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This is The Cribs’ best album to date. Well, until they ring up Trevor Horn for the next one

Say what you like about The Cribs (they look like their mum cut their hair, that bleeding-all-the-time thing was a bit gross, the phrase ‘ethical indie’ was the most ideologically flawed utterance of 2007), but you have to admit they’ve demonstrated an intriguing approach in choosing the people who produce their records. Duties for 2004’s eponymous debut were handed to Chicago’s avant-garde protest...

 
 
 

Our appetite is whetted. Let’s have part two quickly, please

"Somewhere along the way, my hopefulness turned to sadness/ Somewhere along the way, my sadness turned to bitterness…” Suffice to say, the first two lines that slur out of the speakers after pressing ‘play’ on ‘Phrazes For The Young’ will be instant red flags to any Strokes fan combing Julian Casablancas’ solo debut for portents of doom. As the verse progresses, his bitterness then leads to anger,...

 
 
 

The kind of record that exists to reward those both mad, and sad, in love

To those in the know, twee-pop six-piece Camera Obscura have been making great music since 1996. Debut long-player ‘Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi’ contained ‘Eighties Fan’, one of indie pop’s great lost singles. ‘Underachievers Please Try Harder’ (released in 2003 on Merge, the tiny label that first brought you Arcade Fire) featured a bespectacled teddy bear on the sleeve and 11 flawless songs inside, and...

 
 
 

An album that darts back and forth across Polly's entire career

A lot has changed since PJ Harvey and John Parish circled each other on 1996’s ‘Dance Hall At Louse Point’. For one, a female solo artist now seems to lack cachet unless she’s strapped coyly in a cute vintage dress, ruffling her sexy bed-hair while strumming on an acoustic guitar and bitching about the last arsehole who let her down (yet always with that she-definitely-still-would wink). Yet for every...

 
 
 

The biggest love-or-loathe opinion-divider since Jigga bought his wellies for Worthy Farm

Pretty much every molecule of Florence And The Machine divides opinion, scoring a line of taste like a Stanley knife through a forearm. Live, Florence ‘Flossie’ Welch dresses up as a clown, flails around like a cattle prod-poked octopus, throat-wobble warbling. Fifty people we asked randomly on Oxford Street said she was the most brilliantly captivating performer this side of Slipknot in stage-destruction...

 
 
 

There’s only one person who can deliver a line like “I’m feeling pretty damn hard done by/I’ve spent ages giving head” and still qualify for national institution status

As the first of the bad girls through the door, it’s hard to know what Lily Allen’s done more for, feminism or pop music. A quick Top 40 history lesson to demonstrate. Pre-Allen: Joss Stone, Katie Melua, KT Tunstall, Amy ‘Frank’ Winehouse; safe, insipid, grown-up and gash. < br/>Après Allen: Beth Ditto, Florence And The Machine, Ladyhawke, Amy ‘Rehab’ Winehouse; intelligent, dangerous, opinionated and...

 
 
 

Give thanks that there are still dour Robin Hoods out there in the underground, deploying the last of the major-label cash to deliciously nefarious ends

In 1995, Genesis P-Orridge of cult noise terrorists Throbbing Gristle seriously injured himself while trying to escape a fire at the home of über-producer Rick Rubin. He sued Rubin for a six-figure sum and, legend has it, promptly spent the dough on sex-change surgery.
A few years ago, Cold Cave’s Wes Eisold took out a case against boardroom pop-punkers Fall Out Boy, alleging theft of his lyrics. They...

 
 
 

There’s no way anybody will ever take Doves for granted again. Maybe there’s even better to come, no matter how long it takes

Blimey, they took their time, didn’t they? Doves haven’t released an album for four years, which in the current strike-while-the-iron’s-hot climate could be a seriously risky thing to do. Thankfully, though, it seems that absence has made hearts grow even fonder of the much-loved Cheshire three-piece. The band’s last LP, 2005’s ‘Some Cities’, contained some of their finest songs, most notably the...

 
 
 

The Mercury panel ignored her again - but this was mesmerising stuff

After U2 and Gram Parsons, Natasha Khan is next to make the pilgrimage to the Joshua Tree for her second album. However, rather than go the whole psilocybin-and-UFO-spotting hog, she retreated to London and New York to finish the job, resulting in a split-personality LP.
Much is being made of ‘Two Suns’’ dichotomous DNA, both in its recording (the earthy Vs the mechanical, electronic Vs organic) and...

 
 
 

Who needs healthcare reform when we’ve already got perfectly good HEALTH?

Perhaps the most amazing thing about music is that its popularity endures when, on the whole, it’s so relentlessly fucking tedious. Craven, careerist, grovelling, obvious – music shouldn’t give you what you want, it should give you things you never even knew you wanted. You try to cajole it into action, like the complacent lover it’s become – ‘Come on, music. Remember Elbow? With the bukkake clips and...

 
 
 
 
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