[sic] Magazine

Tasting Notes 2022

On the plus side, 2021 has been better than 2020. Many a gig never was though, of course. Twelve-month queues at the pressing plants are a major obstacle to new music too. Nightlife remains at the whim of governmental policy and a mutating menace. Lest we forget the many personal tragedies along the way too. And yet, by and large, the public remains understanding, the music often upbeat. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, right?

Maybe there’s anger to come. It’s difficult to predict. As is success and, yet, here again is our annual feature that really ought to be sub-titled “bands/artists that don’t yet have an album, but from whom we’d like one soon”. Like always, we’ll kick off by appraising the progress – or otherwise – of last year’s chosen few; what, simply, is the point of a list like this if we’re ultimately not held accountable for it?

So, first up on last year’s list was Manchester-based, neo post-punks Document who, sadly, are yet to release any new material, but their thrilling live shows this year suggest a directional shift towards gruff New Wave rather than anxious, itchy gloom. Expect new music 2022. Kiwi chanteuse Molly Payton, however, did manage a new, digital-only EP/mini album. Showing her growing confidence, Slack is another step away from her hyper-intimate debut, punchy storytelling mixing with kohl-eyed sultriness, Payton starting to sound less like one of your favourite songwriters and more like a star in waiting. Also rising fast are Witch Fever who, after signing to Music For Nations, part of Sony Music, tabled a debut EP this year after a couple of incendiary singles a few years back, the six bruising tracks of Reincarnate smashing headlong into catchy grunge-punk and furious feedback. See where it lands in our best-of-the-year list soon. Arch post-punk scruffs Do Nothing also managed a new EP this year, the arty Glueland taking its cues from David Byrne, without perhaps all the necessary smarts to quite carry it off. And, rounding out last year’s list, we’re sad to report London’s Gaygirl were a lockdown casualty, breaking up early this year without adding to their noisy debut EP. Some you win; some you lose.

Anyway, with that round-up done and dusted, let’s head on over to the main event. Make of the below what you will, considering the mixed bag above. Here goes nothing then; in spite of everything, 2022’s ones to watch are:

Enumclaw – One of the records of the year despite being just a debut EP, Enumclaw’s Jimbo Demo is the gift that keeps on giving. An elegant but visceral dose of garage-punk, its rough and ready charm is backed up by unshowy smarts and lifts from the choicest of genre luminaries. Pretenders and posers beware, this sort of thing really isn’t as easy as Enumclaw make it look. Key track: “Free Drop Billy”

English Teacher – To be fair, we could have picked almost of the Nice Swan roster to feature in this list, such is their uncanny ability to find and nurture guitar talent. We’ve plumped for Leeds lads English Teacher for a reason though, their bass is loose and dangerous, the vocal dripping with disinterest as it the fashion, the guitars slashing their own route through the annals of post-punk. Key track: “R&B”

Francis Of Delirium – An out of place American-Canadian duo based in Luxembourg for some reason, Francis Of Delirium have an ace up their sleeve in initially unassuming front woman Jana Bahrich. She’s an absolute shredder when she warms up, contributing to a truly impressive live show that builds on a very solid couple of EPs blending grunge and DIY indie. What’s not to like? Key track: “Let It All Go”

Horsegirl – Funny how things turn out. Chicago teenagers Horsegirl released their knockout debut EP in 2020 but no-one picked up on it ‘til 2021, new singles now promised on Matador. Their music is suitably slow-burn too, a shoegazing take on classic indie-rock. DIY out of necessity on early recordings, you can’t help but wonder what proper production will do for the band. Key track: “Ballroom Dance Scene”

Wet Leg – Congratulations if you’ve somehow avoided the charms of Isle of Wight post-punks Wet Leg this year as they’re easily the buzziest of bands around, making a US TV splash earlier this week ahead of an album to come on Domino next year. They don’t yet have a track to rival the magnificent “Chaise Longue” (think a caffeinated Dry Cleaning), but it’s surely only a matter of time. Key track: “Chaise Longue”

Got a new band/artist you want to see make an album in 2022? Want to slag these choices off? Know something we don’t about any of the artists mentioned above? Let us know your thoughts using the comments below.