Ends in Two: Favorite songs and albums of 2022 (Part II)

Given that we’re already in the last month of the year with only so many days left to blog about the year’s tunage, I will be doing my best to post here three times a week to ensure I hit all twelve months! I haven’t posted that much in ages, so hopefully I won’t be pushing it too hard!

And now for an extended look at February’s great releases…

cruush, “bckwards 36” single, released 2 February. This is a KEXP find, the kind that’s perfectly in my wheelhouse: muddy, dreamlike shoegaze with lovely wandering melodies and vocals (from Manchester at that). They kind of remind me a lot of the Boston band Mistle Thrush, who had a very similar sound. I don’t know much about them other than that they have a handful of singles on Bandcamp that I really need to get!

Love, Burns, It Should Have Been Tomorrow, released 4 February. This band really does sound like early Lloyd Cole & the Commotions if they’d chosen to go the psych rock route. It’s a fascinating listen.

Korn, Requiem, released 4 February. I’d mentioned on a friend’s Discord recently that I was surprised by how melodic this album is, and that it’s really good because of that. Sure, the drop-tuning and the vocal growling is still there as well as the doom-laden lyrics, but with age they’ve become a stronger and more cohesive band.

The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Summer at Land’s End, released 4 February. One of my favorite super-local bands — Land’s End is a cliffside hiking area of Lincoln Park that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge, just west of my apartment — released yet another banger of an album that I keep coming back to. He sounds even more like Felt here, not quite lo-fi but certainly sticking deep in that lane and I love it.

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Cold As Weiss, released 11 February. Groovy and infectious bluesy jazz that’s a super fun listen any day. These guys played on the front porch of KEXP’s morning DJ John Richards around the time this came out and it was a brilliant set.

Eddie Vedder, Earthling, released 11 February. Vedder’s newest solo record is a counterpoint to Pearl Jam’s last record Gigaton from last year, its music more contemplative and restive than his band’s sound. His powerful voice still soars just like always, creating a lovely and uplifting album in the process.

Andy Bell, Flicker, released 11 February. The Ride vocalist and lead guitarist (and former Oasis member as well) came out with a sprawling yet wonderful eighteen-track album full of his trademark brand of shoegaze — melodies that always seem to be on their way somewhere yet never quite arriving, giving the sense of weightless movement — and it’s an excellent listen from start to finish.

Spoon, Lucifer On the Sofa, released 11 February. Spoon albums are always a trip as you’re never quite sure where they’re going to lead you, with Britt Daniels’ off-kilter and twitchy songwriting style. Yet “The Hardest Cut” is one of those tracks that you just want to crank up because it’s just so great!

Urge Overkill, Oui, released 11 February. This was a year of unexpected returns of long-missed bands who’d been mostly doing live shows instead of recording, and UO’s last album had been released eleven years earlier. It’s a welcome return for a loved band from the late 80s-early 90s!

Alt-J, The Dream, released 11 February 2022. An album written and recorded during the height of Covid, it’s the band’s lightest yet most lonesome record yet. Tender in places and pained in others, it’s a tough listen but it’s beautifully crafted.

White Lies, As I Try Not to Fall Apart, released 18 February. I’ve always liked this band’s brand of not-quite-goth, not-quite-synthpop blend of melodies that are equally danceable and contemplative. This is a gem of a record and I really should be listening to it a lot more!

Beach House, Once Twice Melody, released 18 February. Originally released as four EPs over the course of late 2021 into early 2022, this band once again nails it with their own brand of dreampop that’s not just evocative of Cocteau Twins and classic 4AD but transcends that style and makes it their own. Dreamlike and sprawling, it’s a lovely listen from start to finish. One of my top ten albums of the year.

Gang of Youths, angel in realtime., released 25 February. This London-by-way-of-Sydney band has a sort of Springsteen-meets-Future-Islands high energy about it that makes their music powerful without being overly intense. It’s a great album worth checking out.

Deserta, Every Moment, Everything You Need, released 25 February. Their follow-up to Black Aura My Sun (one of my favorites from 2020) is just as dense and sprawling in its echoey and aching dreampop, and well worth the wait. “Lost in the Weight” is an absolutely lovely track.

Johnny Marr, Fever Dreams Pts 1-4, released 25 February. One of many musicians that released an album in bitesize EP parts before gathering them together, Marr continues to write excellent alternative pop that’s equally enjoyable and adventurous.

Tears for Fears, The Tipping Point, released 25 February. The duo’s first album together since 2004, it feels like time has caught up with Smith and Orzabal, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering their music has always been about being caught up in situations.

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Stay tuned tomorrow and Thursday for more 2022 music!

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