Gang Of Youths
“angel in realtime.”
“Chimes At Midnight”
It’s 12 songs over 58 minutes that is musically easy on the ear and the typical fan can’t help but fall for the sense of deja-vu which glues Madrugada’s records together, their unique brand of dark, country rock has carried out through their discography.
On this album it is all about the singer and the songs, together, they make for one of the most consistent albums I’ve heard in quite some time.
“Delusions Of Grandeur”
With two drummers, three guitarists, and a bass player, Dublin’s THUMPER have all the tools they need to make one hell of a racket. It’s a noisy, intense, and chaotic record, but also one with some serious pop sensibilities at its heart.
Controlled chaos at its centre, elements of noise rock and grunge tie together the record. THUMPER play around with their sound, working in acoustic tracks such as “Strychnine” whilst also showing you who’s boss on “Overbite”. “25” is an anthem for all the twenty-somethings who are up against a brick wall of all work and no play. And “Loser” is the indie banger for the 2020s.
Polished and rapturous, Delusions of Grandeur throws you into a mosh pit of high energy and mischievousness.
“Never Let Me Go”
Never Let Me Go is Placebo’s first studio album in a decade and definitely worth waiting for! it has industrial-influenced boldness and louder guitars and, in songs such as “Happy Birthday In The Sky” and “Chemtrails”, the kind of thoughtful and carefully chosen instrumentation that is at times a little short of sublime.
As a listener, there is a real pleasure to be had in being in the hands of such a capable group.
Zeal & Ardor
“Zeal & Ardor”
Straight after its release early on in the year, it was pretty obvious that this would be in my personal top 10 for 2022: The strongest release from mastermind Manuel Gagneux so far. A weird eclectic mix of furious black metal, gospel, blues, indie rock and some electronica here and there. Describing this album is weird, but listening to it is an awesome experience! Just brilliant! And even though I don’t really like the “A word”, this truly is avantgarde (metal) music in the best possible sense.
Teenage angst has paid off well, but they’re not bored and old.
Honningbarna! This charming Norwegian punk band who not only sing in their native tongue, but in their local accent, which makes it hard even for someone like myself who grew up in Norway to hear the words shouted from Edvard Valberg. A loss for the international audience because they have some interesting and important things to say, both about the inner and outer world. And they choose to do so in angry verbal outbursts matching the impressive tempo and contagious energy of their music. Their latest album is no exception.
Eleven years after their debut album and having gone through several changes in their lineup, one could think they would have calmed down. One could think they would be less engaged in making their listeners aware of the injustices in the world, and their inner angst. But one would be wrong. And considering the state of the world, there is no reason for them to quit making songs that make me want to clench my fist and raise it to the sky. And in my opinion, they have never sounded better, this is punk craftmanship walking proudly in the footsteps of Kurt Cobain’s worn-out sneakers.
If you ever want to feel alive I recommend going to one of their shows. The energy is the equivalent of having one of those super expensive freshly made smoothies full of vitamin C, or perhaps a handful of tequila shots and espressos… Their connection with the crowd could make any misantropic Grinch turn into a happy puppy.
Fight the power!
“Fix Yourself, Not The World”
Remarkably, this is The Wombats’ 19th year together and possibly their biggest career-wise. The Liverpool band rose to national fame in 2007 with their perky indie hit “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” and have spent years bouncing, bellowing, and soul-baring their way to the top ever since.
When they’re on the game, The Wombats are well capable of turning heads and catching ears (“People Don’t Change People, Time Does”) and they have a pleasing habit of writing songs that sound remarkably cheerful despite sporting bleak subject matter (“Everything I Love Is Going To Die”). “If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You” is a haunting number, which uses dry Strokes-like guitar tones on its verses to lull you into a false sense of security before hitting with a synths-and-beats chorus that’s quite creepy.
It is evident to see that The Wombats have evolved since the beginning of their career but have kept that distinctive sound that catapulted them into stardom, and Fix Yourself, Not The World is a record that will appeal to everyone.
“Melt My Eyez See Your Future”
I personally like good storytelling and a good voice and flow. Curry delivers all that: storytelling, self-reflection, precise lyrics, and a knack for melody. It’s an album full of thoughts and meaning – and with its rhythm, it doesn’t get boring even after the hundredth time listening.
“Once Twice Melody”
Somebody, probably Pitchfork (and who has the time to look up that?!), wrote something in the line of that Once Twice Melody sounds like a best of-record. I can see that point. Beach House just sounds like Beach House. They are what they are, no alarms, no surprises? Not entirely, there are so many more nuances than that, but their songs are timeless in a sense. They build up their soundscapes, create epic melodies, and just meander around that. And Victoria Legrand’s magnificent vocals on top of that. Good damn it´s good.
We’re talking 18 (!) tracks here. It´s a long record. But with no fillers! I think it´s almost perfect throughout. One of my favorite albums of all time is their 2012 release Bloom, which is more or less perfect, but it has gotten competition. And once (twice?) again, we´re talking a double LP here. It´s pretty mind-boggling.
There are some songs that stick out. Opener “Once Twice Melody” is one of them, but “Superstar” and “New Romance” are both in the competition of being the best songs of the year (the decade so far even!). I seldom pay attention to lyrics, it´s always more about the feeling, drum patterns, and melodies. Oh, the melodies. Especially on these two songs. The chorus on the six-minute song “Superstar” never seems to end, but it still feels interesting the whole way. And N”ew Romance”. Aah. Fucking “New Romance”. Maybe this should be the song that could be the divider that could help me assess people in general; if they don´t like it, they are lesser humans (Editors note: whoa, whoa, calm down!). Especially from 1.22 to 1.32 into the song. All joking aside, this song will probably end up on my list of the best songs of the 2020s. If 2022 has been a pretty bad year, despite coming out of the pandemic, we at least got this song and this record.