At Alt Revue, we’ve been thinking about our top albums of 2022. With many great albums coming out early in the year, I was forced to create one in January, so I would not forget those contenders. As I’ve been revising, I have also paid close attention to other “experts” favorites. For example, Dawn FM by The Weeknd, Mr. morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar, and Renaissance by Beyoncé made the cut, all my wife’s favorites. Spoon’s Lucifer On The Sofa made the top 5 of Rolling Stone. I saw an Instagram Reel that included Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Mitski; Black Midi; Wet Leg; The Smile; and Jack White. Then I saw Spoon, The Black Keys, and Machine Gun Kelly are up for Best Rock Album at the 2023 Grammys. While I looked at all of these for inspiration, I know my tastes will dictate my picks.
Michael La Torre, our editor, has already posted my article about Poliça. In it, I realized that my fear of having an opinion was getting in the way of sharing my true feelings. So, I forced myself to simply state: Poliça is my Band of the Year. During 2022, they went from being a favorite band to becoming one of my all-time favorites. Their music is intelligent, and Channy Leaneagh is a modern-day siren. But if you want to find out the details, you’ll have to read it.
However, all this thinking, pondering, and wondering led me to another realization. There are multiple bands/groups/performers/musicians that I have wanted to write about. Here is a small recap.
I have to be honest; I did not love Air. It hurts me to say that because before its April 15th release, I loved everything they did. In 2020, Untitled (Rise) was one of my top three favorite albums; in 2021, 9 repeated the accomplishment. I’ve listened to all of their music many, many times. However, AIR just did not hit me the same way. That was until they released five albums on November 1st. Why? Because of AIIR.
As an experimental group, Sault pushed their boundaries with Air and AIIR. These two albums are atmospheric soundtracks, not unlike what I experienced in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. While not my favorite Sault style, they will give me something to explore after I’ve listened to the rest through and through.
Shelve those two albums and look at 11 and Today and Tomorrow. Out of the five leased in November, these two are what I’ve come to expect from this mysterious group; they use their musical diversity to spread their brand. 11 is alt-soul; Today and Tomorrow is a fusion of funk and punk. There is also a gospel, a global, and a classical album. I love their commitment to their craft and their cause.
This is too brief, too common, and too basic of a review of what Sault gives the world. I am still piecing together my thoughts, so for now, know that I love this collection of musicians, love what they are doing, and will continue to support them.
black midi and Godcaster
These two are another couple of those Damn-why-couldn’t-I-have-been-the-first-one-to-hear-them bands. Their sounds are not new, but both bands are entirely unique, if those two statements working together are possible. Polar opposites in a similar style? Yin and Yang? One is from Philly, and the other is from London. Maybe if they played simultaneously on facing stages three or four hundred yards apart, a wormhole would open to an alternative reality. There, billionaires do not exist because they would ultimately share the wealth; global warming is science fiction, and Kanye can make good music and be a decent person. Wait. WTF am I talking about?
Block out my nonsense, and just check out these bands, together or separately. I don’t care, but let me know. One truth, though: Isaac Slater likes black midi.
I wasn’t sure what I thought of this group when I first heard Are You Haunted? However, after listening to it several times, I have to say that this band is my sleeper pick. Their music is clean, creative, dramatic, and perfect. Listen to the vinyl. Both sides start in similar fashions. Intelligent. I love that. Give me thoughtful musicians, not just flashy and mouthy.
I cannot leave this duo out of a conversation. My wife and I can put on Brijean and be grateful that we are alive. The magic of Moody and this year’s release, Angelo, have pulled me out of the depths of my head and made me feel safe.
“Angelo, Angelo, can you transport me?”
Overall and General
I listen to a lot of music, some that I choose and some that are chosen by others. Rarely will I ever complain. Yeah, there are times when I am not in the mood to hear Trap, Deep House, or Country, but for the most part, I enjoy hearing something in the background. It keeps me from my thoughts, which is a very good thing.
Yes, I still listen to Phish, Radiohead, and LCD Soundsystem. I just finished a Follow-Up to the first The Smile review I wrote because their music has been stuck in my head. But, I feel like listening to musicians that have reached a pinnacle in their careers so that they no longer have to prove themselves is truly amazing. I listened to Phish’s entire The Clifford Ball show to help get me through my final three-day push for NaNoWriMo. I even listened to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on my drive home from Winchester, Virginia. It was the first time I listened to their version all the way through in years.
This year I found new favorite bands for the first time since 2016. It was partially because of my excitement but also because of the quality of the music released. And as I mentioned, Godcaster is working on an album right now. And so is Rituals of Mine. Maybe Blue Hawaii will release another full-length album. I don’t know, but I will be waiting because I love music, and I love having the opportunity to write about these great musicians.