Arts and Entertainment Jake Bugg burst onto the scene aged 18

The success of Jake Bugg and Ben Howard has given rise to a new wave of male singer-songwriters who are queueing up to show off their sensitive sides

Album: Tune-Yards, Whokill (4AD)

New England's Merril Garbus has taken the anarchic homemade charm of her debut and made it more 3D.

Album: Eliza Carthy, Neptune (Hem-Hem)

She's on the cover, smirking in front of an old map: a naughty sea god(dess) in a Cruikshank cartoon. Which somehow suits the discursive post-folk rompery of the music: highly arranged, wordy as an Elvis Costello song with larks taking the place of bitterness.

Album: Billie Holiday, Four Classic Albums (Avid)

Pure gold: nearly three hours of classic 1950s Holiday (mostly recorded for Norman Granz on Clef), for about a fiver.

Album: Various artists, Delta Swamp Rock (Soul Jazz Records)

If the country-rock-soul of Alabama has held its place in the hearts of UK music lovers for decades, it is largely thanks to The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Album: Emmylou Harris, Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)

Sighs, incantations, epically resonant minor chords hacked on reverb-drenched guitars – it has become Harris's default sound, a sort of rotisseried art-Americana.

Album: My Passion, Inside This Machine (Spinefarm)

Don't let the quiet bit in a My Passion song fool you into turning up your headphones, because the kick-in will break your brains.

Album: Steve Earle, I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)

To celebrate, synergistically, the publication of his debut novel of the same, Hank Williams-derived title, here's New Country's premier mechanic getting down to the nuts and bolts.

Album: Theatre of Voices, Paul Hillier, Stories (Harmonia Mundi)

In Stories, Paul Hillier leads the vocal ensemble Theatre Of Voices through a challenging series of pieces by composers such as Luciano Berio, John Cage and Sheldon Frank that push the notion of narrative into more abstract realms.

Album: Bella Hardy, Songs Lost & Stolen (Navigator)

Hardy wrote "Three Black Feathers" (covered by Jim Moray), so we know she can pastiche the English folk idiom to the point where pastiche is transcended.

Album: Gorillaz, The Fall (Parlophone)

The Fall was sneak-released to fan-club members on Christmas Day, just nine months after Plastic Beach, but is only now getting a wider physical release to the slowcoaches of the general populace.

Album: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Here We Rest (Lightning Rod)

The knack for evoking an entire life in a single line, which served Jason Isbell so well in The Drive-By Truckers, is undiminished on Here We Rest, whether it's the newly single chap in "Codeine" who muses, "If there's two things that I hate, it's having to cook and trying to date", or the soldier returning from his "Tour of Duty" whose protestation that he'll "seem so satisfied here" begs the question: only seem so satisfied?

Album: Metronomy, The English Riviera (Because)

The new album from Metronomy might as well be by a different band than Nights Out.

Album: Barry Green, Dave Green, Turn Left at Monday (Moletone)

Impossible to dislike, bare bones piano and double bass duo by the unrelated Greens.

Barometer: Younger Brother album exclusive

We’re loving Younger Brother here at the Barometer – which is why we’re particularly pleased to be kicking off The Independent’s brand new music blog by exclusively hosting their third album ‘Vaccine’ for a full week before its official release.

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