Echo and the Bunnymen, Royal Albert Hall, London

At the same venue three nights previously, concert-goers had revelled in the reassurance offered by the Last Night of the Proms. And a not dissimilar process was at work when post-punk veterans Echo and the Bunnymen took over the Royal Albert Hall and bathed it in a sound as rich and warm and sweeping – not to mention as English – as anything written by Sir Edward Elgar.

Hercules and Love Affair, Koko, London

Too much a slave to the disco rhythm

Story of the Song: Bingo Master's Breakout, The Fall (1978)

Formed in 1976 by Mark E Smith , The Fall sounded as discordant as a cutlery drawer sliding downstairs. The teenage Smith was a fan of Captain Beefheart and the garage sound of early-Sixties America.

Introducing... Tim Burgess

The Independent Music Magazine's new guest columnist

Joy Division, (15)

After Anton Corbijn's fictional treatment in Control, here are the source notes: the story of Ian Curtis and Joy Division told through interviews with the surviving members of the band and assorted associates.

Album: Various artists, In The Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 (Wrasse)

Not as bad as you'd expect. For one thing, much as I admire U2's songcraft, anything's preferable to Bono's mannered croon.

Album: The Fall, Imperial Wax Solvent (Sanctuary)

"I'm a 50-year-old man!" snarls Mark E Smith on this latest Fall album, adding chippily, "What you gonna do about it?" It's not so much a question as a challenge, and a rhetorical one, at that.

Album: Does It Offend You, Yeah?, You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into (Virgin)

The surf-punk of "Attack of the 60ft Lesbian Octopus" is dance-guitar music, while the cowbell and the vocal yelps of ex-DFA 1979 member Sebastian Grainger on "Let's Make Out" mean it holds its own against the best of LCD Soundsystem's indie-electro. But the rest of the first album by the Reading-based new ravers DIOY,Y? is split into roughly equal parts scuzzy electro stompers and poppy guitar songs, and doesn't fuse the two inclinations successfully. Still, whichever end of the synth-guitar spectrum your preferences lie, there's at least half a good album here.

First Night: The Long Blondes, Amersham Arms, London

Not yet great, but proof that many Long Blondes can still have fun

Album: The Kills, Midnight Boom (Domino)

The game's up for this kind of who-you-know-not-what-you-know Shoreditch smack-rock. Alison "VV" Mosshart and Jamie "Hotel" Hince have been peddling designer dangerousness for the best part of a decade. ("I want you to be crazy cos you're boring baby when you're straight/You're stupid when you're safe" is a typical trying-too-hard-to-sound-sleazy line from 'Midnight Boom'.) "Last Day of Magic" is mildly reminiscent of Robert Palmer's "Looking for Clues", and that's as close as I can get to a positive. "M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U." is so offensively stylised and fake it makes you want to punch something.

Album: Chumbawamba, The Boy Bands Have Won (No Masters)

Now a quintet, the Yorkshire subversives once renowned for dousing the Deputy PM have recast themselves as inheritors of the activist folk tradition of Leon Rosselson.

Album: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Mute)

Nick Cave's recent albums with the Bad Seeds appeared to find him in the grip of a mid-life crisis, during which he made the kind of music that was fitting for a man of 50 (namely, contemplative piano meditations).

Album: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Mute)

Although not wielding quite the compelling blend of erotomania, humour and tragedy that characterised last year's Grinderman project, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! nonetheless packs a punch of similarly idiosyncratic power.

US troops to target Iranian insurgents

President Bush has stepped up pressure against Teheran by authorizing US troops in Iraq to kill or capture Iranian operatives in the country deemed a threat, the White House said yesterday.

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