Bill Cummings' Tracks of the Year 2022 2

Bill Cummings’ Tracks of the Year 2022

It’s nearly impossible to narrow down my favourite tracks from this year to just a handful. I even have a longer playlist of my tracks of 2022 here, but for shorthand and in no order here are some of the songs that defined the year for me. What tracks did you love this year?

Body Type – Sex & Rage

Body Type‘s ‘Sex & Rage’ , lifted from their awesome debut album Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising, skitters on a bed of serrated-edged riffing, kick-ass, quick-fire drum fills. Riven with the nagging, brilliant vocal dexterity of Sophie McComish that consumes the doggerel of desire, angst, and euphoria in a hook-laden plea for exuberance and actual excitement in the face of boredom and stunted digital consumption. Australian group Body Type have the kind of artful melodic hooks of the Breeders, but all processed in a withering knowing delivery faintly redolent of early Courtney Barnett. But really they’re just Body Type and they’re bloody great!

Hatchie – Quicksand

Harriette Pilbeam is Hatchie revealed the infectious and captivating lead single ‘Quicksand‘ from her 2022 album Giving the World Away at the start of the year. The evocative and hook laden ‘Quicksand,’ is a majestic slice of cinematic pop riven with cascading waves of synths, bubbling beats and melodies that explore that feeling of never being satisfied despite everything on the surface appearing to be going well! 

Written with the GRAMMY nominated Olivia Rodrigo collaborator Dan Nigro, it harks to the work of William Orbit with Madonna and All Saints“I used to think that this was something I could die for / I hate admitting to myself that I was never sure,” she sings, inverting the thesis of one of her early break-out singles ‘Sure.’  Then, a few lines later, she regains her footing — in her musicality, and in herself: “It’s all I know, and I’m taking it back.”
Quicksand is about dealing with the realisation that you’ll never be satisfied”, Pilbeam comments. 

Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul – ‘Ceci n’est pas un cliché’ (‘This is not a cliché’)

I dare you not to move your body to this one! Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul’s ‘Ceci n’est pas un cliché’ (‘This is not a cliché’) is an insatiable groove with twitchy skeletal percussion and pursuing bass, the chant-along refrains have a meta meaning. They say: “This song is an accumulation of all the cliché lyrics so often used in pop music. It came about when we were touring and heard a song on the radio opening with ‘I was walking down the street’ which made us strongly cringe. But the thing is, cringing is a shared passion of Bolis and I. So we passionately made a song out of it.”

It’s from the pair’s debut album as a duo, ‘Topical Dancer’, released via Deewee – the label owned by Soulwax, who co-wrote and co-produced the album.

Band Spectra & The Anchoress – Human Reciprocator

Visceral, vicious and sardonic ‘Human Reciprocator’ is a new collaboration between Band Spectra (aka disabled musician Robert Manning) and The Anchoress (aka Catherine Anne Davies). Davies’s voice reflecting the overwhelming tumult of the “toxic news cycle” with a government who sickeningly lie and party while inequality yawns and the use of food banks grow. Skittering into life on a bed of filthy mechanical beats and scurrying analogue synths, it’s inspired by David Bowie‘s Low album and is possessed of the urgency of Cabaret Voltaire. Fantastic!

Adwaith – ETO

West Walian trio Adwaith returned with their second album Bato Mato this year, following the footsteps of their Welsh Music Prize-winning 2019 debut Melyn. The lead single ‘ETO‘ is perhaps Adwaith at their most anthemic yet! With a widescreen sound, it positively bursts through the speakers! Throbbing and introspective verses give way to a glorious, anthemic chorus swelling with a big-hearted infatuation and infused by the band’s memories of speeding through Russia on a life-changing trip to perform at UU. Sound in Ulan-Ude, Siberia. This is a sound that captured hearts, from one of Wales’s finest bands at this moment!

HAAI –  ‘Purple Jelly Disc’ feat Obi Franky

HAAi – aka Teneil Throssell – released  ‘Purple Jelly Disc’ (ft. London-based singer Obi Franky) this year and it’s an astounding trip. Taken from her debut Baby, We’re Ascending, out on Mute. It arrived with a mind-melting video created by The Horror’s Tom Furse, like getting lost in a series of magic eye pictures, this multicoloured spiral through a warped reality fits the songs shapeshifting rhythms and melodic fragments. Journeying from breakbeats and ominous instruction, into thumping anthemic rush carried aloft by Obi Franky’s effecting and emotive vocal refrains (“it’s a feeling I just can’t escape”). While wobbly synths and stretched voices bleed into a belting single, it’s how one might imagine the ecstatic heady high might feel.

Loyle Carner – Georgetown

Loyle Carner has released ‘Georgetown’, an excellent track which sees the English hip hop musician continue to explore new dimensions to his work. It’s a visceral examination of burning frustration, fear, and anger which mirrors the landscape it maps – a place of isolation, loss, confusion, danger, creativity, defiance, and hope.

Produced by the widely celebrated hip hop producer Madlib, the inventive bricolage of sound harks back to a more old school hip hop tapestry infused with Carner’s knowing meditation as he spits “the streets hot like the Sopranos’ wittily and then ‘“Black like the key on the piano, white like the key on the piano”’ as he explores how his mixed-race identity has shaped his life experiences and journey as a musician. 

GRETA – Out of Mind

Out of Mind‘ elegantly oscillates in its own galaxy, sparkling with glistening synth-pop and airless production its underpinned by a keyboard motif, it sounds like a futuristic retooling of ‘80s sound. Rippling with GRETA’s sensitive vocal that sounds like it’s floating around disconnected in a weightless space pod. Pirouetting through pulsing beats and shimmering soundscapes puts one in mind of the warmth of Alison Goldfrapp by way of the whispered playfulness of early Grimes. Denmark’s GRETA released her second album Forever We’ll Be Dancing last week, a landscape of synth-wave textures and celestial evocative melodies that transport you to different planets at a time when many of us have been stuck staring at four grey walls for months.

Stella Donnelly – How Was Your Day?

Stella Donnelly‘s ‘How Was Your Day?‘ was the lead single from her beautiful album Flood, a skilful, tuneful song laden with pathos, juxtaposing skippy percussion, glistening guitars and a bright melody with Stella’s deadpan poetic delivery vocals in the verses, that nod back to her superb 2019 debut album, Beware of the Dogs.

Level-headedness has made way for a disastrous love”, she drops casually. “I know it, you know it.” 

Of the track, Donnelly says: “This is my attempt at building a song out of a very specific dynamic between two monogamously involved people. The verses are just excerpts from real conversations, fragments of what two people talk about when they both know they need to have a real talk but neither wants to be the one to bring it up. This song came out of lockdown and seeing a lot of friends break up or get married.” 

Horsegirl – Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)

‘Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)’ is a scuffed-up, guitar-driven piece of garage-pop that sea saws between discordance and fragments of melody. The track’s lyrics brim with alliteration and slanted rhymes, and as the instrumentation rises, the song rides out with a chorus of “oohs.” 

It’s a fine example of the Chicago three-piece Horsegirl‘s kinetic connection and playful sense of humour their reinterpretation of noise pop follows a lineage but doesn’t ape it, it’s charmingly ramshackle, personal, and endearing.

yeule – Electric

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. ‘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.

Charlotte Rose Benjamin – Slot Machine

Charlotte Rose Benjamin‘s uplifting new single ‘Slot Machine‘ from her forthcoming debut album, Dreamtina, which is set for release on April 22. Refreshing and catchy ‘Slot Machine’ sews country flecked guitar licks and bouncy percussion with Benjamin’s stream of conscious, her lighthearted and life affirming lyrics laced with a wistful and bittersweet tone pirouettes through the “inbetween” feeling of being between generations. As Benjamin sings, “If I let you play me like a slot machine / maybe I’ll win sometimes.”

Minas – Fight One

Minas’s artistry: raw, brooding and intense these are tales of addiction; growing up on the outside in the Valleys looking in and the utter injustice of life, underpinned by an unstoppable soundtrack blurring the lines between electronica, post-punk and hip hop. Witty and brutal he rattles with the personal trauma, mental health issues and the utter frustration at the world that surrounds him and expels it in raw catharsis at every turn. In the process, his work sums up the confusion and brutal inequality festering at the heart of Brexit Britain in 2022 and holds up a mirror. He’s one of the most original voices to emerge from South Wales in quite some time. Reality hits hard; Minas hits harder.

On ‘Fight One’  he is a man on a mission on this track, like waiting up with brutal realisation staring square in the face: despair, frustration and relapsing addiction. Shifting from atmospheric to visceral beats and bars (“My heart was giving my ribs a kicking”) bouncing off the walls. “Even though I was on the right path, I had relapses,” he recalls. “This was a conversation I was having with myself, not to fix it, but just to start noticing what was happening more. I guess this track serves as the first real moment of fear I had, fear of where the hell I was going, where I would end up if I carried on.”

Tallies – No Dreams of Fayres

Deliciously enveloping Tallies‘No Dreams of Fayres‘ is a beguiling dream pop shot that’s imbued with a sadness of isolation and despair. Yet somehow it still sounds wonderfully uplifting, Cogan’s voice is daubed in a wistful reflection that soars on a cloudy bed of dreamy reverb. Heavenly.

Speaking about the single, Cogan says: “’No Dreams of Fayres’ is a reflection of thoughts that I remember going through my mind when I stayed still in bed. Feeling as though staying still in bed was the only thing that would help the sadness – basically, disconnecting myself from family, friends, and having a life. Finding the way out of depression was hard but possible. ‘No Dreams of Fayres’ is also about the realization of letting yourself feel real feelings but not mistaking them for emotions. I had to learn to get a grip of what I wanted out of life and go for it with no self-sabotage – which was music, as clichéd as it sounds. It pulled me out of bed, physically and mentally.”

Kathryn Joseph – what is keeping you alive makes me want to kill them for

Kathryn Joseph released her stunning third album for you who are the wronged in April. Her haunting single is ‘what is keeping you alive makes me want to kill them for’. Watch the video below, it’s a startling song quivering with Joseph’s quiet rage, above sparse brittle keyboard motifs that mirrors the work of Cat Power or Portishead.

deep tan – beginners’ krav maga

Released this year, deep tan‘s single ‘beginners’ krav maga’ carried an important message. Raw, inventive and cool, with metallic guitars and scampering rhythms punctuated by dexterous vocals, it was another superb single with a wry take on contemporary themes. The band expands on the meaning behind the song.

beginners’ krav maga’ is a response to the idea that womxn should take self-defence classes in order to feel safe on the street at night. Womxn shouldn’t have to. Yet it seems like every day there’s a new Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa or Aisling Murphy. Educate your sons, brothers, guy friends. Male violence against womxn is an epidemic and it needs to stop, so we made a pop song to talk about it.”

Greta Isaac – How are you not Freaking out?

Greta Isaac had a mighty fine year, the Welsh pop star showed a multi-faceted artistry with her excellent EP ‘I Think You’d Hate It here’ this year. The sublime stripped-down ‘How are you not freaking out?’ echoes the feelings of many of us during lockdown, as she attempts to hold on to some semblance of grounding in the midst of the chaos of modern living, muted intimacy giving way to a tidal wave as the fucked-up complexity of the modern life, it was written with her friend Orla Garland.

Poster Paints – Never Saw it Coming

Poster Paints‘s ‘Never Saw It Coming’ is taken from their wonderful debut album released this year via Olive Grove Records. It possesses a wistful, melodic earworm quality that gradually envelopes you. Carla J Easton’s enraptured and lovelorn melodies tumble forth and pierce holding you transfixed, swirling with memories of The Sundays or Camera Obscura. It’s framed Simon Liddell’s shimmering guitar work, stuttering Motown-esque drums and elegant instrumentation. It’s a understated gem.

Emily Breeze – Ordinary Life

Emily Breeze is a fascinating auteur, hailing from Bristol her music always scratches below the surface and fantastic new single ‘Ordinary Life’ is no exception, a reflection on a misspent youth and faded dreams. Simmering on a bed of tremulous guitars and underpinned by a tremendous throb, Breeze’s spoken narrative is both intensely personal zooming in on the tiny moments of wonder, amidst the monotony of the everyday grind in the verses.

Listening to it, she is at a friend’s 40th birthday party, having spent years following the constant burning magic of creativity despite the dead ends it can lead you down. When the song reaches the bittersweet sing-along chorus hoisted aloft of scything guitars it’s a widescreen epic. Sitting in the gutter staring at the stars, and realising there’s nothing wrong with living an ordinary life, after all.

Zoon – Play Ground

Plumes of reverb and backwards guitars spiral like smoke to the sky from Zoon (Zoongide’ewin) aka Daniel Monkman’s guitar, as the smoke clears, he meditates on the passage of time and goes back to childhood reaching for that inner child, on this crushing slice of gazey exploration that harks to an era of early Spiritualized or the majesty of My Bloody Valentine. The first time I heard this song I let out an audible wow. He says, “’Play Ground’ was written in Winnipeg around 2010.  I had just experienced a huge loss of my close friend and I returned to our hometown, Selkirk, Manitoba, to find some closure. One evening I visited the school that we attended together. I noticed so much change, new additions and extended class rooms, the fence was brand new, grass freshly cut and the play ground was completely changed. It made me really sad to see time and what it does to a material world. I saw both decay and a dying civilization clinging to rebuilding a crumbling empire… but also beauty. All of these thoughts sent me into my first panic attack and forever changed my life. To channel these newfound emotions I decided to write ‘Play Ground’. I wanted to keep the song simple, just like how it was back in those days.

Johanna Warren – Oaths

On ‘Oaths’, Warren delivers an incredible, spine-tingling vocal performance as she cries to the heavens asking for the weight of sins to be lifted off our backs. As this outstanding torch ballad holds you transfixed in its revelry, pianos steeple and forge like the terrain of her mid Wales home it’s a stunning song that I’ve had on heavy rotation in recent weeks. It’s lifted from her sublime Lessons for Mutants album, one of my records of the year, that deals with change and metamorphosis of her move from Philadelphia to off-grid rural Wales.

Margaret Glaspy – Love is Real

Margaret Glaspy‘s ‘Love Is Real’ is a song that captures you and won’t let go; an ode to love.  Haunting and quivering, Glaspy’s vocal is a thing of majesty flecked with soul and draped in finger-picked acoustic guitars and sighing strings, it’s that rarity a voice that’s lived it, rendered with poignant lines like “it’s hard to win when you feel you’ve got a losing hand“. Glaspy sings a wistful and yet somehow powerful testament to wanting to exist in the world despite the struggle, when she sings “love is real/hope is strong/life is hard/ but you belong” her sentiment becomes universal. It’s an absolutely sublime heart-swelling moment of life-affirming reflection.

Bill Cummings' Tracks of the Year 2022 2

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.