On Music From 2022
Lots of great records came out this year. Here's a subset that I was listening to the most.
Otherness - Alexisonfire
Along with other Alexisonfire fans I waited years for this record. It was worth the wait. Otherness is immensely refreshing and hard-hitting. The post-hardcore Alexisonfire pushed their unique sound even further, reaching into genres and influences new to them. "Sans Soleil" and "Mistaken Information" prove the band can do lighter, melancholic music impressively well. On the other hand, in the rest of the record they perfected their signature loud, hard-hitting persona. Dallas Green's vocals soared while George Pettit's screams cut hard. I won't forget the first time I heard the first single "Sweet Dreams of Otherness", how massive of a song it is and how hard the chorus hits. From front to back Otherness is excellent. Bands produce great records when they really have something to say. For Otherness, Alexisonfire had something to say and said it extremely well. This is clearly my favorite record from 2022.
Dropout Boogie - The Black Keys
This is just a solid blues rock record. Though there are no outstanding individual tracks on this record it plays great as a whole from front to back. Dan Auerbach's soulful vocals and signature smooth, blues guitar riffs on top of Patrick Carney's steady and simplistic drums makes for an easily enjoyable record.
Angel In Realtime - Gang of Youths
Gang of Youths' previous record from 2017, Go Farther In Lightness, is my (current) favorite record of all time. When Angel In Realtime appeared in February I was initially disappointed. After a while I realized my disappointment was because Angel In Realtime is simply not Go Farther In Lightness. After months though my appreciation for Angel In Realtime has grown significantly. The record is dense and composed of thirteen songs dealing with Dave's grief and reflection on the death of his father. Dave expresses lots of introspection, uncertainty, and hope while including many personal messages in the lyrics to his father. This record effectively connects with listeners on a very personal level just like Go Farther In Lightness did. Further, the record adequately expands Gang of Youths' sound from alternative rock into a much more unique, alternative sound with expanded instrumentation and new influences. Dave's writing is incredible - this record is a intimate exposition on grief, relationships, and purpose.
American Heartbreak - Zach Bryan
Like many others I was introduced to Zach Bryan in the last year. I really appreciate his simple style, songwriting ability, and soulful voice. Bryan is immensely candid and honest in his lyrics while never taking himself too seriously. It's refreshing. This record feels like Bryan simply picked up his guitar and wrote on the raw and honest emotions and experiences from his past few years and recorded every song in one take. It's an immensely personal record that traverses every piece of Zach's recent life. Something perfect to put on alone, listen to, and relate to. Honest and simple songwriting and playing is rare these days. American Heartbreak is Bryan's successful attempt to bring it to the mainstream again.