Everything from dizzying psych and dreamy classical dark pop to full-on anarcho punk and hard-hitting political takedowns, new names breaking through and great returns from familiar faces. Here’s a run down of Louder Than War’s albums of 2022 so far.

on rotationAlanas Chosnau & Mark Reeder
Life Everywhere

Further exploring that aching interface between classical and electronic the latest Mark Reeder and Alanas Chosnau album captures the shadowy uncertainty of these times with a very European album. An album that is grand as the classical architecture on the inclement northern European cities and the aching grey sky vistas soundtracked by the sophisticated and classic classical dark pop. For some reason, they have gone for the low key approach but this should be on a major and these requiem twilight songs should be part of the Euro soundtrack for this most melancholic of years. Anyone who ever loved the post-new order world of shadowy exquisite melodies and understated songs of heartbreak and loss will love this album.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarAnarchistwood
(Ex Gratia)

Punk pranksters and provocateurs Anarchistwood finally release Chiasmata, an album that started back in 2019, but with global pandemics, only recently was fully recorded. Along the way, terrible personal tragedy hit the band, and that they have created a typically uplifting and thought-provoking album is a testament to their resilience and commitment to their artistic creativity.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarBlack Flower
(SDBAN Records)

Magma is a vibrant and exhilarating collection, one in which all eight tracks are incredibly strong. It’s not an album that will comply with the topical desire to algorithmically categorise music, but if you do need a reference then, at points, it had the feel of The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report. Black Flower are clearly an outfit at the peak of their game and you will struggle to find anything so technically accomplished this year. The fusion of jazz, prog, world music is heady, intense and serpentine. It’s one to lose yourself in completely.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarBlinker & Moses
Feeding The Machine

Binker & Moses are reunited. Along with electronic musician, Max Luthert, Messrs Golding & Boyd join forces again to bring us Feeding The Machine. It’s a thrilling, intense journey. Feeding The Machine is an incredibly intense experience. Akin to a tornado, it’s an album that sucks you deep into its heart and sweeps you skywards. At times smouldering and fierce, occasionally thoughtful and reflective, it keeps you enrapt throughout. Binker and Moses are experienced enough now to understand how to play with the light and the shade and they utilise both brilliantly. Just like The Darklands in James’s novel, you will be utterly bewitched.


on rotationBob Vylan
The Price Of Life
(Ghost Theatre)
When Bob Vylan hit the ears of Louder Than War back in 2020 our own Nathan Brown premiered the news that had gone viral around the punk community and the buzz was on. A big fuck you to racists and a powerful hard hitter which caused a ruckus that year. If you think they’ve mellowed out think again… A startling album that some might say is too short, yet if you link into the lyrics there’s enough in there to keep you waiting for the next angry instalment, from the duo that deliver just what you need to hear at this moment in our corrupt times. You want some slick angry cuts and a bit of loud as fuck hip hop punk grime? Well listen up!


on rotationDéjà Vega
Personal Hell
(Paperhead Records)

For a band with no PR and a mystery to their releases, they are about as DIY as it gets. They give little hints whenever they’re about to release something and this was dropped on our pretty little ears with a bang, not a whimper, to the delight of the hardcore fans.With all the big releases that have popped up early this year, this absolute scorcher of an album has set alight the start of 2022 with a sonic bang of pure power that screams along at breakneck speed throughout, which burns but never crashes. It’s already a contender for one of the albums of the year.


on rotationDubstar
(Northern Writes)

Two is the second album since Sarah Blackwood and Chris Wilkie reunited in the mid-2010s and is also the first since their albums Disgraceful and Goodbye in the 1990s to be produced by New Order and Pet Shop Boys collaborator Stephen Hague. This reunion with Hague, ushers in a record of full-spectrum mega-pop, swooning synthesised orchestras, acutely observed kitchen sink dramas, and outright bangers. It is a record of bewitching, cinematic scale that connects Dubstar’s original thematic universe; such as the madness under the surface of the suburban, the way that women are forced to fit themselves to the shape of the world and not vice versa – to a new, older and wiser, post-COVID reality.


on rotationFat Earthers

As a debut album, Bored is a story-so-far collection of work from over a two year period. The songs are great: simple, raw, effective and funny and expand on the live sound in that there are more instruments: bass, some samples and not just drums and guitar. There is a healthy dose of gallows humour and straight-faced irony. Fat Earthers are a lot smarter than they seem. They hide it beneath layers of acting dumb, rocking out and piss-taking hedonism. Or at least, I think they are/do. Luke and Kyle are Isle of Wight surfer-dudes, rock’n’roll animals, quite possibly as upper-middle-class as Rhian and Hester, but are a lot of fun and have made a great album. if Wet Leg were surfer boys on drugs, they would probably be Fat Earthers…


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarFather John Misty
Chloe and The Next 20th Century
(Bella Union / Sub Pop)

It is one thing to be consistent in creating a sound, but it is an extra skill to manage to create a feel, and Misty has managed to keep the flow of that warm, inviting atmosphere flowing with new release Chloe And The Next Twentieth Century. Working again with previous collaborater, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonathan Wilson, and seeing the return of Dave Cerminara as engineer and mixer, all the ingredients are in place to ensure us that this new release – the first since 2018’s God’s Favourite Customer – is very much a Father John Misty album as we know it.


on rotationFlorence + The Machine
Dance Fever

As a songwriter and performer, Florence Welch often walks the line between steely determination and shattering vulnerability. She is the queen of emotional and musical extremes, and it’s these stark contrasts that have helped her to create such distinctive music over the past fifteen years. In listening to fifth album Dance Fever, fans will be reminded of her previous albums but will also be provided with clues as to what might happen next. They must follow the breadcrumbs through this “fairytale in fourteen songs”. It is an album that is by turns exhilarating, angry, funny, and sad. Dance Fever is a worthy heir to its four predecessors. Like its author, it reflects an inner and outer world that is constantly in flux and changing.


on rotationFontaines DC
Skinty Fia

Fontaines D.C. return with their third album in three years and a new widescreen sound. It’s the masterpiece they’ve been working towards from the start. While being recognisably a Fontaines album from the start – how could it not be with Chatten’s distinctive delivery to the fore? – it’s, as the cheesy old ads used to say, basically bigger, bolder and better than before. It’s also filled with surprises. The production is clean and atmospheric, creating a new clarity with the guitars and Chatten’s voice to the fore; and it’s almost as if he is only now beginning to discover his vocal range, experimenting with different registers and styles, finding a new musicality far from the mumbling sprechgesang with which we first discovered him.


on rotationJohnny Marr
Fever Dreams Pt 1 – 4

Johnny’s musical chops are beyond reproach as he builds on his familiar guitar sounds with sequencers, synths and beats often coming to the fore. The record reflects on his ‘Covid journey’ from the uptempo New Order-ish beats of the opening Spirit Power and Soul through to the immersive finally of Human. A lesser artist may be maligned for releasing such a varied album but this is Johnny F**King Marr and let’s be honest, after 40 years in the industry, he can pretty much do what he wants. It’s a brilliant collection and one that you will want to immerse yourself in.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarKae Tempest
The Line Is A Curve

There is a strong electronic presence throughout The Line Is A Curve. It’s as though they have bumped into Yellow Magic Orchestra in Catford High Street and convinced them to become their backing band for this album. Those bubbling synths bring a different vibe to Tempest’s delivery and, broadly speaking, this record feels like their warmest one to date.At some point in the future, we will reflect on The Line Is A Curve as an important development in the career of Kae Tempest. The moment when they opened up and allowed us in. The moment when they brought forth what was within. I cannot say whether that has saved them or not, but it has led to the creation of a very good album, one that surprises and delights and evidences a clear musical progression.


On rotationKendrick Lamar
Mr Morale & The Big Steppers

Musically a wildly eclectic album that switches from electronic sketches to brilliant tension dealing jazz piano drapes, moody Marvin Gaye sonorous strings, moments of classic rap pop, sparse soundscapes but always with the distinctive dense wordplay and brilliant delivery from the main man creating a compelling work that sees hip hop’s most creative main player take a creative swerve that is breathtaking. He retreats from the limelight and turns deep into himself whilst highlighting his own insecurities and beliefs. It’s not always a comfortable listen with some jarring imagery and stark wordplay but it’s never short of genius delivery and stunning and ambitious musical twists and turns providing the backdrops for a delivery which is as exquisite and multi-faceted as ever.


on rotationKicked In The Teeth
Salt Rocket To Nowhere
(Rare Vitamin)

The violence is in the music and songs where it is exorcized. The band is their release for all the pent-up anger, frustration at rage at government, institutions and society. Salt Rocket To Nowhere gives younger hardcore bands something to aspire to musically in terms of concise, match-fit, controlled rage and aggression with no flab or excess. The guitar-playing is phenomenal without being show-offy and too metal. The album is a solid steel (as opposed to heavy metal) hardcore punk album that proves there is still a vibrancy and power in the genre. And still a need for it as a pressure-valve and that the best stuff doesn’t necessarily come from the USA.


on rotationKing Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard
Omnium Gatherum

What happens when one of the most prolific bands of our times, one whose previous albums have each followed their own individually defined singularity of style; be it prog, garage, microtonal, blissed-out psych-pop; are finally allowed to meet up again and write together as one unit? Well, the rules go out the window and the building implodes under the weight of their own creativity as they smash down each and every one of their columns to rebuild something that brings all their styles together as one. The key is right there in the title. Omnium Gatherum, a miscellaneous collection; eclecticism order of the day as they pull on every one of their strengths to create what just may be their least defined yet most defining record to date.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarLester Square
Invisible Man

Lester Square, founder member of Adam and The Ants and The Monochrome Set, and the man who has influenced as many guitarists from the ’80s as Link Wray did in the ’50s, has been busy during the days of plague, digitally releasing a number of albums that showcase his idiosyncratic guitar playing. And the fact that his music is being released digitally only is an important point. Lester is an activist for Extinction Rebellion and Music Declares Emergency, and he has taken the decision, for environmental reasons, not to physically release any music. It’s an album that you can lose yourself in, lost in space and time, lost in the grooves, but with a wake-up call at the end.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarThe Lovely Basement
(Breaking Down Recordings)

Beautiful second album from West Country and indie band following the wonderful Just Because You Can. English Americana for Sunday afternoons never sounded so mellow and cool. It is an album which is subtle and insidious and takes repeated listens to fully appreciate it. This is more than just a ‘progression from the debut album’ it’s the sound of a small-town band making an album with universal appeal. Rather than joining the queue for a 6-Music BBC Introducing solitary play at 2 in the morning, I hope that everyone who hears this album tells five friends with similar taste and eventually all of the cool kids (who dig Velvets / C86 / Americana / Stereolab / Suzanne Vega / Galaxie 500…) will know their name.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarLuke Howard
All of Us
(Mercury KX)

Luke Howard’s All of Us, an eerily beautiful atmospheric record, reveals the disorientation of reading Albert Camus’s The Plague after 2020. It offers listeners a preternatural means of engaging with both the concreteness and allegorical nature of The Plague, and the desolation of pandemic and wartime exile. And outside its sociopolitical tethering, the record is made up of music that’s gorgeous in its ability to unsettle. Collectively the compositions create a beautifully bewildering atmosphere in which sonic apprehension delivers the possibility of peace.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarMetronomy
Small World
(Because Music)

Back with their seventh album, Small World, Metronomy do what they do best. It may be more stripped-down and more grown-up than anything they have done previously, but the quality is maintained. It is another change of direction, this time a deviation greater than normal. Despite that, the quality of the output remains consistently high, confirming, once again, that Joe Mount is one of the finest songwriters of his generation. Each and every track on this eclectic jewel brings something a little different to the party. It’s undoubtedly a grower; there is nothing here to match the earworm-quality of The Look nor anything as immediately attention-grabbing as Love Letters (the song). But give these tunes time and space and, just like another box of chocolates, they will grow on you.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarThe Monochrome Set

The Monochrome Set have a maturity now which suits them well, adding to their debonair je ne sais quoi. They always have been something of a Gentleman’s Pop Group, with an eye for the Ladies, Leslie Philips-style. Being old enough to remember Black and White TV, even the band’s name conjures up images of Ealing Comedies and Ian Carmichael to accompany their songs of manners and etiquette, peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies. They were always out on their own, in a class and a hermetically sealed genre of their own. Allhallowtide is the latest in an impeccable catalogue that very few of their contemporaries have matched.


on rotationThe Mysterines

The Mysterines finally arrive with their long-awaited debut album that goes straight for the jugular, with thirteen tracks of supreme quality garage grunge fronted by the tantalising hair-raising vocals of future rock star Lia Metcalfe, backed by her band of sonic brothers. The Mysterines have unconsciously tapped into the blueprint laid by Solar Race and produced a debut that deserves to be on repeat for the rest of this year. Reeling is an astonishing debut album that should rocket The Mysterines into the mainstream or I’ll eat my coat. I don’t wear a hat and mine’s a Guinness Lia!


on rotationSea Power
Everything Was Forever
(Golden Chariot)

They’ve come a long way since the spiked angular sound of songs like Apologies For Insect Life and Sea Power are surely on the cusp of becoming an institution, one in which all are welcome to hole up and weather out the storm. Their blend of atmospheric indie post-rock continues to develop, ebbing and flowing like a river rushing through their precious and celebrated woodlands. The band are now experts in blending scrawling riffs across expansive landscapes. At times they skirt closer to the orchestration of Sigur Ros, but Sea Power know full well that their power is in something more communally celebratory, closer to the hands of the people than the seemingly untouchable ephemeralness of some of their peers, and they are all the better for it.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarSharon Van Etten
We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Sharon Van Etten delivers a spellbinding sixth album filled with bangers and big ballads – an intensely personal meditation on starting a new life in a new home in a pandemic. Like all of Van Etten’s albums, it’s an intensely personal affair that takes us on a journey of hope, loss, longing and, as always, resilience, while asking big questions. She wants us to listen to this album from beginning to end, to share her journey from start to finish, just like in the olden days before CDs allowed us to skip tracks at will, fast-forwarding to our favourites; before streaming let us pick and choose. It’s a revelation. And it’s a joy to let the artist take control; after all, it’s her own vision and her own work.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarThe Smile
A Light For Attracting Attention

With the two main creative minds of Radiohead, The Smile were always going to sound closest to their main band than any other of Thom Yorke of Jonny Greenwood’s individual side-projects. And that it does. But, in typical fashion of the band, the album that explores the sound of Radiohead’s own history is, of course, not a Radiohead album. Teaming up with Sons Of Kemet’s Tom Skinner was the perfect choice as he brings those skittish beats as the pair delve into their unique blend of electro-post-punk-prog with doses of exquisiteness when they bring out the acoustic guitars.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarSnakerattlers
The Left Hand Path

Third album from ‘Out of control, trash rock & roll’ two-piece from York following 2017’s This Is Rattlerock and 2018’s All Heads Will Roll. Still raw, still rocking a primitive live sound, the devilishly devoted couple are musically darker than ever. It’s the route out of this real-life Hell into a Rock’n’Roll enclave where primitive love rituals are enacted with a twangy guitar, primal drums and a whole lot of whoopin’ and hollerin’. The darkness is exorcised and it’s a whole lot of spooked-out fun. Hopefully, the Snakerattlers will be back on the road again soon bringing their own take on dark rockabilly and garage punk trash to a small venue near you.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarSpiritualized
Everything Was Beautiful
(Bella Union)

Not resting on his laurels after re-releasing the first four albums as the Spaceman Reissue Program, Jason Pierce is back with another blissed-out medicinal slab of everything you’d expect from the ‘if it’s not broken don’t try to fix it’ sound of almost religious status. The magic is still there and the production is as polished as ever, considering the army of instruments involved, which is the way of The Spaceman. A celebration of a glittering career from one of the most unique songwriters on the planet. Untouchable stuff from one of the great treasures of the British music scene. The perfect prescription.


on rotationThe Total Rejection
Off The Top Of Our Heads…And Other Forbidden Pleasures
(Raving Pop Blast!)

Off The Top Of Our Heads…And Other Forbidden Pleasures is the fourth album from Total Rejection. The band themselves admit that it may not be their most instant, but that it could just be their best, and they might be onto something as it’s an album that grows with every listen, revealing itself and the subtle interplay between the instruments as they build up garage-psych sonics to wonderful effect. It is a manic rampage through psych fogs into pure and unadulterated garage-fuelled beatings. And it’s definitely an album that demands to be played on repeat.


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarVirus
Introvert Extravert
(Grow Your Own)
North Dorset anarcho punks Virus have taken a change of direction on their new album, with desirable consequences. It’s more melodic and the best record they’ve produced to date. The wordplay n the song titles adds to the general intelligent feel of a record that covers issues as diverse as environmentalism, protests against the Colston statue, restrictions on our freedom, the class system and monarchy, animal slaughter, internet grooming, celebrity culture, American foreign policy and – of course – the state of the punk scene. You can tell hard work has gone into polishing each song rather than just churning out something “that will do”. This is without doubt the best record Virus have produced.


on rotationWarpaint
Radiate Like This

The most commonly used descriptor of Warpaint is dream-pop, which possibly evokes a perception of something a tad twee. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. That electronic/dance influence is probably the most significant evolution of Warpaint on Radiate Like This. Sure, they are no strangers to using synths, but there is a heavier, more obvious use on this particular collection. Radiate Like This is an extremely enjoyable album and it’s guaranteed to please Warpaint fans. Furthermore, I can see the band picking up many more admirers thanks to the overall strength of this collection. Who wouldn’t enjoy the way that this music sucks you into its vortex and gently turns you inside out before laying you gently back down again?


Louder Than War Albums Of 2022…So FarWet Leg

This confirms my first impression of Wet Leg: they are ‘doing it because it’s fun’. And it really is the best kind of fun – clever too. The album is a glorious selection of bright ideas, 20-something musings and in-jokes, set to highly accomplished riffs with just enough punk in their indie for my money. If you like your reviews with some neat comparisons, have these: they do that Pixies quiet–loud thing, with Elastica Brit-pop vibes, and 21st-century pop. Moreover, they are uniquely Wet Leggish. Which is, we hear, now a thing.


on rotationThe William Loveday Intention
The Baptiser
(Damaged Goods)

Barely a year and a half has passed since Billy Childish inaugurated his new Bob-Dylan inspired phase under the name The William Loveday Intention with the release of People Think They Know Me…But They Don’t Know Me. Reworking and rerecording some of his own classics again in this style, covering Dylan himself, and writing new songs, he is no longer stuck in Stuckism, continuing to mine the depths that this newfound freedom has given him. Even for a performer as prolific as he is, he has hit upon a purple period that shows no sign of slowing and his latest album, The Baptiser, continues to delight.


Yard Act The OverloadYard Act
The Overload

Post-punk has become pop music! What was once the domain of critics and mini music gang is now the plaything of the masses! What was once in the 80s a furtive John Peel session is now in the race for the number one. Yard Act are the latest post-punk gang to have been catapulted from the outside after years of playing in other bands like the excellent and LTW-backed Post War Glamour Girls and Menace Beach. It was a life of big dreams, warped music, empty venues, hopeless ideals, second-hand records, grubby bedsits and pub nights of one pint and a packet of crisps between a few mates talking the music talk and now it’s the spotlight turning on to a wilfully eccentric but oddly brilliant post-punk-pop.


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  1. Hahaha can’t believe you’ve actually left out the Michael Head album in favour of some of that dross. The only thing anywhere near it from that list is Spiritualized.

    • an absolute magic piece of work by mick and the lads! massive fan of most things he has done. but my fave since waterpistol / the strands

    • Mature response John McNicholas. Slagging off the taste of mostly unpaid music fans who write for LTW. We are sure Michael Heads album is excellent but there is only so much space and we miss loads of popular/great albums. Why not just list your favourites like Ross below – or try and tell us ‘why’ we have missed out on a worthy album.

  2. Favourite so far is James Domestic – Carrion Repeating
    Also : Klammer – The Day Before Yesterday
    Abrazos – Nothing Gets Changed By Being Polite
    Crashed Out – Against All Odds
    Lazy Class – Lazy Class
    The Warriors – One For All

  3. Loving the Wet Leg album. I think it’s just released but I hope Eater’s ‘Ant’ will make the list soon. It is astonishing, having never heard them before & discovered by accident. Like falling in love for the first time. . I’m glad no Amyl & The Sniffers in the list – emperor’s new clothes.

  4. Don’t forget the new album by Anti Social Worker ‘Militant Business & Grime Poetry’ (m1music.com) – it’s like Kojey Radical meets Joe Strummer!

  5. For your information John Mcnicholas, the Michael Head album has been reviewed and who knows. It may be in the final Albums Of The Year list. Never presume.

  6. Where is Eater/ ‘Ant’? The review was spot on, it’s an important album both musically & historically. I can’t take it off the turntable.


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