Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

Sarah Blasko's new album 'I Awake' is out now

Fantasy band: Sarah Blasko

'I love the simplicity of John Cale's playing'

Shuggie Otis, Inspiration Information/ Wings Of Love (Sony)

Album review: Shuggie Otis, Inspiration Information/ Wings Of Love (Sony)

The son of r'n'b bandleader Johnny Otis, Shuggie Otis spent his childhood soaking up soul, blues and rock influences. His greatest achievement remains 1974's often-sampled psychedelic soul masterpiece Inspiration Information, here repackaged with an extra disc of pieces recorded since then, which show his abilities undiminished by age.

Meat Puppets, Rat Farm (Megaforce)

Album review: Meat Puppets, Rat Farm (Megaforce)

Curt Kirkwood describes Rat Farm as “real blown-up folk music”, and it's as good a description as any – if by “blown-up” he means “spaced out” or some similar druggy epithet.

Josh Ritter: 'I think Richard III would make an amazing drummer'

Fantasy band: Josh Ritter

'I think Richard III would make an amazing drummer'

Rokia Traoré, Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)

Album review: Rokia Traoré, Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)

The daughter of a Malian diplomat, Rokia Traoré is perhaps the most naturally cross-cultural of her country's abundant musical offspring, effortlessly blending styles and sounds as easily as she switches between languages.

Biffy Clyro in concert

Music review: Biffy Clyro, SECC, Glasgow

Ayrshire trio Biffy Clyro, once staunch exponents of an enduring kind of heads-down, shirt-off rock simplicity, have – both on their new album Opposites, a first UK number one for the group, and within this supporting arena tour – been invested with the typical urge of mid-career and relentlessly successful rock artists to make things a lot more complicated.

Carla Bruni, Little French Songs (Decca)

Album review: Carla Bruni, Little French Songs (Decca)

“When life goes wrong,” advises Carla Bruni, “try for a little French song” – commending their ability to transport one to Paris. With simple guitar accompaniment akin to ukelele, it's warmly welcoming, and entirely indicative of the mood of Little French Songs as a whole.

British Sea Power, Machineries of Joy (Rough Trade)

Album review: British Sea Power, Machineries of Joy (Rough Trade)

Valhalla Dancehall found British Sea Power somewhat becalmed, but Machineries Of Joy gets them moving again, albeit in a variety of directions.

The Leisure Society, Alone Aboard the Ark (Full Time Hobby)

Album review: The Leisure Society, Alone Aboard the Ark (Full Time Hobby)

The Leisure Society's third album is a quintessential curate's egg, with plenty of earnest folk-rock strummage, and a few brilliant highlights distracting from several songs as weak as their punning titles, notably “Life Is a Cabriolet” and “One Man and His Fug”.

Brian Briggs of Stornoway

Stornoway, The Forum, London

Stornoway are a four-piece band from Oxford who, with two extra live players tonight, make uplifting folky-indie - although taking their name from a remote Scottish isle is apt given their evident love nature, of the most wind-swept, moon-lit variety.

Album: Los Chinches, Fongo (Movimientos Records)

The wild, psychedelic artwork of the cover suggests something heavier and more unhinged than what's actually delivered by this half-European, half-Latin American band on their debut album.

The Strokes, Comedown Machine (Rough Trade)

Album review: The Strokes, Comedown Machine (Rough Trade)

Their fifth album finds The Strokes continuing the search, begun on 2011's Angles, for ways to tackle the future.

Peace, In Love (Columbia)

Album review: Peace, In Love (Columbia)

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Peace, love and a fine riposte to easy understanding

Drenge

Latitude 2013: Five minutes with... Drenge

Peak District two-piece Drenge play filthy blues rock with the force of a band with twice the number of arms. They're also playing Latitude this year.

Mark Everett from Eels

Eels, Academy, Glasgow

“I've got enough fight left inside this tired heart / to win this one and walk out on my feet,” rallies Mark ‘E’ Everett amidst the uncharacteristically reflective “On the Ropes”, a song which steps back from the usual pace of his customary alt.blues style. Lifted from his (E essentially is Eels) acclaimed new album Wonderful, Glorious, the song is just one perfect crystallisation of his enduring ability to cut straight to simple emotional truths. At the same time it’s a lyrical manifestation of the keen survivor’s instinct he’s shown to get through the well-documented trials of his life to this point.

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