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CWHT's Top Ten Albums of '22

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

10. Animals As Leaders - Parrhesia - Sumerian

Parrhesia by D.C. 's Animals As Leaders is an absolute masterclass in instrumental metal. Prog metal sans the wankery of say, a King Gizz. This D.C. band delivers the goods and then some; proving that lyrics aren’t needed to pack an emotive punch. They’re ambitious enough to lean-in to electronic-sounds and pull-it-off in earnest, as evident on “Gestaltzerfall,” and “The Problem of Other Minds.” As with a lot of bands, the percussion is the heart-beat, and is deserving of praise.

Choice Cuts: “Monomyth”, “Gestaltzerfall”, “Thoughts and Prayers”, “Mirco-Aggressions”

9. Flaccid Mojo - FM - Castle Face

Flaccid Mojo are a Los Angeles two piece consisting of Black Dice members Aaron Warren and Bjorn Copeland. Their self-titled debut LP was released October 28th via Castle Face Records. It’s apparent from the very first seconds of opener “Moonwalk the Tomb” that this is no ordinary electronic music project. The songs will ebb and bleed into one-another, giving the whole album a feeling of pristine cohesion. Second song “Dyslexic Uptalk” is nearly seven minutes and contains seemingly distinct movements. FM is an ambitious and interesting experimental EDM project that exceeds the mark.

Choice Cuts: “Moonwalk The Tomb”, “Dyslexic Uptalk” ,“Slow Psychics”, “Fried Muscles”

8. Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin - Ghosted - Drag City

Ambarchi, Berthling and Werliin share a fascination with rhythm and the myriad of ways it can subdivide within the beat. Using aspects of jazz, world and experimental musics, each tune settles into a deep groove, digging itself via continuous minimal adjustments into an ever-deeper, eternal groove. The collaborative doom-jazz album is broken-up into four movements that work both as parts of the whole or consumed individually. The third movement is a fifteen minute behemoth that has the listener wondering how the bassists’ fingers didn’t fall off.

Choice Cuts: “I”, “II”, “IV”

7. Daniel Bachman - Lonesome Weary Blues - Self-Released

Self-described Virginian Primitive Guitarist and Drone artist Daniel Bachman kicked-off 2022 strong with the January 1st release of Lonesome Weary Blues, the first of two records he’d go on to release during the year. While November’s Almanac Behind is a potent ambient soundscape that grapples with climate change, Lonesome Weary Blues is a love-letter to the acoustic guitar. This album has undoubtedly some of the meanest contemporary guitar playing that can be found in the country.

Choice Cuts: “Lonesome Weary Blues”,”Rappahannock River Rag”

6. Sad Daddy - Way Up In The Hills - Catfish

The self-released Sad Daddy record Way Up In The Hills was an early contender for top-ten placement. Recorded during the thralls of early 2020 lockdown, you can practically hear the Arkansas old-time band stomping on the porch on this album. Country singer Melissa Carper returns to lend her signature voice to these phenomenal folk songs. According to a press release, “[Sad Daddy] took the brand-new bones of each other’s ideas and worked on them as a band to construct and finish the songs. They had all decided on a down home, back to the country theme for the album—a kind of reflection on what was going on and the desire to go back to simple ways, self-sufficiency, goin’ way up in the hills and letting this shit figure itself out.”

Choice Cuts: “Charlie Pickle”, “Up In The Hills”, “Poor Man’s Son”, “Arkansas Bound Reprise”

5. Shilpa Ray - Portrait of a Lady - Northern Spy

According to a press release, the impetus for Portrait of a Lady stretches back to Shilpa Ray’s experience with photos from Nan Goldin’s “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency”, a personal expose of the photographer’s time in the No Wave scene of New York in the late ‘70s. “It shook me to my core and made me reflect on my own experiences with sexual assault and abuse,” Ray says. She couldn’t shake the idea of a concept album—a full-throated rock album about being a survivor—but found herself hesitating until 2019, when she began to approach the concept in earnest. “I kept asking, ‘How do you do this?’ But Goldin’s work—as well as the writings of music journalist and musician Jes Skolnik—inspired Ray to throw herself into the difficult work. To match her personal and fearless lyrics, which range from darkly funny to harrowing, Ray and her co-producer/collaborator Jeff Berner gather a wide batch of sounds, from unhinged garage rock to soul ballads.

Choice Cuts: “Manic Pixie Dream Cunt”, “Male Feminist”, “Charm School for Damaged Boys”

4. Soul Glo - Diaspora Problems - Epitaph

Philadelphia’s Soul Glo palpably commanded the conversation around hardcore with the March release of sophomore record Diaspora Problems. The bong-gurgle sound-effect used to open the album is about as tongue-in-cheek as the album gets. Lyn Collin’s “Think (About It)” “YEAH! WOO!” break sampling for second track “Coming Correct Is Cheaper” subverts the zeitgeist, and can almost be interpreted as a bit, were it not so good sounding. Though appearing in many a dance and hip-hop song over the years, hearing said break-sampling in a genuine hardcore song with pungent lyrics concerning social exhaustion and the weight of expectations - it’s silly and poetic, pure and right.

The gripping lyrics of “We Wants Revenge” serve to ridicule neoliberal hegemony:

“I’m so bored by the left’s protest and reluctance to militarize. No one’s left blind by an eye-for-an-eye unless you make the same mistake twice.”

He’s not talking about how Trump is gonna win again, right? Surely there's nothing I could do! I’m ready to vote right fucking now if I could!

The entirety of Diaspora Problems is bursting with verbal onslaughts of the antisocial[?] anti-society[?] anti-whatever-you-fucking-got variety. This album will destroy you & everything you love. And then you'll play it again.

Choice Cuts: "Driponomics”, “We Wants Revenge”, “GODBLESSYALLREALGOOD”

3. Viagra Boys - Cave World - Year0001

I’m not certain that we have collectively learned anything as a species since this time last year. Let's call that the impetus for the latest record from Viagra Boys (VB). Fear not, for it is time to be indoctrinated in the way of anarcho-primitivism.

The first thing that came to mind when I read the title “Cave World” was the infamous 4chan trad-pill meme-condemnation of the “bug-eating” and “pod” lifers, or, rather, being leased-in to an apartment and work-life imbalance wherein your only freedom is in choosing what media and processed foods to consume.

But what the VB are insinuating here goes deeper than that. “The Cognitive Trade-Off Hypothesis”, for instance, is focused on romanticizing not only pre-industrialization, but pre-humanization as well.

The closing number, “Return To Monke” is literally just the name of the meme. In fact, VB are singing about primates as early as the third song!

It wasn’t until the last song on Cave World that I understood the theme a little bit more, somewhat, I think. When Sebastian Murphy croons “Out here in your local jungle, ain’t nobody vaccinated”, they’re essentially saying that if you are among the anti-vax constituent; why not commit? If you’re unwilling to get the jab, what's keeping you from leaving everything behind, accepting anarcho-primitivism fully, and embracing your feral-ity? You’re welcome to “Leave // society // be // a monkey”. After all, “They can’t shoot [you] up with no 5G // if [you’re] a monkey living in the tree.”

Choice Cuts: “Punk Rock Loser”, “Big Boy”, “ADD”

2. Lathe - Tongue of Silver - Apt 66

The multidisciplinary Lathe (of Denver’s Snakes) released one of the best albums of the year with Tongue of Silver. Tongue of Silver can best be described as instrumental-spaghetti-western-stoner-doom-metal. Opener “Vinegar” outlines the soundscape to come: twangy reverberating pedal steel, pummeling electric guitar riffs, and expert drumming tying it all together. Remembering that Lathe is one person - what they’ve accomplished with Tongue of Silver will undoubtedly be of glowing repute for years to come.

Reverb-soaked rock and alt-country bands have long been a staple on Colorado’s front-range, but Lathe has raised the bar. Moments build upon themselves to create a heavy, unforgettable listening experience.

Choice Cuts: “Drain”, “Cauliflower”, “Journey to the East”

1. Nestter Donuts - Flamenco Trash - Voodoo Rhythm

Hailing from Alicante, Spain, comes the crustiest, crunchiest, nastiest one-man garage-rock band known as Nestter Donuts. According to a Voodoo Rhythm Records press release, “he is wild, crazy and he is the one and only Donut that calls himself Nestter, please welcome Spain's Number 1 nutjop to your house and let yourself go into the Wild Wild World of Flamenco Trash”. “Wild” being an understatement, because Flamenco Trash is truly unhinged.

A visit to the Nestter Donuts facebook page reveals the intro “Welcome to my shithole. I am an artist of musics and obscene games onstage.” My curiosity piqued, “obscene games onstage? Let’s check out the photos!

The facebook gallery, while offensive to my latent roman catholic sensibilities, did make the c0ck-rocking era of the Chili Peppers look tame by comparison, mostly ‘cause this is truly a DIY one-man-act. The photos reveal a man who plays hard enough to necessitate stripping down and swinging his dingdong at a captivated audience who is, by the looks of it, 100% into it. Leading me to believe that Flamenco Trash is more than a phenomenal record, it’s a lifestyle.

He may open the album with the somewhat more traditional flamenco sound of his Gypsy roots, but it doesn’t take long for his true trash punk soul to take hold of his history and morph it into something altogether new. Album highlight, “Infección”, hits early. “Ay Nestter, no puedo más…ayúdame” (I can’t take any more…help me). “Infección” is memorable for its candid lyrics, with exploding cymbals punctuating the verses and choruses nicely.

Flamenco Trash opener “Amapola francesa” clocks-in at just over a minute, and does a solid job of setting the stage for a very good listen.

“Cocaina” is over in a blink, and before you know it, “Infección” (our longest yet) has also elapsed.

“Baby don’t you know?” is almost threatening with its driving rumble of western-european guitar. The back-end of the track finds Nestter belching in-time to the rhythm.

“Bruges Jail Rumba,” (clocking it at just over three minutes) is the second-longest song on the track-list. Another blasted-out, borderline spaghetti-western sound emanating from Nestter’s instruments and crooning vocal delivery.

The proceeding “Elvis Presley” is a high-point on the album on-account of it’s downright delightful silliness. “Elvis Presley wants to f*ck my mom[!?]” The utilization of Boom-Chicka-Boom alt-country-ish style guitar playing makes the song a clear stand-out.

“Die torero” is another humorous number with its cheeky sampling of both an eagle-screech and a horse-whip. A stomping rhythm and reverberating desert-esque guitar found on this cut is another high-point on the album.

The “lyrics” on “Meow Meow” are Nestter’s best impression of a feline in a bad situation.

Album closer “Su sangre, mi amor” is both the longest, most tender and musically interesting song on the record. The best for last, as it were.

The subversion of flamenco is something that deserves to be celebrated. Forget Fiesta, this is the real sound of a Spain that is still doing battle between tradition and modernity. It’s kicking up dust in the midday sun and soundtracking nights of pure debauchery. Nestter Donuts is Flamenco Trash through and through, its beating heart and sullied soul.

Choice Cuts: “Cocaina”, “Elvis Presley”, “Die torero”, "Veneno barato", “Su sangre, mi amor”


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