Album: A-Ha, Foot Of The Mountain (We Love Music/Universal)

Over at A-Ha's Norse Fortress of Solitude, confusion reigns as the trio try to come to terms with the "Sunny Mystery" of, presumably, why the sun keeps rising every day, instead of falling from the sky onto their heads.

Album: La Roux, La Roux, (Polydor)

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

Album: The Juan MacLean, The Future Will Come (DFA)

LCD Soundsystem may be defunct, but James Murphy's DFA label rolls on, and so does its flagship band's spirit. In, for example, the Juan MacLean, whose second album locks into a groove not unlike that of LCD's own masterpiece, Sound of Silver. Indeed, LCD's Nancy Whang is on board as Mr MacLean's sidekick, and the duo's vocal interplay on tracks such as "The Station" inevitably recalls the Human League. Lyrically, Juan is almost the equal of a Murphy or an Oakey.

Rowan Pelling: This way, ladies. If there are any...

Has a certain type of gentlewoman been rendered extinct? Not quite

Spandau Ballet - To cut a long story short...

Amazing what beer can do. Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet describes how the rifts were healed and the band got ready to tour again

Story of the Song - Spandau Ballet, True (1983)

Gary Kemp had long desired to emulate the Motown greats.

The Word On... Pet Shop Boys, the new album

"What the album 'Yes' lacks in dynamism, it makes up for in simple pop-song craft, and the set's ringers — the break-up number "The Way it Used to Be" and the melancholic "King of Rome" — are a match for any songs in their history." - Paul Isaacs, eyeweekly.com

Album: Pet Shop Boys, Yes (EMI)



Three years on from the splendid Fundamental, the Pet Shop Boys have ditched producer Trevor Horn in favour of Brian Higgins's Xenomania team, in what seems like a brazen grab for something a little more teen-pop-conscious.

But, while the results offer perfectly acceptable revisions of standard PSB tropes, one can't help thinking it's all a bit underwhelming. The Xenomania collaboration seems at best unnecessary: it's not as if they couldn't have knocked out a lolloping electro-stomper like "Pandemonium" on their own – or, for that matter, most of the tracks. The main difference is that these performances are both slicker and less memorable than one would expect, while the lyrics, with one or two exceptions, are forgettable rehearsals of romantic clichés barely tweaked into life by Neil Tennant's wry wit. The exceptions again focus on what's getting lost: "Vulnerable" finds him complaining, albeit mildly, about "surviving in the public eye", while "Legacy" betrays the kind of unease at modern life that simply won't register on technophiliac pop kids' radars. Hardly surprising, then, that when he starts unspooling fond childhood memories of Albion in "Building a Wall", Chris Lowe should offer the sarky interjection, "Who'd you think you are – Captain Britain?"



Gary Kurfirst: Manager of the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Eurythmics and Black Grape

It's not easy being in a rock'n'roll band," Dee Dee Ramone said in End of the Century: the story of the Ramones (2003), the warts-and-all documentary about the punk group's two-decade career. Gary Kurfirst, their longstanding manager, was one of the people who made things that little bit easier for the notoriously moody quartet whose contribution to popular music was finally recognised when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Boy George, Pigalle Club, London

"I know sometimes it's easy to get confused," Boy George says, "but this is what I do." The darkness he has requested on stage has finally dropped, and he is singing "If I Could Fly", which twists into the heart of heroin addiction. In his make-up, beard shaved only this morning, he looks like a larger version of the old George the nation loved. His forthcoming sentence for false imprisonment will take its course, but by the time he has finished tonight, I've forgiven him everything else.

Tilly And The Wall, Matter, London

To celebrate 10 years breaking an impressive roster of acts, the record label Moshi Moshi held a party featuring live performances from some of their gang including the Nebraskan quintet Tilly and the Wall. The band, with most members in their thirties, have just released their third album, but so far success has eluded them.

Now that's what we (still) call music!

The 'definitive' pop compilation's 70th volume has become a surprise bestseller on iTunes. Tim Walker revisits the hits of a lifetime

The Pet Shop Boys/Madness, Heaven, London

The Pet Shop Boys' stock has been gently sinking for 15 years. Since perfecting their English art-disco with Very, the consistency of the sleekly subversive pop singles that made them dance culture's Kinks has been lost. How much Neil Tennant confirming he was gay also contributed to their commercial slide is a matter for their audience's consciences. But in Heaven, the often gay nightclub, the Pet Shop Boys' enduring quality and meaning becomes movingly clear.

Jamelia: 'Don't call me a celebrity'

The British R&B star Jamelia took time out to have children and now returns with her best album yet.
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution