NICO'S ALCHEMY: Fundamental Darkness. This mix of blues-founded instrumentals and 70s-inspired rock is for the purists as Nico Tamburella lets his guitar do the talking – and it sure has a lot to say. The vocals from Candido have that melodic rock warble as Nico ignites his own sense of pyrotechnic semi-psychedelia. As he's the driving force and the four-strong band is named after him, expect plenty of solos. He's been playing sine he was 10 and was in his first band just four years later. He and Candido – an Italian – share a love of Deep Purple, Rainbow and Led Zeppelin. You can tell. In the late 1990s Nico lost his musical mojo, but rediscovered it when he discovered Buddhism and Fundamental Darkness is a Buddhist term indicating internal hell. He's over that now.
SERGEANT BUZFUZ: High Slang. A mish mash of pop, psychedelia, Celtic folk, punk and rock from the six-piece who now hail from south London yet have Sheffield-born songsmith Joe Murphy at their heart. The songs involve off-the-wall, sad and creepily funny story-telling. Here Come The Popes harken back to popes from the Middle Ages while the subject at the centre of In The Back Of My Cab is, unfortunately, Jonathan Ross – but fortunately without Russell Bland. It sets out to be obscure and succeeds. Radio 2's Mark Lamarr likes them apparently.
RANDOM HAND: Inhale Exhale. Now this is a car crash of an album – bumpy brass ska projecting itself head-on into gutteral hip hop and thrash rock. The Keighley band sure has an identity crisis. One minute they're like Madness, the next its total madness. Each band member has brought something wildly different to the party. Surely they won't get on for long.
ERASURE: Total Pop. No less than 40 hits. This isn't the first time the synth duo have had a greatest compilation out and this is hung precariously on a remix of their 1994 hit, Always. There's even a four-disc boxed set out that includes a live disc and a DVD of BBC performances from 1986 to 2005. Devotees only for that one. Andy Bell and Vince Clarke's hits include Sometimes, Oh L'Amour, Star, A Little Respect, Stop!, Stay With Me and covers such as Take A Chance On Me. If you're not on their wavelength it's all a terrible nightmare.