Voices

As a hack myself, I ought not to be surprised if I myself become the victim of hackery. But last week I was royally stitched-up and for a moment, I confess, I had a sense of humour failure.

Album review: Sofia Gubaidulina, In Croce (Wergo)

The classical double-bass repertoire is so meagre that even virtuosi like the late Stefano Scodanibbio were forced to create their own material or transcribe works written for other instruments. Scodanibbio's former colleague Daniele Roccato is comparatively spoilt for choice here by Sofia Gubaidulina's pioneering piano duets of the Sixties and Seventies, “Sonata” and “Pantomime”.

Album review: Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld, Still Smiling (Specula)

Blixa Bargeld's collaboration with Italian composer Teho Teardo finds him in fine fettle on a group of typically sardonic songs set to unusual string and electronic arrangements performed with The Balanescu Quartet.

Album review: Keller Quartett, Ligeti String Quartets, Barber Adagio (ECM New Series)

The Keller Quartett are a Hungarian group, here showcasing two of their countryman György Ligeti's astringent string quartets of the Fifties and Sixties, separated by the calm lacuna of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, from the Thirties.

A view of Wembley Stadium

FA deny banning bagpipes from Wembley for match between England and Scotland

The sides meet this August for the first time in 14 years

Album: Sarah Gillespie, glory Days (Pastiche)

Flamenco-dancing pigeons, pumpkin pie, Charlie Sheen and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn all crop up on this British singer-songwriter's Gilad Atzmon-produced third album.

Album: Françoise Hardy, L'Amour Fou (EMI)

Hardy, the 69-year-old Parisienne pop icon, returns with, this time, no generation-hopping collaborations with Anglo-American indie stars.

Album: Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, Je voy le bon tens venir (Alpha)

Early woodwind virtuoso François Lazarevitch, Les Musiciens and the earthy-toned singers Simone Sorini, Enea Sorini and Marc Busnel take us back to the time when street parties lasted a week or more.

Steve Earle & the Dukes (and Duchesses), The Low Highway (New West)

Album review: Steve Earle & the Dukes (and Duchesses), The Low Highway (New West)

Steve Earle's latest album pulls no punches in its survey of the American social landscape. The “low highway” of the title track is a sort of hardship highway travelled by the underclass. It's Springsteen territory, occupied with pride in songs like “21st Century Blues” and the elegiac closer “Remember Me”.

Album: Three Cane Whale, Holts and Hovers (Field Notes)

The second album from the experimental folk-minimalist trio is an all-location recording with 22 instrumentals played in places as various as a Dorset chapel, an allotment shed, a Welsh waterfall, under a flyover, and Regent's Park bandstand.

Album review: Southern Tenant Folk Union, Hello Cold Goodbye Sun (Johnny Rock)

With Hello Cold Goodbye Sun, the Scottish folk group Southern Tenant Folk Union presents its most potent offering since 2010's excellent The New Farming Scene.

IoS album review: Old Crow Medicine Show, Carry Me Back (ATO/Decca)

OCMS are some Virginian’s dream of a marketable bluegrass phenomenon.

Album: The Coup, Sorry To Bother You (Anti-)

The Coup's Boots Riley is the prickly conscience at the hip-hop banquet. "Economics is a symphony of punk and death," he declares in "Strange Arithmetic", demanding folk be told "how to flip this system"; while executives are characterised as cannibalistic monsters in "We've Got A Lot To Teach You, Cassius Green".

Afghan Whigs, Koko, London

Thirteen years since this band last played London, the concerns of singular frontman Greg Dulli have not changed a jot. “Please have sex up there," he asks, eyeing the balconies’ occupants. “I wanna see those ecstasy faces.”

Album: Chris Smither, Hundred Dollar Valentine (CRS/ Signature Sounds)

A first wholly self-composed album by the white-country-bluesman and his furred-over smear of a voice. How big was that bushel?

Album: JACK Quartet, Ligeti, Pintscher, Cage, Xenakis (Wigmore Hall Lve)

New York's JACK Quartet perform with fire and ice on this programme of modernist pieces, operating at the furthest extremes of the dynamic range: virtually inaudible for the sparse scurryings of Matthias Pintscher's Cy Twombly-inspired "Study IV for Treatise on the Veil", furiously brutal for the mass bowing and creaking noises of Xenakis's "Tetras".

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Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
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Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
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Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

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A shot in the dark

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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
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12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

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How to make a Lego masterpiece

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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

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Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

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