in 2011

Blur will "definitely" get back together this year.

Album: The Phoenix Foundation, Buffalo (Memphis Industries)

Too early to start talking albums of the year? Course it is.

Album: Wire, Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

There's something jarring about hearing 56-year-old Colin Newman spit a couplet as snotty and adolescent as "Fuck off out of my face/ You take up too much space".

Album: WIREed, Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

Wire's saving grace has usually been the minimalist cleanliness of their structures, which have the undemonstrative firmness and cool solidity of Barnett Newman's colour-field canvases.

Album: Various Artists, Dirty Water: the Birth of Punk Attitude (Year Zero)

Ingeniously compiled by journalist Kris Needs to include little or no bona fide punk-rock music at all, the two-CD set Dirty Water traces the development of "punk" as a notion of musical dissent, a matter of antagonistic primitivism rather than style and three-chord Stalinism.

Caught in the Net: A hearty single from Los Campesinos!

A hearty single from Los Campesinos!

Album: Various artists, Leader of the Starry Skies (Believers Roast)

This tribute to Tim Smith – founder and frontman of cult-psych-meets-music-hall eccentrics the Cardiacs, who suffered a stroke in 2008 – aims to raise money towards his care.

Album: Terry Edwards, Clichés (Sartorial)

Edwards is trumpeter-by-appointment to the alt-rock elite (he's worked with the likes of Siouxsie, Jerry Dammers and Madness), and best-known for his albums reinterpreting the works of Miles Davis, the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Fall.

Album: Shriekback, Life in the Loading Bay (Malicious Damage)

"I've seen the future," Leonard Cohen once sang, "and it is murder". The comeback album by 1980s electro-rockers Shriekback sounds like Len waking up in that future and deciding to go down the disco.

Peter Christopherson: Musician and designer who worked with Throbbing Gristle and the Hipgnosis agency

The Industrial music genre beloved of angsty teenagers and "edgy" American filmmakers has its roots in the experiments of the British agent provocateurs Throbbing Gristle in the mid-to-late 1970s.

Band of Skulls, HMV Forum, London

When you forget where you are, you know you've been touring too hard and too long. "We're Band of Skulls, and you are... the Forum?" says frontman Russell Marsden nonchalantly, as he casually sweeps his long blonde hair out of his eyes. The momentary doubt never reaches confusion; this trio is far too rock'n'roll for that.

The children who have two homes

Ned and Nancy live half the week with their mother, the other half with their father. The model of a good divorce – or a recipe for confusion?

Modest Mouse, Picture House, Edinburgh

Although they've maintained a small but devoted following in indie circles for more than a decade and a half, Portland-based alternative outfit Modest Mouse were first held up as a cause célèbre by the UK press in 2007, with the release of their fifth album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Never mind the fact that it reached No 1 in America – it was the induction of guest guitarist Johnny Marr into the band which saw Modest Mouse and their catalogue welcomed into the British rock canon.

The Dandy Warhols, Koko, London

Real music lovers are supposed to treat greatest hits albums with disdain, but surely few will be as welcome as The Dandy Warhols' recent retrospective.

Sean O'Grady: There are alternative policies, but Labour hasn't yet discovered them

Older readers may recall Tina – "There Is No Alternative". Many books have been written about the Thatcherite reforms of the 1980s, but none sums up The Iron Lady's approach better than that little gem of a soundbite. which summed up the "tough-but-unavoidable" message.

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