It’s that time again… when windbag music critics release their “Best Of” lists for the year. Of course, I couldn’t resist chiming in.
Best Albums of 2022:
10. The Smashing Pumpkins – ATUM – Not sure how much I like this album but I’ve become addicted to the podcast (Thirty-Three with William Patrick Corgan) that narrates the story of an artist getting canceled from Earth – but it’s also a love story with dancing robots.
9. Guided By Voices – Tremblers and Goggles By Rank – The best Guided By Voices of the three released this year.
8. Archers of Loaf – Reason in Decline – The comeback that a million indie rock boys and girls did not find disappointing.
7. Detroit Rebellion – Fake News – Fake News rolls through the night like a hayride through the Americana apocalypse.
6. The Smile – A Light For Attraction – This Radiohead side project features Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood leaving their stable of comfort for the sky.
5. Helen Love – This is My World – After a career of writing songs referencing chewing bubble gum, Ramones, and teenage love, Helen Love suddenly hits middle age. It reminds me a little of ’70s Kinks as far as finding one in a life that they never envisioned.
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Cool It Down – Cool It Down has enough hypnotic grooves to put Frank Santos out of business.
3. Craig Finn – A Legacy of Rentals – Finn narrates his usual tales of down and out dreamers, hustlers, and pimps in a subdued sphere from his usual place fronting The Hold Steady.
2. Pixies – Doggerel– Doggerel proves that Blank Francis is still one of the best songwriters in the galaxy.
1. Gogol Bordello – Solidaritine – Much of the album is set against Russia’s invasion of singer/guitarist Eugene Hutz’s native Ukraine, unfortunately atrocities do inspire great art. Don’t forget that war is still going on and Ukraine needs help.
Best Tunes of 2022:
10. Blood Feeder – “Death of Me”
9. Richie Ramone – “Not Afraid”
8. Bill Bartholomew – “A Serious Light”
7. Jesse Malin – “Keep On Burning”
6. Guided By Voices -”Crystal Nuns Cathedral”
5. Craig Finn – Jessamine”
4. PUP – “Totally Fine”
3. Gogol Bordello – “Take Only What You Can Carry”
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Burning”
1. Jay Allen – and the Archcriminals – “Frying Pan Justice”
Best Shows (Non-Festivals) of 2022 in Distribution Range:
10. 7 Seconds and Negative Approach at Alchemy
9. Nick Lowe at the Narrows Center for the Arts
8. Bob Mould at Greenwich Odeum
7. Richie Ramone at Askew
6. Verbal Assault at the Met
5. Iceage at Columbus Theatre
4. The Smile at Vets
3. The Mummies at Alchemy
2. Low Cut Connie at the Narrows Center for the Arts
1. Psychedelic Furs and X at the Strand
The Benji’s – “Shimmering” Single Release
When The Benji’s started recording their forthcoming EP, Kitty Pills, on Jan 13, 2020, nobody foresaw the type of shit that was about to go down. As the pandemic raged, Kitty Pills and everything else got postponed. The finish line is near as The Benji’s are releasing the lead single, “Shimmering,” exactly three years to the date after they began recording. “Shimmering” is an uptempo mesh of new wave meets pop-punk, sure to induce a 90-second dance party. Check out “Shimmering” on Jan 13 and look for the full EP, Kitty Pills, on Feb 14.
Hope Anchor and Midnight Creeps
This banger matches the goth new wave of Hope Anchor with the ’70s punk of Midnight Creeps. I used to see Midnight Creeps at all-ages VFW Halls and now they’re playing craft breweries that cater to the 30-andabove. Circle of life, I guess? Union Station Brewery, PVD, Jan 14.
I caught Cass McCombs once at the Met Cafe, opening for the Meat Puppets, but the unfortunate takeaway was the show getting interrupted by a fire alarm from a bakery a couple of doors down. The good thing about this show: The nearest bakery to the Columbus Theatre is two full blocks away. So expect the singer-songwriter, backed by a full band, to shine! Columbus Theatre, PVD, Jan 14.
Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan Tribute
The funny thing is, I used to hate the yacht rock genre in my punk rock adolescence. The catalyst for my disdain was a TV commercial for this compilation called Freedom Rock, that would endlessly feature Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years.” I now acknowledge the errors of my youth, and even used a DJ name from Steely Dan for several years. I go see Hey Nineteen whenever I can and recommend you do the same. Met Cafe, Pawtucket, Jan 21.
The Gravel Project
The Gravel Project kick it to the astral plane with a mix of funky jams sprinkled with soul and old school R&B grooves. The Gravel Project will be releasing a new, live, in-studio album, Live at Wellspring Studios, recorded in front of family and friends on Feb 11. My favorite jam is “Fall Into Grace,” which shines a burst of ’60s soul. No need to wait for the album release, catch them at Askew. Askew, PVD, Jan 21.
Eric and The Nothing
It’s been so long since I’ve seen Eric and The Nothing that was starting to wonder if it was all a rockabilly dream. I went from searching show listings to searching milk cartons, wondering what happened. The good news is Eric and The Nothing is back, baby. I haven’t seen Exploding Zones but have written about other projects that have involved members and look forward to catching them in the flesh. Askew, PVD, Jan 27.
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