Bradley’s Almanac

[Nac Faves] My Favorite Music of 2022

Posted on February 28, 2023 at 11:04 am | No Comments

 

 

So last year’s faves list took me twelve long months to pull together. This one? Just two! A minor miracle. I think maybe I’ve gotten my posting-groove back? Just in time for the big music blog resurgence. What, you haven’t heard?

Once again, here’s my annual, alphabetical rundown of the new albums & reissues (and one EP) that I loved and listened to lots in 2022. As always, no numbered ranking, just a loooong list. Not the ‘best’, just the personal favorites that found their way to my ears.

There’s a bit of text about each, record label links for direct-as-possible-purchasing, along with embeds and Bandcamp links for further listening. And a playlist to bookmark or stream while you read. And yeah, as you may note, I am still a sucker for all things Slumberland.

Previous years: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, & 2001.

When you’re done here, check out these 2022 fave lists from other discriminating ears I admire…

I’ve got some cool plans in my head for the ‘Nac this year, and getting this list out early-ish clears the decks to make some of it happen. Here’s hoping the inspiration/motivation hangs around awhile…


 

‘Nac Faves of 2022 | streaming playlist

 


 

My Favorite LPs of 2022

 

 


 

2nd Grade

“Easy Listening”

[ on Double Double Whammy ]

 

I’m a relatively new 2nd Grade convert, and I owe that to a couple friends and their feeds. Thank you, friends.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from DDW ]

 


 

50 Foot Wave

“Black Pearl”

[ on Fire Records ]

 

Kristin, Rob, & Bernard making a racket. I’m up for whatever they put down.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Fire Records ]

 


 

Alvvays

“Bad Rev”

[ on Polyvinyl ]

 

A long wait paid off with this third full-length of perfect shimmer-pop from this Canadian combo. Was lucky enough to see them from the front row recently, where I engaged in some serious swooning. They’re better live than they’ve ever been, and that’s saying something. Oh, and they just released a Jane Wiedlin cover! An inspired choice.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Polyvinyl ]

 


 

Archers of Loaf

“Reason In Decline”

[ on Merge Records ]

 

The Archers return! And like they never left. 24 years between albums and still full of righteous, hook-filled fury. They’re on tour at this very moment, hopefully you’ve had or will get a chance to see them and bow down. I did, and did. All Hail Team Loaf.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Merge ]

 


 

Artsick

“Fingers Crossed”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

Another ace addition to the Slumberland roster. It’s never a matter of ‘if’ I’ll like something that Papa Slumber puts out, but ‘how much’. This one? A lot.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

The Beths

“Expert In A Dying Field”

[ on Carpark Records ]

 

A stunner of a record from this kiwi outfit, following a string of truly great releases. Their super-fun live lockdown sessions helped keep me going during that whole show-drought-period, and finally seeing them in person at Courtney Barnett’s Here & There Fest at MASS MoCA was a gift. I’ll get the chance again soon when they play two nights at Roadrunner here in Boston next month.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Carpark ]

 


 

Big Thief

“Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You”

[ on 4AD ]

 

Speaking of Roadrunner, I got to see Big Thief there back in April, my first show in that swanky new venue, and hooboy, did that remarkable band get… big. Place was jammed, crowd was crazy (and crazy chatty), but they played as if they were in a much smaller room. Was cool to see them gather close together on the wide RR stage, though the space (and crowd) ate up some of the dynamics of their quieter material. Such a marked contrast to seeing them open for Nada Surf at the Paradise back in 2016. They deserve every bit of that success.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from 4AD ]

 


 

Blushing

“Possessions”

[ on Kanine Records ]

 

Who’s excited? I am! Because I’ll finally get to see Blushing, and a mere five minute walk from my house. They hit O’Brien’s in Allston, MA on March 12th. It’s the day after I’m seeing Unwound in NYC, though… so I may be half asleep, but I’ll damn well be there.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Kanine ]

 


 

The Boys With
The Perpetual Nervousness

“The Third Wave Of…”

[ on Bobo Integral ]

 

I feel like these guys were just on my list last year? Yes, they were. These prolific jangle-poppers did it again, and this time they recruited self-professed fan Mary Lou Lord to provide some perfect backing vocals on a song. Hoping for an actual U.S. tour might be a reach, but if it ever happens… Boston, and a MLL guest appearance, is a MUST.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Bobo Integral ]

 


 

Built to Spill

“When The Wind Forgets Your Name”

[ on Sub Pop ]

 

Is this among my favorite Built To Spill records? It is not. Still good? Yes! I listened to it a bunch, dug (sorry) the singles, and got to see them play a couple times last year, so what I’m truly looking forward to is the next LP… one that hopefully includes the current rad rhythm section of Melanie Radford & Teresa Esguerra. Seeing those two play with Doug brings pure joy, and I cannot wait to hear what they do together in a studio.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Sub Pop ]

 


 

Camp Cope

“Running With The Hurricane”

[ on Run For Cover Records ]

 

Well, at least they went out on a high note. Though their three-LP discography doesn’t really have any lows. I was really looking forward to following their sonic journey over time, and their breakup is a big ol’ bummer. But like they say, nothing gold can stay.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Run For Cover ]

 


 

Destroyer

“Labyrinthitis”

[ on Merge Records ]

 

Oh, Mr. Bejar, you elusive genius you. I still kinda wish I’d said something when it was just he & I in an elevator that one time. I’m also very glad that I didn’t. Three floors of tension-filled silence. I hope he sensed the love.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Merge ]

 


 

Dumb

“Pray 4 Tomorrow”

[ on Mint Records ]

 

A late-comer to my list, but jeez, instant placement. One listen was all it took, though many, many followed. Again, I owe this find to a friend. I saw your post. And I thank you.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Mint ]

 


 

Elk City

“Above The Water”

[ on Magic Door ]

 

How the hell has this band existed since 1997, and yet I’d been totally oblivious until last year? I mean, they’ve been on a few compilations I own, and Sean from Luna has been in the band, but still… no clue. I feel shame. It took the relatively recent involvement of Richard from Versus 7 Flower to perk up my ears. Blind spot rectified. An album full of infectious songs that sounded even better in a live setting (thanks in no small part to James from Versus/PlusMinus joining up as well). Catch ’em if you can.


[ Stream & buy the LP on Bandcamp ]

 


 

Darren Hanlon

“Life Tax”

[ on Flippin’ Yeah Industries ]

 

Any full-lengther from this longtime fave would likely end up here, but I’m used to falling more deeply in love with his recorded songs by seeing him play every couple years. I kinda took those regular visits for granted, but the pandemic (and maybe touring economics) has kept his recent appearances mostly limited to his Australian homeland. The exception was a European tour with the Magnetic Fields last year, and thank goodness for that, as that trip lead directly to him writing “The Squirrel Song”, a digital single that arrived in late 2022. For obvious reasons, I adore it (read about its origins and order it right here)

. Darren rhymes “ferret” with “Merritt”. I mean, come on.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Flippin’ Yeah ]

 


 

Robyn Hitchcock

“Shufflemania!”

[ on Tiny Ghost Records ]

 

A Hitchcock record that uses “…mania!” in the title sets a high bar, and this one’s worthy of the self-referential action. Robyn has been a constant and comforting online presence since the days of lockdown, doing regular streaming sets with his partner Emma Swift. Looking forward to seeing him in person for the first time since 2019 when he hits City Winery Boston in April.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Tiny Ghosts ]

 


 

Horsegirl

“Versions of Modern Performance”

[ on Matador Records ]

 

So young, and so great, right out of the gate. Take a jumble of quality influences, toss ’em in a blender, and out they come as Horsegirl’s debut LP. And on Matador, no less (where some of those very influences call home). Caught them in two very different environments last year… first outdoors as the opening act on the giant Boston Calling stage less than week before their album was released, and again at a sold-out Sinclair in August. Both were great, but you can guess which set was more fun.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Matador ]

 


 

The House of Love

“A State of Grace”

[ on Cherry Red ]

 

Sticklers & cranks can’t resist shouting this isn’t really the House of Love, since frontman Guy Chadwick is the only original member (so vitally, no Terry Bickers), but I’ve chosen not to quibble and just enjoy the fact that he’s still around, still writing & singing new songs, and most excitingly, actually touring. He and his cracking band made it to Boston a few months back and it was wonderful. Hadn’t seem them since… 1992, maybe? A lifetime. Making new live memories with songs I hold so close to my heart is a gift, and the few songs they played from this record held up among the old gold.


[ Buy the LP direct from from Cherry Red ]

 


 

Hurry Up

“Dismal Nitch”

[ on Comedy Minus One ]

 

A thrilling record from a band I wasn’t too familiar with, but really, really should have been. I somehow totally missed their 2015 debut LP, despite the Thermals/Bangs/KRS pedigree, so I’m glad I finally got on board with this one, their sophmore record and first for quality label Comedy Minus One.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Comedy Minus One ]

 


 

Jeanines

“Don’t Wait For A Sign”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

The second Slumberland release on this list, and not the last. NY-based, but somehow… they’ve not yet played Boston? Can that be? Either that or I totally missed it. That’s gotta happen this year, right?


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Kids On A Crime Spree

“Fall In Love Not In Line”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

Like I said. Another great Slumber-band, this one Bay-area based, and while they’ve been around for a decade, this is their first proper full-length. Not sure they’ve ever even played the East Coast, but here’s hoping.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Kiwi Jr.

“Chopper”

[ on Sub Pop Records ]

 

Another band that was also on last year’s list with their sophomore record. Album number three did not disappoint, and I’m very much looking forward to finally seeing ’em in person when they play the (too small for them) Lilypad in Cambridge next month. Unsurprisingly, already sold out.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Sub Pop ]

 


 

The Loyal Seas

“Strange Mornings In The Garden”

[ on American Laundromat Records ]

 

The musical match-made-in-heaven of Brian Sullivan (Dylan In The Movies) and Tanya Donelly (c’mon, you know) finally released their long-in-the-works collaboration and yeah, pure magic. Their set at the Burren in Somerville, and the band they pulled together to play it, was one of my live music highlights of 2022.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from American Laundromat ]

 


 

The Mommyheads

“Genius Killer”

[ on Mommyhead Music ]

 

Around since 1987, with a decade off somewhere in there, and still regularly releasing meticulously-crafted, off-kilter pop records. Glad I reconnected with them a few years ago and was able to dig into the albums I missed out on. This one stands tall among them.


[ Stream & buy the LP on Bandcamp ]

 


 

My Raining Stars

“89 Memories”

[ on Shelflife Records ]

 

I get a lot of unsolicted messages about new music. Like, a lot. If I tune out for a few days I’m drowning in hundreds of unread notes, the majority of which mean little to me. But I am forever grateful that Thierry Haliniak, the Frenchman behind My Raining Stars, reached out last year to let me know about his wonderful new full length (14 years since the first!). He’s released another ace EP since, and a new single just a couple weeks ago.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Shelflife ]

 


 

Nina Nastasia

“Riderless Horse”

[ on Temporary Residence ]

 

After a long absence, Nina Nastasia returned with an absolutely devastating record, one that would be crushing even if you didn’t know the heart-punching backstory. I had plans to see her play these songs last year that didn’t quite come together, but given her New England relocation, I’m optimistic I’ll get another chance sometime soon.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Temporary Residence ]

 


 

Oceanator

“Nothing’s Ever Fine”

[ on Polyvinyl ]

 

It’s easy to look at the title of Elise Okusami’s latest Oceanator record and assume it’s a bummer, like, “things are always less than fine”. But given how much fun some of the songs on this LP are, I’m choosing to believe it means “things are never just fine, they’re better!”. But it’s probably both. November 2022 highlight: Catching her band play with Young Jesus at the tiny Cantab in Cambridge. So good.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Polyvinyl ]

 


 

Oneida

“Success”

[ on Joyful Noise Recordings ]

 

Another late-entry to this list, thanks to an intimate Oneida set at the Lilypad in mid-December. I’d heard, and really liked, this record before that show, but hearing the songs in person, picking up the vinyl, and listening to it a ton over the last month put it solidly among my faves.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Joyful Noise ]

 


 

Papercuts

“Past Life Regression”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

Oh, it’s that label again. Jason Quever has been releasing music for nearly 20 years, but it took his association with Slumberland back in 2018 to get Papercuts on my radar. This, his 8th LP, is top-to-bottom excellent. If I ranked this list, it would be way, way up there.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Pet Fox

“A Face In Your Life”

[ on Exploding In Sound ]

 

I feel so fortunate to live in the land of Pet Fox, sharing a ‘hood with what might be my favorite Boston-area band right now. Getting to see them regularly, hearing songs from this record reproduced in front of me, is a very-much-appreciated pleasure. If they come anywhere near you this hear, don’t pass up the chance.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Exploding In Sound ]

 


 

Pilot to Gunner

“Hail Hallucinator”

[ on Arctic Rodeo ]

 

If federal judges picked favorite records, I’d probabl;y have to recuse myself for being too close to this case. But I love these guys, I love these songs, and honestly, I could’ve chosen this as a 2021 fave (thanks to an early preview download) if it didn’t sound too braggy at the time. Instead, it’s sits squarely in my 2022 list, and PtG will finally be hitting the Boston area in March (Malden) and May (deets soon), where I’ll be standin up front grinning like a damn fool.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Arctic Rodeo ]

 


 

Plosivs

“Plosivs”

[ on Swami Records ]

 

One of those rare instances when songwriters from two favorite, yet distinctly different, bands join together and it sounds exactly as great as you hoped. Elements of both Pinback (via Rob Crow) and Hot Snakes/RFTC (via Swami John Reis) bolstered by the absolutely killer rhythm section of drummer Atom Willard (who is fortunately healing up) and bassist Jordan Clark. Time will tell if this album and accompanying tour was a one off or not, but I feel damn lucky to have borne witness to their show at Brighton Music Hall last March. Which, incredibly, was not sold out. wtf, Boston.


[ Buy the LP from Swami ]

 


 

Porridge Radio

“Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky”

[ on Secretly Canadian ]

 

Porridge Radio, and the voice of Dana Margolin, soundtracked my early pandemic with 2020’s excellent “Bad End” LP, so getting such a strong follow-up relatively soon after was a treat. Wish her voice wasn’t still soundtracking a pandemic, though :-/ Maybe by the time the next record arrives we’ll see get an actual Boston-area visit, which their first and only U.S. tour so far sadly omitted.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Secretly Canadian ]

 


 

The Reds, Pinks and Purples

“Summer At Land’s End”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

I’m sensing a trend in these little blurbs… I’m either grateful to have recently seen a band live, or whining that I haven’t yet, and hoping they show up in Boston soon. It’s the latter for Glenn Donaldson’s Reds, Pinks, & Purples, unfortunately. The closest he’s come to town was upstate NY for last year’s Woodsist Fest, but I couldn’t make it out there that weekend. His recently announced opening slot on Dan Bejar’s upcoming solo Destroyer tour is a hell of a team-up, but it seems like they’re intentionally avoiding us, with an off-day between Connecticut & Vermont and no plans to play the state they have to drive through. Looks like I’m gonna have to go to New Haven, aren’t I? Pre-show pizza, for sure.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Savak

“Human Error/Human Delight”

[ on Peculiar Works ]

 

Big fan of these Brooklyn boys. In fact, I wanted to see them badly enough that I helped set up what might have been their first-ever Boston area show (RIP Once Lounge :-/). They’ve been regularly cranking out solid LPs since 2016, and their latest may be my fave of the bunch. There’s even a pretty great remix record of this new one, and I normally do not enjoy such things. Defying the odds.


[ Stream and buy the LP on Bandcamp ]

 


 

Sea Power

“Everything Was Forever”

[ on Golden Chariot ]

 

Dropping the “British” from their name, but that’s all they let go. Still as powerfully anthemic as ever. It’s been ages since they’ve hit our shores… in fact, I don’t think they’ve even left the UK in almost 6 years. Can we let them back in now that they don’t pose a Brit-specific nautical threat?


[ Buy the LP direct from the band ]

 


 

Sleepyhead

“New Alchemy”

[ on Wild Sometimes Records ]

 

Another one of those “glad I live where I do” bands that I get to see play semi-regularly, thanks to their Boston-area home base. Always nice when people you really like write songs you really like, and Sleepyhead have been doing just that for years. Decades, even. I resisted every urge to request a classic or two at their recent Midway show, and it was a genuine thrill to get a surprise Cure cover at the close of their set. Nailed it.


[ Stream & buy the LP on Bandcamp ]

 


 

Sloan

“Steady”

[ on Yep Roc Records ]

 

“Slooooooaaaan!” Steady as ever.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Yep Roc ]

 


 

Spiral Stairs

“Medley Attack!!!”

[ on Amazing Grease Records ]

 

Overshadowed by his hugely-successful, recently-reunited (again) other band, but releasing great new songs while that one coasts on their classics (that’s not a diss, that tour ruled). Very, very grateful that Spiral brought along Hamish Kilgour as an opener the last time he played Boston, as that would sadly be the final time I’d get to see him play live before he passed away. Sigh.


[ Stream & buy the LP on Bandcamp ]

 


 

Spoon

“Lucifer On The Sofa”

[ on Matador Records ]

 

I’ve got a rollercoaster of a listening relationship with Spoon. Loved them early on, lost me after a couple of records, but I really soured on them after a particularly dreadful live performance that had me wondering what I’d liked about them in the first place. And then, while waiting for the Replacements to take the stage at Boston Calling 2014, I saw them absolutely blow away the festival crowd, myself included. One killer set and I was full back on board. The subsequent records have been alright, but this one has somethin’ special.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Matador ]

 


 

Sun’s Signature

“Sun’s Signature” [EP]

[ on Partisan Records ]

 

I wasn’t going to include any EPs on this list, but… the recorded return of vocal-goddess Elizabeth Fraser? Yeah, that rates. I knew I’d love the singing on this thing, but had no idea what to expect from the music underneath her, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was so worthy of her.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Partisan ]

 


 

Superchunk

“Wild Loneliness”

[ on Merge Records ]

 

I suppose you’d call this “the pandemic Superchunk album”, home-and-remotely recorded, and a tad mellower than their other post-rebirth LPs, but still with plenty of punch. More of that punch can be found on a recent 7-inch that features a couple of rockin’ songs from those sessions, available here.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Merge ]

 


 

Tallies

“Patina”

[ on Kanine Records ]

 

Once again hitting that shimmery, Sundays-meets-C86-inspired sweet spot, though with this sophomore record they’ve differentiated themselves a bit from their obvious influences. Using such a beloved template would be a mere gimmick if the songs weren’t so good and the hooks weren’t there, but fortunately they are. Add another to the list of bands I’d love to see live at some point.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Kanine ]

 


 

Tysk Tysk Task

“You’re Sorry More”

[ on Cursa Records ]

 

A Massachusetts combo that makes a mighty racket, I had the pleasure of first hearing Tysk Tysk Task in duo-form when they played with Savak at last year’s edition of the Town & the City Fest in Lowell, MA. Powerful enough to send me straight to their 2020 debut LP, and eventually to this excellent September 2022 sophomore follow-up. Looks like frontwoman Samantha Hartsel has expanded the band to a trio since that April show, so I’m looking forward to hearing them bring even more noise next time.


[ Stream & buy the LP on Bandcamp ]

 


 

Weird Nightmare

“Weird Nightmare”

[ on Sub Pop Records ]

 

This one was a total surprise, not knowing exactly what to expect from the debut of Metz singer/guitarist Alex Edkins’ solo project. I mean, I figured it’d probably be good, but not as unstoppably infectious as this record is. Absolutely hooked from the get-go, and I thank whoever was responsible for getting him & his live band (including the rhythm section from faves Kestrels) to open some of Archers of Loaf’s recent tour dates, including the Boston stop. Hell of a team-up, that one was. Weird Nightmare have already shared a couple of singles and a Troggs cover since this record arrived, so go have a look and a listen.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Sub Pop ]

 


 

Wet Leg

“Wet Leg”

[ on Domino Music ]

 

Yeah, yeah. This is on everyone’s list. And it damn well deserves to be. The weird music-snob backlash to their success I’ve seen in certain circles says more about those contrarians than it does about the undeniable catchiness of this record. Winning a Grammy certain isn’t going to quell those cranks, but me? I absolutely cannot wait to hear what this band has up their sleeve for a follow-up. Expectations are up there.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Domino ]

 


 

Young Jesus

“Shepherd Head”

[ on Saddle Creek ]

 

I will never forget how blown away I was by the opening set Young Jesus played ahead of Ian Sweet at Great Scott (miss you) back in 2018. Just three songs and then “we’ve got one more for you“. I felt cheated until they broke into a blistering version of the 20-minute “Gulf”, the closing track off that year’s “The Whole Thing Is Just There” LP. Fan for life. And as much as I do love this latest record, I’m even more excited about the next one, given the live versions of brand new songs that John Rossiter played solo at the Cantab in November. Just wait until you hear them in recorded form.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Saddle Creek ]

 

 


 

A Few Favorite 2022 Reissues


 

Camera Obscura

“Making Money”

[ b-sides and rarities LP ]

[ limited release on 4AD ]

 

Carey on the cover. Sigh. A collection off odds and sods that I grabbed on record store day, briefly filling the empty space that this band’s recorded absence has left in my heart.


 


 

Codeine

“Dessau”

[ long-lost unreleased LP ]

[ on Numero Group ]

 

Long-rumored to exist, seeing this thing get unearthed, cleaned up, and properly presented on shelves is yet another feather in the giant-sized cap that Numero group now wears.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Numero Group ]

 


 

Come

“Peel Sessions”

[ from 1992 & 1993, plus a rare ’91 live track ]

[ on Fire Records ]

 

Bless Fire Records for their currently-in-progress mining of the Come discography. 1994’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” got the reissue treatment in 2021, followed by this killer Peel Session collection last year, and we’ll get 1998’s “Gently Down The Stream” this April. Keep ’em Come-ing. (sorry)


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Fire Records ]

 


 

The Cure

“Wish”

[ 30th anniversary reissue ]

[ on Fiction Records ]

 

I even bought the cassette. And I never buy cassettes.


[ Buy it from the band ]

 


 

Go Sailor

“Go Sailor”

[ vinyl-only reissue ]

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

Already out of print again


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Hallelujah the Hills

“I’m You”

[ first-ever vinyl pressing ]

[ fan-funded via Bandcamp ]

 

Because us fans demanded it. This Hallelujah the Hills 2019 masterpiece (yeah, I said it) never got a vinyl release, but a Bandcamp funding drive made it happen, and it’s a wonderful thing. The Hills currently have an absolutely ridiculous, overly-ambitious 52-song Patreon-funded project called “Deck” now in progress, and I’m happily along for the ride. Jump in, just to find out if they can pull it off.


[ Stream & buy the LP on Bandcamp ]

 


 

The Hated

“The Best Piece Of Shit Vol. 4”

[ first of five planned archival Hated collections ]

[ on Numero Group ]

 

As I write this, I’m just a few days removed from seeing The Hated live for the first time ever, at their second show in 35 freakin’ years, during Numero Twenty in Los Angeles. It was frenetic, passion-filled, a little messy, and everything I hoped it would be. Genuinely believed such a thing wasn’t possible, and I’m even further in debt to Numero for triggering this resurgence with these releases.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Numero ]

 


 

Mary Lou Lord

“She’d Be A Diamond”

[ on Fire Records ]

 

For a decade or so I’ve found myself less & less likely to be lured out early on a Saturday morning to brave the lines of fellow record-nerds on the regular Record Store Days, but this collection of Mary Lou Lord was enough to make that happen last year. Two LPs full of singles, compilation tracks, covers, and other random MLL treasures made that decision easy. Fortunately for you, Fire Records made it available through their shop after RSD, so you can still grab one before they’re gone.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Fire Records ]

 


 

Pavement

“Slanted and Enchanted”

[ 30th anniversary reissue ]

[ on Matador Records ]

 

Bought this on vinyl when it first came out, bought it again 30 years later. And may have bought it a time or two in between. Sounds as great now as it did then, maybe better, and the cassette they threw in this time was a nice bonus.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Matador ]

 


 

Pond

“Rock Collection”

[ first-ever vinyl pressing ]

[ on Latent Print Records ]

 

I owe Latent Print a serious debt of gratitude for making this happen, something I didn’t think ever would. (The real) Pond’s final 1997 record was long out of print, never had a vinyl pressing, and has been a glaring absence from streaming services. This lovingly-produced reissue corrects all that, and triggered a couple travel-worthy reunion shows last year that were a total blast. Bonus: “Rock Collection” contains what is probably my favorite Pond song (“Flawed”), so I can finally share that sucker with the uncoverted.


[ Buy the LP direct from Latent Print ]

 


 

Ride

“4 EPs”/”Nowhere”/”Going Blank Again”

details

[ on Wichita Recordings ]

 

Yes, I bought them all again, too. Can’t stop, won’t stop.


Stream & buy via Bandcamp:
[ “4 EPs” / “Nowhere” / “Going Blank Again” ]

 


 

Rilo Kiley

“Take Offs and Landings”

[ 20th anniversary deluxe edition ]

[ on Barsuk Records ]

 

Not my favorite Rilo Kiley record (that’d be “The Execution Of All Things”, also overdue for an anniversary reissue), but still more-than-worthy of finally grabbing on remastered, repackaged wax.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Barsuk ]

 


 

Speedy Ortiz

“The Death of Speedy Ortiz & Cop Kicker …Forever”

[ 2LP collection of early recordings & unreleased tracks ]

[ on Carpark Records ]

 

As a fan of all things Sad13, this one was a no-brainer, fleshing out the early history of Speedy Ortiz.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Carpark ]

 


 

Stereolab

“Pulse of the Early Brain (Switched on Volume 5)”

[ b-sides & rarities collection ]

[ on Duophonic ]

 

Another volume, another addition to the shelves. The groop that keeps on giving. So grateful they’re still around and still touring. Their show here in Boston last October at Roadrunner might have been the best I’ve ever seen them without the so-much-missed Mary.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Duophonic ]

 


 

Wye Oak

“If Children”

[ first-ever vinyl pressing ]

[ on Merge Records ]

 

When this reissue was announced for RSD ’22, I was surprised that it hadn’t ever been pressed on wax, especially given the label it’s on. I suppose it must have been born well bbefore vinyl became an assumed format, so I’m glad that Merge finally rectified the ommision. One hell of a promising debut, and those promises have been well-kept.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Merge ]

 


 

Yo La Tengo

“I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One”

[ 25th anniversary deluxe edition ]

[ on Matador Records ]

 

My second-favorite Yo La Tengo record after the previously-reissued “Electr-O-Pura”, buying this remastered, expanded anniversary edition was a given. And I’m already deeply in love with their just-released new record, “This Stupid World”, which ranks up there with the best of ’em. I’m not sure it’s possible for this band to let me down.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Matador ]


 

And that’s a wrap on my 2022 listening. Naturally, I’m still discovering records that came out last year that would’ve made the list had I heard them (I’m looking at you, Thus Love), but you can’t get to ’em all. Not going to stop trying, though.

 

[Nac Faves] My Favorite Music of 2021

Posted on December 30, 2022 at 11:07 am | No Comments

 

 

While all the cool kids are sharing their faves from 2022 (y’know, the current waning year), I’m keeping up my tradition of unfashionable lateness by sharing my favorites from the previous one. I’ve made my personal deadline with a day to spare, and exactly 24 hours earlier than the also-very-late-last-one. 2021 was yet another mid-pandemic year that felt like a bit of a blur music-wise, with far fewer live shows to mark the time and celebrate newly-released records in a crowd. A lot of at-home listening done in a bubble. And I do mean a lot. This list does go on.

What follows is an alphabetical rundown new albums (and some reissued records) that kept me afloat during the calendar year 2021. As usual, no ranking, just a list. Not the best, just my faves. There’s a little blurb about each one, label links for direct-purchasing, embeds and Bandcamp links for further listening, and a playlist (sorry) to stream while you scroll.

Why didn’t I just skip 2021 and do a more-timely 2022 list? Because I’ve been making these things for over two decades, and I’m determined not to break that streak again (let us not speak of 2006). Previously: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, & 2001.

Some supplementary reading & listening courtesy of lists I dug from last year: Bill’s Indie Basement Top 40 of 2021 over at BV, Allston Pudding’s 2021 Staff Picks & Local (Boston area) Faves, Kumar’s 2021 Faves, Noise Floor’s Best of 2021, and Music For Ants 2021 faves.

Work on my 2022 faves list is already in progress. I’m optimistic I’ll share it… someday soonish, though I wouldn’t hold any amount of breath.


 

‘Nac Faves of 2021 – Spotify playlist

 


 

My Favorite LPs of 2021

 

 

 


 

Aeon Station

“Observatory”

[ on Sub Pop ]

 

All the Wrens-related waiting & wishing unfolded into that unfortunate drama, but a silver lining was this fantastic record from 3/4 of the band under the name Aeon Station. And given this recent update, we may even see a new one from the other 1/4 in 2023. If we end up with two great LPs? I’ll take it. Here’s hoping A.S. drummer Jerry MacDonald has recovered from surgery and that some rescheduled A.S. live shows will happen in the new year.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from Sub Pop ]

 


 

Lou Barlow

“Reason To Live”

[ on Joyful Noise ]

 

Another solid solo outing from this very busy man. I’m totally digging his new podcast, “Raw Impressions”, with his wife Adele.


[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it from from Joyful Noise ]

 


 

Courtney Barnett

“Things Take Time, Take Time”

[ on Mom & Pop Music ]

 

A 2022 highlight: Seeing so many of the songs from this record played live back in August at the Courtney-curated “Here and There” fest at MassMoCA. A perfect day spent.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Mom & Pop ]

 


 

The Boys With
The Perputual Nervousness

“Songs From Another Life”

[ on Bobo Integral ]

 

The second record from this Spanish-Scottish combo, and they’ve already released a third that’ll end up on my 2022 list. Hope to catch ’em live someday if they ever do a proper stateside tour.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Bobo Integral ]

 


 

The Catenary Wires

“Birling Gap”

[ on Skep Wax ]

 

Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey can do no wrong in my book, so it’s no surprise that this latest CW record is listed. I snagged a ticket to the May 2023 Heavenly reunion show in London, even though I have no clue if I can actually make it or not. Still need to get that figured out.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Skep Wax ]

 


 

Chime School

“Chime School”

[ on Slumberland ]

 

The first of three Slumberland releases on this here list. And there are at least that many on my 2022 edition. Papa Slumber has my number.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Chris Brokaw

“Puritan”

[ on 12XU ]

 

There’s been no songwriter who has soundtracked my life during this never-ending pandemic as much as Chris Brokaw has. Solo, with his rock trio, with the reunited Come, with Martha’s Vineyard Ferries, with new-ish trio Lupo Cita… I’ve seen him perform more than any other single person over the past few years, thanks to my chosen home here in Boston. Will never forget, after a months-long live music drought, biking to his first pop-up solo acoustic set in a Cambridge park. Water in a desert.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from 12XU ]

 


 

Dinosaur Jr.

“Sweep It Into Space”

[ on Jagjaguwar ]

 

Speaking of a busy Barlow, here he is again with his long-running power trio, who have released more original-lineup records since their 2005 reunion than they did during their first late-80s run. And they’re still just as loud live. Standing in from of J’s stack during their recent Boston show with GBV was… probably not the wisest move. Here’s to quality earplugs.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Jagjaguwar ]

 


 

Julie Doiron

“I Thought of You”

[ on You’ve Changed Records ]

 

Julie Doiron’s first proper solo record in almost a decade. May the wait for the next be a shorter one. Been in love with her voice and songs for nearly 30 years, since the moment I first heard Eric’s Trip. Fan of all involved for life.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from You’ve Changed ]

 


 

Ducks Ltd.

“Modern Fiction”

[ on Carpark Records ]

 

Ducks Ltd.’s “18 Cigarettes” = Guitar Pop Perfection. My favorite song of 2021? Think so. Catching them live has been high on my to do list, so being sick and missing their recent Boston stop was a major bummer. Fingers crossed for another date to erase that regret.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Carpark ]

 


 

Dummy

“Mandatory Enjoyment”

[ on Trouble In Mind Records ]

 

No, I’m not going to mention their obvious influences. They perfectly channel the sound & spirit of bands I adore, so I’m all in. Very grateful that Horsegirl brought them along as openers when they played the Sinclair last August.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Trouble In Mind ]

 


 

Film School

“We Weren’t Here”

[ on Sonic Ritual Recordings ]

 

Was quite jealous of the west-coasters that got to see Film School open up for a couple of those recent Pavement reunion shows. They haven’t ranged far from their LA/SF base over the past few years, hell, maybe even the past decade. I actually think the last time I saw them was… 2010?! That can’t be right. Come East, eh?


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Sonic Ritual ]

 


 

Flock of Dimes

“Head of Roses”

[ on Sub Pop Records ]

 

An incredible record from 1/2 of Wye Oak that led to one of my favorite mid-lockdown moments: The Spring 2021 livestreamed Flock of Dimes mini-set from Betty’s in Durham, NC, easily one of the best online performances I saw during that period (and I watched a lot… probably too many). The band that Jenn Wasner put together for that session was top-notch, and I’m glad a couple of those tracks were released for posterity. Audio joy.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Sub Pop ]

 


 

Fortitude Valley

“Fortitude Valley”

[ on Fika Records ]

 

An excellent UK quartet with a serious indie-pop-rock pedigree. And our labelmates! Fika represent!


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Fika ]

 


 

Guided By Voices

“Earth Man Blues”

[ on Rockathon Records ]

 

There were two very fine GBV full-lengths released last year, but this was the one I gravitated towards the most. Honestly, it could have gone either way. Hell, I should have just listed them both. And, of course, there are already two more 2022 LPs. Will we get two more in 2023? Knowing that Robert Pollard is now laid up with a broken knee, maybe we’ll get even more if he’s writing while resting. Get well soon, Bob!


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Rockathon ]

 


 

Hovvdy

“True Love”

[ on Grand Jury Music ]

 

High odds that anything this duo puts out will wind up on this list. You’ll find Charlie Martin’s solo record below, too. And if Will Taylor had released one, it’d probably join it.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Grand Jury ]

 


 

Kiwi Jr.

“Cooler Returns”

[ on Sub Pop Records ]

 

For a brief period, before I was familiar with them both, I was getting Kiwi Jr. & Ducks Ltd. confused with each other. The whole Toronto & trailing abbreviation thing. But I spent so much time with their respective 2021 records that I’ll never make that mistake again.

Looking forward: Kiwi Jr. will play the Boston area for what I believe to be the first time ever at the super-cosy Lilypad in Cambridge. If you’re anywhere near here, you’d best get tickets soon.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Sub Pop ]

 


 

Loney Dear

“A Lantern and a Bell”

[ on Real World Records ]

 

I feel like this record was overlooked last year, but to my ears it ranks up there with Emil Svanängen’s best & most beautiful. He’s had me under his spell since I saw him & his band open for Low in 2007.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Real World ]

 


 

Low

“Hey What”

[ on Sub Pop Records ]

 

Not sure I’ll ever come to terms with the fact that Mimi Parker is no longer here on this planet with us. Or that this is the last Low album we’ll ever hear. I wrote something to try and help me process.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Sub Pop ]

 


 

Makthaverskan

“För Allting”

[ on Run For Cover Records ]

 

This swirly Swedish band is remarkably consistent. And it’s starting to feel like I’m going to need to travel if I ever want to see them live. Maybe they’ll surprise me in 2023.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Run For Cover ]

 


 

Martha’s Vineyard Ferries

“Suns Out Guns Out”

[ on Ernest Jenning Record Co. ]

 

Another Brokaw appearance, this time with the all-star trio that includes Bob Weston & Elisha Wiesner. “Betty Ford James” is an all-timer, but maybe too short. Actually, that’s probably part of the reason it’s so great. They make up for its brevity by including it twice. It bears repeating.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from EJRC ]

 


 

Charlie Martin

“Imaginary People”

[ on Grand Jury Music ]

 

One half of Hovvdy, included above. His solo stuff is not too dissimilar from his duo, which is a very good thing. An expanded version of this record was released earlier this year.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Grand Jury ]

 


 

Massage

“Still Life”

[ on Mt. St. Mtn. Records ]

 

The first of two ex-Pains-of-Being-Pure-at-Heart-member projects on my list. More west-coast-jealousy here, since some lucky souls got to see them open for Quivers (see below) out there on their recent tour.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Mt. St. Mtn. ]

 


 

Mogwai

“As The Love Continues”

[ on Temporary Residence Ltd. ]

 

It’s Mogwai. It rules. And “Ceiling Granny” may be the hookiest riff-rock song they’ve ever written.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from TRL ]

 


 

Monnone Alone

“Stay Foggy”

[ on Lost & Lonesome Recording Co. ]

 

Former Lucksmith still knows how to write jangle pop gems.


[ Stream & buy the LP at Bandcamp ]

 


 

The Natvral

“Tethers”

[ on Kanine Records ]

 

Kip from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart goes a little less shimmery, and a little more Dylanesque, on his debut solo LP. And I’m totally on board.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Kanine ]

 


 

Jennifer O’Connor

“Born At The Disco”

[ on Kiam Records ]

 

JOC’s long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s “Surface Noise”, with a slight shift in a more electro-yet-still-organic direction. Less strum-strum and more bleep-bloop, but just as personal and engaging as ever. Very much looking forward to catching her at Atwood’s in Cambridge, MA with Chris Brokaw (him again) in February. It’s the first of a handful of shows they’ll be playing together, so check here to see if you’re lucky enough to live near one.


[ Stream & buy the LP at Bandcamp ]

 


 

Ovlov

“Buds”

[ on Exploding In Sound ]

 

I’ve still got residual goosebumps from seeing these guys play a rare set opening up for Pile in Somerville a couple months back. They absolutely owned the room, and the joy I felt when they kicked into “Strokes” is hard to express. Just wish it happened more often. Please play again soon, boys.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from EiS ]

 


 

Parquet Courts

“Sympathy for Life”

[ on Rough Trade Records ]

 

I’ve liked these guys for a long time, but liking became loving the moment I heard and saw the video for “Walking At A Downtown Pace“. My first mid-pandemic multi-band event was the 2021 Woodsist Fest in upstate NY, and as strong as that lineup was, I was most looking forward to PC playing that particular song. And they did it first. Nailed it, right out of the gate, and they never let up. (oh, and belated props to their ace percussionist for sporting a Dirty On Purpose t-shirt.)


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Rough Trade ]

 


 

Quivers

“Golden Doubt”

[ on Ba Da Bing Records ]

 

Another band who had to put fully-booked touring plans on hold when the pandemic hit, this Australian quartet eventually made good on that promise with a three-week stint in the states. And miracle of miracles, the band I play in got to open for them here in Boston. A complete honor, a night I won’t soon forget, and it made me fall even harder for this gem of a record.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Ba Da Bing ]

 


 

The Reds, Pinks, & Purples

“Uncommon Weather”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

It killed me that I couldn’t make it out to this year’s edition of the the Woodsist Fest to catch Glenn Donaldson & his band, as it looks like live appearances, especially in the northeast, are a relatively rarity. Still, if he was on the road more, he might not be as ridiculously prolific as he is. He’s got a quantity and quality thing going on, and even released a surprise free EP just a few days ago. The highest compliment I can pay him is that he’s kinda carrying the modern-day mantle of F.M. Cornog. (who I’d love to hear some surprise new sounds from someday, btw)


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Runnner

“Always Repeating”

[ on Run For Cover Records ]

 

I give every release that Run For Cover Records puts out an extra-attentive listen, not just because of their stellar track record, but also because they’re headquartered right in my ‘hood (Allston represent). Runnner hit me just right, and having been away for their first local show at the Middle East last year, I’m grateful I’ll get a chance again when they play just across the footbridge at O’Brien’s in March.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Run For Cover ]

 


 

Split Single

“Amplificado”

[ fan-funded through Indiegogo ]

 

Jason Narducy sure went and got himself a ringer of a rhythm section for his latest release as Split Single. I mean, Mike Mills on bass and Jon Wurster on drums? C’mon. The songs would be great without ’em, but those two help them fly. Fan-funded & self-released, I feel like this record wasn’t as heard as it deserved to be. If you haven’t yet, dive in, and go see Jason when you can, either on his own or in the killer bands he plays in (Superchunk, Bob Mould Band, & now sometimes with the reunited Sunny Day Real Estate). Oh, and if you’re in the Chicago area in a few weeks: check this out.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it direct here ]

 


 

Superbloom

“Pollen”

[ on Thirty Something Records ]

 

A series of killer singles and an excellent live EP culminated in one hell of a debut LP from this Brooklyn quartet. Been patiently waiting for their first-ever Boston-area show to get booked.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Thirty Something ]

 


 

Supermilk

“Four By Three

[ on Specialist Subject Records ]

 

After discovering Jake Popyura’s project Supermilk in 2020, when a livestream guest appearance hooked me hard, his debut full-length wound up on that year’s faves list. And so the follow-up finds itself on this one. The band has since released an excellent live recording of an April 2022 Scottish gig that can be heard right here.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Specialist Subject ]

 


 

Thalia Zedek Band

“Perfect Vision”

[ on Thrill Jockey Records ]

 

Another reason I’m lucky to live where I do: Getting to see these songs come to life on many different occasions. If you count TZ guesting on longtime collaborator Chris Brokaw’s LP above, this is her second appearance on this list. And there’s another yet to come (sorry)…


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Thrill Jockey ]

 


 

The Umbrellas

“The Umbrellas”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

 

Like I said above, I’m a sucker for some Slumberland, and the Umbrellas are a perfect fit for the venerable SF-based indie-pop-rock label. Their debut LP was a jangly breath of fresh air, and they’ve since released another ace single, “Write It In The Sky”.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Slumberland ]

 


 

Unwed Sailor

“Truth or Consequences”

[ on Spartan Records ]

 

This Seattle-based, mostly-instrumental combo, centered around the songwriting of Johnathon Ford, has been around since 1998, and it shamefully took me until just a few years ago to become aware of them. They haven’t played Boston a ton, so I feel lucky to have caught them open for the Chills here in town recently, where they played a few songs from their imminent next LP, “Mute The Charm”.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy it from Spartan ]

 

 


 

A Few Favorite 2021 Reissues


 

Belly

“Bees”

b-sides compilation

[ ltd. edition double LP via Turntable Lab ]

 

I’m enough of a Belly nut that I already had most, maybe all, of the tracks included in this compilation, but it’s nice to see them properly collected at last. The band is currently working towards a new record, but in the meantime, they’ve just gifted us with a couple of acoustic King-era songs.


 


 

Come

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

remastered LP reissue

[ on Fire Records ]

 

Zedek & Brokaw & Johnson & O’Brien. The original lineup of Come has been very active once again in the wake of this reissue – a bunch of U.S. dates, a full-on European tour, a hometown headline show, opening slots for Kurt Vile, you name it. Was lucky to catch ’em live a couple times this year, and they’re just as powerful as ever. Can’t wait to see what other reissues Fire Records has on deck.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Fire Records ]

 


 

Lilys

“The 3 Way”/”A Brief History of Amazing Letdowns”

reissue LPs

[ on Rough Trade & Frontier ]

 

Put any old Lilys release on vinyl and I’m buyin’ it. There have been some West Coast appearances by Heasley & co. lately, be nice to see some on this side of the states in the coming year. Dare we dream of new recordings?


[ Buy “The 3 Way” from Rough Trade ]

[ Stream & buy “ABHOAL” at Bandcamp ]

 


 

Matt Pond PA

“The State of Gold”

(redone version)

[ on 131 Records ]

 

Since Matt Pond has ditched the PA and is now officially putting out music as the Natural Lines with Chris Hansen & company, this is likely the last proper MPPA full-length, and it’s a high note to go out on. They were able to re-secure the master for this record (which originally came out in 2015) in order to remaster, re-sequence, and partially re-record it to create something almost new. A perfect way to put a pin in the past and move forward.


[ Stream & buy the LP at Bandcamp ]

 


 

Karate

“Karate”/”In Place of Real Insight”

remastered LP reissues

[ on Numero Group ]

 

Karate’s rebirth, thanks largely to Numero Group’s reissuing of their painfully-long-out-of-print discography, has been one of the past couple of year’s greatest gifts. Getting these records on wax, and seeing the band return to the stage in top form, was such a personal musical thrill. The fact that I’ve been able to see them a few times so far, with another on the way in March, is not something I’m taking for granted. Treasure every time.


[ Stream both LPs at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Numero ]

 


 

Seam

“Headsparks” LP/”Days of Thunder” 7-inch

vinyl reissues

[ on Numero Group ]

 

Numero keeps on giving, this time dipping their toes into reissuing some of Seam’s incredible discography. There’s a lot more to be had than just this 7-inch and LP, so several digits are very crossed they keep the remasters coming. In my dreams, a proper Seam box set will be sitting on my shelf before long.


[ Stream them both at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Numero ]

 


 

Stereolab

“Electrically Possessed [Switched On Vol. 4]”

various & sundries collected

[ self-released ]

 

Another volume of their indispensable odds-and-sods collections. Not like I’m going to stop buying them now.


[ Stream the collection at Bandcamp / Buy direct here ]

 


 

Unwound

“Challenge For a Civilized Society”

LP reissue

[ on Numero Group ]

 

Numero continues to mine the depths of Unwound’s history, this time reissuing their 6th LP, which originally came out in 1998. I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the great missed live-music opportunities of my life was not getting to see them on their final tour, which was understandably canceled in the wake of 9/11. They broke up soon after, so I never got to witness songs from “Leaves Turn Inside You” unfold in front of me. In 2023, that wrong finally gets righted. Bring it on.


[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Numero ]

 


 

Versus

“Let’s Electrify!”

EP reissue

[ on Teen-Beat Records ]

 

Speaking of wrongs getting righted, there’s a chunk of Versus’ discography that is unavailable not only on vinyl, but even digitally. A couple of their vital releases are wrapped up in rights-holder issues, but fortunately not this one… Teen-Beat was able to step up and repress this excellent 1993 EP. A must-have.


[ Stream the EP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Teen-Beat ]

 

 


 

 

So there it is. Catching up on these lists has turned into a holiday-downtime tradition. If you made it to the end, thanks for reading. Your eye-time is very much appreciated, and I wish you nothing but good things to come in the new year…

 

 

 

« go backkeep looking »
  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION
    Tuesday, June 4th
    Melt-Banana
    The Flying Luttenbachers
    babyaby_explores
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, June 4th
    Joe Jackson
    @ the Wilbur

    Wednesday, June 5th
    Andy Summers (The Police)
    @ Cary Hall, Lexington

    Thursday, June 6th
    Jason Narducy & Alison Chesley
    duo/reunion show
    @ Q Division Studios, Cambridge

    Thursday, June 6th
    Reverend Horton Heat
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, June 7th
    Swansea Sound
    Jeanines
    @ O'Brien's

    Saturday, June 8th
    (a band called) E
    Rong
    Handsy
    Medical Maps
    @ the Midway

    Saturday, June 8th
    Joe Pera
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, June 8th
    John Cleese
    Q&A, plus a screening of
    "Monty Python & the Holy Grail"
    @ the Chevalier Theatre, Medford

    Monday, June 10th
    Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade)
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Monday, June 10th
    Snarls
    Yasmin Nur
    @ the Rockwell

    Monday, June 10th
    Bleachers
    Samia
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Tuesday, June 11th
    Protomartyr
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Wednesday, June 12th
    The Trans-Canada Highwaymen
    (mems. of Sloan, Odds, BNL,
    & The Pursuit of Happiness)
    @ City Winery Boston

    Thursday, June 13th
    Jon Langford &
    the Bright Shiners
    with Jesse Ahern
    @ the Cut, Gloucester

    Thursday, June 13th
    Quasi playing 'Featuring "Birds"'
    Jeffrey Lewis
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Thursday, June 13th
    Aaron West & the Roaring Twenties
    Future Teens
    Maura Weaver
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, June 13th
    Comedy Bang! Bang!
    with Scott Aukerman &
    Paul F Tompkins
    @ The Wilbur

    Friday, June 14th
    The Gentlemen
    (featuring Mike Gent of the Figgs)
    first show in a decade!
    @ the Burren Back Room

    Friday, June 14th
    Sidewalk Driver
    @ Canal District Kendall

    Friday, June 14th
    Baabes
    Silver Screams
    Wire Lines
    Fear is the Mindkiller
    @ Koto in Salem

    Friday, June 14th
    Possum
    Dylan Earl
    Tiger Saw
    Dan Blakeslee
    Audrey, Karina, & Justin
    @ the Loft, Somerville

    Saturday, June 15th
    Pile
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, June 15th
    The Umbrellas
    Mallcops
    @ 4th Wall
    @ the Capital Theatre, Arlington

    Sunday, June 16th
    Pixies
    Modest Mouse
    Cat Power
    @ Xfinity Center

    Monday, June 17th
    White Reaper
    Spiritual Cramp
    Smirk
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, June 19th
    Future Islands
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, June 20th
    Roger Daltrey
    KT Tunstall
    @ the Pavilion

    Friday, June 21st
    The Church
    The Afghan Whigs
    Ed Harcourt
    @ the Royale

    Friday, June 21st
    Blushing
    Airiel
    Bodywash
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, June 22nd
    Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
    playing "Shake The Sheets"
    with guests
    Ekko Astral
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, June 22nd
    Guided By Voices
    The Moles
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, June 23rd
    Silversun Pickups
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, June 25th
    Jon Anderson (of Yes)
    playing “Yes Epics, Classics, and More”
    @ the Shubert Theatre

    Tuesday, June 25th
    Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
    Courtney Marie Andrews
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, June 26th
    Blue Oyster Cult
    @ the Lynn Auditorium

    Thursday, June 27th
    Lady Pills
    @ Faces Brewing

    Thursday, June 27th
    Bikini Whale
    Tsunami of Sound
    @ the Cut

    Friday, June 28th
    Dry Cleaning
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, June 28th
    A Day To Remember
    The Story So Far
    Four Year Strong
    Pain of Truth
    @ Suffolk Downs

    Friday, June 28th
    Dowsing
    @ Rockwood Music Hall

    Friday, June 28th
    Janet Jackson
    Nelly
    @ TD Garden

    Saturday, June 29th
    Buffalo Tom
    @ Boarding House Park, Lowell

    Sunday, June 30th
    Les Savy Fav
    @ Somerville Armory

    Sunday, June 30th
    Pedro the Lion
    Squirrel Flower (solo)
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Wednesday, July 3rd
    Grails
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, July 5th
    Mark Sandman Memorial Concert:
    Gone 25 Years But Not Forgotten
    featuring Dana Colley, Jerome Deupree, Mike Rivard, Laurie Sargent, Russ
    Gershon, Christian McNeill, Tom Halter
    Evan Harriman, Jimmy Ryan,
    Sabine Hrechdakian, & more
    @ the Cut in Gloucester

    Tuesday, July 9th
    Alanis Morissette
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    Morgan Wade
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Thursday, July 11th
    Bad Cop/Bad Cop
    Oceanator
    @ Deep Cuts

    Thursday, July 11th
    Mates of State
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, July 13th
    youbet
    Truth Club
    Clifford
    @ Deep Cuts

    Sunday, July 14th
    Daryl Hall & Elvis Costello
    @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway

    Tuesday, July 16th
    Los Campesinos!
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, July 17th
    Wand
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Wednesday, July 17th
    The Folk Implosion
    @ the Rockwell

    Wednesday, July 17th
    The "Summer Sounds" Series
    With Lost Film &
    Hey I'm Outside
    @ Bellforge Arts Center

    Wednesday, July 17th
    Totally Tubular Festival Tour
    with Thomas Dolby,
    Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins),
    Modern English, The Romantics,
    Men Without Hats, & more
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, July 19th
    Pretenders
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Saturday, July 20th
    Oneida
    E
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, July 20th
    Have Heart
    Speed
    Gel
    Initiate
    Eye For An Eye
    Wound Man
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, July 20th
    Lana Del Rey
    @ Fenway Park

    Sunday, July 21st
    Foo Fighters
    The Hives
    Amyl and the Sniffers
    @ Fenway Park

    Thursday, July 25th
    Jah Wobble (PIL)
    "Metal Box: Rebuilt in Dub"
    @ City Winery

    Thursday-Sunday
    July 25th-28th
    NICE, a fest
    many, many bands
    @ Davis Square in Somerville

    Saturday, July 27th
    Red Kross
    Dale Crover
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, July 27th
    Tinariwen
    @ the Royale

    Monday, July 29th
    Maserati
    Unwed Sailor
    @ Deep Cuts

    Thursday, August 1st
    The Mountain Goats
    Field Medic
    @ the House of Blues

    Friday, August 2nd
    Foreigner
    Styx
    John Waite
    @ Xfinity Center

    Saturday, August 3rd
    Cheap Trick
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Monday, August 5th
    DIIV
    Horse Jumper of Love
    Full Body 2
    @ the Royale

    Monday, August 5th
    Def Leppard
    Journey
    Heart
    @ Fenway Park

    Wednesday, August 7th
    Green Day
    Smashing Pumpkins
    Rancid
    The Linda Lindas
    @ Fenway Park

    Saturday, August 10th
    The Chameleons
    play "Strange Times" in full
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, August 10th
    Missy Elliott
    Ciara
    Busta Rhymes
    Timbaland
    @ the Garden

    Sunday, August 11th
    Wild Nothing
    Peel Dream Magazine
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, August 11th
    Iron & Wine
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, August 12th
    The Doobie Brothers
    Steve Winwood
    @ Xfinity Center

    Tuesday, August 13th
    Gin Blossoms
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Chevalier Theatre

    Thursday, August 15th
    Andrew Bird
    Amadou & Mariam
    @ Tree House Brewing in Deerfield

    Saturday, August 17th
    Kid Congo & the Pink Monkeybirds
    Lupo Citta
    Red Herrings
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, August 17th
    Daniel Romano's Outfit
    @ Sonia

    Monday, August 19th
    King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
    @ Suffolk Downs

    Wednesday, August 21st
    NRBQ
    @ the Cut

    Friday, August 23rd
    Childish Gambino
    Willow
    @ the Garden

    Friday, August 23rd
    Eric Bachmann
    Jennifer O'Connor
    @ Club Passim

    Sunday, August 25th
    Dweezil Zappa
    The "Rox(Postroh)y" Tour
    Celebrating the music of papa Frank
    @ the Chevalier Theatre

    Sunday, August 25th
    Cracker
    @ the Cut

    Sunday, September 1st
    The Roots
    Arrested Development
    Digable Planets
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Sunday, September 2nd
    Stars
    The "Set Yourself On Fire"
    20th Anniversary Tour
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, September 3rd
    King Buzzo (Melvins)
    Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle)
    JD Pinkus (Melvins/Butthole Surfers)
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, September 3rd
    Peter Hook & the Light
    doing both the Joy Division
    & New Order "Substance" LPs
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday & Thursday
    September 4th & 5th
    Built to Spill
    play "There's Nothing Wrong With Love"
    in full, with cello
    @ the Paradise

    Thursday, September 5th
    St. Vincent
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, September 6th
    Charley Bliss
    @ the Royale

    Friday, September 6th
    Rob Zombie
    Alice Cooper
    Ministry
    Filter
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Friday, September 6th
    Lady Lamb
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Saturday, September 7th
    Marika Hackman
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, September 8th
    Paul Weller
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, September 10th
    Weezer (performing the Blue Album)
    with Dinosaur Jr.
    & The Flaming Lips
    @ the Garden

    Wednesday, September 11th
    Megadeth
    Mudvayne
    All That Remains
    @ the Pavilion

    Friday, September 13th
    Beabadoobee
    Hovvdy
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, September 13th
    Janes Addiction
    Love & Rockets
    @ the Pavilion

    Friday, September 13th
    Squeeze
    Boy George
    @ the Wang Theatre

    Friday, September 13th
    Hoodoo Gurus
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, September 15th
    Belly in Lowell, MA
    tix on sale this Friday