Your Year Ahead: Just for the Record
Exposed music blogger Nick Harland rounds up the albums to keep an ear out for in 2022.
Yard Act – The Overload
Up the road in Leeds, Yard Act were busy releasing a string of catchy singles in 2021 and have announced a January 2022 release date for their debut album. With a deadpan, spoken-word delivery set to punchy post-punk rhythms, they’ve got a lot in common with fellow UK acts Dry Cleaning, Do Nothing and Black Country, New Road.
Bonobo – Fragments
20 years into his recording career, I reckon we can now call Simon Green – otherwise known as Bonobo – a veteran of the UK electronic scene. His downtempo work over the past two decades has earned him critical acclaim and a worldwide fanbase. Upcoming album Fragments looks set to double down on the ambient sounds of 2017’s Migration, which cracked the top 5 of the UK Albums Chart for the first time in his career.
Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There
With references to science fairs, breakfast islands and Kanye West, it’s fair to say that Black Country, New Road’s lyrics frequently veer into the bizarre. But it all came together perfectly on debut album ‘For the First Time’; a beguiling combination of angsty teenage confessions and jazz-inspired punk jams. Following hot on the heels of it is Ants From Up There, which will be hitting the shelves on 4th February.
Saba – Few Good Things
In recent years Chicago rapper Saba has set himself apart from contemporaries with his confessional, soul-tinged brand of hip-hop. His 2018 album CARE FOR ME was released to widespread acclaim by critics, and since then he has put out a series of standalone singles. Things have taken a decidedly funkier direction in ‘Fearmonger’, the first taster from his upcoming album ‘Few Good Things’, which drops in the first week of February.
Beach House – Once Twice Melody
Baltimore dream poppers Beach House aren’t holding back for their eighth studio album Once Twice Melody, which will be an 84-minute double album released in four different ‘chapters.’ We can assume they won’t stray too far from the shoegazing sound that’s served them so well over the years. The first chapter is already available to stream, and the album in full will be out in the middle of February.
Melt Yourself Down – Pray For Me, I Don’t Fit In
Melt Yourself Down are almost impossible to pigeonhole, so describing them really makes us writers earn our money. Their music is a riotous blend of hard rock, jazz and North African music, with a punk energy running through all of it. And their live shows are an absolute riot. Check out latest single ‘Pray For Me, I Don’t Fit In’ to get a better idea of what the hell we’re going on about.
Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful
Everything is normally beautiful on a Spiritualized record, despite the oft-chaotic conditions that they’re recorded under. 2008’s Songs from A&E was composed during band leader Jason Pierce’s time in, ahem, A&E, whilst 2001’s ‘Let It Come Down’ took four years and 115 session musicians to complete. Everything Was Beautiful isn’t exactly back-to-basics, having been recorded at 11 different studios, and you can expect more atmospheric, epic space rock from Pierce and co here.
Charli XCX – CRASH
After recording and releasing one of the first ‘lockdown albums’ in 2020, the prolific English popstar returns in March with her fifth studio album. The two singles released so far – ‘New Shapes’ and ‘Good Ones’ – suggest that Charli XCX is moving in a more synth-pop direction than the high-energy, avant-garde pop of her last record. CRASH is set for release in March.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg shot to prominence in the middle of 2021 with the release of debut single ‘Chaise Longue’, a slow-burning post-punk stomp with lyrics about – you guessed it – a chaise longue. Not the most obvious ingredients for a viral hit, but it went on to draw millions of streams in a matter of months. The three singles released since suggest their self-titled debut will be more of the same sardonic, sarcastic, snappy indie we’ve seen so far from the pair.
It would be remiss of us to not mention High Green’s finest in this roundup, who look set to release their as-yet-untitled seventh studio LP next year. In a recent interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, drummer Matt Helders said their new album is ‘pretty much’ done, and expects it to come out in 2022. The band have already announced a slew of summer festival dates, so the signs are all pointing towards 2022 being the year of the Monkey(s) once again.