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GIITTV’s albums of 2022 so far…

Welcome to a selection of some of our favourite albums of the year, so far. By no means definitive and made up of personal choices from our writers, hopefully, it will introduce you to some of the long players that have been exciting us over the last six months or so!

Hatchie

Hatchie – Giving the World Away

In this era where chart pop can sometimes be a little insubstantial, can sound a bit tinny and synthetic, with her fantastic second album Giving the World Away, Hatchie offers a majestic and towering contrast, blending her influences and hitting a rich vein of knowing pop music with artistry, brimming with neon hooks, layered intricacy and self-aware, emotional depths, that you can return to again and again. In the process, she has embraced her fears and done it anyway, reclaiming her voice. We may have been obsessed with her early releases, but watching her flourish is enchanting. (Bill Cummings)

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Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul – Topical Dancer 

Listening to Topical Dancer the debut album of Belgium-dwelling duo Charlotte Adigéry and frequent collaborator Bolis Pupul would provide a good reflection of what thoughts this particular and peculiar generation were preoccupied with. Charlotte Adigéry, having a mix of Nigerian, Martinican and Guadeloupean descent, and Bolis Pupul with a Chinese background, have a good perspective on what it is like to be occasionally seen as outsiders in a European country. ‘Blenda’ tackles the confused mindset of expats, while opening track ‘Bel DEEWEE’ is also rather funny in its reflection of language confusion and how it can hinder an aspect of 2020’s routine: the food delivery app. Named after a language, ‘Esperanto’ has an engrossing blend of 80’s electro drum machine, beat-box humming, Asian instruments and the malfunctioning voice effects. Sometimes you just gotta laugh at the ridiculousness of the decade, and this song encourages this form of cathartic release.

Charlotte Adigéry’s most extreme examples of sarcasm are on the ironically-titled ‘Ceci N’est Pas Un Cliché and ‘Thank You’. The inventive former, which translates from French as ‘This is not a cliche’, pokes fun at the formulaic songwriting of chart music.

Away from the straight out humour Topical Dancer also has some thought-provoking moments. ‘It Hit Me’ explains the point of view of a teenage girl being wolf-whistled at for the first time and as a consequence discovering the awkward feeling of being objectified. If you want to laugh, dance and have some mental food for thought at the end of it, buy/stream/download (or whatever kids do) Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupi’s critiquing guide on an all-too-confusing decade. (Matt Taylor Hobbs)

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 Nilüfer Yanya PAINLESS

There’s a great vibe to Nilüfer Yanya’s second album, PAINLESS. Right from the first track there’s a sense of looseness to its guitar grooves but with a total rhythm applied. Switching it up with overtly guitar-y throughlines and more subtle music PAINLESS displays a real variety while sounding cohesive from start to finish. Check out the quiet contemplation of ‘Shameless’ and the electronic static centred ‘Chase Me’ for a taste of Nilüfer’s quality. There was a lot of pre-release hype to PAINLESS and on this occasion the actual album is fully deserving. Oh, and ‘try’ is a wonderful thing. (Max Mazonowicz)

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The Delines – The Sea Drift

If they haven’t already done so the Gulf Coast Tourism Board should give strong consideration to adopting The Sea Drift as the soundtrack to its next promotional campaign. From the evocative cover of The Delines’ third studio album, depicting Galveston’s historic pleasure pier in splendid profile, to the ten top tunes lying therein, the romanticism of this record will surely make visitors flock to that beautiful stretch of coastline along the southern United States. Born of the band’s principal songwriter Willy Vlautin and singer Amy Boone’s shared love of that part of their home country, and despite a narrative in many of the songs that highlights an underbelly of Texan and Louisianan urban life, the atmospheric country soul in which such lyricism is housed makes you just want to travel there and experience it for yourself. (Simon Godley)

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Kathryn Joseph – for you who are the wronged

Four years on from the heartbreak of her second album, for you who are the wronged is a devastating study in pain and rich empathy that gives voice to the voiceless, the victim, the abused; it’s unbearably personal yet intensely universal. We have all suffered through life, we all carry trauma with us, some more than others. Standouts include the superlative lead single ‘what is keeping you alive makes me want to kill them for’ and the starkly raw ‘the burning of us all‘ and enveloping and crushing ‘of all the broken‘. Absolutely spellbinding suites of sound conjure up the likes of Cat Power and Portishead, hypnotic piano motifs, and subtle percussion house Joseph’s vocal, a voice that bristles with pain and compassion for others, a voice for those who are silenced and those who have been abused. It’s simply superlative and is her best work yet, which is saying something. Incredible. (Bill Cummings)

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Proper. – The Great American Novel

Proper. are back with a vital and ambitious concept album that could be the best they’ve ever sounded, while being an undeniably challenging listen for anyone who does not understand the queer, black, or latinx experience in today’s America. But listen and you will start to learn “our identity crises, our aimlessness and how many friends and family we know that are dead or in jail by 25” says vocalist-guitarist Erik Garlington. Garlington is joined by Natasha Johnson on bass and drummer Elijah Watson on a 50 minute odyssey through a mosh pit of emo-leaning metal, catchy post-hardcore and gentler sad pop songs. The result is an album that will certainly draw a wider audience, something that Garlington is acutely aware of and he doesn’t waste a single note trying to please, or to be something other than authentic. At times, Proper. sound like At The Drive In or Glassjaw fronted by Kele Okereke. Other times, as on the politically poignant ‘McConnell’ we get Slipknot screams next to close-mic confessionals.

Garlington’s vocals necessarily reflect both the confusion inherent in the heaviest of lyrical passages as on ‘In the Van Somewhere Outside of Birmingham’, as well as bitter self-effacing humour in ‘Barbershop Interlude’. There are some truly moving, pointed moments on The Great American Novel, notably ‘Jean’ a gut-punch of a song about the death of a close friend. Not any ordinary death, and one that is all too common. The Great American Novel is a remarkable release that redefines the versatility and reach of emo and its potential to tell compelling, important stories. (Trev Elkin)

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Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees

Anton Newcombe’s nineteenth BJM studio album is a welcome addition to the catalogue, markedly focused and made all the better for it. Newcombe’s appreciation and love of the wider history of guitar music is joyfully shared, unafraid to embrace country and blend it in alongside space rock, shoegaze and dreamy psychedelia. ‘Ineffable Mindfuck’ is a total classic, the hopeful ‘What’s In A Name?’ sweetly inspirational. “It’s all coming true/and good things come to you / love is on its way / to brighten up your day”, he sings in an almost nursery rhyme simplicity, delivered with an effortless cool. (Cath Holland)

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caroline – caroline

London 8-piece avant-folk ensemble caroline are the epitome of restraint. They don’t seem in a hurry to make a name for themselves or cause a stir, and yet their phenomenal debut album is likely to do exactly that. The group seem to have an unconscious connection and shared musical vision, bringing piano, cello, brass, percussion and guitar together in unique, transient and improvised passages that soothe and scare in equal measure. When they’re loud, caroline are magnificent but their quieter moments are even more exquisite, teasing out accidental sounds, cymbal scratches and bow scrapes, like ghosts responding to vocalist Jasper Llewellyn’s sparse devotional calls. Everything is suspended on a higher plane and deeper listening is rewarded by a calming, meditative effect. Imagine the energy of early (i.e. British) Sea Power, but contained and exercised with spiritual precision. (Trev Elkin)

paul cauthen country coming down

Paul Cauthen – Country Coming Down

The spirit of outlaw country is alive in Paul Cauthen‘s latest release, but the delivery is not like anything Waylon, Johnny or Kris would have known. Country Coming Down is Cauthen’s very own, inimitable form of country music; opener ‘Country As Fuck‘ names drops Lil Nas and Tim McGraw, as well as dissing one of country music’s true superstars (“Real cowboys don’t rock to Kenny Chesney”). The album is a bewildering mix of beats, semi-rapping vocals, lyrics that at times border on the absurd, but somehow stay firmly on the right side of parody, in no small part to songs like the beautifully deep ‘Till The Day I Die‘. There’s enough here to keep traditional country fans intrigued, and there’s plenty to intrigue non-country music aficionados. A good time record by an artist doing their own things and having a tonne of fun while they’re at it. (Max Mazonowicz)

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Real Lies – Lad Ash

Real Lies are duo, Kevin Lee Kharas and producer Patrick King, their superlative second album Lad Ash a study of vivid autobiography that takes you on a journey further and deeper into bittersweet memories, these visceral, lucid stories that shaped life, set to yearning production that both pays homage and evolves through dance music they’ve obsessed over throughout their youths.

Equally euphoric and wistful, the visceral night-walker meditations of Kharas are unleashed on Lad Ash that’s bathed in a soundscape ripe with pulsing beats and heady rave synths it blurs the lines of acts like Orbital and Pet Shop Boys and makes it Real Lies, shot through with fascinating narratives of his past: first love amongst the tribes, addiction, grief, heartbreak and the still-unsolved disappearance of a teenage best friend. Vital. (Bill Cummings)


bato mato

Adwaith – Bato Mato

They say you have to go away to really find yourself, and sometimes clichés are true because with their trip into Siberia the trio have faced themselves and found a new direction. With their second record Adwaith have carved out their most formidable document yet and witnessing them grow as a group has been a pleasure. While confusion and uncertainty at the world may hang like a shadow over each vowel, this is the sound is of a band finding a new confidence, hitting their stride, cementing their place, with one of the finest Welsh language albums ever released. Bato Mato is a superb second album from one of Wales’s best current bands. All aboard the Adwaith Express! (Bill Cummings)

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Don Leisure – Shaboo Strikes Back 

Don Leisure returns with a brand new 25-track album Shaboo Strikes Back. A treasure trove of sound this collection of beats and pieces documents the road trip of Don’s youth – hip hop music interspersed with Asian radio station jingles of old, dedicated to Bollywood actor, Nasser ‘Shaboo’ Bharwani – Don Leisure’s late uncle. The sound of searching through your radio dial, it’s a refreshing bricolage of sound and quite tremendous.

Lead, title track ‘Egg Yolk Bun‘ is a groove-laden trawl through the mists of the 70s funk and Indian found samples. Gruff Rhys provides the vocals on the wonderful ambient ‘Neon Drizzle (Hotel Shaboo)’, whilst acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid and Jazzman-signed harpist Amanda Whiting lend their talents to the dreamlike jazz flecked ‘All Praises Due‘. There is even a cameo appearance from his young daughter, (aka Shaboo’s great-niece!), Naima, on the chilled beats and samples of ‘Naima’s Dream‘ that could be lifted from a J Dilla record. A nostalgic trip that offers much aural delights. (Bill Cummings) 


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Aldous Harding – Warm Chris 

The fourth full length from the New Zealand vocal shapeshifter is an album that finds Aldous Harding in full creative stride. Playing with her voice like it’s an another instrument – almost like some kind of sampler – Harding has produced a collection of extraordinary songs that allow the space for her to delve into various vocal tricks; it often sounds like she has multiple vocal personalities all vying with each other to take centre stage. The album is minimal in it’s backing, with acoustic guitar and gentle piano most prominently engaging in the arrangement. The strength of Warm Chris lies in it’s unpredictable nature that stretches the boundaries of eccentricity to their limits. It certainly takes time to get used to, but ultimately is rewarding and as warm as the character from its title. (Stephen Birch)


peaness

Peaness – World Full of Worry 

Peaness are a band that have been on many people’s radar for several years now, with a collection of singles and E.Ps that harnessed the power of guitar pop at it’s most incessantly catchy. The debut album World Full of Worry – delayed by circumstances beyond their control – gave the band the opportunity to fully showcase their addictive mix of beautiful pop harmonies, anxious and bittersweet lyrics and perfectly blended hooks. I write this on the back end of two of the hottest days on record in the UK and in a music scene dominated by cutting, sardonic and often deeply miserable Post Punk, the light relief and positive energy emanating from World Full of Worry makes it a perfect summer companion for those inclined. (Stephen Birch)


buzzard

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

Every so often a band comes along that, whilst they aren’t shattering the atom as far as originality is concerned, they are so much fun and have such great songs that it really is of no concern that they aren’t Black Midi‘s nearest cousins but actually closer to The Darkness when it comes to massive stadium roof scraping anthems and guitars as chunky as me on 27th December. Tom Rees has a way with a pop hook that not many can match currently and as he helms the producers chair too, he is completely responsible for how huge it sounds. Face melters such as opener ‘New Age Millenial Magic’ and ‘Crescent Man vs Demolition Dan’ splice pop melody and 70’s glam guitar to perfection.

If you aren’t shaking what your mother gave you to this record then you just might be dead inside and BBB will be on their way with the defibrillator of ROCK and the CPR of FUNK. As they put it “Take it away, everybody lets rock!!!” (Jim Auton)

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Enjoyable Listens – The Enjoyable Listen

Who knew the world needed a 21st Century Neil Hannon?!? Whether deliberate or not, there is certainly a resemblance to The Divine Comedy frontman and all the better for it. 

This is his debut LP, following on from 2019’s EP A Professional Selection, but he came to a wider audience after his stage stealing performances at SXSW.

Fundamentally, Enjoyable Listens are, or rather, is, Luke Duffett, blessed with the kind of pipes only given out by the God of Music to Brian Ferry and Father John Misty, but he was also responsible for the majority of the instrumentation on this record.

The term “crooner” is banded around in relation to his delivery, and whilst it is partly true, it is damning him with faint praise as there is more to him, such as on ‘Private’ where he seems to be channelling Phil Oakley and there is more of a whiff of 80’s power pop about them. 

Essential stuff for those who like their witty lines provided by a velvety voice. (Jim Auton) 

sea girls

Sea Girls – Home Sick

There’s a reason that the term ‘difficult second album’ exists, but failure to live up to the high standards of their debut album isn’t something that Sea Girls have to worry about. Whilst they’ve maintained the same glossy indie sound that they shot to success with, that’s not where their potential ends and they’ve proved this with the element of maturity that’s laced throughout Homesick.

Delivering thirteen guitar driven tracks that perfectly follow on from their debut album Open Up Your Head, the London four-piece particularly impress with their delicate lyrics that see frontman Henry Camomile air his vulnerable side. (Laura Dean)

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Johnny Marr – Fever Dreams Pts.1-4 

Though renowned for his status as a guitar icon, Fever Dreams Pts.1-4 illustrates Johnny’s versatility and talents for song writing, production and vocals. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that his guitar work is any less impressive than his previous offerings and we’re continually blown away by the exhilarating guitar on ‘Hideaway Girl’ alone. 

The album also boasts some of Johnny Marr’s most poignant lyrics to date – particularly on ‘Human’, the beautifully redemptive closing track. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, the tracks sees Johnny take more of a stripped back approach than we’re used to hearing from the guitar legend. Released in just the second month of the year, we’re confident that this is an album that we’ll be seeing a lot of when it’s time for ‘End of Year’ lists. (Laura Dean)

cola

Cola – Deep in View 

Before announcing their split in 2021, Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy were members of Canadian band Ought; they’d made three albums of experimental Art Rock that culminated in singer Darcy performing with a choir of 70 singers on final album Room Inside The World. So when they joined forces with drummer Evan Cartwright (U.S.A Girls, The Weather Station) to form Cola, the idea was to strip back the sound to it’s core. The resulting album Deep in View is a minimalist indie rock joy that evokes the spirit of post Is This It era Strokes, but with lyrics infused by isolation and solitude. Darcy’s lyrics have often been concerned with human connection, so perhaps it’s understandable that at a time when connectivity to others was stretched to the limits of comprehension during the pandemic, they yearn for closer contact. It may not be the sort of record that will instantly burst out of the speakers, but repeated listens reveal a special album bursting with creativity, passion and empathy. (Stephen Birch)


metronomy
Metronomy – Small World

Metronomy frontman Joe Mount’s songwriting shines as brightly as ever on their latest album, Small World. Diverting from their lively, synth fuelled sound, Small World sees the five piece strip things back as they explore unknown territories. With their vibrant spirit still at large, the band deliver a charming array of tracks – ranging from the melodious ‘Things Will Be Fine’ to the playful ‘Love Factory’. (Laura Dean)


sigrid how to let go

Sigrid – How To Let Go

After a pretty mega breakthrough like Sigrid‘s in 2019 it takes something to match that with the cliched second album. Happily for fans of hook-laden pop, the Norwegian has done exactly that. Taking a touch longer to work its way into your psyche, How To Let Go doesn’t let go when it does, lead singles ‘Burning Bridges‘ and ‘Dancer‘ are great and all but ‘A Driver Saved My Life‘ has a completely brilliant melody, and ‘Bad Life’ brings a much-needed reminder of the realities of life. A perfect example of pop done well, with creativity, a heart, and songwriting chops, it only adds to the charm that Sigrid herself is such a delightfully positive human being. (Max Mazonowicz)

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yeule – Glitch Princess 

Singapore-born, London-based Nat Ćmiel is yeule. Welcome to the experience of the Glitch Princess: a genre less, non binary journey through different environments of their thrilling cyborg pop, ethereal, playful and cathartic, its a magical listening experience that constantly beguiles at every turn. The press release offered Glitch Princess is “the undiluted excerpt of a downpour of emotions following Ćmiel’s experiences with sobriety – a redirection of chaotic energy into verse and the opportunity to confront their own vices.” ‘Electric‘ is a stunning and haunting moment of clarity, the SOPHIE-esque use of postmodern auto tune experimentation, stretches her falsetto and sample laden tapestry into an otherworldly soundscape where nobody can hear you scream, yet it still beats with heart.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself‘ flutters with the ghost of early 90s guitar pop: intimate and infectious. ‘Too Dead Inside‘ skitters like the ghost in the machine, floating around in the ether looking for a way to hold on. For Fans of Grimes and FKA Twigs, but firmly oscillating through their own stratosphere, If Glitch Princess isn’t sitting its rightful place on the throne in the higher reaches of on the best of the year lists by the end of 2022, then I would be very surprised. (Bill Cummings)


gintis hope

Gintis – Hope Is All We Have  (Mai68)

The first album in over a decade from the North Wales/Liverpool’s Gintis may have a quietly bleak title but the contents are the exact opposite. Produced by Bill Ryder-Jones, it’s nostalgically winsome and lovely, and uplifting, the ghost of Gorky’s omnipresent. Opener ‘We Had Plans’ tells the effects of loss exactly how it is, the familiar Gintis brass gently bouncy throwing sunshine on our faces; ‘These Demons’  is a piano ballad with a purring accordion to warm things up a bit. ‘Never Be Lonely’ is a reassuring arm around the shoulder;  Gintis can claim to be of sentimental nature all they want but they offer up feelings and a softness without falling into self-indulgency. A heartwarming record for the heartbroken, or bruised. (Cath Holland)

Gintis – Hope Is All We Have – Signed Vinyl LP Pre Order | Mai 68 Records (bandcamp.com)

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Tom Emlyn  – News From Nowhere

Former Bandicoot guitarist Tom Emlyn shows his songwriting chops on this, his debut solo album. Billed as a love letter to Swansea it may be, but there is nothing parochial about News From Nowhere, melding together folk with psych, indie and total guitar goodness with melody, melancholy and witty lyrical observations.  With the reflective and pretty ‘Cover Band and Empire’, heart tugger ‘Throwaway’ – which actually quite upsetting but in a good way – the psych trip that is ‘Colourless’,  layered stomper ‘Beaujolais Day’,  indie pop goodness ‘Under The Street’, the spiky but melodic ‘Tommy Cooper’, Emlyn has produced an emotionally intelligent and stimulating record. (Cath Holland)


afal

Adam Walton – Afal 

We’re to listen to Afal (Apple) in solitude advises Adam Walton, and it’s pretty good advice to be fair. Afal is no frills acoustic guitar and vocal and quirky oddities; the instrumentals/field recordings/playful noodlings and curiosities between songs are bonkers and trippy as fuck – ‘#10’ is  unexpectedly dancefloor worthy, ‘#2’ sounds like something Joe Meek might come up with when he was trying contact any visiting aliens in his neighbourhood. But it’s the songwriting that leaves the permanent mark, supported by effective sparse production;  ‘2269’ is simply charming; on ‘Cornelian Walton’ shows full vulnerability and it’s gorgeous;  ‘Blinded By Headlights’ opens with the killer lines “what happened to us/when did we rust” and carries Beatles flavours, as does ‘Mary Sees UFOs’. What an intimate record, wonky-folky songs delivered with an open heart. (Cath Holland)

orville peck

Orville Peck – Bronco

Three years on from Pony comes Bronco and you can’t help but feel that’s an exact match for the progress of Orville Peck‘s music. On his well-received debut it felt like tentative steps were being taken by a new artist in a well-established genre, but on Bronco there’s a muscularity to the songs, and a striding confidence to their delivery. Pony was great but listen to songs like ‘Lafayette‘ and ‘Kalahari Down‘ and you’ll hear the difference. They’re big, “widescreen” in their scope to use an overused phrase, but in Peck’s case it’s well used. Though capable of nuance – exhibit A, ‘City Of Gold’ – this isn’t an album that pays much attention to it. If you think that makes it overblown and too in-your-face then you couldn’t be more wrong. Tame the stallion and you’ll be rewarded in spades. (Max Mazonowicz)

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.