Notable Releases of 2022

All notable releases of 2022, according to yours truly.

To be eligible for this list, the release must have a 60+ rating, which is the equivalent to a record that I consider cohesive in sound, theme and quality.

Ranked roughly and accompanied by a little blurb that sums up my feelings towards the release.

Wormrot - Hiss
Grindcore mastered to absolute perfection. I am not familiar with this band, nor have I ever heard their name being mentioned anywhere, but I regret not checking out their material earlier. They bring the right amount of intensity, the right amount of cooldown, the right amount of absolutely batshit vocals, the right amount of pure Hardcore Punk influence and just the right amount of balance to make it feel like everything is fitting in its right place, as the downright constant stream of brutality can make other Grindcore records seem a bit redundant and tiresome to listen in their entirety. There is a nice length variation between tracks, and that's something I found to be pleasant, so that it gives the listener a few seconds to breathe. There is also a masterful equilibrium between inteligible melodic riffs and atonal expertise. A couple tracks here sound like they are influenced by Naked City, and that really gives it an occasional avant-garde edge. Hiss is a 30 minute release that feels like an hour, in the best way possible - there's so much to explore; so many riffs, so many passages, so much texture. Absolute fucking masterpiece.

Genre: Grindcore
Black Country, New Road - Ants From Up There
Literally the only album that has been on repeat in 2022, so far. My expectations were as high as such could be and they pretty much met them. Amazing songs back-to-back-to-back, with the exception of Haldern, which, over time, proved to be a bit dull in comparison to the other ones. A switch-up in sound executed to near perfection, sounding a lot more akin to suspenseful and textured Post-Rock than the noisy and chaotic version showcased on their debut.

Genres: Post-Rock, Art Rock, Chamber Music, Chamber Pop
black midi - Hellfire
I have fucking lost my mind after listening to this. This record left me dizzy. The band throws absolutely everything they could throw at the wall and everything sticks in a way that's extremely satisfactory. They dabble with more extreme progressive idioms, which results in more grandiose compositions, more eclecticism and even more complex song structures (as if Cavalcade wasn't already complex enough). I was carefully doubtful of the outcome of this album after listening to the singles, but I have come to the conclusion that black midi, as opposed to their Windmill counterparts, are not a singles band. Their songs don't sound that good individually. They have to be played collectively so you can really feel the exceeding intricacy of the songs playing off each other, the dazzling instrumental palettes ricocheting and thus creating something truly substantial. Even though the tracks sound absolutely colossal, they are not very lengthy, so something like Sugar/Tzu, which is shorter than 4 minutes, can sound a bit timid when not followed by its other complementary singles. The second half of this album (the non-singles) sounds to me absolutely fucking disparate to what the singles had pointed towards, introducing a psychedelic country-influenced delicate, yet labyrinthine in arrangement Still. Comparatively, there's The Defence, which also dabbles in softer instrumentation and 27 Questions, which ends with a traditional Vaudeville maniacal twist, in typical Geordie Greep fashion. To top it off and to profoundly denote a contrast in sound within the album (always a good thing, we don't want every track to sound the same) we have what's, without a doubt, black midi's most batshit crazy track to date - The Race Is About To Begin. On this one Geordie is quite simply just rapping for about half the track to a dense wall of Noise Rock; if this isn't peak music I don't know what is!

Genre: Avant-Prog, Jazz-Rock, Brutal Prog
Gospel - The Loser
Great mix of Punk idioms with Progressive Rock structure. Accompanied with literal dozens of hard-hitting, ferocious and angular guitar riffs scattered throughout its length, and absolutely untamed Screamo vocals, this thing is just a long shot of dopamine, from the very moment it starts until the end. Honestly, I’m having an hard time not calling this an instant classic. The sole demonstration of pure expertise, craftsmanship and musicianship throughout these 8 songs is enough to keep me on my toes for 40 whole minutes, something that most classics can’t say for themselves.

Genres: Post-Hardcore, Progressive Rock, Screamo
Artificial Brain - Artificial Brain
One of the most brutal Metal albums I've ever heard! This one is sure to be considered a classic in years to come. Insanely good progression throughout this tracks, all which exhibit a muddy mixing that contribute towards a subtle beauty of the chunkiness of the riffs. A formula that is honed to perfection across 10 tracks that knock it out of the park, embodying this apocalyptic unbridled chaos. I love how, every now and then, you can hear something that I wouldn't necessarily call a "solo", but that certainly sounds like it, in the way that bursts with this electrifying blare, amidst all the pandemonium created by the plethora of ideas being thrown at the listener. A record that balances riffage being dissonant, atmospheric and abrasive at the same time, in a way I don't think I've ever heard done before.

Genres: Dissonant Death Metal, Brutal Death Metal, Black Metal
Hatchie - Giving The World Away
From the singles, which had been on repeat, there was no way this wasn't going to be amazing. Dance-inflected rock-adjacent synthpop inspired airy tunes intertwine with incredibly lush Dream Pop textures, and a voice that is truly something to behold. I'm not expecting to get many records as FUN as this in 2022. Consider me a Hatchie stan, and very interested to see if she can develop this sound into something more ground-breaking on further releases.

Genres: Baggy, Alternative Dance, Dream Pop, Synthpop, Shoegaze
Soul Glo - Diaspora Problems
Batshit crazy Hardcore Punk with occasional screamed rap influences and strong political themes. Decidedly I'm not a big lyrics guy, but the sound put on display is literally everything I want out of Hardcore Punk: loud, noisy, erratic, maniac and, at times, weirdly catchy with speedy repeated one-liner refrains.

Genres: Hardcore Punk, Screamo, Rap Rock
Weiland - Vices
A very cold and distant take on Synthpop, filled to the brim with incredible production and catchy melodies. A short package of 12 melodic electronic bangers that goes by so quickly. It's quite impressive that this artist comes from a Hip Hop background and is able to produce this successfully on a completely different genre and scene, and is able to manipulate his vocals in a way to make them sound so artificial yet sentimental.

Genres: Synthpop, Coldwave, Dance-Pop, Synthwave
Inanna - Void of Unending Depths
Nice batch of precise Death Metal from this Chilean band. Labyrinthine guitar work, occasional scratchy applications and the lengthy instrumental passages of Progressive Metal all converge to make this album a really pleasant listen; nearly everything that you would expect from straight-forward contemporary Metal is present here. The songs are really immersive, counting the garguantan length of Cabo de Hornos, which clocks well over 13 minutes, but, as the other songs on the record, doesn't lose track of what its doing and follows the Progressive Metal idioms in a way that doesn't read as wankery, but proficient playing. Perhaps the vocals could be a bit more original, but overall I'm content with what's presented here.

Genres: Death Metal, Progressive Metal
Mizmor & Thou - Myopia
A ferocious display of distorted chords, apocalyptic slow tempos, and a dense atmosphere of despair. There is a satisfactory amount of styles shown on this record, but maybe they are a bit too blended together, and that could lead some to be underwhelmed by the repetitiveness of some moments scattered throughout the 73 minute duration. Nevertheless, that is just a part of the genre (and a fulcral element at that), and when the distortion of the chords sound this gnarly, the length only contributes to the greatness. Anyways, it would be hard to do deny that these two know exactly what they are doing, as they present this passionate, cohesive and cathartic performance, embodying pure downcast, dystopian chaos. Highly recommended for people already familiarized with this sound, otherwise, probably not.

Genres: Doom Metal, Atmospheric Sludge Metal, Black Metal, Drone Metal
Park Zero - Proxy
A very early contender here, released literally on the 1st of the year. Went under people's radars, the people who did listen to it some found it underwhelming, but this thing surprised me. This release deconstructs noise into these infectious EDM passages, in a way that is both challenging and noisy and accessible and fun. Quite hard to describe, but certainly worth a listen.

Genres: Power Noise, Electronic Dance Music, Glitch
Billy Woods - Aethiopes
Pretty much what I would expect from a Billy Woods project - rarely would I type that in a non-derrogative way, but for Billy it's different. As long as he can keep pumping out these incredibly poetic and cryptic rap verses (which he shows no sign of stopping), I think he can assure himself a spot on most people's top 10 underground rappers lists'. Sometimes I wish he tried to be more "out there" with his Experimental Hip Hop niche production style, as in incorporating elements of Glitch Hop or Industrial Hip Hop, but it's still hard to deny the extreme level of craftsmanship shown on this release, yet again.

Genres: Experimental Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop, East Coast Hip Hop, Drumless
Daniel Rossen - You Belong There
Unfamiliar with Grizzly Bear and not that well-versed in Progressive Folk, but this was essentially a massage to the ears. Love the occasional Jazz influence shown throughout this thing, the levels of technicality displayed are something I can greatly appreciate, as this style of music could've otherwise turned into something somewhat boring, and the vocals are top tier - sometimes melodic without sounding cheesy, sometimes unmelodic without sounding too tryhard.

Genres: Progressive Folk, Chamber Folk, Chamber Jazz, Psychedelic Folk
Entering the world of absolute chaos. I'm pleasantly surprised by this, as I normally hate Black Dresses' music. Here we find a much more balanced take, one that finds an equilibrium between kooky Gen-Z humor and actual musicianship, the former which is normally lacking in the collaborative works of Black Dresses. The sonority is remarkably different, despite also being head-banging synth-driven beats with Industrial textures, yet this time around pulling influences from the darker subgenres of Electronic. Going the full on noisy route without much downtime works this time around, mainly due to how absolutely colorful, creative and nothing short of fabulous the production work is. There are great dynamics within these songs, great song structures, great overall progression, great mix of crisp shouted vocals and the occasional clean, slightly melodic vocal line, all topped off with an utterly apocalyptic atmosphere and the catchy choruses that appear lost within the perfect stability found amidst the disorder, as showcased on the track UNDERNEATH IT ALL.

Genres: Electro-Industrial, Aggrotech, Cyber Metal
Honningbarna - Animorphs
Norwegian noise-garage-punk was not something I would've predicted that would land this high on a yearly list, but here we are, the beauty of music discovery in the internet age. Given that I am no expert in said language, I understood a total of 0 words on this album. Still, this is some of the most simultaneously hard-hitting and creative Hardcore Punk I have heard in a while. Sort of a catharsis album for some - really agressive, really dense - made to give you that kind of emancipation of anger.

Genres: Garage Punk, Post-Hardcore, Noise Rock
Niechęć - Unsubscribe
A relaxing fusion of rock and jazz, perfect to switch up the listening habits a bit in the current year, with something old-school sounding, but filled with contemporary touches. The record has got a great sonority to it, being composed of gentle, chilling pianos, subdued saxophones and a wide range of Post-Rock-like crescendos. There's a notorious contrast between tracks that are just laidback, and tracks that, by the end, result in blaring amalgamations of harmonious sound. Then you're also offered with the occasional Nu Jazz electronic flourishes, and with the splendid, trippy Psychedelic Rock influenced "Chmury", which just hits the sweet spot between harshness and congruity. This is the first Jazz (albeit not entirely) album to catch my attention this year, but hopefully there will be a few more records of this nature on this list by the end of the year that are rated this highly, because it's always great to listen to them, and sadly they don't usually get enough publicity.

I must add that this cover fucking sucks though.

Genres: Jazz Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Post-Rock
The Smile - A Light for Attracting Attention
I’m not even going to mention how many canonized Radiohead albums I think are worse than A Light for Attracting Attention… This thing sounds fucking great. Radiohead this time around grab from a wider variety of sounds - the group seems more laidback, while taking themselves less seriously and Thom Yorke’s voice being noticeably less annoying than usual. From occasional electronic tingled tracks, to lush orchestrated compositions, the whole record is much more effortlessly beautiful and heavenly than anything that they have ever put out.

Genres: Art Rock, Post-Punk, Math Rock, Chamber Pop
Hath - All That Was Promised
Not much to comment here, just Blackened Death Metal with little to no flaws. Certainly not the most boundary-pushing or creative album to land on this list, but one that is extremely well crafted. Great guitar tones, great riffs, great vocals and a seamless blend of the two most notable subgenres in extreme music.

Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Naked Flames - Miracle in Transit
Such an hypnotic realease. Not much to say here, you just need to listen. It's like Electronic music made for Ambient fans. The tracks are long, and they slowly unravel new elements as they go. However, repetition is key and it's fundamental to get you immersed in the fantastical world of this release.

Genres: Outsider House, Dub Techno, Ambient Techno, Progressive Trance, Acid House
Weatherday & Asian Glow - Weatherglow
Follows the usual Weatherday / Asian Glow / Parannoul / sonhos tomam conta type of lo-fi-noise-emo-shoegaze formula, but I found this one to be more enjoyable than usual. Sure, it's not that much of a deviation, but I found the vocals to pop up much more in the mix this time and the short EP packaging may have turned this soon to be oversaturated sound into something more melodic, cathartic and certainly more pleasant in tinier amounts.

Genres: Lo-Fi, Slacker Rock, Noise Pop, Emo, Shoegaze
Material Girl - i85mixx21​-​22
Kind of an oddball thrown into the mix here, given that I am usually not that into this style of internet rap. For some reason though, I found this to be weirdly introspective into the artist's rotten psyche, even though the general consensus on this one seems to be that the vocals are not the best. Weirdly enough, this blemished and imprecise vocal style gave extra depth to what may be his day-to-day struggles and turned this album into a confessional trip. By no means am I saying that the vocals are top tier - on the contrary what is the biggest selling point for this one is the production, which features some of the most unconventional, punchy and eclectic instrumentals that Experimental Hip Hop has had to offer in the present decade. Additionally, I must point to how the tracks are named here - all starting with "i85mixx", which hints towards a body of work that is essentially this conjunction of scattered ideas, separated by chance, but ultimately better if approached as a 57 minute solo.

Genres: Experimental Hip Hop, Drum and Bass, Sound Collage, Avant-Garde Jazz
foxtails - fawn
Originally had this at a 70, but the album didn't sit too well with me over time. Still, it's a very unique take on Post-Hardcore, fusing it with elements of Chamber Music, which contrast with the screamed vocals in a way that I don't think I've heard before. The only major flaw I encounter with this one is a severe lack of creativity outside of the overall sound of the album, given that it is essentially the formula I have mentioned copy pasted 12 times. Still, the sound that is on display is interesting enough to have it rank very high on this list.

Genres: Post-Hardcore, Screamo, Post-Rock, Chamber Music, Midwest Emo, Art Punk
Aeviterne - The Ailing Facade
Impressive album that fuses a bunch of Metal subgenres together, cutting out what's usually contemporary Metal's biggest weakness: repetitiveness. A must-listen for anyone remotely interested in Metal, but I must say that sometimes the Black Metal influence, which takes form of extreme lo-fi rawness and distortion, takes away from some of the skilled riffing and drumming that should've been put on the forefront of the mix at least every once in a while.

Genres: Sludge Metal, Post-Metal, Technical Death Metal, Black Metal, Avant-Garde Metal
Logic - Vinyl Days
The best Logic by far, it feels like he has stumbled upon something substantial with this one. J Dilla & MF DOOM-inspired beat styles meet a really unique way of structuring the album, with a lot of tracks that are all short but feel like they have something to say on their own, make for an incredibly enjoyable old school boom bap experience, even if I started feeling a bit burnt out by track 20. The production is really punchy and vintage, and Logic swaps out the usual corniness for a candid honesty that is sprinkled throughout the album. The Doc D tape was pretty mediocre, but this expands on that aesthetic in a way that I was sincerely not expecting. It's a real sample-heavy, cartoonish experience and calls back to the mixtape era with the Flex narration that appears occasionally. Overall, I would've preferred if it was a bit shorter, maybe 10 minutes or so, but I'm happy with the outcome.

Genres: Boom Bap, East Coast Hip Hop, Hardcore Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop, Jazz Rap
Cult of Luna - The Long Road North
Cult of Luna release a Cult of Luna album, that is Atmospheric Sludge Metal with zero outsider influences. Interestingly enough, I like this one far more than I like their supposed "classics".

Genre: Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Black Star - No Fear of Time
This is definitely good, but it's lacking the special sauce. One of those releases where it's hard to pinpoint what's really missing for it to be a masterpiece, but perhaps it's mostly down to this sound being out of style by now, combined with a general lack of energy from both parties. Madlib's production is also solid, but nothing out of the ordinary at this point.

Genres: East Coast Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop, Boom Bap
Beach House - Once Twice Melody
Great album, especially for Beach House standards, who can definitely tiptoe dreamy, floaty and atmospheric, yet generic territory when it comes to their uninventive aesthetics. This albums features some of their absolute best songs, such as Over and Over and Runaway, it is only a shame that it is so unbelievably long for no reason, because there is definitely a classic hiding behind these 18 songs. Some people have said that the exaggerated amount of songs contributes towards this feeling of an oniric and heavenly setting, such as floating along the clouds, but personally I find Beach House's music too self-indulgent for that to be the case.

Genres: Dream Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Indietronica
Not a record I expected to enjoy this much, but it proved itself to be this incredibly innovative take on contemporary Electropop. Influences of a broad range of EDM styles, Alternative Dance, Hip Hop and Witch House make this a much more varied experience than I initially expected it to be. I must say that what's lacking to push this sound forward, perhaps into cult classic material, are most elements outside of the music production, mainly songwriting and the absence of sticky hooks, which should be mandatory for this type of album.

Genres: Electropop, Dance-Pop, Synthpop, Alternative Dance, Electronic Dance Music
Kaycyy & Gesaffelstein - TW20 50
Cool EP, but a bit unsubstantial, as it's barely 10 minutes long. Okay! went on to be a banger that I would replay many times after my first listen and the other two tracks follow along the same lines of this weird, synthy, non-percussion based alt-rap, that shows a lot of promise for this Kanye protégé. Hopefully he goes on to have a prolific career and he is able to develop this sound into something more fleshed out.

Genres: Alternative Hip Hop, Alternative R&B, Minimal Synth, Experimental Hip Hop, Pop Rap
Steve Lacy - Gemini Rights
This album is actually pretty underrated on here. Very very solid vocals, even if a little derivative of other popular artists sometimes, and clearly very well thought out instrumental palettes all across this thing. I particularly like how Steve can approach the topics of unrequited love, sexuality, etc. in such a lighthearted and honest way. Bad Habit is the obviously highlight, but this whole album might just be worth checking out solely because of that 1 track, because it is unbelievably good.

Genre: Neo-Soul, Bedroom Pop
Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You
Prior to the release of this album, Adrianne Lenker's anything song was arguably one of my favorite tracks of all time. Had never listened to a full-length Big Thief album, but Simulation Swarm also very swiftly became of one my favorite songs of all time. Overall, a bit disappointed with this album in the sense that it's hard to really pinpoint any songs that come even close to matching the quality of the aforementioned favorites. Honestly, what I wrote about Beach House's record also applies here, great standouts, but the extreme span and an overall mix of genres that is far too repetitive hinder what could've potentially been a certified classic.

Genres: Folk Rock, Indie Rock, Americana, Alt-Country, Singer-Songwriter
Yeule - Glitch Princess
Very imaginative and experimental internet age pop, that shows occasional signs of actual geniality. Great variety of ideas, great variety of quality tracks, that showcase a mechanical and glitchy instrumental style that conjures up this interesting incongruity with the melodic and saccharine vocals. Needs a bit of polishing, namely in the unnecessary introduction of some outdated cheesy EDM elements, that, from time to time, made me feel like I was listening to a tacky mid-2000s electronic dud, not a Yeule record.

And no, I did not listen to that 284 minute drone track.

Genres: Avant-Pop, Glitch Pop, Post-Industrial, Ambient Pop
MC Tha - Meu Santo É Forte
Interesting traditional brazilian record, with modern influences. The album is fully covered with tribal instrumentation and an overall ritualistic aesthetic. The track that really stood out to me was Figa de Guiné with its brilliant speedy pop melodies, but all the others are sweet too. Really fun listen.

Genre: Brazilian Music
Classic Cities Aviv sound, jazzy Experimental Hip Hop, drawing from various Vapor aesthetics. Hard to put into words what makes this one great - as opposed to the Big Thief and Beach House records, the 1h+ length just sucks you up into this immersive world where Cities Aviv inhabits.

Genres: Experimental Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop, Jazz Rap, Southern Hip Hop, Vapor, Hypnagogic Pop, Drumless, Sound Collage
Silvana Estrada - Marchita
Another early contender, and one of the least complex or daring records on my list. It's always hard to put into words what makes Folk and Singer-Songwriter albums great or not, but this one just hits that sweet spot of beautifully orchestrated arrangements with passionate yet catchy vocals. And, of course, couldn't forget this - gets extra hipster points for being sang in a foreign language.

Genres: Chamber Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Hispanic American Folk Music
iANO - Life Cycles
Deranged multi-layered experience through this post-apocalyptic world of lush electronics and muddy vocals. Progressive track after another, there is definitely a sense of production to be appreciated and there are some quite interesting amalgamations of genres to be heard throughout. However, there's some work to be done regarding the vocals, too subdued and deep buried beneath the mix for my liking.

Genres: Electronic, Ambient, Neo-Psychedelia, Art Pop
Vylet Pony - can opener's notebook: fish whisperer
Not a furry or anything of sorts and would've been very glad to hate this, but when something sounds good to my ears, I'm always the first one to give it up to the artist, even if it isn't within my usual realm of music listening. Huge range of sounds, was particularly amazed at how good some of these Pop Punk songs sounded, and how honestly angsty they were. Nice album to just shut your brain off and veer off into this fantastical world that does not give up the exploration of the artist's individuality and emotions.

Genres: Indietronica, Progressive Pop, Alternative Rock
새눈바탕 (Bird's Eye Batang) - 손을 모아 (Flood Format)
This album is a bit of a tough one. To start, it is definitely one of those where it, as a whole, is way better than the sum of its parts, and by that I mean that perhaps the whole thing should've just been sectioned into one track. The textures are the most impressive part, and how it manages to sound so aquatic and environmental without the actual use of field recordings, being composed entirely by electronic instrumentation. People seem to be throwing around a lot of genres for this one, but none of them seem to really apply that neatly, and thus this is one of those that I think got something thoroughly unique in it, defying genre conventions. Maybe the start of a new genre, I'm not sure, or maybe just too fucking weird. All I know is that it sounds super interesting, chaotic all the way, glitchy, jumpy, a lot of adjectives come to mind, but in the end, what's lacking is more cohesion and structure for it to be something actually great. In my opinion, there is definitely potential for something ground-breaking, a masterpiece, with this Mid-Air Thief side-project, but the batch of tracks they have offered on this one strike me as just too ambitious for their own good, as well as scattered and unfocused in the midst of in its brilliance. Sonically, something I noticed is the occasional Video Game Music influence heard throughout it, especially in the first half, making some tracks sound a bit too peppy and childish. That was my least favorite part, especially in comparison to how solemn and devastating tracks like The Wider The Wheel sounded. Overall, I'd be incredibly excited if there was ever continuation to this side project.

Genres: Sui generis
Véhémence - Ordalies
Medieval aesthetics within Black Metal are always cool to hear and in this case it just made the album FUN, and FUN is not usually an adjective related to Black Metal. You get your usual clean cut vocals and crisp melodic riffs found within Melodic Black Metal, but somehow without sounding cliché, cheesy and too MMORPG-core like many albums within the genre do.

Genres: Melodic Black Metal, Neo-Medieval Folk
The Gerogerigegege - >(decrescendo) Final Chapter
48 minutes of Ambient combined with 35 minutes of Harsh Noise Wall. Not much to go over with this one, but I find this combination funny, not to mention it is quite good Ambient and Harsh Noise Wall. Even though, in my opinion, the Harsh Noise Wall is where the project really shines, as the track is quite textured and varied for something so abrasive.

Genres: Ambient, Field Recordings, Harsh Noise Wall
Culprate - αριθμός τέσσερα
Pretty interesting and textured IDM. Some ideas here sound a big gimmicky, namely the occasional Country-influenced lick and the eastern influenced theme of the fifth track, but everything else sticks with you pretty nicely. Also not a big fan of vocals on my IDM albums, and that applies here too. I hear a bit of Neō Wax Bloom resemblance in the way Culprate presents some of the sonic ideas on this album. All in all, instrumentally this album is pretty hard to deny due to how mind-bending the sound of the record can be, but it's also very flawed.

Genres: IDM, Folktronica, Wonky, Glitch, Drill and Bass
파란노을 [Parannoul] - White Ceiling / Black Dots Wandering Around
Some demos from Parannoul's album To See The Next Part of The Dream, which I assume most of you reading have heard. See, this is where things get interesting though, I'd argue these demos are even better than the original album. Cuts through the bullshit samey songs and gets right to 6 total bangers. Obviously, as many have mentioned, the 17 minute version of White Ceiling really shines here.

Genres: Emo, Shoegaze, Noise Pop, Lo-Fi, Slacker Rock
Boldy James & Real Bad Man - Killing Nothing
Boldy James is back on an upwards trajectory, after his mediocre work with The Alchemist. This time he has accompanying him a producer that understands how he works as rapper, as in he is one that relies entirely on production to make his idiosyncratic and incredibly monotone delivery stand out. The beats sound moderately psychedelic, extremely vintage, but still grimy and eerie, with the occasional jazz flourishes and soul chops. The production in a sense really hits a sweet midpoint between sounding hard, cinematic and still touch and soul. In addition to all of that, we have a packed feature list that delivers, and the irregular track that feature a chorus that really stands out in comparison. Despite all sounding all too samey, this is definitely his best batch of tracks since the banger that 'Manger on McNichols' was.

Full review:

Genres: Gangsta Rap, Boom Bap
Gospel - MVDM: The Magical Volumes Vol. 1: The Magick Volume of Dark Madder or the Magic Volume of Dark Matter
Gospel back again with another one. For a band that was inactive for 17 years, they sure do be releasing. This one sounds similar to all their other works, there's not much to add, but I think that the gargantuan 21 minute length doesn't work in their favor. The repeated vocal line is menacing, the very bombastic and colossal guitar sound is pretty fucking dope, but it starts to become a bit tiring by the second half of the track. Overall, it's kind of just Gospel turned into a bit too much instrumental wankery, but it's still Gospel.

Genre: Post-Hardcore, Progressive Rock, Screamo
Perfume Genius - Ugly Season
Perfume Genius generally sucks, but this is sincerely a great improvement from him, a true showing of artistic growth. It is one of those that we can categorize by saying that it is a Pop artist that goes Experimental and ends up with an album that isn't really neither Experimental nor Pop, a weird mismatch of influences that works considerably well. As always with this artist, I find the vocals to be the weakest point, as they are too high pitched and sometimes unintelligible if not reading them from a lyrics page. The tracks "Pop Song" and "Eye in the Wall" obviously stick out amongst the track listing, not only for being released in the pre-Set My Heart on Fire Immediately era, but also for going for a more conventional Pop approach, while the others are much more out there with their compositions. The classical influences really help to tie together this organized mess of an album. I'm mostly satisfied because I was expecting more of the usual boring Perfume Genius, but this actually sounds like something sonically interesting.

Genres: Sui generis
sonhos tomam conta - maladaptive daydreaming
These niche artists out of this micro scene are slowly becoming the Griselda of contemporary Emo / Shoegaze. I mean that in a positive and negative way, simultaneously. Solid, well produced and satisfactory music, but always falls into the same category. I still think that this is the best work I've heard from somos tomam conta, even though I haven't heard the earlier stuff; certainly better than the split with Asian Glow and Parannoul last year. Sonically, this is only a deviation in the sense that she has worked in a bit more of an atmospheric edge, taking form of occasional Ambient passages and some songs that are more elegant and airy, such as the splendid "Escamas do Mar". Overall, it's samey but more structured and more fleshed out than her usual affairs, having also worked in some of her most beautiful lyrical compositions. If you're familiar with the sound and enjoy it, I'd recommend, otherwise, probably not.

Genres: Shoegaze, Emo, Ambient, Post-Metal, Noise Rock
Negative Plane - The Pact...
Heard this as background, so some may dig this more than I. An album that sounds gigantic, but not too daring in sound, as it is just Black Metal with some old school, 70s Heavy Metal influences. Impeccable riffs, gargantuan songs, some more symphonic and cleaner melodic elements show up to give the release a bit of room to breathe, but I found that the vocals left a bit to be desired at times. Still, they are not a fulcral part to the album.

Genres: Black Metal, Heavy Metal
Širom - The Liquified Throne of Simplicity
Apart from this incredibly odd and unpleasant to look at album cover, this release is pretty solid. Not a genre neither me nor many of AOTY users would listen to, so that's a plus. A towering achievement of 4 20 minute long Avant-Folk compositions, performed in a fairly improvised manner. Only problem I found myself with this is that, at nearly 1h20min long in total, this record can become really psychologically tiresome after the third track, as there is just so much fucking shit going on at the same time, while remaining fairly repetitive.

Genres: Avant-Folk, Free Folk, Free Improvisation
Ashenspire - Hostile Architecture
Sounds like fake Metal made to cater to Windmill Scene fans - I know that sounds stupid but bear with me. I don't know where the Metal allegations are coming from, because there is nothing on this album that is even remotely close to a Metal riff. There is a slightly Hardcore Punk influence, and that's about it. It is not a riff-centric album anyways, as the vocals are the center of the show here, alongside the Windmill Scene-core lyrics and delivery. Apart from that, it's a well crafted album that doesn't do anything out of the ordinary, but has a witty and slightly unique sound. Overall pretty fun album, but the gimmick is overbearing at points.

Genre: Avant-Prog
Della Zyr - 비타민과 우려 Vitamins and Apprehension
Cool little Shoegaze album. Contemporary Shoegaze is often very generic and this one doesn't necessarily break the mold either, but I like how intimate and DIY it sounds. In comparison to the other Shoegaze acts that insist on these incessant walls of guitar feedback, and end up giving no time for the listeners to breathe and to assimilate what they're listening to, this one gives you more of a Dream Pop edge. Some of the Electronic / Ambient sensibilities shown here very vaguely are nice, and make the record more pleasant to listen to.

Genres: Shoegaze, Dream Pop
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good list
@jxshmccabe glad you found it helpful! <3
love this list, got some great recs from it!!

AOTY July Playlist