The Aquanaut's Albums of the year: Part 2
10 to 6 of the Aquanaut's List!
If you missed the first five entries of the Aquanaut’s favourite fifteen albums of 2022, check out the post here. This week we look at numbers 10 to 6 in my list and a quick reminder the list is in order of albums release, not my personal preference. Musicians were severely limited in their ability to play gigs over the last two years due to the Covid pandemic, but it has led to a bumper crop of new music this year.
Playgrounded - ‘The death of Death’
Yet another band I came across who were the support act to a bigger band. Playgounded supported The Ocean Collective on their recent European tour this Autumn. I was a few minutes late to the gig and I’m really annoyed I missed their opening track. I loved them so much I bought the vinyl of this album at the gig. I also met the band and had a brief chat. They are a great bunch of guys. There’s a slight shoegaze vibe to their sound, and hints of Depeche Mode. They are also quite heavy, but in a subtle way. It’s not easy being the first band on at a gig, especially when hardly anyone there knows you. But Playgorunded really understand how to create moments in music. I hope to see them headline the next time they come my way.
Nite - ‘Voices of the Kronian Moon’
Nite are from the Bay Area near San Francisco, an area that has produced some rather famous Metal Acts. There’s a little of the 80s Thrash Metal influence in Nite’s music, but there’s a lot of the NWOBHM sound. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if early Iron Maiden had decided to go in a black metal direction, this is what they’d sound like. I previously recounted my tale of getting into Metal as a teenager through my cousin’s Vinyl collection. Nite’s second album ‘Voices of the Kronian Moon’ feels like it came from that same pile of records. Yet it was recorded 25 - 30 years after those albums. But here’s the thing. The music is not deliberately retro. When the music starts, you think you’ve heard something like it before. But trust me, you haven’t. This is great, fresh, original sounding Metal.
Rammstein - ‘Zeit’
‘Zeit’ is the eight studio album by Rammstein. Recorded entirely during the Covid lockdown days, ‘Zeit’ translates as ‘Time’, and is reflective of the weirdness, and surreality of the global pandemic. The title track ‘Zeit’ is a delicious slow burn, ‘Angst’ an incendiary anti-xenophobia protest song, ‘Zick Zack’ a hilarious satire on plastic surgery and ‘Dicke Titten’ which might be the best Metal song about big boobs since the 80s (if there is such a genre). There are unsubstantiated rumours this is the final album by the six Germans. I don’t want to tempt fate, but based on the eleven diverse and explosive tracks on offer here, they don’t sound like they’re running out of great ideas anytime soon.
Somali Yacht Club - ‘The Space’
As well as having a wonderfully bizarre moniker, Somali Yacht Club have been busy creating wonderfully trippy and psychedelic stoner rock for over a decade now. ‘The Space’ is a great jumping in point for people wanting to check out their music. It’s trippy, soulful, and full of loud, glittery, soundscapes.
It’s unfortunately impossible to mention this band without also pointing out that they are from Lviv in Ukraine. They’ve had to contend with the trauma and suffering of seeing their country attacked and bombed.
They are planning some gigs and appearances at festivals this year, so check them out if they come your way.
Steak - ‘Acute Mania’
Steak are well known in stoner rock circles. They should be better known in popular music as their music has great crossover appeal. Beautiful guitar riffs, haunting vocals, and well received live sets. A four piece from London, their latest album has samurai inspired motifs. The vinyl is amazing and even came with a mini comic book! ‘Acute Mania’ is their third full length album. It’s a wonderful record and is the most immersive listening experience I’ve had in a while. I’d put it up there with ‘Songs for the Deaf’ by Queens of the Stone Age.
Though it works as a stand alone work of art, along with the comic book, it is a collaborative project involving a stunning looking Samurai short movie. Here’s the link to the movie website for MAD LORD Samurai of 1000 Deaths.
Check out the stunning video featuring scenes from the acclaimed Samurai short.
Happy Christmas everyone!
Next week: The final five albums of my best of 2022 list. And my musing on the best three albums of the lot.