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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The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
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Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
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Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

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Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?