Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

Album: Rodriguez, Coming from Reality (Light in the Attic)

Sixto Rodriguez may represent the most unlikely disinterral of hidden hippie rock genius since the likes of Drake and Buckley became household names.

Album: Devon Sproule, Don't Hurry for Heaven, (Tin Angel)

That an album as disappointing as this should also be compelling says a lot about the talent deployed in its making. Heaven...is less rootsical than its predecessor and less even in its songwriting; Sproule's quotidian whimsy has also become audibly more self-conscious.

Album: John Martyn, May You Never: The Very Best of...(Island)

As posthumous best ofs go, this is as tidy as one could wish, despite the odd regrettable omission.

Album: Jon Boden, Songs from the Floodplain (Navigator)

A second solo album by the Bellowhead guy. And he's having post-apocalyptic visions: black crows, water-tossed sweet-wrappers, fallen walls and all. An album-length vision, with occasional rock underpinnings. Very dramatic. Trouble is, for all its firmness, the vision is undermined by the dullness of the songwriting and by the fact that Boden plays all the instruments. For all its technical accomplishment, there is a slightly sterile, tweezered-together feel to the music, despite its grungy textures.

My Fantasy Band: Dev Hynes, Lightspeed Champion

Vocals - Elli Medeiros
Medeiros was in the Seventies French punk band Stinky Toys. She formed an electro-pop band called Elli et Jacno, where she fronted some of the best pop of the Eighties.

Album: Aimee Mann, @%&*! Smilers (Super Ego)

At her very best, Aimee Mann brings to the art of pop songwriting a sort of misanthropic rapture. She really doesn't trust people much, and so we need the rapture part to make her world-view bearable.

Album: South San Gabriel/Centro-matic, Dual Hawks (Cooking Vinyl)

Will Johnson is a man with an identity crisis. As if his last album, a concept record seen through the eyes of a cat named Carlton, wasn't confusing enough, he now can't decide if he wants to follow it up with a folky, acoustic South San Gabriel record, or a fuzzed-out rocker with his band Centro-matic.

The Loose Salute, Borderline, London

The Loose Salute are one of the few country-style UK bands who might leave a real Southern honky-tonk dive alive. Where most alt. country fellow-travellers favour songwriting styles of stark desolation, this band communicate pleasure at the sheer good luck of being alive, through danceable, steel guitar-heavy pop.

Album: kd lang

Watershed, Nonesuch

Spoon, Koko, London

Joel Hirschhorn

Oscar-winning songwriter with Al Kasha

Kiosk: Getting it together

The band have a classic male/female partnership at their heart. Chris Mugan meets the songwriters in question
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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

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Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

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Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

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