December 30, 2022

HCTF's best of 2022 (10-6)

HCTF's best of 2022

HCTF's annual list of the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come. As per usual many genres are represented. Here Comes The Flood covers a lot of ground and it shows in this eclectic, final tally.

Today: countdown from number 10 to 6.

Please shop at your local record store. The folks who work there know their stuff. And most of the shores have a pretty good website where you can order your stuff. It might even be cheaper than the big ones on the 'net.

Buy directly from the artist, attend live shows and stop by the merch table. And be sure to tell your friends about that great new act you discovered. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

Useless Users: We Are All

10 Useless Users: We Are All

Psychedelic punkers fully embrace the DIY lo-fi sound and provide the soundtrack for a series of kitchen sink TV dramatizations that should be realized post haste.

This band intends to play music that does not follow any manuals that aim at paving the way to some sort of mainstream appeal. The album's highlight is Orchid Blue, a slice of murky, twisted psychedelia with a touch of demented Britpop. The vocals sound like Syd Barrett shouting down a barrel after a particularly memorable night at the pub, with Jarvis Cocker egging him on. We Are All is an album that does not want to be loved as such, but it's next to impossible to sit still when they launch into a rollicking rocker like Jellybean or drift away in a good way in the ambient haze of WEAAUS.

» Full review

No Ninja Am I: Plenty of Blankets

9 No Ninja Am I: Plenty of Blankets

Dutch folk musician branches out and creates multi-faceted tapestry of sounds.

It is an album without any weak spots and it's hard to pick a stand-out track, but when push comes to shove it is the sprawling Come Closer - 13 Steps - Good Times (For John), an adventurous amalgam of a '70s inspired songsmith tune giving way to a dreamy bridge for the 13 steps, while being chased by a freak-out guitar, culminating in a Beach Boys sequence. One more then? He added dabs of electronics, plus a hint of jazz and psychedelic pop to Storyline, using tension and release to set the mood for a dreamy tale with his vocals knee-deep in echo.

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Kitimoto: Vintage Smell

8 Kitimoto: Vintage Smell

Dusty, rambling desert rock with a seasoning of East Coast indie and late night college radio musings.

They cater to a niche audience, but lucky for them that is where the people hang out who are still willing to fork over the cash to listen to music. This a band that can write a song about a flying mammal (Bats!) without naming it in the lyrics and pay tribute to old school tech (Semaphore). Sounds Like Something sums it up nicely: "Yes, it sounds just like something. Don't mean nothing at all". If that is actually true, is up for debate and food for thought for hair-splitting English language professors.

» Full review

Johnny Dowd: Homemade Pie

7 Johnny Dowd: Homemade Pie

The maverick's maverick has prepared a feast for misfits of all sizes. Dig in, there is enough for everyone.

Dowd has always been a genre of his own, exploring the alleys connecting blues, country, vaudeville, funk, rock and maybe of dozen more. His songs are populated with losers, disgruntled, lovers, con men, players, and small time crooks. Thankfully they never show any signs of regret or remorse, which makes for far more interesting stories than gratuitous happy ending. Exhibit A: the title track Homemade Pie, the story of a sketchy salesman who gets shot and crucified.

» Full review

Ward White: Ice Cream Chords

6 Ward White: Ice Cream Chords

Art-rock crooner releases another winner. A treasure trove of smart hooks and intricate rhythm shifts.

White is a keen observer and is blessed with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour. He kicks off Rumors with the memorable lines "I’ve been working here too long // I’ve been working here too long, look at me // Is this a new song, or just recycled misery?" It is a sentiment that also comes to the fore in the title track of the album, a heartfelt plea to be original and not rely on the safe, tried-and-true chord sequences. He does not suffer fools gladly, and is not above cutting them down with a well-worded, scathing put-downs.

» Full review

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