Bobby Womack, The Forum, London

"I want to dedicate this song to all the lovers here tonight," explains the 68-year-old singer. This is the sort of ripe line that was perfectly acceptable in the early 1980s.

Givers, XOYO, London

Afro-pop folk band Givers don't have a slogan, but if they did it would be "It's nice to be nice". The singers, Taylor Guarisco and Tiffany Lamson perform with the emphatic smiles of drama school children in panto. Their music is uplifting; to watch them is like watching happy Muppets dancing around, on ecstasy. They're aggressively happy – they bounce, and wiggle and gyrate and smile a lot. They even use the break between songs to tell us how much they love London ("I love that you drive on the left here. I really do," says Lamson).

Album: Etta James, The Dreamer (Decca)

Assailed by the double debilitations of leukemia and dementia, and requiring hospital care, Etta James has sensibly decided that The Dreamer will constitute the final chapter of her recording career.

Nicki Minaj to release songs as alter-ego

The rapper has revealed she plans to "address the nation" in several new songs as the invented character, who she introduced to fans on 'Roman's Revenge', the opening track of her debut album 'Pink Friday' which was co-written by Eminem. 

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Album: Professor Green, At Your Inconvenience (Virgin)

Having managed to parlay an association with Lily Allen into the semblance of a career, Professor Green punches above his weight on his second album, with tracks indulging the standard hip-hop tropes of self-aggrandisation ("At Your Inconvenience") and aimless antagonism ("DPMO (Don't Piss Me Off)").

Album: Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials (Island )

For her follow-up to Lungs, Florence Welch wanted to make something "dramatic and really huge and kind of spooky", an intention which Ceremonials bears out with storm-cloud arrangements, big, rolling drum riffs and ghost-story songs.

Album: Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto (Parlophone / EMI)

Hearing for the first time the songs that will, inevitably and inexorably, become part of the fabric of Western life from X Factor auditions to shopping-centre muzak, is a strange and often depressing experience.