Hicks' Music of 2022

It's that time of year again, when I try to evangelise the music that’s kept me going this year while trying to avoid sounding like a wanky music journalist.

Why does some music hit a spot and others don't (or not quite)? I often imagine it being like keys. The tooth patterns may look the same, but only one specific combination of peaks and troughs goes all the way in to the lock, turns and opens. It can be hard to define why a particular album clicks - just that it connects with you - turning and opening inside your mind perfectly. These are the albums and EPs that did just that:

Album of 2022

Blue Rev - Alvvays

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Blue Rev is quite simple a flipping masterpiece. It's topped many end of year lists, and quite right too. Alvvays' (pronounced 'Always') flavour of fuzzy power pop has never sounded so punchy.  Antisocialites was my #2 album of 2016, but this is the sound of a band who have pushed themselves even further.  Gorgeous harmonies, woozy keyboards and heartfelt lyrics. Belinda Says is my favourite song of the year, with the rest of the album occupying the rest of the top ten, particularly Many Mirrors, Easy on your own? and Bored in Bristol.

If they get this much better with each album, what will the follow up be like?! I've got tickets to see them play next May, and I can't vvait.

Albums of 2022

Once, Twice , Melody - Beach House

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It was an odd way to release an album, one quarter a month from November 2021 until February 2022. By the time the final portion was released, I’d already listened to three quarters of the album many times over. (By the time the vinyl was finally released, the whole album had been available digitally for 3 months). Also, with 18 tracks, there could've been a lack of quality control. No issues there though, its a dreamy epic from start to finish.

Ultra Truth - Daniel Avery

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Over the last few years, Daniel Avery has been getting closer and closer in my mirrors, and this year he was full in view, first by catching up with 2021's Together in Static, and then with Ultra Truth. Sometimes rave, sometimes ambient, sometimes drum n’ bass and every electronic genre in between them. Banging!

Let’s Emerge! - Pye Corner Audio

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This year saw Pye Corner Audio (Martin Jenkins) move on from its darker 'hauntology' past to create more upbeat tunes, with the help of Ride's Andy Bell on spacey guitar.

A Light for Attracting Attention - The Smile

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Amazingly, Thom Yorke's solo work and side projects have avoided sounding like Radiohead by being so different, and The Smile follows that trend. A collaboration between Yorke, Johnny Greenwood and Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner. Whether the Jazz elements were inspired by Skinner, or the reason for coming on board doesn't matter. The end result is familiar and yet refreshing. Make sure you listen to the Dennis Lovell remix of The Smoke as well.

Sincere - Hater


Sweden's Hater are another band who have moved on sound-wise since 2018s Siesta. Sincere is a much stronger and emotive, with Caroline Landahl's vocals much more front and centre. Favourite track: I’m Yours Baby

The Alien Coast - St Paul and the Broken Bones

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The Birmingham Alabama soul ensemble push further and blend more genres with this release. I was drawn in by the album artwork, and stayed for the musical creativity and raw power of Paul Janeway's voice.

Other Side of Make Believe - Interpol

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Bucking the 'moving on sonically' trend in this years' top 9 is Interpol. In their case, I'm really glad they haven't. Favourite track is definitely Passenger with its oh-so-relatable refrain of "Save me, I'm in my head".

Things are Great - Band of Horses

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Things are great! It's thrilling to hear Band of Horses equalling their earlier work like Cease to Begin.

The rest

Gems missed from 2021

As always, there are gems I missed from the previous year, and with 2021 being such a crap one for me, there so many more this year that I've given them their own category:

Heavy Elevator - Hamish Hawk

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This was a gem I found via Mark from local heroes Truck music. Sharp, witty (and surreal) lyrics and epic pop. As soon as I heard the anthemic The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion 1973, I was hooked. Another one of the 'must see play live' list.

Under the Lilac Sky - Arushi Jain

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With a warm evening and a dramatic sunset, you can enjoy this incredible album at its best. Classical Indian raga's are re-interpreted with modular synths and vocal textures into ambient music for watching day turn into night. It's a winning recipe.


EPs of 2022

Hiroshima & Kyoto - Site Nonsite

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I wasn't sure what to expect, but I must have had some subconscious assumptions, as Simon Collison shocked me this year with his two EPs Hiroshima and Kyoto. To suddenly hear such delightfully fresh, personal and fully-formed music was amazing. Why did he wait until now??! I'm not complaining - it was obviously the right time, and it's working so well.

Traces -Nine is the Level

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Traces is the fourth and final EP from neighbour Doug Tolley as his dark ambient project Nine is the Level, with four tracks, one for each of his grandparents. Jack and Giulia are my favourite tracks, and I also did the cover ;)

The Besnard Lakes are the prayers for the death of fame

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It's a Bezzies tradition to release an EP in-between albums, and She's an Icicle is one of their best songs. Also, the beautiful vinyl cover has excellent subtle detail.

Planet EP - Squirrel Flower*

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At seven tracks this should probably be in the album category? Highlights are a sparse cover of Bjork's Unravel and the tear-jerkingly beautiful 'Ruby at dawn'.

New Low - Greet Death

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No new album from Greet Death this year, but the gloriously upbeat Panic Song was my summer soundtrack.


This year I started to feel more comfortable with going to gigs, and I went to see Slowdive, Tool, Besnard Lakes, Phoebe Bridgers, Joyce Manor, Public Service Broadcasting and Crowded House. That last one was  at the Roundhouse in London where I finally got COVID.

We also had tickets to see Low play in Bath in November, but a week before there was the devastating news that Mimi Parker had died from cancer. I still find this hard to come to terms with. For some it was David Bowie dying, but for me, Mimi is the loss I feel the most.

2022 playlist

To finish up, here are my top songs of the year summarised into Spotify playlist. I did try using Apple Music for the first six months of the year, but couldn't stomach the many WTF moments in the UI, and went back to Spotify for my social music needs. My music collection is still a mixture of physical (all vinyl these days) and Plex for my digital collection. Services like Spotify are great for discovery and sharing, but please buy albums and support the artists 🙏