Malcolm Middleton as SantaChristmas number 1’s don’t always have to be 100% marketing-driven X-factor winners, despite what you may have thought from the past few years. And ex-Arab Strap man Malcolm Middleton is doing his best to prove this, with his bid for the Xmas number 1, “We’re all going to die”.

If you want to help get this to number 1 then you have today and tomorrow to buy the single, from iTunes, etc. or as an old-fashioned limited edition 7-inch. Go to Malcolm’s Myspace for more links. And you can find out a bit more of why Malcolm is doing this when we got the chance to pose him a few questions. Read more

Paul Heaton Paul Heaton, formerly of the Beautiful South and Housemartins, has launched a scathing attack on Morrissey’s comments in the NME about how he refuses to live in the uk because of the “immigration explosion”.

Using his blog, Heaton starts by asking the question “So Britain isn’t British enough for Morrissey anymore?”, before beginning his tirade. Read more

Big Arm - RadiatorLet‘s get the inevitable bit out of the way. Big arm are fronted by former Happy Mondays bassist Paul Ryder. Nice artwork. A big ‘rocket’ ice lolly. Takes me back.

I really find it difficult to say anything positive about this album. This is a band who I feel are stuck doing what they know best. The result is sounding very dated. Read more

MarillionIf you’ve just got a fleeting knowledge of Marillion you probably think they’re a bunch of alarmingly uncool old codgers fronted by a wild Scotsman telling tales of Tolkein.

Well, there’s no Fishy frontman and no dodgy fantasy stories of warrior and heroes – at least, not anymore. But yes, they’re not kids. And they’re still uncool. Way uncool. Or, as one of their t-shirts proclaims: ‘Uncool as F**k’.

But do you really care about ‘cool’? If so, you could be missing out on one of the most dramatic and powerful rock bands around. Read more

Helen BouldingSouth Yorkshire singer-songwriter Helen Boulding is a talented lady. Having previously supported Ronan Keeting, she has in recent years gone on to make a name for herself.

Critics often talk of her ‘soulful and evocative’ voice which really gets your emotions racing. Her lyrical tales she so skilfully weaves, are of a beautiful and intimate quality and are quite a unique sound.

Her single ‘Breathe’, taken from the album ‘new red dress’, has a certain ‘breathy’ quality to it and is a very accomplished, ‘grown up’ offering of pop rock. Read more