Singles of the year: 31-40


Welcome back to in love with these times, in spite of these times, the fanzine that prefers the Dentists to dentists, the Ex to exes and the Church Grims to grim churches.

31. Violent Arrest “Authors Of Our Own Demise” (Artcore)

A thundering 6-track 7” EP from the ever-hearty and heartening Violent Arrest that came with a paper fanzine in the kind of package that we’ll never tire of, so long as there are good good people out there with the devotion and the guts to provide it.

The title track here actually does all that’s required: 50-odd seconds of pure politico-punk anger that would be pretty hard to better. That said, there are no duffers here, and “Five More Years” – VA’s reaction to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act - is definitely an anthem of sorts and a sister record (thematically, if not musically) to Benji303 and pals’ "Fight Against The System” (q.v). 

32. Cappo “Ether” (YNR)

Every Cappo single, of course, is BEEZER: the only question in the listener’s mind need be whether it will be “banger” or “mystic”. The last couple have definitely fallen into the latter camp, with “Ether” and last year’s “O.O.B.” maxing the introspection and laying down the groundwork for the fairly stunning “Dramatic Change Of Fortune” full-length.

33. Trim “RPG” (1-800-Dinosaur)

Probably one of the more wtf? 45s of the year, tripping the light fantastic on spartan, sleeveless 10”. The rough set-up is that some bloke called James Blake spoons in lurching, discordant discombobulated beats whilst longtime E14 grime don Trim basically murders the riddim (28 shots to the car, apparently). About halfway through their interests seem to diverge, though, with the result that the single starts to fall off a bit (less rocket propelled grenade, more role playing game).

34. Sir Spyro featuring Teddy Bruckshot, Lady Chann & Killa P “Topper Top” (Deep Medi)

Jealously guarded at Juno (one per customer), and one can see why as Deep Medi take one of their occasional forays into vocal tunes, including a verse from international man of mystery Teddy Bruckshot, the true identity of whom remains a jealously guarded secret. We haven’t delved into dancehall stylings for quite a while, but the Jamaica-via-London flavour here works brilliantly to give Spyro’s grime licks an unexpectedly exotic edge.

We feel bound to suggest that we suspect that Sir Spyro may not be a real knight of the realm though, any more than Sir Les Ferdinand, or Sir Handel. If the Queen ever does get to knight him, presumably for services to grime, we reckon she should whisper “sounds of the surf” to him as she lowers the steel, just to show she gets it.

35. Terror Danjah ft. Dot Rotten & Trigga “Fire” (Hardrive)

In which Rotten, on a skeng ting, absolutely *slews* yet another lethal Terror Danjah riddim. Our Dot gets overly saccharine & lovey-dovey on the B side, mind, so better draw a discreet veil over that. Next!

36. Durrty Goodz “Not Been Televised” EP (TruThoughts)

Reinvented artistically and thematically, DG has segued seamlessly from grime legend to UKHH guru, with Micall Parknsun’s productions on this EP allowing him to roll deep and conscious over Gang Starr-styled beats. The supremely confident “Coronation” would be a cracking single in its own right, but is ably buttressed by slower-paced, super-smooth companion tracks like “Grew Up Gangster” and the Ty-featuring “Reflection”.

37. M.I.K. featuring Merky Ace “6ix 6ixty (6ixtro)” (6ix 6ixty)

How grime should be, from two of its most invigorating practitioners: twisted and sinewy, intense yet fragmented, thoroughly modern with an experimental edge and yet ruthlessly dynamic on the dancefloor. PROPS.

38. Bubblegum Lemonade “Beard On A Bike” (MatinĂ©e Recordings)

This had the deep, deep misfortune to come out around the time of June 23rd, a time of both mourning and spluttering invective here at in love with these times, in spite of these times towers as we barricaded ourselves in with EU flags and defiantly stuck “Ode To Joy” on repeat play. So it wasn’t until much later that we realised that “Beard On A Bike” was one of the better indie singles of the whole year, underpinned by the same dewy-eyed devotion to neat melodies and bobbing rhythms that made the last Strawberry Whiplash LP so damn… convincing.

As all you bubblegum bop-pickers will already have clocked, the EP’s title tune would resurface on Bubb Lem’s “Great Leap Backward” full-length just last month, a remarkably consistent collection of skilfully-composed spiralling guitar-pop minibites. 

39. Jammz “Warrior” (I Am Grime)

Jammz hits us up an with too-rare vinyl outing, a 5-track 12” on his own label that elsewhere features Shemzy, Scott Garcia and P Money, but peaks with J on his own for the excellent title cut, a bleak post-eski foil for M.I.K. and Merky Ace’s excellent single two paras up. Sometimes, you can almost forget that grime peaked in about 2004.

40. Commodo ft. Rocks FOE “Set It Straight” (Black Acre)

“I scratch the surface” (like the Jasmine Minks) “Til the record breaks” (like Roy Castle). This eastern-flavoured dubstep/grime tune from Commodo’s “How What Time” LP is a three-city collaboration: composed and hatched in Sheffield, LACED by Croydon’s Rocks FOE, and put out there by Bristol’s Black Acre. Not to be sniffed at.

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