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New Reviews: Drive-By Truckers, The Whigs and The Besnard Lakes

March 16, 2010 4:45 PM ET

Leading this week's pack of New Reviews is The Big To-Do, the latest album from Athens, Georgia Southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers. The LP is the Truckers' first proper studio album since 2008's Brighter Than Creation's Dark, and finds Patterson Hood and pals once again combining Raymond Carver-like stories with Lynyrd Skynyrd riffs. "On the 10th album from this remarkably consistent Georgia band, a sexually abused woman murders her lover, a two-timing rogue goes missing and is hoped drowned, and, on the very pretty waltz "The Flying Wallendas," a group of acrobats take a tragic tumble," Christian Hoard writes in his three-and-a-half star review of The Big To-Do. On the album, the Truckers also bring back the powerful three-axe guitar attack that highlighted previously releases like Southern Rock Opera.

Athens, Georgia is also the hometown of another band releasing a new album this week, the Whigs, who unleash their third album In the Dark. Following a opening slot on the Kings of Leon's headlining tour, the Whigs learned a thing or two from their tourmates as the Whigs' third disc "is the sharpest distillation of its neo-college rock yet," Jon Dolan writes in his three-and-a-half star review of In the Dark. "Animal Collective producer Ben H. Allen's arty, wall-of-sound approach brightening singer-guitarist Parker Gispert's underdog anthems while rarely slowing them down."

The Besnard Lakes' second album The Bernard Lakes Are the Roaring Night also hits shelves this week. Produced using the same console as Led Zeppelin's Phyiscal Graffiti, "the Lakes' immersive second LP is a magnificently oceanic meld of Beach Boys harmonies, My Bloody Valentine tidal waves and Phil Spector girl-group siren songs shot through with soaring guitar," Will Hermes writes in his Rolling Stone review. …Are the Roaring Night earned three-and-a-half stars from RS.

For more on the biggest releases of the past few weeks, visit Rolling Stone's Album Reviews section, and check out some of the more notable recent reviews below:

Mumford and Sons' Sigh No More
Alkaline Trio's This Addiction
Little Boots' Hands
Titus Andronicus' The Monitor

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

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