Arts and Entertainment

Let’s talk about sex, baby – and nothing but sex

Album: Aloe Blacc, Good Things (Stones Throw)

Aloe Blacc, despite an occasional tendency to lapse into cliche, brings a welcome intelligence and individuality to his R&B stylings, drawing on the warmth of Bill Withers and the compassion of Curtis Mayfield for his more conscious-soul commentaries like the self-explanatory "Life So Hard" and "Mama Hold My Hand", a reflection on the reversal of roles required as parents grow old and infirm.

Album: Mavis Staples, You Are Not Alone (Anti-)

Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples: one is a criminally undervalued musical legend, the other is a criminally undervalued musical legend. Boom boom.

Guy Adams: America's 'swear ban' is scrapped. What a ******* shame!

There is sadness for people who, like me, have in recent years enjoyed the occasional spectacle of America getting its collective knickers in a twist over, say, Bono saying a vaguely rude word at an awards ceremony, or Janet Jackson displaying half a bejewelled nipple (left) for a fraction of a second on live TV .

My Fantasy Band: Candi Staton

'I have one of the greatest guitar players playing with me right now, Mark Vandergucht'

Album: Jamie Lidell, Compass (Warp)

For some reason, Jamie Lidell has opted to renege on the developments of 2008's Jim – most notably those regarding killer tunes – and revert to the glitchy, stripped-down electro-soul of his earlier Multiply.

Album: Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, Come and Get It (Parlophone)

On 2008's Roll with You, Eli "Paperboy" Reed came across like the male equivalent of Joss Stone, a young white soul singer with the requisite blend of fire and ice.

Observations: 2 Bears is a Hot Chip off the old block

Joe Goddard may have achieved critical acclaim and commercial success as a leading member of Hot Chip, but that is clearly not enough for him. The artist is a member of the Graeco-Roman party collective, put out a solo album, Harvest Festival, last December and co-produced Little Boots's debut album. Now he has embarked on an intriguing side project.

Album: Gabriella Cilmi, Ten (Island Records)

Oh dear. Having scored themost played record of2009 with the still-notthat-irritating "SweetAbout Me", the Italian-Aussie songstress hasplugged into her "innerdisco diva" for this, hersecond album. It's a disastrousdecision: moreTeena Marie than DonnaSummer; all backcombedbeats and 1980s powerchords.Ten calls to mindKylie's early 1990s discodabblings, when she maderecords aimed at crossingfrom the dancefloor to theradio, when her naturaltrajectory was alwaysthe other way around.

Album: Paavo Järvi, Beethoven: Symphony No 9 (RCA Red Seal)

In some interpretations of Beethoven's 9th, it can seem like three lengthy preambles to the Greatest Tune Ever Written, a sustained bout of deferred gratification; but not in this latest performance by Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie.

R&B love crooner Teddy Pendergrass dead at 59

Teddy Pendergrass, the seductive American rhythm-and-blues singer who continued his recording career after he was paralyzed in a 1982 car accident, has died at the age of 59, media reports said today.

Album: Various Artists, A Complete Introduction to Tamla Motown (Universal)

I'm not sure about the use of the term "complete" in the title, which effectively writes cheques which can't really be cashed by the content of this four CD set.

Album: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gershwin: Porgy & Bess, (RCA Red Seal)

Gershwin's celebrated "folk opera" has, through copious truncation, come to be regarded more as a musical than an opera – an attitude which Nikolaus Harnoncourt is at pains to redress in this vast 3CD presentation done with a vibrantly expressive cast led by Jonathan Lemalu and Isabelle Kabatu in the title roles. It's an exuberant experience, with all the emblematic arias handled perfectly, while Harnoncourt's exacting attention to detail comes through in countless small but telling ways, such as the use of authentic African drums (as per Gershwin's intentions) rather than bongos in the "Symphony of Noise" opening dawnscape of the final scene.

Download this: Summertime; It Ain't Necessarily So; 'Bess, You Is My Woman Now; Symphony of Noise

Album: Basil Hodge, Sound Reasoning (Seal)

Timeless (that is to say,emblematically 1960s sounding) and enjoyably unpretentious modal bop with strong themes, punchy choruses and spirited playing from the pianist/composer Hodge's London quintet of Tony Kofi on sax, Fulvio Sigurtaon trumpet, Larry Bartley on bass and the great Winston Clifford on drums.There's no real wow factorand nothing out of the box,but if you were luckyenough to hear this live ina club, you'd be in retrojazzheaven. It's exactly thesoundtrack a narrow tieand lapels ensemblerequires.

Album:Sergei Rachmaninoff, Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff (RCA Red Seal)

"A superb new recording of Rachmaninoff playing his own works...," claims the cover.

Heidi Klum gives birth to baby girl

"Project Runway" star Heidi Klum has given birth to her fourth child, a baby girl, her representatives said yesterday.

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The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
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BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

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The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

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Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

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Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

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Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

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Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

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