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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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain