Arts and Entertainment

Andy Gill picks this year's must-hear pop music

Album: The Rebel Yell, Love & War (BBE)

James Poyser has been a vital part of Philadelphia's Soulquarians generation, his production and keyboard skills crucial components in the success of such as Erykah Badu, Common, D'Angelo, Jill Scott and The Roots. With 'The Rebel Yell', he steps out as prime mover of his own project, fronted by lead vocalist SupaStar.

Album: Twisted Tongue, Twisted Tongue, Acid Jazz

Yet another anniversary – 21 years of Acid Jazz – is marked by this debut album from Twisted Tongue, aka production duo Dave Jay and Mark Dalton.

Album: Joker's Daughter, The Last Laugh, (Double six records)

Joker's wild: it's folk music, but not as we know it

Master Shortie - A Little Briton

After seven years building up his internet following Master Shortie has ambitions to be the UK's biggest rap star, says Matilda Egere-Cooper

Gnarls Barkley, 229, London

Boogie Monster bares his soul

Album: Sam Sparro, Sam Sparro (Island)

Sam Sparro, an auteur of DIY electrofunk is, much to everyone's surprise, the man of the moment, with "Black & Gold" – the unexpected hit of 2008 – being held off the No 1 spot by Estelle.

Album: Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple (Warner)

Much more of the same from those fabulous Barkley boys

Album: The Black Keys, Attack & Release (V2)

'Attack & Release' was produced by Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley/Gorillaz fame), but give or take a few plasticky background beats, if someone told you it was recorded between 1967 and 1974 by Foghat or Rory Gallagher, you wouldn't blink.

Album: Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple (Warner Brothers)

There's a sinister undertow to several tracks on The Odd Couple, which is not surprising for a duo prepared to dress up as gladiators, chefs, nurses and characters from The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and Austin Powers at their shows.

March Gig Guide

Dead Meadow

Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach, tonight; Brighton Freebutt 8 March

Drummers say it’s harder to groove at slow tempos, but DeadMeadow – Sabbath and Zeppelin-influenced purveyors of gargantuan stoner rock – are masters of the art. Current album Old Growth is as headnod inducing as the hippest hip hop, the beardy Washington DC-formed trio cooking up a mysticism and magic-imbued stew on nuggets such as “What Needs Must Be”. Jason Simon’s low-mixed vocals, more indie slacker than priapic rocker, are the twist.

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