Arts and Entertainment

A sideways look at the world of music

Amy Dickson, Dusk & Dawn (Sony Classical)

Album review: Amy Dickson, Dusk & Dawn (Sony Classical)

Her 2010 album of Glass, Tavener and Nyman pieces was a more effective showcase for Amy Dickson's soprano sax than this collection of popular classics and classic pop. Fauré's “Pavane” works fine – her sleek , pure timbre, closer to clarinet or even oboe at times, floats weight-lessly over the gentle pizzicato and swish of strings; but the sax lacks the emotional flexibility of the human voice when taking the vocal line to “Casta Diva”, from Bellini's Norma.

Album: Diana Krall, Glad Rag Doll (Verve)

Glad Rag Doll features exactly the same producer and rhythm section as the Lisa Marie Presley album, but to different ends.

The film On the Road, from Jack Kerouac's novel, will be out next week - even though critics said it was unfilmable

Dude, where's my radical bohemian rush?

Jack Kerouac's cult novel On the Road, first published in 1957, has sold more than 10 million copies but has never before been filmed. After watching this Walter Salles-directed adaptation, you begin to understand why. The very term "cult novel" seems to include within it a warning to film-makers: don't go there. And the warning is always ignored. No doubt the book will still have many eager readers to come, but it's hard not to feel that this film will have chipped away some of its cultish glamour. The problem with "the romance of the road" is that so many movies in the last 40 years have gone there, most of them chasing the tail exhaust of Easy Rider in 1969. This adaptation, however faithful it may be to the book, looks awfully tame in 2012.

Album: Camille O'Sullivan, Changeling (Little Cat)

A standout performer at last year's Rain Dogs Revisited tribute to Tom Waits at the Barbican, Camille O'Sullivan is an ingenious interpreter of bold material on this studio debut.

Album: Solveig Slettahjell, Antologie (Emarcy/Universal)

Voice, piano, autoharp, synth bleeps... But it's the voice you listen to.

Album: Delaney Davidson, Bad Luck Man (Voodoo Rhythm)

This New Zealander's second album is a rattling, twanging, guitar-thumping celebration of the inebriated underdog as tragicomic hero.

Album: Joe Bonamassa, Driving Towards the Daylight (Mascot/Provogue)

Old-fashioned musicianly blues-rock, as practised by lank-haired individuals around the turn of the 1970s, with some of the virtuosity of Led Zeppelin but a fraction of the imagination. 

Michael Kiwanuka

Young singers who cover all the bases

Fresh-faced they may be, but new talents are turning to the songs of bygone eras.

Former Libertines front man, Pete Doherty

Who lives in a house like this? An unlikely INXS fan

Who lives in a house like this? There's dirty laundry all over the floor, piles of records strewn around, life drawings hanging in the bathroom and war medals displayed on the walls. Why, it's Pete Doherty, of course, the free-spirited scamp. In a video recorded for NME's website, the 33-year-old musician gives viewers a tour of his cramped Paris apartment.

Scarlett Johansson performing at Coachella in 2007

Say the words, Scarlett, and just leave the music

Remember Once, the charming, low-budget film about an Irish busker and a Czech cleaner who meet and make beautiful music together?

Album: Lazarus and the Plane Crash, Horseplay (Antique Beat)

In their determination to go out on any limb, regardless of taste or safety, Lazarus and the Plane Crash – a collaboration between Guillotines singer Joe Coles and Stephen Coates, grey eminence behind The Real Tuesday Weld – display the kind of risk-taking absent from The Maccabees' album.

Ed Harcourt, Bull & Gate, London

For a while, real stardom seemed to beckon Ed Harcourt. His debut EP in 2000, Maplewood, introduced a Tom Waits-worshipping, 23-year-old prodigy.

Mercy and Grand/I Fagiolini, Spitalfields Winter Festival (4/5, 5/5)

Ever since his elaboration of a tramp’s rendition of ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’, Gavin Bryars has been a master of the re-use of what one might call ‘musiques trouvees’, sometimes ranging as far as Japanese gagaku.

Album: Tom Waits, Bad as Me (Anti)

If Coldplay are a music critic's kryptonite, then Tom Waits is critical catnip, applauded as the true one-off he undoubtedly is even when his music sounds like sandpaper being scratched over dropping dustbin lids.

Album: Joe Henry, Reverie (Anti-)

Joe Henry uses T-Bone Burnett's favoured drummer Jay Bellerose on his latest album, along with Americana stalwarts like guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist David Piltch.

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