Three great albums from this year that flew under the radar – The Brock Press

2022 kicked off with some great music releases. by Silvana Estrada Marchita is an early contender for Album of the Year; Earl sweatshirt SICK! provided substantial food for alternative hip hop fans around the world; Topped The Weeknd Charts Dawn FM was a mainstream success story; British experimental band Black Country, New Road have proven they are still at the forefront of inventive rock music with Ants from above; the big thief last record is an alien folk experience that no one knew they wanted until they heard it.

All of the above are highlights of what this year has had to offer so far. However, there are other great releases that have flown under the radar, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are three albums released this year that deserve a spotlight:

Cities Aviv – The man plays the horn

Tennessee-based band Cities Aviv mixes vaporwave, cloud rap, mindful lyrics and soulful samples for a truly unique listen on The man is playing the horn. It’s hard to ignore J Dilla’s influence on this whole record, especially the aerial production of “Black Pleasure”.

Aviv’s lyrics tend to delve into mundane matters, drawing out metaphysical aspects. For example, using the imagery of ashtrays to express the emptiness felt by the ex-addict. The Memphis rapper has an almost drunken messianic presence on the mic, which is extremely reminiscent of Earl Sweatshirt’s vocal style in 2018 some rap songs. Even though this record clearly owes Earl Sweatshirt’s magnum opus debt, the vaporwave/psychedelic angle of the production makes this album stand out. Despite a few bloats here and there, it’s a must-have for anyone who’s followed the trajectory of abstract hip hop over the past few years.

Beach house – once twice melody

Beach House, arguably the torchbearer of 80s and 90s dream pop over the past decade, is back with a new record just as solid as their previous hits. Broken down into four “chapters”, the 84 minutes once twice melody surprisingly does not run out of ideas by the last chapter. Highlights include “Superstar”, “Pink Funeral”, “New Romance”, and “Modern Love Stories”.

The songs are panoramic and blurry in a way that’s a signature of the Baltimore band’s earlier work, but there’s a level of cohesion on this album that also sets it apart from their earlier work. The shoegaze influence appears in spades on “Only You Know” which could easily be a song title My Bloody Valentine. All in all, fans of pop, psychedelia and indie rock should find this latest release from the critically acclaimed band very enjoyable to listen to.

Foxtails – Fawn

Foxtails are a Connecticut-based post-hardcore band that have garnered a lot of attention online with their latest release, Fawn, which dropped a few weeks after the new year.

The band’s sound is really hard to pin down. The foxtails constantly subvert expectations with time signature shifts, Megan Cadena-Fernandez’s vocals constantly shifting from soft singing to screaming, and one can’t forget Jared Schmidt’s phenomenal violin passages. Although Fawn is unpredictable, it still has an irresistible Midwestern aura.

All in all, 2022 started off with a bunch of strong releases. Hopefully that momentum doesn’t wane as we head into the rest of the year.