Sourhouse’s Tunes of the Year 2022
#20 ALVVAYS – AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE
How I would have killed to have heard Alvvays before summer’s end. ‘After The Earthquake’ bursts with memories of sun-soaked days and Augusts of yonder. The high praise they’ve received for the overwhelmingly glorious feel of their newest album is at its strongest here, building that tension with terrific brilliance on that hallowed chorus. And when it all comes back in, they throw a guitar solo in for good measure. Big-crowd sensibility is something the band have down to a T.
#19 HUDSON MOHAWKE – BICSTAN
In a year when Hudson Mohawke gained a whole new audience thanks to someone posting their lovemaking techniques on Reddit, I managed to catch Iggy Pop playing this frantic, excitable piece of unplaceable EDM on his 6 Music show. Off it runs building and building to that bombastic chorus, every element filling the air with a candy-sweet budge. But then in comes a backhand to divert us to German Techno on the bridge. Bright pinks are replaced with a sudden urge to put on an outfit that will get you into Berghain. Mohawke navigates perfectly, commanding the swerving nature of ‘Bicstan’ with a digital nimbleness.
#18 LEFTFIELD, GRIAN CHATTEN – FULL WAY ROUND
Grian Chatten and Leftfield, damn. That’s a match made in heaven, and thank goodness, it works out in practice too. ‘Full Way Round’ puts you in the passenger seat of a taxi being driven way too fast through the streets of some northern city, Grian with his head out the window and you reaching for the handle. There’s something about this that reminds me of The Prodigy’s return in 2009, blistering with its sonic scale and fully-formed nature. If Leftfield want to dwell in nostalgia for Breakbeat, sign me up, because this is frenetic.
#17 CHARLI XCX, RINA SAWAYAMA – BEG FOR YOU
Truly one of the biggest growers of the year for me, ‘Beg For You’ has finally clicked. I felt it missed the mark as a potential instant classic queer anthem when I first heard it, and yet now I can’t separate it from my soundtrack of 2022. Charli and Rina deliver the definitive sound of getting away, loved ones having to leave, trying to find acceptance with yourself yet reeling in the emotions. Poignantly remixing September’s ‘Cry For You’ for an extra twist of self-indulgent nostalgia, the Garage aspects Charli and Co add in deserve to be doubled-down on, but that tinge of sadness just makes this thing cut deep.
#16 SOUTHSTAR – MISS YOU
Parking the Robin Schulz drama to one side (he’s completely guilty of copying, by the way), Southstar’s far superior true original is one of the most arresting dance cuts of the year. The enormous, pounding beats of ‘Miss You’ are a heady blend of Eurodance cheesiness and dark, urban cool. Break-up lyrics practically race away from their problems at 200 miles an hour on that chorus, an image further conveyed in the blurred nightscape of its cover art. Streets are rendered as bright blurred lines, cars zoom past, and the club dancefloor becomes a racetrack.
#15 BODEGA – PILLAR ON THE BRIDGE OF YOU
For a band whose appeal is so rooted in their cynicism, ‘Pillar On The Bridge Of You’ catches you off guard. Since when were the Brooklyn rockers so earnest? Is it possible they’re actually being serious for once? Not that any of that makes their most recent material any less brilliant, but on ‘Pillar’, a new side to them is unveiled. Bodega Ben sings his heart out for his lover in a way that feels in keeping with the band, who go for a Modern Lovers-esque rocky New Wave sound underneath. Not only do they nail the style, the imagery in his lyrics quite prodigiously beautiful.
#14 FRED AGAIN.. – KAMMY (LIKE I DO)
A tension haunts ‘Kammy’ right from the off; an apprehensive beat builds to add equally apprehensive instruments, guided by words crying out for love. Your world is dropped into an inky blue of dancefloor pain. Out of the depths, the track climbs towards a peak. A siren-like synth smashes through on its chorus, reaching for the heavens whilst tainted with sadness. Despite being 4 minutes long, you’re left begging to keep that build up going, because the drop is so fucking good. It’s one of his most affecting cuts to date, and for an artist with the sensitivity he has, that’s quite the achievement.
#13 MEGAN THEE STALLION – PLAN B
Megan’s throwback jam is nothing short of one her greatest moments yet. The Mugler suit she namechecks in the second verse feels alive here; ‘Plan B’ is equal parts smart and camp, evolving Megan’s style without suggesting she had to create a Boom Bap inspired cut to prove her talent. Quite the opposite; she’s simply been sharpening her skills to smack a track like this out of the park.
And then in comes that off-beat chorus – fuck. Somehow she sounds even sexier than before, particular because of the sheer presence she commands with it. It’s a pleasure to watch her show off; ‘Plan B’ is totally original, and pops with her character.
#12 CONFIDENCE MAN – FEELS LIKE A DIFFERENT THING
Not a moment of ‘Feels Like A Different Thing’ doesn’t scream sexy, loud and camp. Seamlessly blending parodying lyrics with an informed Chicago House sound, Con Man have delivered their best single of their career so far. Never straying too far from their funny side keeps the crowd on side, but it’s also impossible to deny just how hard this goes too. By the final third, it’s reaching euphoric highs that countless, far more serious DJs try to achieve. The Australian duo, meanwhile, breeze through with an uncanny ease. I’ve had the pleasure of watching this live twice in 2022, and my mind is still blown by it with every listen.
#11 BJÖRK – ATOPOS
What is Björk doing with a reggaeton-derived beat chanting about unsatisfying human connection? I’m not sure either, but damn if this doesn’t work on every level. Drums that smack their way out of your speakers, clarinets played with a comedic timing, Björk directing you through a new forest of weird yet again. There’s an emotionality here that strikes right through, demands being set and an ultimatum laid down. ‘Atopos’ compels you to channel spirits and dance with the mosses.