Bill Callahan's last album cropped up on many an end-of-year poll in 2009, confirming the slightly creepy former boyfriend of both Cat Power and Joanna Newsom as an American songwriter still impressing 20 years into his career. It's a pity Rough Travel, his first live album, doesn't include recent highlights such as "Eid Ma Clack Shaw", but recent converts can take consolation in these picks from an intense back catalogue. Recorded in an intimate venue in 2007, cold-blooded old songs such as "Held" and "Bathysphere" take on unprecedented swing and musicality, thanks to a hot-blooded band and his own baritone.
Bill Callahan: Rough Travel for a Rare Thing | Album review
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666