The Guardian Indie

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  1. A regal list this week includes songs from Richard Thompson, Gilbert and Sullivan, Boy George and the Proclaimers

    Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of your suggestions last week. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

    This week’s callout produced a great number of nominations: songs about kings, songs about the King (of which more later) and a large number of songs that made me think the phrase “king of...” is somewhat overused by lyricists. So many great songs were eventually discarded, but thanks for nominating them. Do trawl through the suggestions and listen to as many as possible – this has been my favourite topic so far.

    Related:Readers recommend playlist: songs about Elvis

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  2. Heaven, London
    The idiosyncratic singer-songwriter is best when she revels in all her gothic majesty

    Anna Calvi belongs to a category of uncategorisable singer-songwriters. This label could also be applied to St Vincent, Julia Holter, Bat for Lashes, Feist and Jenny Hval – musicians who march to the beats of their own drums, neither adhering particularly closely to rock and indie traditions, nor truly qualifying as pop (their music isn’t as dumbly infectious or popular enough for that).

    In a world of songs machine-tooled for Spotify playlist approval, this kind of idiosyncrasy is only to be applauded. But it does mean Calvi can prove a rather hard sell to the casual observer: a guitarist and singer who makes unrushed, elegiac songs sheathed in a jazz-club smokiness that often simmer with sensuality. But this evening – one of five European shows designed to preview her forthcoming third album, Hunter – her music proves easier to digest. Proceedings begin with the cave-like interior of London’s Heaven bathed in red. Calvi, in a black suit, white ankle boots and shiny red bandeau, stands at the end of a runway that juts out from the main stage, splitting the audience in two. It’s a simple, beautiful image that is also expertly designed for a visually arresting Instagram post – a sense cemented by the swathes of people with phones jostling for the perfect shot.

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  3. Lily Allen dished on her divorce, Arctic Monkeys found their inner crooners, Cardi B earned her stripes, Pusha T teamed up with Kanye West and the Vaccines made an unexpected classic

    As amusingly unfiltered as ever, Allen embraces the sunny disposition of Afro bashment and British rap, and pairs it with delicate, bruised and often dolorous songs about her divorce – an affecting combination.

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  4. It all started 60 years ago with the line: ‘There’s a moose loose aboot this hoose!’ But is the eccentric spirit that unites Biffy Clyro, Orange Juice and Ivor Cutler dying out in the age of Calvin Harris?

    Inside the National Museum of Scotland sits a vintage wooden harmonium, once dolorously played by a little man in plus fours and a fez, the late absurdist folk-poet Ivor Cutler, who was second only to the Fall in the number of sessions he recorded for John Peel. A relic abandoned in storage for years, the harmonium is now owned by trad-folk minstrels Capercaillie and proudly on loan to the Edinburgh museum as part of the first ever exhibition of Scottish pop, Rip It Up.

    “I’m so glad it was found,” says curator Stephen Allen. “I was agonising over how we could give Ivor Cutler his rightful place in Scottish pop music.”

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  5. (New Voodoo/Warner)

    Johnny Marr’s voice, then. Not great at conveying specific emotions. And his lyrics, however heartfelt, can’t pick up that slack. And there’s the fleeting feeling – you’ll recognise it from any Noel Gallagher album – that these songs might be better with a stronger singer. It rarely matters here, though. Call the Comet is a resounding success, the first of Marr’s three solo albums to feel properly crafted. The loose thread it follows is that, in turbulent times, even the simple act of picking up a guitar and making music is political.

    While the first three songs are enjoyable monitor-straddlers, brashly grinding and strutting, they don’t best suit Marr’s wispy croon. The single Hi Hello is shimmeringly brilliant, good enough to be a lost Smiths single, but it’s from the fifth track onwards that the album takes a left turn or two and becomes genuinely fascinating.

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