The Genius Of… The La’s, The La’s

Led by the flawed genius of their perfectionist frontman Lee Mavers, The La’s released a timeless self-titled debut in 1990 that predicted the whole Britpop movement. Three decades later, it remains the band’s only album and Mavers hates it so much he’s spent most of his life trying to re-record it. Will we ever hear the album as he intended? 

The Big Listen: Bright Eyes – Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was

After nearly a decade's absence Conor Oberst has got the band back together. The first Bright Eyes album since 2011 is an unflinching exploration of grief, loss and keeping on keeping on as life crumbles around you. We'd expect nothing less.

The Genius Of… Hoodoo Man Blues by Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band

In 1965, the Original Blues Brothers – harp maestro Junior Wells and livewire showman Buddy Guy – sidestepped broken amps and contract wrangles to bottle the sound of Chicago’s blues clubs on this classic album.

The Big Listen: Biffy Clyro – A Celebration of Endings

The Scottish rock titans reconnect with their roots on an album that basks in the “ludicrous” brilliance of rock ‘n’ roll.

The Genius Of… Verve –  A Storm In Heaven

Under-appreciated on its release in 1993, The Verve's debut is a transcendental space-rock masterwork, lit up by the sonic alchemy conjured by the band's introverted genius, guitarist Nick McCabe. Never has an album's title been more apt.

The Big Listen: Deep Purple – Whoosh!

Deep Purple’s 21st studio album is billed as the most versatile, boundary-pushing record of the three they’ve made with producer Bob Ezrin. Is it a worthy addition to the legendary British band’s weighty catalogue?   

The Genius Of… A Meeting By The River by Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt

Two strangers, two different musical cultures, two different slide instruments… one Grammy. Ry Cooder and VM Bhatt’s world-music classic, A Meeting By The River, is a lesson in collaboration.

The Big Listen: Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death

The boys in the better land take an axe to their own image on a murky, brooding second album that establishes a new path for the Dublin five-piece.

The Genius Of… Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge

One of music's greatest storytellers and the owner of a stellar vintage guitar collection, Richard Hawley deviated from his familiar mournful romanticism and orchestration on this ferocious 2012 album. Immerse yourself in the sprawling, angry and utterly exhilarating Standing At The Sky's Edge.

The Big Listen: Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today

Post-punk stalwarts tear down the set as their fifth act asks difficult questions amid a maelstrom of guitar chaos.