Arts and Entertainment

A sideways look at the world of music

Gig review: Gravenhurst, Bishopsgate Institute, London

Gravenhurst is the musical project of Nick Talbot - a Bristol-based singer-songwriter who coaxes gorgeous tones out of his guitars, but whose gentle tunes wrap up an often dark and melancholy lyrical heart. He's got the satisfying well-balanced melodies, the ever-so-pretty fingerpicking and the lush harmonising to rival many a modern folk act - Gravenhurst call to mind Kings of Convenience or early Iron and Wine, and have been compared to Simon and Garfunkel even - yet mysteriously Talbot's star has never risen so high.

Charlotte Church performs live

Music review: Charlotte Church, Scala, London

Another sparse crowd greeted Charlotte Church at the close of a low-key tour, though the former child star beamed as she revelled in her new-found freedom. Having renounced her classical roots for leftfield DIY, the Welsh singer may struggle to convince rock fans of her worth, yet she retained the strength of character displayed to the Leveson inquiry.

Pixies perform in New York

Music review: Pixies, iTunes Festival

The Pixies without bassist Kim Deal should feel like a jam sandwich cream without the sugar-coated jam. The best bit is surely missing and with it the warmth and the evocative, breathy vocals the charismatic Deal provides.

Album review: Peter Gabriel etc, And I'll Scratch Yours (Real World)

The reciprocal half of Gabriel’s I’ll-cover-yours-if-you’ll-cover-mine project Scratch My Back, in which his correspondents respond to his proposition by covering PG songs in return - a round dozen of them, including “Biko”, “Shock the Monkey” and, ill-advisedly, “Don’t Give Up”.

Video: Tracks from the Playlist

Watch the videos below to take in one of the tracks from this week's Playlist.

Indyplus music videos: Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys' fifth album, AM, has hit the top of the album charts. Watch music videos for the three of the tracks from the album below:

Arctic Monkeys have made history as the only independent group whose first five albums have gone to the top of the charts

Arctic Monkeys make history as fifth album AM enters chart at number one

Sheffield’s noisemongers have seen their first five albums go to No 1

Audio: Caught in the Net

Listen to the tracks mentioned in Caught in the Net below:

Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys performing live

Arctic Monkeys on course to beat Daft Punk to fastest-selling album of 2013

The Sheffield band's new album AM has sold 97,000 copies so far

The Mercury Music Prize 2013 nominees

Mercury Prize 2013: List of nominees in full

David Bowie’s first new album for a decade is leading the field for this year’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize, which has returned to the mainstream after 2012’s shortlist was dubbed the “most obscure” in recent history.

Over-talented: The Cambridge Footlights Revue featured Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Tony Slattery and Paul Shearer

Hugh Laurie to host blues show for Radio 2

Actor and musician Hugh Laurie is turning DJ to host a blues show for Radio 2.

Katy Perry has scored her fourth UK number one with 'Roar' after selling 179,500 copies in the last seven days.

Katy Perry roars to the top of the UK Singles chart

Katy Perry has roared her way to the top of the UK Singles charts for the fourth time.

Indyplus music videos: Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys' fifth album, AM, sees the band rebuilt to last. Watch music videos for the top 3 tracks of their latest album below:

Mercury nominee Anna Calvi has a new single out

The Playlist: Anna Calvi / Jon Hopkins / London Grammar

The songs that are hot on our playlist this week

Hip hop artists Ryan Lewis, left, and Macklemore

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis win big the at Association of Independent Music awards

See the AIM Independent Music Awards winners in full (below)

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture