Album: Martina Topley Bird, The Blue God (Independiente)

Martina Topley Bird's CV of former collaborators is one of the more impressively varied in modern pop: since she was discovered by Tricky way back in the mid-Nineties, her vocals have appeared on records by David Holmes, Mark Lanegan, Primus, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Gorillaz, to name but a few.

Gorillaz: Demon Days Live, Manchester Opera House, Manchester

No joke: Gorillaz have become pop's biggest draw

Dave Rowntree: Empire-building for drummers

Dave Rowntree is more animated than your average sticksman. When not playing with Blur, he's directing a cartoon series. Chris Mugan meets him

Album: Blur, ***

Think Tank, Parlophone

The Information on: `The Elastica EP'

What Is It?

Letter: It's how you say it

Sir: Hamish McRae ("Living on pop music and film", 27 October) attributes lack of British success relative to the USA in cultural exports to the lack of an attractive popular culture to which global youth can relate.

Andy Gill on albums: Blur - Blur Reprise 9362-46236-2

Loudly heralded as the pyre upon which their former Britpop selves have been ritually dispatched, Blur certainly takes some getting used to, though it's questionable whether even familiarity saves it from being an underwhelming experience.
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