Aldous Harding – Warm Chris (4AD)
I’m a huge fan of Aldous Harding and this record was another amazing release. There’s a long list of reasons why I love it. Songwriting, production, instrumentation, classic Aldous Harding moment. But above all, it just makes me smile, plain and simple. My highlight is ‘Fever’. I can completely melt into this song. Complete escapism.
Big Thief – Time Escaping
This song took me ages to come around to. It stuck in this weird spot in my head between genres and moods. It’s really poppy and catchy but you don’t get sick of it like other songs. And eventually I didn’t only “not get sick of it”, I really loved it. The weird intro, the chorus hook and the way Adrienne’s lyrics carry the whole thing. This song will carry me into 2023.
Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter (Daughters of Cain Records)
I coincidentally discovered Ethel Cain this summer when I was in the backseat of a car on the way to Croatia. I listened to the album over and over again and fell in love with Ethel right away. I love love love Ethel´s voice and songwriting.
Anger – Alles
When I need some good vibes there’s this new song by my friends’ project Anger called ‘Alles’ – it gives me energy instantly.
Tara Nome Doyle
Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (Aftermath/Interscope)
Kendrick Lamar’s attention to detail, rich storytelling and brutal honesty never cease to impress me. He is an artist that manages to reinvent himself without losing the red thread of his previous works. A skilful lyricist, performer and conceptual artist.
EERA – Midnight
This is my most-listened-to song of 2022. EERA is painfully underrated and her sound just hits the spot for me. Intricate, but approachable. Personal, but abstract. Powerful, but intimate. Scandinavian melodies meet incredible vocals. What’s not to love?!
Built To Spill – When The Wind Forgets Your Name (Built To Spill Rec. Co.)
So this album was actually our introduction to Built To Spill, and it’s kind of hard to imagine how they managed to allude us for so long. They have so much of what we gravitate towards in music, angular guitar parts, weird rhythm parts, dynamics and energy but it’s packaged into these interesting ‘pop songs’ that you can’t get out of your head. It’s essentially the solo project of Doug Matsch, and it’s so inspiring to listen to a guy who has stayed true to his style and is still making such good music thirty years or so down the line. Doug mentions in a few interviews how he doesn’t consider himself a good guitarist and that he just plays what he thinks sounds interesting and what works for the record, and we think that humility really comes across in his music. There is little self-indulgence or flash, the songs sound real and raw like they’ve found some lost Built To Spill record in the attic that they never got round to releasing and decided to put it out in all it’s dusty glory. Our new (old) favourite band.
Built To Spill – Gonna Lose
It only makes sense that we chose a song from our favourite album. If you played us this track and asked us what year it was made we would be certain it was from sometime in the mid-90’s. It has that nostalgic feeling of people sweating together in a practice room while neighbours complain about the noise. The guitar riff that opens the track has a timeless quality to it, it sounds like it’s always existed in your mind somewhere and now you’re finally allowed to hear it, like a record your older brother or sister made you listen to when you were too young to pay it any mind. There are a lot of records and artists we have discovered from their releases this year, like Tomberlin and Caroline and Widowspeak, so it’s hard to choose just one, but this just feels like the defining track of the year for us. It was also the entry point for us to dive head-first into their back catalog, so we are eternally grateful.
Okay Kaya has helped Ultraflex develop our vision by making two videos and an experimental short film for our debut album back in 2020. Her new album SAP is gentle and deep, experimental and playful – and it features Kari on the song ‘Mood Into Object Personified’.
Jae Tyler – DTH BCH
Tyler is the reason Ultraflex exists today – we met while shooting the video for his song Famous back in 2019. DTH BCH is our favourite track from his forthcoming album Haunches to Heaven which will be released on our label Street Pulse Records early 2023.
I almost never discover new music, since I don’t use Spotify and am still finding so many incredible albums from the past (I spent 2020 listening to ‘Sgt. Peppers’ on repeat). However, one great recent discovery is Angelica Salvi. She was playing a free, outdoor concert very close to my home, organised by some friends. She is a harpist using fx pedals in a delicate and very tasteful way. The performance was so good and exactly the type of immersive sound world that I love. I bought a copy of her 2019 LP, but since then she has released a new album called ‘Habitat’.
Gareth Dickson – Noon
Gareth is a good friend, but I was a fan of his music before we met. His music is authentic, pure, honest and is so deserving of a wider audience. The song is quite a few years old now, but it has been on repeat many times throughout this year.
Sean Armstrong – The Technical Times (Rehberge Records)
This is a gorgeous record by a friend of mine from Scotland named Sean Armstrong. He is my neighbour and a really good friend. The way he makes and releases is so far away from the ways of the industry. It’s a delight to listen to an album of pure unspoiled music. Him and his partner Rocky were always an inspiration, leading radical lives without the internet and until recently without smartphones. Now we all have smartphones though and we have smart chats in our WhatsApp group.
Sean Armstrong – Lots Of Love