Sunday 18 December 2022

22 in '22 (part 3)

One of the best things about 2022 is that we made it back out on the road again and took in some live shows. Not many - She Drew The Gun, Katy J. Pearson, Cud, David Gedge and Yard Act - but there would have been a couple more if it weren't for illness. We were due to see Little Simz back in the Spring, but I caught the dreaded Covid. Then, last month, on the morning that we were due to shoot off to Cardiff to see the wonderful Stella Donnelly, I got an email to say she had tonsilitis and couldn't perform. A shame, but it is what it is. Hopefully 2023 will bring a few decent shows.

With any luck there will also be some decent albums to rank alongside this year's batch. Here's my third weekly selection.

ALT-J - 'The Dream'
There's something about Alt-J. I really didn't ought to like them, but they always seem to make me not only enjoy their albums, but also make me want to play them lots of times. And so it was again this year, and I reckon 'The Dream' is my favourite since their 2012 debut.

MATTIEL - 'Georgia Gothic'
The opening track of Mattiel Brown's third album suggests a change of vocal style from her. The fantastically-titled Jeff Goldblum dispenses with her usual resonant tone in preference of something quieter and smoother. It's a really good song, but I'm glad the rest of the album has her trademark voice all over it. It's what sets her apart from other singer-songwriters. 'Georgia Gothic' is a little less even than its immediate predecessor 'Satis Factory' (which was one of my top five in 2019), but it's still packed with enough good songs to put it in my top 15 this year. Lighthouse in particular is a highlight which will spin round in your head for days. And in case you're wondering, Mattiel is now officially a duo, featuring Brown alongside writing partner Jonah Swilley, hence why they appear together in the video.

The weird and wonderful world of Aldous Harding got ever bigger and joyous this year with the release of her fourth album, her second to be recorded in Wales and her first to reach number 1 in her native New Zealand. It's got some wonderful - if often strange - songs on it; Fever might be one of the most accessible, yet it's no less intriguing.

LIFE - 'North East Coastal Town'
Hull. I've never been there, but it's always had one or two decent bands. The Housemartins were apparently the fourth best band from Hull at one point, and they had Fatboy Slim in them, so they couldn't have been half bad. Life certainly appear to be putting in a good case for being in the North East coastal town's top 4. Their newest album continues their tradition of impactful punk with plenty of wry smiles and dry humour, only they're now beginning to sound more accomplished, and all the better for it.

WET LEG - 'Wet Leg'
Hands up who didn't expect to see this pair in the list. Thought so. Has a new band ever had such an immediate impact as Wet Leg? They've been everywhere in 2022. Love 'em or hate 'em (and there's surprisingly plenty of the latter), there's no denying that Rhian and Hester don't take themselves terribly seriously. Maybe that's the problem with the haters - they object to people having fun. So they just sit alone in their cold dark rooms and post shit on social media in an attempt to feel a little better about themselves. That's what this song is about. It sounds silly on the surface but it's actually about the effect of social media, the people who use it and, more pertinently, how Wet Leg themselves react to it. And how do they react to it? They make a really daft video and layer tweet after tweet (mainly negative ones) over each other as a way of saying "We don't care! Fuck you!" And so say all of us!

Next Sunday is Christmas Day and you'll no doubt have far better things to do than read my plop, so the fourth and final part of my rundown will appear a few days later when you've all calmed down a bit.

Merry thingy, everyone.


  1. Really enjoyed the Wet Leg album

  2. A great countdown, Robster, and a reminder of how many I've missed/yet to get. A good example is Mattiel: I bought and loved the Georgia Gothic Dubs EP but haven't yet got around to buying the parent album. I heard and saw Katy J Pearson for the first time this year; both the album and gig are 2022 highlights for me.

    Very happy to see you posting in 2022 and looking forward to more in 2023. Have a great Christmas and New Year!

  3. Oh, boy. I have some catching up to do. Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you’ve been playing this year. You’re a man of impeccable taste. I’m sure our purchases have overlapped a bit (they usually do), but there are always many surprises too. Looking forward to it. I know Christmas ain’t your bag, but I do hope you enjoy time with friends and family. Take care, Robster. - Brian