Arts and Entertainment

If Xfm’s festive knees-up truly reflects the station’s character, its male-dominated line-up chafes against most other annual charts and round-ups.

The good life – the future of rock'n'roll

Touring was supposed to be the music industry's financial saviour, but now even gigs are losing their allure. So can packing fans on to a cruise liner pay dividends? Gillian Orr finds out

First Night: Cornbury Festival, Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire

'Poshstock' – the festival offering spa treatments, songbirds and Status Quo

Album: Ruarri Joseph, Shoulder to the Wheel (PIP/ACP)

These are tough enough times for earnest young men with guitars. Ruarri Joseph appears to have it all: decent looks, a worldly backstory, a warm tenor and songs that seem to tick the required boxes.

Matthew and the Atlas, Borderline, London

Make way for the sons of Mumford

First Night: Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire

The rock festival of Pimms and picnics marks a seventh year

Album: Teitur, All My Mistakes (A&G)

Faroe Islander Teitur Lassen's UK debut The Singer is one of this year's more arresting releases, its mischievous, emotionally revealing songs employing a thrilling mix of memorable images, inventive chamber-pop arrangements, and deceptive lyrical strategies – most notably the unreliable narrator whose observations suddenly turn in upon themselves to illuminate the singer's own situation.

Album: David Gray, Draw the Line, (Polydor)

Old wobbly-head is back with his songwriting as strong in places as it was circa White Ladder, the album that brought him to the attention of those living outside Ireland (where WL is still the biggest selling record of all time).

Album: David Gray, Draw the Line (Polydor)

It's taken David Gray four years to follow up Life in Slow Motion, and frankly, you have to wonder what's been holding him up, as these 11 pleasant, predictable songs represent no great development or deviation from the course of his previous work.

My Secret Life: David Gray, musician, 41

My parents ... moved from Manchester to Solva, a fishing village in Pembrokeshire, where they started a company called Cottage Clothes. It was the 1970s, so everything was a quilted Liberty fabric.

It's not a crime to download, say musicians

Musicians including Robbie Williams, Annie Lennox, Billy Bragg, Blur's David Rowntree and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien said last night that the public should not be prosecuted for downloading illegal music from the internet.

Snow Patrol, Bloomsbury Theatre, London

The army of sensitive, multi-million-selling souls who Snow Patrol are lumped in with show no signs of slowing down.

The Big Chill, Eastnor Castle, Deer Park, Malvern

Grown-up ravers feel the sunshine in Malvern Hills

The new exhibition that's bound to be a hit



Visitors to Ben Turnbull's new exhibition should prepare themselves for not only a visual assault but an aural one too.

Duffy, The Pigalle Club, London

You could call it the herd instinct. Following the success of David Gray and Dido, the British music industry sucked up singer-songwriters of both sexes and we ended up with James Blunt and Katie Melua. The Lily Allen phenomenon then gave rise to Kate Nash and her ilk. And with Amy Winehouse's confessional soul selling millions, everyone has been scouring the British Isles for young women of the blue-eyed soul persuasion.

Review of the year: Pop

A year of vocal tics and indie licks from Gorillaz and Hal to Kaiser Chiefs and Ry Cooder
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