Arts and Entertainment

Dingwalls, London

What's in a band name? Here are the stories behind the monikers

So how do bands end up with their names? Is there a band-naming website? Well, yes, actually, but none of these acts needed it. Gavin Cumine gets etymological

You Write The Reviews: Vampire Weekend, XL Recordings

It is a rare thing in music to come across an album that manages to be both familiar yet exotic, brief yet perfectly formed, intellectual yet instantly accessible; and to achieve this with a debut album is rarer still. Vampire Weekend, freshly plucked from a sleepy Columbia University campus, have created something astounding, infused with a staggering range of styles that ripple and crackle with charm and vibrancy.

Foals, Astoria, London

Foals sign off their set with "Mathletics", a song whose title rather succinctly describes the band's winning formula. Their songs are a more radio-friendly version of the math-rock practiced by the New York-based group Battles. The lyrics and inter-song banter demonstrate conspicuous intelligence – two of them are, after all, former Oxford university students. Meanwhile, their youthful onstage exertions are sufficiently athletic for each member of the five-piece to shed a few pounds per show.

A whole new world for Franz Ferdinand

They took many by surprise when they joined Africa Express in Liverpool last week. Now Franz Ferdinand tell Elisa Bray they have fallen under the spell of Afrobeat

Yeasayer, ICA, London<field name="starRating">fourstar</field>

Yeasayer are a Brooklyn-based band wowing critics and crowds on both sides of the pond. Their main rivals are Columbia graduates Vampire Weekend. The two bands share a postcode and a fondness for African pop music, but there the similarities end. Vampire Weekend are self-consciously preppy and East Coast-intellectual, their lyrics referencing obscure grammatical disputes and high-class holiday destinations. Yeasayer are too dressed-down to be self-consciously anything.

Vampire Weekend, Audio, Brighton<br />Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Brixton Academy, London

Preppy Ivy Leaguers Vampire Weekend love their Afrobeats &ndash; either that, or they've been listening to too much early-Eighties Talking Heads

Vampire Weekend, Astoria, London

With a name likeVampire Weekend, one would not be expecting to see a band comprising Upper West Side Ivy Leaguers, best known for their affection for deck shoes, yachting and cardigans. Something spooky is going on when a band member's father standing at the side of the stage looks sharper than his son. One of the most hotly tipped bands for 2008, whose self-titled debut album has only just come out, Vampire Weekend don't carry much of the cool of their forebears The Strokes. Not that the audience mind: the up-to-the-minute young indie fans, from punks to skinny-jeaned rockers to bearded folksters, along with some of the band's old mates from Columbia University, are already bitten.

Album: Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend, XL

One More Grain, Madame JoJo's, London

Dour is being given a new definition in Soho tonight. That adjective is regularly used to describe a particular brand of northern stoicism, but in a part of London known for strip joints and gay bars, Daniel Patrick Quinn is pushing its remit to new limits.

Rupert Cornwell: Out of America

Bush's top-level conference on school shootings scrupulously avoided any reference to gun control
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas