This week sees the return of some classics. There's the very best of John Martyn, Radiohead's collectors editions and a Trojan Records compilation. How will they match up to the new talent in the form of Karima Francis and Iain Archer? Read on to find out.

John Martyn - May You Never - The Very Best Of John Martyn A fine single CD compilation of work by the late great John Martyn, who at his best sung a truly individual brand of soul-infused folk. Like friend and contemporary Nick Drake, Martyn never quite transcended cult status, but his work has aged extremely well.

This collection is largely culled from his early seventies gold patch and his best-known album, 1973's Solid Air, is well represented. Equally great are heart-on-sleeve songs in the same vein like Couldn't Love You More and Head And Heart. Towards the end of the disc, however, matters diversify with hints at Martyn's echoplex experiments (Small Hours) and occasional catastrophic misfires (Over The Rainbow).

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Steve Kerr)

Radiohead - Pablo Honey/The Bends/OK Computer Collectors Editions With Radiohead now running under their own steam, former label Capitol/EMI have sought to cash in by re-releasing the band's first three albums with a tantalising array of bonus tracks and DVD footage. While this will no-doubt anger a section of their loyal fan-base, others will see it as a god-send as the range of extras on each release are truly second-to-none. Besides, demos and live performances from each era have been coupled with TV, video and concert footage to chronicle their rise to greatness. The Bends, with its 21 extra tracks and extensive DVD section, is perhaps the pick of the bunch, although all three are essential for die-hards the world over - oh, and the original albums arent bad either.

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nick Howes)

1990s - Kicks The 1990's are one of those bands you can't quite understand why they haven't become more popular than they are. Their songs are catchy, indie tunes which have you singing along while their stage presence, when playing live, has people eagerly dancing. With their latest release, the 1990s continue along this theme. Style wise, their up-tempo numbers are similar to Franz Ferdinand, especially Vondelpark and Tell Me When You're Ready, while on Everybody Please Relax there's a touch of Weezer to them. I Don't Even Know What That Is is an album highlight, seemingly mixing various styles within three minutes.

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Polly Weeks)

Delta Spirit - Ode To Sunshine If it's not too much of a contradiction to say so, San Diegan quintet Delta Spirit are highly original in their derivativeness, in the same way as The Bees or The Strokes. The band seems connected to the new psych movement, but whereas a band like Animal Collective lift off into the ether with spacey harmonies and synthesisers, Delta Spirit are firmly rooted in roots rock and country.

The result is a rambunctious, irresistible record informed by The Band and The Stones at their torn and frayed best. The song writing and performances are great and varied, from the barrelhouse piano of Trashcan to the anthemic Vietnam/Iraq protest song, People Turn Around.

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Steve Kerr)

Various - Tighten Up Vol 2 Launched in the summer of 1968, Trojan soon became the record label of choice for the very best reggae had to offer. The inaugural Tighten Up compilation hit shelves in 1969 and helped kickstart the genre's rise to popularity in the UK. Volume 2, now getting a thoroughly deserved, expanded CD reissue, spread the word even further. The record received a second lease of life when fans of The Specials and Madness got hold of it in the 80s as the Two Tone and Ska movements gripped the suburbs, but we've had to wait until now for the compilation to feature a massive 48 tracks, including Long Shot Kick De Bucket by The Pioneers, The Upsetters' Live Injection and Reggae In Your Jeggae by Dandy. As reggae goes, this is essential.

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Andy Welch)

Karima Francis - The Author With her big hair and even bigger voice, Blackpool native Karima Francis certainly makes an impact. Already hailed as one to watch for 2009, her emotional acoustic ballads tip their hat to Tracy Chapman and, to a lesser extent, Canadian warbler Alanis Morissette. Her talent is clear, but, as is often the way, many of the songs here are over-produced, robbing what could be delicate gems of any tender charm. Yes, she has an impressive vocal range and no small amount of songwriting ability, but the overwhelming feeling, that The Author is being pitched at Katie Melua's fans, clouds what would otherwise be an excellent debut. Let's hope she gets the chance to put that right next time around.

Rating: 6/10 (Review by Andy Welch)

Iain Archer - To The Pine Roots The former Snow Patrol songwriter releases his own album and what can you expect? Essentially, it's an acoustic album and it's not without merit. Full of delicate vocals and intricate guitar work it makes for interesting listening. The Nightwatchmen in particular is a good choice to close the album. The only problem with the music is that there is more then a touch of 'already heard this before' about it. From Iron and Wine to Badly Drawn Boy, plus with other singer songwriters such as Lightspeed Champion choosing to add something that little bit different to the formula, it means other acts need to up their game, Iain included.

Rating: 6/10 (Review by Andy Welch)

The Rakes - Klang With this new album, The Rakes go some way towards reasserting their position at the top table of post-millenial indie. The band originally came to prominence in the wake of the Libertines when a minor hit 'Twenty two Grand Job' showed a different set of concerns than those which now prevail on Klang. Frontman Alan Donoghue's detached, melancholic delivery perfectly suits the mood of some sad vignettes of urban life with titles like 'The Loneliness of the Outdoor Smoker' and 'The Woes of the Working Woman' although this well-ploughed furrow of sonic verite might not appeal to all tastes at this interesting stage in the group's evolution.

Rating: 6/10 (Review by Patrick Gates)

Papa Roach - Metamorphosis It feels a long time since the heady days of Nu Metal but Papa Roach are one of the few bands from that era that have remained relevant in the modern musical landscape. Their approach has metamorphosed indeed from chuggy rap-rock to a traditional heavy rock sound, illustrated with the aptly-titled Change Or Die, and lead single Hollywood Whore, which invokes memories of classic Motley Crue. The primary reason though why Jacoby Shaddix and co. have lasted the distance, is their knack of pairing heart-felt lyrics with a sharp and crunching sound, exhorted brilliantly on Lifeline and Had Enough. Metamorphosis is not a classic, but it represents a band finally comfortable in their own skin.

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nick Howes)

Chris Cornell - Scream This is the third solo outing from the curly-haired ex-Soundgarden and Audioslave singer and it's a brave one. The Grunge god wanted to do "something different" and has teamed up with top R&B producer Timberland to produce an album that's already had fans accusing him of selling out. True, this is not hardcore Rock and it's an ironic title as there's very little screaming, but what you do get really grows on you. His sharp, distinct vocals over Timberland's minimal guitar, drum machine and samples does work in a melodic, funky kind of way. Best tracks are the Eastern-inspired Take Me Alive, Enemy and Climbing The Walls.

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Laura Wurzal)

Singles by Polly Weeks

:: Noisettes - Don't Upset The Rhythm Having been featured on a car advert you won't have been able to avoid this single, it's a catchy one though and a good return for the band.

:: Flo Rida - Right Round feat Kesha Slightly suspect lyrics rhymed along to the tune of You Spin Me Round, annoyingly you'll find yourself humming along for far longer then you'd like.

:: Peter Bjorn And John - Nothing To Worry About Don't expect another Young Folks, this is more like a warped Prince record.

On the road Upcoming tours :: Canadian indie group Metric return with not only a new album and single but tour as well. They head over to the UK to play seven dates, beginning at the Manchester Academy 3 on May 11 and finishing at the Electric Ballroom, London on May 19. For more information visit

:: Leicester based band Jersey Budd will support Kasabian, Seth Jackman, Eskimo Joe and Little Feat over the next few months before going on a tour of their own, beginning May 11 at Leicester University and ending at Brighton's Freebutt on May 22. Visit for more information.