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.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015