Cappo and Sam Zircon "Un:programmable Raw" EP (Boot): Cappo / Nappa "Red Hot" (King Underground): Ramson Badbonez "Warlords and Immortals" (Boot): Newham Generals "5 Star General" EP (Dirtee Stank): Stigmata "Blackbeard" (Sick Weird Rough): Mintech "Black Mamba" (Sick Weird Rough): Hellbastard "Sons Of Bitches" (PATAC): Weekend Nachos "Watch You Suffer" / "That Life Of Yours" (A389): The Atrocity Exhibit "What Time The Hidden Death?" (Grindcore Karaoke): The Declining Winter "Fragment#5" EP (Monopsone)
Welcome back to in love with these times, in spite of these times, the fanzine that prefers The Ex to the xx, Alex Taylor to Alex Turner and Quando Quango to Django Django. May we first, with tears of joy in our eyes, inform you that we were voted OFFICIALLY the joint fifth-best indiepop blog of 2012, according to the ever-discerning readers of TweeNet. We're getting the merchandise printed up now.
Er, we have ten singles. We have about ten minutes.
For the avoidance of any doubt, pop-pickers, Cappo remains the don. His hook-up with London producer Sam Zircon, and Caps' first outing - we think - for Boot, sees them perfect a Taskforce-style slow-burner over fractured but combative beats: more "Genghis" than "The Fallout", if you see what we mean.
Slightly more in-face is the Condor's welcome 12" collaboration with Life's producer, Nappa: "Red Hot" is the lairy, no-nonsense summer smash, "Originate" its more durable (and - for him - unusually coarse) flip. Oh, but to skip back to Boot's out-tray for a sec, Ramson Badbonez delivers perhaps his strongest 45 to date with "Warlords and Immortals", thanks in no small measure to the production technics of Boot and Diversion Tactics mainstays Jazz-T and Zygote: there's plenty to admire on the mic side though, especially when Jehst (trading as Billy Brimstone) picks up the flow.
Out east, Newham Generals are still doing their bit to give Dizzee's Dirtee Stank continued credibility: ebullient lead track "Darren and Dan" stands out as best combining club playlist potential with uncompromising grime style. If you want something with purer clubland credentials, then Stigmata's "Blackbeard" and Mintech's "Black Mamba" EPs should make a dent or two on the dancefloor: the title track of the latter is as close as Sick Weird Rough have come to something that could cross over to a wider audience. (Maybe you could then put on Tex-Rec's "Black Capital", to complete the theme).
Should you be inclined to indulge yr musical appetites with something more raucous, then veterans Hellbastard are on hand, still spitting with venom and rage, the title track of "Sons Of Bitches" being its growling high point: mind you, the dubplate roots shenanigans of "Throw The Petrol Bomb" prove unexpectedly enthralling too. As an alternative, there's the latest 7" from Weekend Nachos, who are, depending on your point of view, either settling into a certain predictability, or further fine-tuning their niftily desolate hardcore / sludgecore / powerviolence mix. "Watch You Suffer" is another torment-fuelled elixir of pounding noise and nihilism, with almost a touch of Albini's infamous "Budd" at play, but it's the slightly more spirited "That Life Of Yours" that we prefer. And fastest of all, there is the latest compact collection of whirling-dervish, grind-infused crust from the Atrocity Exhibit, seven tracks in around 12 minutes that are pleasingly available gratis courtesy of the ever-dependable Grindcore Karaoke. You can't sniff at titles like "Faustian Crisis Loan", and our old Terrorizer cover-mount favourite, "Assassination Template" makes a very welcome re-appearance too.
In stark contrast, however, we must conclude by commending to you - not for the first time - the Declining Winter, whose latest EP won't disappoint with its familiar, beguiling mesh of slyly gorgeous, chiming acoustics and plaintive, windswept rhythmic strums. Mostly instrumental, we have especial love for "The Declining Winter and The Narrow World", a modern pastoral if ever we heard one. We're still waiting for our physical copy to arrive, mind...