Asked to tell us what they’ve been getting into over the last three months, Now Then’s criterati have steered clear of the big name releases that have been sapping so many column inches. Instead, Akeem updates us on the latest in hip hop production, Michael and Nathan explore different sides of American metal, and Sam enthuses about glitch folk, which is a new one to us.

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I’m biased (I have a tattoo of his record label’s logo), but new James Murphy music is my most anticipated of 2017. ‘Call The Cops’ features his characteristic commentary, both social and cultural (“The first sign divides us / The second is moving to Berlin”), although the backing moves beyond the band’s usual post-punk milieu to some classic glam guitars. Tom Baker

The near invisible but ubiquitous hip hop production duo Blended Babies’ latest release, 7, is a perfect expression of the group’s mixed styles and musical talent. 7 feels like a pinnacle in the duo’s catalogue. With songs like ‘Killa State’, ‘Wild Ways’, ‘Ball Don’t Lie’ and the ludicrously enjoyable ‘Beautiful Girl’, Blended Babies may be unable to hide from the mainstream much longer. Akeem Balogun

Mastodon’s new album, Emperor of Sand, finds the band exploring their increasingly melodic and introspective side – the album deals with the death of guitarist Bill Kelliher’s mother from cancer – while still breaking out huge guitar riffs. As for new films, the documentary Bunch of Kunst is a funny, frequently thrilling look at the men behind Britain’s angriest band, Sleaford Mods. Nathan Scatcherd

I only know Full of Hell because of their collaborations with Japanese noise pioneer Merzbow and they make grindcore every bit as unconventional and uncompromising as such a pairing would imply. Trumpeting Ecstasy is their best album yet, with a bewildering amount of complexity, diversity and experimentation squeezed into 23 minutes and 11 tracks. Michael Hobson

Ostensibly about protagonist Elaine’s search for love, in pursuit of which she misguidedly uses magic and a sexuality shaped entirely by men’s fantasies, auter-filmmaker Anne Biller’s The Love Witch is so much more. Through astute yet hilarious writing, and Samantha Robinson’s mesmerisingly powerful performance, TLW’s biting cultural critique stylishly yet ferociously reveals the impossibility of loving relationships under patriarchy. Samantha Holland

Annie Hardy’s Rules is more than the first glitch folk outing by the former Giant Drag mastermind. It’s her own soul, bared for all of us to see. A lesson in how to deal with overbearing grief, she has created a heart-wrenching masterpiece. Listen to Diet Cig after this one. Two top albums for your pleasure. Sam J. Valdés López

‘Dream pop’ doesn’t even cover it. Since the release of their sparse EP, I, five years ago, Cigarettes After Sex have been quietly releasing singles from their upcoming self-titled debut album. ‘Each Time You Fall In Love’ is another moody, dead-eyed tale of disaffection and numbed pain, unfolding over a hypnotic soundscape and a dimly-lit Californian evening. Ethan Cyrus

Soundwaves

The team behind the Night Kitchen are building a new space to replace the much-missed club. They’re currently crowdfunding to get it rave-ready, with rewards including tickets to the opening party on 29 September (£15) and Night Kitchen t-shirts (£40 with a ticket) up for grabs. crowdfunder.co.uk/tnkrebirth    

Electro label CPU Records are celebrating their 50th release with a painstaking rebuild of two bleep techno tracks from 1990. ‘Move’ and ‘Rewind’ have been rerecorded by label boss CPSmith with the blessing of Sheffield duo Detromental and are out on 18 August.

Beloved book and record shop Rare & Racy is closing forever at the end of June. If you’re not already tempted to pay a final few visits, all CDs and vinyl are 50% off and they have a range of music from the experimental outer edges.

According to the Sheffield Telegraph, early stage discussions are underway to build a new 600-seat venue for classical music in the city. It’s an idea led by Deborah Chadbourn, executive director of the Music In The Round group, who points out that we’re the largest UK city without its own orchestra.