Sparks set to light up charts

• ELECTRIFYING R&B star Jordin Sparks is gearing up with another attack on the charts.
Her new single, Battlefield, is out this week, with a new album of the same name scheduled for release later in the summer.
• The voice of UB40 Ali Campbell is hoping his new material will soar up the charts.
The new album, the typically reggae-based Flying High, was released this week.
• Australian pop sensation Lenka is showing off hertalents on her new LP.
The self-titled album by the singer, which contains the hit The Show, is out now.
• It’s T time! Jamie T, that is.
The British hip hop star releases his comeback mini album Sticks ‘N’ Stones this week.
• Lisa Hannigan, the singer who backed Damien Rice for his albums O and 9, has a new single out.
I Don’t Know, released on Monday, is taken from her album Sea Sew.
• Sorry to bother you, but I though you should know that rapper Roots Manuva has a new single out.
Do Nah Bodda Mi, taken from his superb album Slime And Reason, is in stores now.
• Just Jack is back.
The one-man act released a new single this week, Doctor Doctor, the second track to come from his current album All Night Cinema.
• Hoping to cut through the charts with his latest work is David Saw.
Singer songwriter Saw’s latest album, Broken Down Figure, was released this week.
• Folk artist William Fitzsimmon’s latest LP Goodnight is out now.
The album is an emotional exploration of the aftermath of his parents’ divorce which cost him his own marriage during the writing process.
• Some of the biggest stars of the 1970s have been collected on the new three CD Jackie collection.
The Summer Special, which features David Cassidy, The Beach Boys, David Bowie and Mud among many others, is out now.
• If all of this is music to your ears, you can read more from the pop world online at

The Virgins pop their album cherry

• FRESH new talent The Virgins pop their album cherry with a self-titled release on April 20.
The album by the New York rockers, tipped for success by both NME and MTV, features their current single, Rich Girls, which hit stores this week.
• Wymeswold indie band The Wave Pictures have released their second album in as many years.
The follow-up to last year’s Instant Coffee baby is the Leicestershire band’s most polished and pleasing work to date.
• Inspiration Information, out this week, is a collaboration between African bandleader Mulatu Astatke and London-based jazz dance collective The Heliocentrics.
The experimental album was described by Astatke as “a nice experiment”.
• One to grab a copy of is Hijak Oscar’s excellent new LP, BlackSheepMoneyBox.
The blues band, which features Ashby-de-la-Zouch’s Carl Hetherington on keys, rose to fame on Channel 4’s Mobile Act Unsigned TV talent show.
• The stunning Royal Family-Divorce is the new album from 11-piece Icelandic post rock band Storsveit Nix Noltes.
The album sees the group, who include msuicians from Mum and Sigur Ros, take on a handful of traditional Bulgarian and Balkan folk tunes in a raucous fashion.
• Hipsters, flipsters, and fingerpopping daddies, we give you Run Devils And Demons, the best of world music and dance fusers Transglobal Underground.
The two-CD compilation is an excellent retrospective of two decades of the ethno-techno group’s groundbreaking work.
• Up-and-coming US pop soul diva Jessica Clemmons releases her debut album, Permanent, on May 4.
The title track from the album is also set to be released as a single on April 20.
• A cracking collaboration between hip hop producer Mr Scruff and top British rapper Roots Manuva has been released.
The download-only Nice Up The Function is now available online.
• If all of this is music to your ears, you can read more from the pop world online at

A new Manuva

• RAPPER Rodney Smith, better known as Roots Manuva, releases his fourth album, Slime And Reason, next month.
The British MC’s new LP, already being hailed as a career-best, sees Roots exploring his individual, bass-heavy sound.
Summing up his approach to making music, he said: “You got to sing like no one’s listening. You gotta fart like there’s no one there to smell it.”
• It’s all systems go for Go:Audio on August 25, when the band release their debut album.
The LP, Made Up Stories, is, according to a spokesman for the band, “bristling with melody and energy, infectious, exhilarating and inventive”.
• The “24-carat voice” of jazz singer Christine Tobin, as captured on the album Secret Life Of A Girl, has been awarded the Best Vocalist award at the BBC Jazz Awards 2008.
The album, which was met with critical acclaim on its release last Spring, is a mixture of Tobin compositions and covers of artists including Leonard Cohen and Rufus Wainwright.
• German contemporary composer Hauschka again pushes the boundaries of the piano with his new album Ferndorf.
Out on September 8, Ferndorf, named after the village he grew up in, sees string backing used by the Dusseldorf-based artist alongside his use of a ‘prepared’ piano for melody, percussion and a basis for electronic overdubs.
• Toronto’s Ten Kens are set to release their self-titled debut album on September 15.
Remiscent of Liars, Black Mountain and Amusement Parks On Fire, the 11-track LP is an overdriven tour of the group’s honed bittersweet alt-rock.
• Dishevelled ‘80s-influenced rockers The Mystery Jets release a new EP, Half In Love With Elizabeth, on August 25.
As well as the live favourite title track, the release also includes the London band’s collaboration with Kat Nash, remixes, live versions and two new tracks.
• The legendary Southside Johnny has teamed up with the even more legendary Tom Waits to perorm an album of Tom Waits tracks with La Bamba’s Big Band.
The album, Grapefruit Moon, hit the shelves on September 8.
• Originally commissioned for Derby Jazz Week 2007, jazz guitarist Phil Robson’s Six Strings And A Beat has since been labelled as “world class”.
The album, out last month, sees the guitarist teaming up with a string quartet and drummer to explore influences from cool jazz to classic strings to acid rock to Afropop.
• If all of this is music to your ears, log on to Isaac Ashe’s Sound Advice for more from the pop world.