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Dave Simpson

Afghan Whigs: Do to the Beast review tense, dramatic, soulful rock from returning grungers

Afghan Whigs' first album in 16 years carries on where the Ohio grunge-era rockers left off in 1998.

Paul Thomas Saunders: Beautiful Desolation review epic, widescreen pop-rock of the old school

(Atlantic) In the late 1980s, British record companies signed lots of bands making "big music" swathes of reverb, stadium-rock drums and dollops of furrowed-browed "passion" who were invariably photographed staring over windswept landscapes. Although he w

Justin Timberlake review The crowd gasp when he appears

The first thing Sheffield sees of Justin Timberlake is his giant silhouette on an enormous backdrop.

Tinie Tempah review A brash show with odd moments of intimacy

"Manchest-ah!" yells Tinie Tempah, as he appears atop a giant roofed construction, wearing a silver glitter suit.

Wild Beasts review 'A refreshing triumph'

Albert Hall, Manchester The Beasts have changed and the addition of synthesisers has given them a grandeur reminiscent of Japan or Talk Talk When they emerged from Kendal around seven years ago, Wild Beasts seemed the sort of band that would arouse titte

Band of Skulls: Himalayan review 'Hooks are instantly familiar'

(Electric Blues) The third album from Southampton trio Band of Skulls reflects their trajectory over the last five years from small venues to mid-sized ones and their ambition to knock on even bigger doors. They've crafted a sound that is virtually a ca

Black Lips: Underneath the Rainbow review - 'Effortless garage from 60s swamp to 70s glam'

(Vice) Aiming for a bigger commercial splash, Black Lips' latest twangs by, with the Black Keys' Patrick Carney at the helm bringing a new electro thump Atlanta's Black Lips were notorious in their early days for on-stage vomiting and nudity, although th

Joan As Police Woman: The Classic review - unconvincing sidestep into retro-soul

After emerging as a dark indie torch singer – with powerful albums inspired by the deaths of her mother, and her lover Jeff Buckley – Joan Wasser has made an unlikely leap aboard the already overcrowded retro-soul train.

Drive-By Truckers: English Oceans review - 'masters of southern rock'

Nothing here reinvents the wheel, but the 12th album from Georgia's Drive-By Truckers finds their soulful, classic-rock storytelling at its best Athens, Georgia's Drive-By Truckers call their 12th album a return to basics, though it's not like they'd s

Eric Church: The Outsiders - review

(Decca) This chart-friendly US country singer has become increasingly vogueish since his 2011 album, Chief, blended the genre's staple twangs and banjos with Led Zeppelin-ish guitars solos and lyrics about Bruce Springsteen. Now seen as something of an a