My 30 Favorite Songs of 2022

Well we’ve hit the end of the year, the time where I spend hours writing about the music I loved for 1-12 readers! As with most years, I focused more on albums than individual songs, so a grand albums post will be forthcoming. But there were more than a few songs I loved at first sight listen, and unlike my albums post, I’ve decided to try and feebly do a ranking of them. I did not put much effort into the actual list and have absolutely forgotten something necessary, but I did work on the rankings. So here’s 30 songs I truly loved:

#30. Archive – “Mr. Daisy”

I came into this band by chance from a Facebook group talking about a song of theirs from 2009, only to discover that they’re still going strong and remain very popular in Europe. The band doesn’t contain themselves within genre, venturing anywhere between trip-hop and nu-metal. They released 2 albums this year, and a standout song is this track, a post-rock inspired alt tune that’s simple, fun and nostalgic. I’m excited to dive deep into this band’s catalog next year.

#29. Robert Stillman – “Cherry Ocean”

This is likely the most divisive and maybe the most obscure song on this list, as something that probably won’t appeal much to my core audience (those 4 people). Stillman’s soft, somber, 8+ minute jazz track sets the tone for the following album, though it’s the only song on it with lyrics. The song is sparse and drone-adjacent, but the scraps of melody are haunting and intriguing. Even though it’s a repetitive minimalist song, I find myself coming back to it repeatedly. It’s a warm and forgiving place to be.

#28. Meat Wave – “Honest Living”

This is my kind of thing – two-minute sucker punch of fuzz guitar and wicked vocals. I’m a sucker for even the worst garage rock, it’s my go-to and my comfort music, and Meat Wave’s recent album more than satisfies that crave within me. “Living” is a punk bruiser with depressingly satirical lyrics about the grind of the workforce. Throw in some good vocal rhythms to boot and you’ve got a memorable little garage punk tune.

#27. Gladie – “Born Yesterday”

A lot of indie-punk bands like to play it safe and merely threaten to go full throttle. Gladie aren’t that band, and they kick off their recent release with a amp-busting banger that makes a statement. I wasn’t aware of this band just a few weeks ago, and now I’m excited to see where they go from here. I’ve also just seen them live and can confirm that this track kills in a concert setting.

#26. Björk & serpentwithfeet – “Fungal City”

Leave it to Björk to make a “mushroom” album, a delightful and occasionally suspicious soundscape that makes it sound like you are lying on the forest floor. The album’s highlight and most on-point track is “Fungal City,” which barely hangs on to any rhythms to create a damp, foresty environment. It starts soft, gets heavy, and stays weird. I don’t know how you even approach crafting a song like this, but it is yet another Björk classic.

#25. The Smile – “You Will Never Work in Television Again”

I’m not really interested in debating whether Radiohead is done or what this offshoot means for their legacy – it’s a different project, no more no less. While the album mostly just sounds like Radiohead, this song has some rough energy that hasn’t been in the band’s music for many years. Very funny that they’ve played this on late night shows, hopefully they’ll play on Corden soon.

#24. The Beths – “Expert in a Dying Field”

If I were to somehow manage to actually list out my 10 or so favorite songs, the Beths would be the only repeat artist on that list. Count this one among the handful of their songs that I really love. Lush and heartbreaking lyrics and vocal melodies all contain themselves within a simple indie/punk song. This group always seems to find interesting ways to sing about despair and ennui, and this one is no different. Add in some of Elizabeth Stokes’s characteristically intriguing vocal rhythms and you’ve got another Beths banger.

#23. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – “The Harvest”

I treat doom metal like a sandwich – if it’s plain then fine, I’ll take it, but I probably won’t really enjoy it. Doom metal to me has to do something to tinker with the formula, and this song does just that. The Best Band Name in the World take a classic doom metal song structure and add synths and dreamy vocals into something fuller. It’s heavy and brutal, while still feeling fun and atmospheric. The band has always done stuff like this well, but this song and album is a high watermark for them.

#22. Van Buren Records – “FOUL”

One of my favorite rap records of the year came from a local group, Van Buren Records. The large collective makes fun and urgent music with a cascade of voices. The group is at their best when they’re moving quickly, as they do here. No voice or idea overstays its welcome, especially with key features. This is such fun stuff.

#21. Slipknot – “The Chapeltown Rag”

Slipknot’s new album was a divisive one – there was a lot of really stupid discourse around it including the phrase “Slipknot’s Radiohead album.” I loved it for the way it wraps together a more mature, balanced sound with some of their old angry bangers. Well this is the latter, just an old-fashioned Slipknot ear-gouger. Dopey lyrics about violence, manic drums (RIP Joey) and unexpectedly good vocals, this is classic Slipknot. It’s great that they’re finally moving past this kind of stuff, but it’s wild they can still do it so well, too.

#20. Billy Nomates – “spite”

Don’t you act like I ain’t the fuckin’ man” rips Tor Maries across the chorus of this indie banger. I’m very unfamiliar with her work – I’ve heard a few songs and keep forgetting to check out more. But, this one recently grabbed my attention on the radio. It’s bold and brash while staying well within an indie song, a contained anger that’s delightful as it is genuine. It feels like a victory lap set to music, a ceiling-puncher and a song that probably kills live. I’m on board, now.

#19. 8 Kalacas – “Frontera”

I’m aware the phrase “ska metal” sounds about as off-putting as fruitcake but this song is wild. I first wrote about it in my “Songs You May Have Missed” midyear post and I’m going after it again. This song has horns and riffs and it’s an absolute blast to listen to. A sonic assault that lies more in metal than ska, this really isn’t like anything I’ve heard before. Part of that also lies in the lyrics – silly music is mixed with a dead serious story about a Mexican immigrant realizing the American Dream is a lie and sadly moving back home. The band has Latin roots that add an authenticity to the music that is often missing in wretched, ironic white guy ska. I urge folks to give this one a chance.

#18. Big Thief – “Simulation Swarm”

Big Thief make so many songs that are so heartbreakingly gorgeous that it doesn’t feel fair to other bands. “Simulation Swarm” isn’t nearly as good as 2019’s “Not” or 2020’s “anything” (from singer Adrienne Lenker solo), and yet it still makes the list. The music is calm and patient, featuring the effortless, minimalistic melancholy that the band is known for, and it’s complemented by Lenker’s soft, earworm vocal rhythm. As always, her unique voice elevates this into classic territory. Big Thief forever.

#17. My Chemical Romance – “The Foundations of Decay”

It’s so amazing to me that this exists at all. MCR’s first new release in nearly a decade, and it follows their path of switching up their sound with each album. I don’t know if a proper album is to follow – maybe they don’t, either – but I’d be intrigued if it does. This is slower and denser than you’d expect from MCR, more grown-up now than before. As per usual, the song rests on Gerard Way’s deceitfully strong vocals, but the whole band sounds great. This isn’t as flashy as the group used to be, and therefore the song is a grower – I wasn’t impressed on first listen, but after getting to see it done live (twice!) it’s won me over.

#16. Soul Glo – “Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?)”

I didn’t plan for this to be so close to 8 Kalacas but it’s only fitting. Soul Glo presents an equally scorned genre – rap-rock – in a way that’s genuine and refreshing. The opening track to their downright remarkable album Diaspora Problems is a manic, full-octane track that sounds dangerous. Inspired as much by hardcore punk and glitch as they are traditional rap and rock, this is “rap-rock” in the same sense that Death Grips is, not Machine Gun Kelly.

#15. Chat Pile – “Why”

Why do people have to live outside? is the simple question and refrain posited by post-hardcore upstarts Chat Pile. The centerpiece of a Top 5 of 2022 album is also one of the most bluntly political songs of the year (or ever, really). It’s a shakedown of America’s quiet housing crisis sung with a genuine, guttural anger. It feels like everyone in the country is boiling over with anger over their beliefs of choice, and that’s palpable on this barely-contained song. Anyone with an ounce of empathy can relate here, even if it’s abrasive on the ears.

#14. The Mountain Goats – “Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome”

It only took 21 studio albums for Mountain Goats to do their first true rock song. An album centered around low-budget action movies needed an energetic boost, so Darnielle et al up the energy for really, the first time in their storied career. Admittedly there are better songs across the unexpectedly great album, but this is my list dammit so I’m picking this one. Although the Goats have carved out their own niche in alternative music, I’d be curious to hear more of this side, too!

#13. Paramore – “The News”

I nearly disqualified this one for recency bias, it was released only a few days before I started this post. But it’s so damn good. Save for a pop-punk heavy debut recorded when they were all around 15, Paramore hasn’t released a bad song, and I’m delighted this stretch is continuing after a multi-year hiatus. The song abandons their more recent new-wave stuff for a return to fiery pop-rock, with more bite than they’ve ever had. There’s a fierceness that cuts through the music here, but also the melody is an instant earworm. I’ve only heard this song twice and it’s already so high.

#12. Fontaines D.C. – “Jackie Down the Line”

Imagine my frustration in 2019 when I first heard this group, a severely Irish post-punk group, only to be sufficiently bored by their album. I wanted to like it and decided to dive into the follow-up with an open mind and, thankfully, liked it much more. This is definitely the song I “sang” the most this year (as it’s not sung but spoken), because it allowed me to practice a ridiculous Irish accent. But it’s a great tune that’s simultaneously despondent and lively. There’s a lot of talk-sing post-punk bands coming out of the UK area (alongside IDLES, Black Country New Road and Dry Cleaning) and I’ve got varying opinions on it; this band has thankfully fallen in my good favor.

#11. MJ Lenderman – “Tastes Just Like It Costs”

Lenderman is an artist I ignored for a while because I thought he was the same brand of tired, acoustic stuff that Father John Misty occupies. My face was red when I finally spun an album, the great Boat Songs. This was my favorite song, a lively and fuzzy guitar track with a touch of humor but a melancholic vocal melody. This song, like much of the album, owes a debt of gratitude to the early alt groups like Meat Puppets and Dinosaur Jr. – a well I will never run dry. This is another catalog I will be diving into soon.

#10. black midi – “Sugar/Tzu”

I loved black midi’s debut only to be frustrated by the sophomore album. Their third righted the course and gave me what I think is their best song yet. “Sugar/Tzu” is one of the most raucous songs I’ve heard all year, manic talk-sung vocals mixing with a steady, revolving central rhythm and frequent…interruptions? The music video follows a boxing match, which is very fitting, as the resembles what it feels like to get beat up. The song sounds borderline improvised, closer to prime era Lightning Bolt than any of their more radio-friendly peers. I cannot overstress how wild this song is.

#9. L.S. Dunes – “Permanent Rebellion”

In most cases, I will side with any artist’s louder, more energetic tunes. This debut track from emo supergroup L.S. Dunes is no exception. The expectation-obliterating album’s penultimate song is also the loudest and most abrasive of the bunch, a throwback to all of the respective members’ heydays. The verses here are standard rock stuff, but the choruses hold a thrilling punch that separate Dunes from most supergroups; this isn’t a fun side project, this is a group with a statement to make. The emo revival will never die, baby.

#8. Weyes Blood – “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody”

Natalie Mering is two albums into a trilogy that’s essentially about going through the rough of it. It’s sad enough on principle, and this album follows in the footsteps of 2019’s Titanic Rising by opening with the best song of the bunch. “Not Just Me” is a gorgeous chamber pop song, a heavenly ballad set over little more than vocals, harp and drums. It’s a dreamy, absorbing song with nightmarish lyrics about human suffering and ignorance. The album that follows is more of the same – and it’s one of the best of the year. But this one in particular is just a completely devastating yet rewarding listen.

#7. Weird Nightmare – “Searching For You”

When I heard that METZ frontman Alex Edkins was releasing a solo record, I had a feeling I knew what it would sound like – more melodic and alternative-based than his primary band, while retaining much of the energy. I was right, this song sounds like the crushing assault of (loudest band I’ve ever seen live) METZ filtered through the Minutemen. It’s loud and aggressive but it’s got a great rhythm and a more subdued approach. Like a few other songs on this list, it owes some to 90’s guitar alternative, revamped for today.

#6. Spoon – “Wild”

It’s very rare that a band can maintain a similar sound for decades and keep it fresh; they’ll either start to sound repetitive (AC/DC) or settle into a relaxed vibe (Wilco). But Spoon isn’t most bands, and “Wild” sounds like the same Spoon from 2005. They’re revamped and reinvigorated and they’re all the better for it. Britt Daniel’s odd singing voice remains the band’s best strength, as this would be a very standard song without it, but the Neil Young-like vocals elevate this to a Certified Spoon Classic.

#5. Leikeli47 – “Chitty Bang”

This song is just about as fun as music can get. The masked rapper kicks off her consistently excellent third album with this immaculately-produced bop. I don’t understand how this song isn’t topping the charts, I challenge anyone to spin it and sit still. A hip-hop song with pop structure and production, this song should really appeal to just about everyone. Although the artist has chosen to remain private, I hope 2023 sees her absolutely blow up.

#4. Gogol Bordello – “Fire On Ice Floe”

This one is circumstantial – after Peter Murphy checked into rehab and Bauhaus canceled their reunion tour, Riot Fest had to scramble to book a medium-big, evening act. Eugene Hutz and gang filled in, and delivered the best festival set I’ve ever seen (and went 10 minutes over, much to the chagrin of Glenn Danzig). I didn’t know this song when they played it, as it had only been released days prior, but they jammed on the chorus for an extended period. The easy, melodic refrain of “dance, dance, dance into the fire” had the massive audience all singing and dancing along. Although the band was there to promote defense for Ukraine, they still turned the set into an absolute party. This may or may not be a great song, but my vision will always be blinded by how I was first introduced to it.

#3. Perennial – “Tooth Plus Claw”

Again I am blinded, because my first interaction with this band’s music was when I had a chance to interview them (they’re really fun people to chat with, folks). This song doesn’t eclipse 90 seconds, just a dance-punk whirlwind that’s extremely high energy and just as fun. It’s loud and brash, but – like the rest of their album – is done entirely as a party. This is a throwback to The Hives and Be Your Own Pet, bands with short songs and contained chaos, that always still rely on melody above all. Love this so much.

#2. Arlo Parks – “Softly”

Arlo Parks just missed out on both my favorite song and album lists last year, and her sole release in 2022 is better than everything she delivered in 2021. This is one of those songs that will have you crying in seconds even though it’s a wholesome love song. The vocal melody perfectly matches the pure lyrics, a quiet message to a (potential?) lover. Her voice dominates over the music, seemingly mixed at a higher volume than a normal song would be. I’m not one for listening to songs on repeat but I could easily play this one for an hour.

#1. Orville Peck – “Daytona Sand”

Big surprise, the guy who goes by Orville Shrek on twitter loves the music of Orville Peck. There’s something about the mysterious, masked, Canadian, queer outlaw country/alternative singer that just works for me. The opening track to his stellar sophomore album Bronco picks up where Pony left off; the forlorn western lyrics, the driving snare drum and Peck’s deliciously commanding bass voice all propel this to the #1 spot. It’s catchy, fun and yet melancholic, and it’s probably my favorite song of the year.

For fun, here’s some songs that didn’t make the cut:

Beyoncé – “Break My Soul” (should’ve made the list, but do I really need to tell you about this one?)

The Linda Lindas – “Racist Sexist Boy”

Interpol – “Gran Hotel”

Rammstein – “Angst”

HEALTH & The Body – “AD 1000”

Thanks for reading this far! I wouldn’t have! I’ll be posting more year-end stuff, specifically an albums post on NYE and a films post sometime when I feel like.

By Andrew McNally

20 Great Songs You May Have Missed From 2022 (So Far)

Look, it’s been a weird year. I don’t really want to talk about it. What I do want to talk about is music, always, and what I’ve found is that there’s been a ton of great, under the radar stuff this year. I may do a proper post about what albums I’ve loved so far in 2022, but this post is specifically dedicated to songs you may have missed. You don’t need two posts about how great Bad Bunny or Sharon Van Etten are. So this post is 20 songs, unranked, that I think you should hear. I didn’t put any effort into planning genres here, just grabbed 20 that I love, but there’s a mix from noise to ska to old school hip-hop!

8 Kalacas – “Frontera”

Coming out of the gates with a controversial choice, because I know some people don’t like metal, and some people really don’t like ska, so ska-metal might sound atrocious. But 8 Kalacas combines the two in a way detached from any dopey 90’s skacore done by ignorant white dudes. Not to say that the music isn’t fun, because it’s a guilty pleasure of a track, but there’s enough genuine artistic passion and seriousness in the lyrics – a tale about immigrating back to Mexico after the American dream has failed you – to present this as a woeful tune demanding of your attention.

FFO: Streetlight Manifesto, Soulfly, dancing and/or immigration reform

Börn – “Norn”

I know absolutely nothing about this band and, full disclosure, I only found them on a bigger blog doing this exact same type of midyear post. I don’t know how they found this band, a new Icelandic band who’s debut album has yet to muster 3500+ spotify plays for any song. But boy does this rip. This is the exact type of music I was looking for in my teens – guitar-heavy goth shit. This has the sound of a noisy, combustible no wave or noise rock band, but the vocals of something more gothic. It’s loud, melodic, dark and extremely sweaty. More of this, please.

FFO: METZ, mclusky, sweating your mascara off

Foxtails – “space orphan”

There’s a handful of albums I’ve listened to or added to lists to listen that were based off recommendations where I simply cannot remember where they were recommended to me. I jumped into this album entirely unfamiliar with the group, but based on the low-caps band name/album title/song titles and the cutesy album cover, I was expecting some tender indie. What I got instead was an inspired mix of alternative, violin, and scream-y vocals, not out of the realm of Defiance, Ohio, but less gimmicky then them too. This song is more representative of how much I loved the album in general, but it rips. There’s some very chaotic, downright uncomfortable stuff going on here.

FFO: Defiance Ohio, Gouge Away, having a breakdown in small town america



HEALTH is one of my favorite bands, and Ada Rook is maybe my favorite screamer right now, so this pairing just makes sense. The industrial group has been working with tons of artists – most notably Nine Inch Nails – across two collaborative albums. Results have been mixed, but this absolute ripper of a 2-minute song makes it all worth it. Music doesn’t get much more in your face than this, an absolute wicked aura matched only by volume. Seems intentional that the title matches the slogan of a wrestler who was once killed in the ring, revived, and tried to fight the paramedics to clear him to finish the match. I’m MDK affiliated.

FFO: Backxwash, The Body, light tube bundles

KRS-One – “Raw Hip Hop”

Thirty-six years into his career, KRS-One doesn’t have anything he has to prove to anyone, and he’s allowed to do whatever he wants. While his new album – his 16th(!) solo record – varies in quality, it’s got some bangers like “Raw Hip Hop.” It lives up to the title, with a first-person overview of the genre’s history from someone who’s always been at the forefront of it. His forceful rapping is mixed with a minimalist beat, resulting in an old-school sounding song from an old-school artist. It’s criminal that he still flies under the radar.

FFO: Q-Tip, Biz Markie, an era without Machine Gun Kelly in it

Leikeli47 – “Chitty Bang”

Okay so you probably have heard this song, as it’s being used in a TV commercial right now (don’t ask me for what, I tune those out), but it’s worth a mention here as the full song is simply a blast. The song opens the rapper’s excellent new album “Shape Up,” the first of many straight fun songs on a Side A that plays like one long party jam. Given that “Zoom” has well eclipsed 5 million Spotify plays and “Done Right” seems to be on TikTok a lot, I’m guessing – hoping – that Leikeli47 isn’t on these lists much longer.

FFO: Princess Nokia, Rico Nasty, that brief era where MIA was huge

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – “The Harvest”

You’re right, I did want to write about this one partially because they have the best band name in music hands down. But I’ve been singing their praises for a few years now. I’m hit and miss when it comes to stoner metal, so it makes sense that I’d love this song that really toys with the format. It’s got the length (9:10) and it’s got the riffs – by god, does it have the riffs – but it’s also got spacey synths and dreamy vocals. It somehow sounds both warm and menacing at the same time, as if it is simply not of this planet. I’ll give you a few minutes to take a few tokes before we continue.

FFO: Blood Incantation, Neurosis, getting high in the forest and what, is that a UFO? is that a UFO?

Mattiel – “Lighthouse”

Mattiel is one of a handful of indie artists whose continued lack of mainstream success upsets me to no end. Their new album “Georgia Gothic” continues their trend of making very digestible indie tunes with diverse inspirations, but a complete sound. My personal favorite, “Lighthouse” is bolstered by horns and and an excellent, repeated vocal line. Songs like this were designed to stick in your head.

FFO: Sunflower Bean, Horsegirl, feeling restless on a nice summer day

MJ Lenderman – “Tastes Just Like It Costs”

The name MJ Lenderman has been on my radar for a bit but his recent “Boat Songs” album is the first release of his I’ve actually heard. His name usually comes up alongside folksier artists that I’m usually hit-and-miss on, so to hear an album of generally grungier, more old school alternative was a delightful surprise. This is possibly my favorite on the album, because I’m a huge sucker for a song that ends on a repeating line (as seen elsewhere on on this list). This is a poppy, fuzzy guitar song with a neat vocal rhythm, resulting in what Dinosaur, Jr. might sound like if J. Mascis was just a little bit playful.

FFO: Dinosaur, Jr., Pavement, flannel shirts

Otoboke Beaver – “I Won’t Dish Out Salads”

I picked this one up via a recommendation and only listened to it this week, and I remain confounded on how to even classify this band. It’s garage-punk, with the ferocity of noise and the vocals of something poppier. Too melodic for Melt Banana, too hardcore for J-pop, and the tracks are just the right length for grindcore (the album’s last three songs account for only 39 seconds of music). It’s fun, aggressive, and insanely melodic. There’s only one other band I’ve listened to this year that sounded similar, and they’re…

FFO: Melt Banana, Guerilla Toss, trashing the term “guilty pleasure” once and for all

Perennial – “Tooth Plus Claw”

I’m a little biased on this one, as I recently got to interview these fine folks about their excellent new album, but it’s one of my favorite songs from the year nonetheless. Perennial’s music is a blast in both ways, and this song works a mission statement – a bouncy dance-punk track that harmonizes fun and aggression, all wrapped up in 85 seconds. Some bands that came up in conversation were Be Your Own Pet & The Hives, and it’s hard not to see Perennial as a spiritual successor to both those names.

FFO: Be Your Own Pet, The Hives, chugging cold brew

PLOSIVS – “Hit the Breaks”

Somehow this supergroup comprising members of Pinback, Against Me! (Atom Willard!) and Hot Snakes seems to have gone completely under the radar. The opening song off their debut song definitely sounds like the latter band, an aggressive but melodic indie-punk ditty that sounds like it was designed to absolutely kill in a live setting. You could argue that we don’t need yet another jangly garage group – but when it sounds as good as this, who cares?

FFO: Hot Snakes, Les Savy Fav, dads that rock

Porridge Radio – “Birthday Party”

Naming a song “Birthday Party” and then repeating the line “I don’t wanna be loved” endlessly is the grimmest possible way to establish a song. But that’s what the indie group Porridge Radio is about. Add in the pained vocals, deceivingly catchy rhythms and faint sounds of kids in the background, and you’ve got one of the year’s most brutally depressing songs. It’s what to expect from Porridge Radio, and it’s done well across the whole album, but never as good as here.

FFO: Nick Cave, the sadder Los Campesinos! albums, working on your birthday

SOAK – “Purgatory”

We’ve seen an absolute glut of electric-acoustic indie with pretty vocals over the last decade, but it’s still so nice to find artists who can do it so well. This song, the opener to a very solid album, mixes comforting acoustic with more unpredictable electric rhythms and deceptively haunting vocals. Their voice sounds so, so much like Adrienne Lenker’s, which is to say pretty and haunting at the same time. The repetition on “I’ll be hungry forever” to end the song is an extra wrinkle on the song’s beauty.

FFO: Big Thief, Waxahatchee, autumn

Robert Stillman – “Cherry Ocean”

This song remains confounding to me. It’s just shy of 9 minutes, features just a few instruments and very hushed, difficult-to-decipher vocals. It’s the only song on the album with lyrics, as the album otherwise meanders around various subgenres of jazz. I *guess* this counts as jazz, too, but I’m not even comfortable with that label. All of the components of this feel warm – the piano drone, the sax, the quiet vocals – and yet the final product feels cold and questioning. The album’s title – What Does It Mean To Be An American? – comes from a different song, but in the year 2022 that is a menacing question, and this song reflects it. There’s practically nothing to pull from this track, and yet I keep coming back to it.

FFO: Mount Eerie, Gene Hackman playing saxophone at the end of “The Conversation”

Tropical Fuck Storm/King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Satanic Slumber Party Part 2 (Midnight in Sodom)

Seemingly half of the current rock & punk bands I like come from Australia, so it only makes sense to see a team-up like this. I’ll admit I am not super familiar with TFS but Gizz has been my most played band each year since I got obsessed in 2018, and this song plays into their super wild side, just 6 minutes of chaotic art-punk that seems to never nail down any kind of central rhythm but also maintain just enough normalcy to not be pure cacophony. This song is pure, unadulterated fun. Gizz are by no means an undiscovered group but they released this split just weeks before their monstrous album “Omnium Gatherum” and it seems to have gotten lost in that album’s shadow. Also, be happy Gizz-heads: they’ve already committed to releasing 3 (!) more albums this year.

FFO: the better Animal Collective albums, black midi, riding a unicorn through a rainbow ocean

The Venomous Pinks – “Todos Unidos”

Ok so this song is actually 2 years old now and popped up on my radar last year, but the Arizona punk trio’s debut was finally released in June, so I’m counting it. Messy and angry, the song hearkens back to the times when hardcore punk was first burgeoning into the mainstream with its call to action and gang vocals. It feels refreshing to hear such straightforward street punk in an era where the genre label “punk” is arguably being thrown around too loosely. Given that they just wrapped up a tour with *the Dead Kennedys,* I would say to watch for this name.

FFO: Rancid, Pennywise, the great street punk bands from your hometown that split up to become firefighters

Weird Nightmare – “Searching For You”

Weird Nightmare is the solo project from Alex Edkins from METZ, but one listen to the song and you could probably figure that one out on your own. While the song is much more distinctly indie than anything METZ, the sweatiest band in the world, has done, it retains much of the same sound. Edkins still snarls his way through this slightly menacing track, and he remains infallible in his way of coupling melody and noise. This song takes heavy inspiration from some legendary 80’s/90’s guitar alternative, and we should be thankful for it.

FFO: METZ (obviously), Preoccupations, the crushing weight of a Tuesday afternoon

Zeal & Ardor – “Feed the Machine”

There weren’t a ton of albums I loved in Q1 this year so this new Zeal & Ardor album sat near the top of my list for a while. I truly don’t know why they’re not getting more attention than they are, though I blame the metal purists who demand every band follow the exact same script. Zeal & Ardor not only didn’t follow a metal script, they never even read it. This song – more indicative of how much I loved the album in general – starts with a damn stomp clap. The album takes black metal and incorporates elements of African music, chamber pop, industrial, folk, and just whatever the hell the band feels is appropriate. Nothing about it should work, and yet it does in a way that still makes metal feel fresh. Truly one of the best albums of the year so far.

FFO: Deafheaven, Author & Punisher, music that pisses off your parents and pisses off the people who make music to piss off your parents

Zola Jesus – “Sewn”

Zola’s new album “Arkhon” – only 1 day old at the time of me writing this – masterfully blends peaceful euphoria, haunting melodies and vengeful brooding into one album. My personal favorite from the album swings towards the latter, a menacing synth track that sounds like an animal creeping in the night. It hits remarkably well on the album, as the previous track is deceitfully melodic, but it works well as a standalone track as well.

FFO: Chelsea Wolfe, Jenny Hval, the Matrix nightclub scenes

And that’s 20! Thanks to anyone who actually read through all of this for some reason, I appreciate anyone so willing to discover new tunes! Also a shoutout to A Wilheim Scream, Blood Red Shoes & Thou, who all had songs that initially made the cut here before I swapped some around – I’ve loved these groups for years now. This was fun for me even if no one read it, so I’ll try to do another 20 at year’s end!