Welcome to the fifth instalment of the No Badger Required countdown of the best tracks of the year. This is for those who have arrived late, presumably because your invites were held up by the ongoing postal strikes, a run down of the best tracks by new or emerging bands (new or emerging according to us at least, I don’t care if you heard them first twelve years ago rehearsing in the back room of the Cock and Dog in Croydon) over the last year or so. We start this week with a half Chilean singer songwriter from London via Gloucester.
20. Never Never – Gabi Garbutt (2022, Trapped Animals Records, Taken from ‘Cockerel’)
‘Never Never’ is put simply an indie pop anthem in the waiting. It’s marvellously catchy. Whilst I’m at it, ‘Cockerel’ the second album from Gabi (and her band The Illuminations) is folks, one of the finest indie pop records I have heard all year. Ten tracks of uplifting earworm-y songs with massive choruses, trumpets, kettle drums and killer hooks all of which are delivered with the sort of energy usually only obtained by necking four cans of Monster.
Next up something totally different from Glasgow
19. Second Thought – MEMES (2022, Unknown Label, Single)
I am next year probably going to do an entire series on bands who use capitals in their names so I can finally prove or disprove my theory once and for all, because here come another brilliant band who insist on the use of capitals. MEMES are a post punk, laptop rock duo from Glasgow and ‘Second Thought’ is rather aptly their second single. It is full of choppy guitars, spoken shouty vocals and rippling basslines and it is really rather excellent in a snotty Undertones type of way.
Next up more snottiness, this time from London
18. Slowly Separate – Crows (2022, Bad Vibrations Records, Taken from ‘Beware Believers)
I first saw Crows in 2018, when they played thirty minutes of angry noisy thrashy punk rock during a particular sweaty night at the Cavern Club when they supported No Badger Required favourites METZ. Back then the band were the latest Idles sponsored band to be making waves across the UK Toilet venue scene, that was enough to make them interesting.
Four years later
after a small hiatus the band have returned with their second album ‘Beware Believers’, the lead single from that is ‘Slowly Separate’ which is an infectious blast all about living in a big city (probably London) working a job that you hate and rallying against the mundanity of hand to mouth living. Now they are considerably more than interesting.
Next Up more stroppy punk, this time from Hastings.
17. New England – Kid Kapichi feat Bob Vylan (2022, Spinefarm Records, Taken from ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’)
‘New England’ is a snarling middle finger anthem that tackles political apathy, Brexit, racism and xenophobia. So something for everyone really. It’s measure is a strong one. It wants to grab readers of tabloid newspapers who “get their news from the tits and arses” and shake them senseless. The track also features grime/hip hop act Bob Vylan (which is surely a contender for the greatest name in music at the moment) who also come recommended.
Finally something a bit less shouty, blissful indie pop from Norway and yet more capital letters.
Ballerina (Norah) – VEPS (2022, Kanine Records, Taken from ‘Oslo Park’)
A couple of weeks ago VEPS quiet released their debut album ‘Oslo Park’ (Ok I think it’s the debut album) and it is wonderful. Nine perfectly crafted songs delivered in just under half an hour. They make high energy sugar coated indie rock, that is occasionally punchy, occasionally shouty and occasionally ventures into electronica inspired exploration. ‘Ballerina (Norah)’ was the single that preceded it all about five months ago and its been on regular rotation in my house ever since.