Is it all an elaborate practical joke? Mac DeMarco, at Hackney Empire, reviewed

It’s not just who our pop heroes are that marks the passing of the generations; it’s how those heroes present themselves. Kevin Rowland, who turns 70 next week, appeared on stage for his London album launch in a jaunty sailor’s hat and striped top, looking as though he’d just come from a fashion shoot. Mac DeMarco, aged 33, ambled on in baseball cap, shlubby T-shirt and jeans. Rowland was upstanding, commanding and just a little forbidding. DeMarco sat on a stool and told a long story claiming that he and his keyboard player had been Oregon miners: a story which extended to include coprophagia, hair fetishism and maple syrup. Rowland

An album of not terribly happy ballads: Blur’s The Ballad of Darren reviewed

Bands that have hung around, or gone away and come back again, occupy an increasingly sizeable percentage of pop’s bandwidth. When it comes to making new music, many are happy not to rock the boat, scraping by on the goodwill accumulated from past endeavours. Others strive to present a moving target, enjoying a more evolved, even argumentative, relationship with the sounds of their glory days. Two new albums tackle this dilemma, with varying degrees of success. Together for the first time since 2015, Blur do a fine job of straddling past and present. Fresh from the emotive nostalgia-fest of two nights performing at Wembley Stadium earlier this month, they have