CAGE THE ELEPHANT: Back Against The Wall. Rough and tumble raw rock rumble from the Kentucky quintet who had a sold-out UK tour in November. Ebbs and flows, sneering at the expected and when the guitar solo lets rip towards the end it’s won the battle for heart and minds.
GUILDEAN GANG: Dennis Bergkamp. Arty pop from the Bedfordshire band paying strange homage to the aeroplane-fearing ex-Arsenal star. Think Britpop along the lines of The Cure with the affected vocals rising above the searing sonic guitar work. It has an eerie, yearning, almost untouchable feel.
THE BUIZNIEZ featuring ARTCHA JAMES: Club Freaks Anthem (Part One). Edgy hip hop that wallows in its somewhat unnerving soul mire.
ERASURE: Always. Blips and bleeps remix of the duo's 1994 lightweight synth single that's even more synthetised than it was then.
THE VIEW: Which Bitch? An album of wild extremes that have the tendency to grab your every sense one moment and then annoy the next as it veers from honky harmonica to meandering folk to hard-nodding rock hewn from musical granite. Ambitious? certainly. Experimental? Definitely. Accessible – sometimes with power-packed force of stuff like 5 Rebeccas, the half-rap of One Off Pretender, the triumphant rock fanfare of Double Yellow Lines and current firepower single Shock Horror. Yet it also has its more inaccessible and, well, challenging traits – try to get your head around the punkified raucous Glass Smash, the weird orchestration of Distant Doubloon and a bizarre trumpet-laden duet with Paolo Nutini.
EMMY THE GREAT: First Love. A debut album that's essentially folk, yet sometimes blossoms into pop. You know it's folk when they describe their stuff as "passive aggressive songs". Some creep up on you unawares as on the opener Absentee that becomes loud and is ringing in your ears before you know it. Lyrically-speaking, savage observations and stark admissions lie behind the classic folk voice. The lolloping current single We Almost Had A Baby eloquently sums up what they're about.
VARIOUS: Notorious. Music from and inspired by the film about Brooklyn-born US rapper Notorious BIG shot dead in 1997 in a driveby killing. Surprisingly soulful rap – Notorious had an easy flow style – strewn with samples that shows how the old skool has been so inspirational. Notorious classics like Juicy and Hypnotize are alongside never-before-released demos and new tracks by some of hip hop's biggest stars. The sentiment about violent street life's the same as ever – let's only hope it's not over-glamourised.