Arts and Entertainment Techno wizards: Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys of OMD

Synth-pop pioneers OMD were one of most innovative bands of the Eighties. They're still on a quest for originality, they tell Elisa Bray

Mercury Music Prize nominees announced

The nominations for the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize have been announced, with joint favourites Florence and The Machine's 'Lungs' and Kasabian's third LP 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum' jostling with ten other entries to be named the album of the year.

A bluffer's guide to who's hot in pop

Think Little Boots are toddlers' shoes? With the Mercury Prize shortlist for best album out on Tuesday, Katy Guest leads the more mature reader through the minefield of modern music

Sophie Heawood: We love you for more than your pollen, chaps

Our writer savours modern life just as it is, for both sexes

Album: Frankmusik, Complete Me, (Island)

To be completely Frank, it's digital pop at its very best

Album: Florence And The Machine, Lungs (Moshi Moshi)

The BBC's annual poll to find the "Sound" of the forthcoming year has rapidly developed its own self-fulfilling critical mass, nowhere better illustrated than in the performance of Florence and the Machine's singles so far.

Album: La Roux, La Roux, (Polydor)

After the hype, can La Roux live up to the hairdo?

Album: God Help the Girl, God Help the Girl, (Rough Trade)

God Help the Girl is the latest project of Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, which with its affection for old-school settings and songwriterly values, and its showcasing of female vocalists, parallels Paul Heaton's work in the Beautiful South.

How to tell La Roux from Little Boots

The charts and festivals are bursting with quirky-looking popstrels with weird names and big voices. Confused? Let Gillian Orr be your guide

Frankmusik - Bigger than hype

Vincent Frank, aka Frankmusik, has received plenty of positive press attention already, but he's confident that he doesn't need it. Rob Sharp meets an assured new talent

The gritty, British sound of dubstep will be lost

Hannah Lederer Alton, a UK dubstep fan, responds to attempts by US rappers to co-opt the booming underground genre

Noisettes, Komedia, Brighton

Make way for pop's new leading lady

Tricky, Club Academy, Manchester<br>La Roux, Notting Hill Arts Club, London

The dark material is all the better when his 1980s personal and musical influences are involved

La Roux, Notting Hill Arts Club, London

So girls, you want to make it big in music now that the death knell for guitar bands is sounding? Judging by recent successes – Ladyhawke, Little Boots and Lady GaGa, to name but three – you could be forgiven for thinking it's as easy as giving yourself a quirky moniker, grabbing some synths, a keyboard and laptop and being heralded as the new sound of pop. A strong look is also essential, with these girls respectively resembling Stevie Nicks as re-imagined by Skins, Princess Leia meets the Left Bank and a drag queen. Just don't forget to write some deliciously catchy electropop tunes, too.

Princesses of pop: The new generation taking over the charts

A new generation of women want to take over the charts. Just don't call it Girl Power, they tell Matilda Egere-Cooper
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us