[sic] Magazine

The Editor’s Albums of 2022

Here at [sic] we are nothing if not democratic. Well, maybe anarchic? None of us are especially interested in building one of those consensus type Album Of The Year lists. Take a closer look and they’re all the same. Shuffle the same pack and re-deal because Beyonce and Weyes Blood are gonna be there somewhere. Only the sequence changes.
Well not here. We favour individual lists. So these aren’t the ‘best’ albums according to the herd. They’re each writers favourites. I think that’s nicer for the reader too. Find the writer that’s on your wavelength and discover some ace new music that way.

I just had covid for the second time this year so my listening recently has been confined to the bedroom. To be honest, I’ve been totally out of it. That said, I enjoyed this year. Hope you did too. It wasn’t that long ago we were all wondering how we’d ever be able to go back inside a venue and watch live music together. We can, thank goodness. Long may it continue. I’ll repeat what I mentioned last year. Most artists, including some on this list, make peanuts from streaming so please do, if you like something, procure it from the artist direct. Help them to carry on.

I think 2022 was a big year for post punk. The likes of Idles, Black Country, New Road, Dry Cleaning, Wet Leg and Preoccupations have never fully grabbed my heart if I’m honest. If you love them, that’s great. I’m still not swayed. Ambient music is never too far from my desk and I especially enjoyed Boy Is Fiction. I look forward to the new Hammock record in early 2023. Madrugada came back with their album Chimes At Midnight. That’s really a ‘must see’ live act. And shoegazing had a solid 2022 with the likes of Blushing, Hatchie, Resplandor and Young Prisms all doing good things.

Here’s a ten then, with some songs to follow.

Happy Christmas and I’ll see you on the other side.

10. KnifeplayAnimal Drowning (shoegaze slowcore)

In a year of quite a few interesting shoegaze releases, Knifeplay were the ones who edged their way into my Top 10. It’s noisy, it’s beautiful and I’m not just talking about TJ Strohmers voice. I’ve always been a sucker for melodic chaos and that’s what these boys deliver.

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9. The SmileA Light for Attracting Attention (math rock, art rock)

In the absence of Radiohead I’ll certainly accept Yorke, Greenwood and Godrich as substitute. The Smile go to some familiar places an some other less familiar ones. Odd time signatures my have some scratching their heads but Thoms voice will leave us open mouthed as always.

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8. David FieldingNorthern Star (ambient guitar, eastern )

An album of original music from The Chameleons founding guitarist Dave Fielding. You won’t find that elsewhere. Whilst not a lifetimes work it sure has been coalescing a while, probably since the second, terminal breakup of his parent band in 2003. Twenty odd years. Eclectic, ambient, psychedelic …. All you might expect and more from the man widely regarded as the soul of The Chameleons. Review

7. Just Mustard Heart Under (shoegaze, post-punk)

It really is a year for Irish post-punk as Just Mustard deliver on their not insubstantial promise. Heart Under sounds like a lost album from the halcyon days of 4AD. If only Scheer had been this interesting. Cranes came closest of all to this brand of otherworldliness. Catch them live if you can. They’re …mustard.

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6. Fontaines D.C. Skinty Fia (post punk)

Two years and two albums on from Dogrel our Irish heroes are growing into their own skins. They always had the charisma of the Gallaghers whilst they tried to persuade us of a second coming of Joy Division. But what of the songs? On Skinty Fia the ‘Sha Sha Sha’s have given way to giddying earworms like ‘Roman Holiday’. In the words of Whipping Boy, we don’t need nobody else. We may have been wrong there.

5. King HannahI’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me (Americana, ambient)

Resident scribe Gavin Fearnley is a huge fan of this slice of Southern Gothic from Liverpool of all places. Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle evoke the likes of Sharon van Etten, The War On Drugs, Nick Cave, Bill Callahan and even The The. Bluer than midnight with only a pack of cigarettes for company. Brilliant.

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4. Pianos Become The TeethDrift (alt rock, emo, post hardcore)

This band start to fascinate me in the same way Radiohead used to. Each new album is an event. What will they do? Will they pull it off or come unstuck. They have come an awful long way from their screamo origins but I have the feeling they still have ways to go. Drift isn’t even the finished article. And that alone is scarily impressive. Review

3. Black Swan LaneBlind (dreampop, post-punk)

Late entry from perennial [sic] faves, BSL. Blind is a Christmas release that proves to be more than just stocking filler. With the band contracted to just mainstay Jack Sobel any thoughts that new material would lack the lustre of an impressive back catalogue are blown out of the water. An album with something new to say and new ways to say it. Am I the first to get through an entire review without once mentioning a certain band beginning with C?. Sobel is creating his own path now. Review

2. HorsegirlVersions of Modern Performance (art rock)

You heard it here first, of course, in Rob Gannons Tasting Notes featurette. Not this years Tasting Notes though. Last years! We’ve got you covered here at [sic] Mag. Versions of Modern Performance may sound like a synthpop album title. Think again. This is taught, sinewy art rock in the vein of Pavement and The Fall. The girls vocalisations take this to a whole other level to the likes of Dry Cleaning, I think. Gannon called it. So I’m guessing next years album of the year will be Boy With Apple

1. The Haunted YouthDawn Of The Freak (dreampop, neo-folk)

There can be only one winner, only one lowlander and this years Album Of The Year accolade falls squarely to Belgiums The Haunted Youth. From little known Hasselt Joachim Liebens band have been making waves, first as virtual unknowns at the prestigious Werchter Festival, and subsequently garnering music awards and sheer word of mouth praise for their live shows. The album delivers earworm after earworm. Liebens looks every bit the next bright thing of indie rock. Why? Because he is. Review

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