In 2022 we expect twelve months of live gigs, twelve months of albums written in non-virtual environments, twelve months of being out there, forgetting that Zoom was ever a pre-requisite to getting shit done.
We can only hope that that will be the case. But even if it isn’t, artists will find ways to bring their creations to us. Here are 22 of them; musicians we expect to see blowing up in 2022.
Bad Boy Chiller Crew
Regional garage revival, anyone? Bad Boy Chiller Crew are coming for the Most Played Out Loud On The Bus award in 2022 with their alcopop of electro-sounds. With their blend of rap/garage/bass, the Bradford trio are hooking in teenagers both young and old.
“Bitch I’m a charva,” they sing on their truly huge 2020 tune ‘450’, a song that will no doubt be one of very many to come. With all the energy of an MP3-downloaded Nokia ringtone, BBCC are already going for the big streaming numbers, and the hype that’s building up around them is something to behold. Ears pricked in the club for this lot. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Messages’
Creating visceral grime-punk jam-packed with vital socio-political commentary, 2022 is set to be the year that London duo Bob Vylan take UK music by storm. Last year’s We Live Here took aim at racists across the length and breadth of the UK, the impassioned chorus of “We didn’t appear out of thin air/We live here” somehow even more timely a year or two on. Vylan digs into his own experiences in the track and combines them with commentary on the state of things in post-Brexit, Tory-majority Britain.
Vylan grew up listening to grime pioneers like Skepta and Dizzee Rascal, but he loves punk and folk too, and you can hear aspects of each genre in the duo’s innovative sound. Their latest track ‘GDP’ is an industrial-grunge banger that highlights the disconnect between the concerns of the political and media class and the concerns of ordinary people. As the chorus goes: “Yeah the BBC are talking ‘bout the GDP/That means fuck all to me”. It’s set to appear on their latest album Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life, which comes out in April, and if it’s anything to go by the album will be another gripping listen. (Adam England)
Key Track: ‘We Live Here’
Chlöe, she of RnB duo Chloe x Halle, is going solo. Soon you will know her by her first name alone. Chlöe has already proved just how serious she is about solo stardom by dropping ‘Have Mercy’, a bassy club anthem with an earworm chorus, a vocal performance of a lifetime and a breakdown that’ll make you have a religious experience. Not to mention the music video with multiple outfit changes and choreography to die for.
Megastar mononym pending. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Have Mercy’
In the name of her approaching debut album album alone, CMAT exhibits more wit than many up-and-comers put together. If My Wife New I’d Be Dead is the indie-country debut by Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson and it’ll be in your ears in February, spouting beautiful melodies and dry put-downs both. Case in point: album opener, the dreamy, massive and ambitious ‘Nashville’ dissolves into the highly personal yet highly relatable ‘I Don’t Really Care for You’.
Ten further tracks are yet to be had, CMAT dancing between sincerity and sarcasm (one of your only hints that Ciara is not an American). The Dubliner is a wry performer, and a talented one. She’ll do some serious bits in 2022. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘I Don’t Really Care for You’
As emerging figureheads for the Leeds Indie/post-punk scene, English Teacher are ones you want on your Spotify playlist before the new year.
Lily Fontaine (vocals, rhythm guitar, synth), Douglas Frost (drums, synth), Nicholas Eden (bass, synth), and Lewis Whiting (lead guitar, synth) continue to impress with their witty lyricism and their innovative use of sound. Literary influences, the beauty of home and social issues are just three subjects discussed in their latest single ‘Good Grief’, released early in November.
Starting out with SoundCloud demos to signing to Nice Swan and selling out live shows, this band bring a promising new edge to the music scene. With more tour dates planned for the new year, we can only stick around to see where they go next. (Charlotte Gould)
Key Track: ‘R&B’
Matador signees. Chicago natives. Teenagers. Nu-gaze trio Horsegirl are preparing for a big 2022. Norah Cheng, Penelope Lowenstein, and Gigi Reece are as cool as any Gen-Z has ever—or will ever—be, and they’re making the kind of rock music that people who don’t pay enough attention say is dead.
Is this what it felt like when Sonic Youth first entered the scene? With exceedingly lo-fi releases like ‘Billy’ and the eerie ‘Ballroom Dance Scene’, Horsegirl prove that your favourites of old are not the end of the line. This is a band following the pedigree of acts like The Breeders and Slint, and they’re making their SXSW debut in 2022, so watch out for a lot more hype on the near horizon. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Ballroom Dance Scene’
Jockstrap have just signed to Rough Trade Records. The duo shared their first music of the year on the label in the recent ’50/50′, a collage of an alt-electronic track that had its beat composed by the band’s Taylor Skye while he recovered from tonsillitis. ’50/50′ had quite the live reception when it was played at Hackney’s The Glove That Fits this year, something that can be verified by the song’s visualiser.
Hyper, high, inventive and increasingly nifty, Jockstrap have caught the eye of Rough Trade for a reason. Find out the reason early so you can be just as excited as everyone else when the duo start to announce things like EPs, albums and tours…(Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Acid’
The list of people that Lauran Hibberd’s producer Suzy Shinn has worked on reads like an ingredients list for the Isle of Wight’s star’s own music. Weezer, Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, Dua Lipa. There, that’s our job done for us…though we would also add Avril Lavigne, an artist who has had a considerable impact on the long-time live staple.
After many years on the gig circuit and four years of releasing music, Lauran has just landed a major label deal with Virgin and thus has plenty of new music wending its way towards us. That’s plenty more new-puppy energy, hooky riffs and sardonic lyrics to come. As the pop-punk and slacker genres continue to revisit the height of popularity, we must prepare for Lauran to dominate. It’s time, finally, for everyone to start spelling her name right. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Charlie’s Car’
With but one headline tour under their belt, the mathy post-punk of Legss are already sending whispers rippling through the London music scene. That’s in large part because they’re thrillingly tight live; a blast of power that has managed to overshadow many of the bands they have already supported.
Now at the head of many a line-up, this London four-piece will be treading the Shame/Squid/black midi path to national consciousness in 2022, if not for frontman Ned Green’s pithy lyrics then for the dizzy improbability of their musical acumen. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Hyde Park Coroner’
The Linda Lindas
If you’re feeling disillusioned with the state of things, at least The Linda Lindas are here to restore some of your faith. If you’re opening for Bikini Kill in 2019 and then going viral for a track called ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’ two years later (a response to a racist comment made by someone at school) while not even being legal adults yet, you must be doing something right.
Comprising four teen and tween girls, who identify as half-Asian and half-Latinx, they formed almost four years ago. Two sisters, their cousin and a closefriend, they’re already well on their way to real stardom despite their young ages—the eldest is 17 and the youngest is just 11.
Most recent single ‘Oh!’ has riot grrrl energy and post-punk excitement, while ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’, live from the LA Public Library, has relentless DIY punk spirit and is arguably Gen Z’s very own ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’
Imagine where they could be in five or even ten years’ time, when they’ll still only be in their twenties. But first, it’s time to see them grab 2022 by the scruff of the neck. (Adam England)
Key Track: ‘Oh!’
Los Bitchos are prepared to blow your pants clean off this coming February—and they don’t need to utter a word to do it. The pan-continental quartet will share their instrumental debut album Let The Festivities Begin! on 4 February and follow it up with a tour that must be attended to be believed. At their over-attended set at this year’s Wide Awake festival, the instrumental band well and truly staked themselves as a live favourite, a title that will soon be matched by their debut album.
Reviews will rave, fans will assemble and the Los Bitchos name will be on everyone’s lips in 2022: their music is simply too good for it not to be so. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Las Panteras’
Dublin’s M(h)aol burst onto the scene this year with their stunning debut EP Gender Studies, which shows off the band’s sound of purest post-punk. But it’s the lyrical content that pushes M(h)aol to the next level; Róisín Nic Ghearailt rages against the violence women face every day, as well as misogyny in the music industry with all the lexicon of a poet.
M(h)aol are a band bursting with potential and 2022 is sure to be a standout year for the Irish band—their sound would translate wonderfully to an album and their growing fanbase are hungry for more. (Charlie Brock)
Key Track: ‘Gender Studies’
Paris Texas established themselves as Gigwise favourites very quickly after the release of their debut single in February this year. ‘HEAVY METAL’, a glorious mash-up of genres, became on of our favourite songs of the year and they kept up the momentum as they went on to drop two EPs in 2021—Boy Anonymous and Red Hand Akimbo. Talk about a productive year!
Although they’ve played around with some more understated tracks, Paris Texas are really making waves with their massive energy that has carried them through each release this year both onstage and off. It’s no wonder that they’ve been releasing consistently great music since their debut early in the year.
Throw in a trio of headline shows in New York, L.A and London (where Gigwise described them as “underground stars ready to break”) and you’ve got a steady climb to world domination. If next year is anything like 2021 for Paris Texas, then this time next year everyone’s going to be listening to their intriguing brand of rap ‘n’ roll. Their energy is enviable, and it looks like nothing can get in their way. (Vicky Greer)
Key Track: ‘FORCE OF HABIT’
In terms of releases, Prima Queen have had a quiet one so far. Their first single ‘Milk Teeth’ dropped in 2019. Their breakout hit—the sweet, HAIM-vibes ‘Brownstone’—followed in 2020. It would be 2021 until the duo would drop their third cut ‘Chew My Cheeks’, a single that came packaged on their brand new label Nice Swan. The band also made their live return in 2021—a seven-piece live proposition was first presented at this year’s Green Man.
2022 will see the band share more than we’ve had before, and banking on the strength of the releases we’ve had so far—as well as the track record of Nice Swan’s signings—it’s going to be an exciting year indeed for Prima Queen. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Brownstone’
Indie-rock risers The Reytons are a band on the ascent, having recently released their debut album Kids Off The Estate. A record rooted in the work bus commute and the council estates of South Yorkshire, it tells tales of the working class with pure honesty, integrity and heart. The album showcases the band’s blend between proper good infectious noughties indie rock and down to earth grit that gives off a Northern swagger and an air of class timelessness.
One of those genuine bands comprised of normal people, part of The Reytons’ appeal is their down-to-earth vibe, something that doesn’t seem likely to change, no matter how big this band is bound to get going in 2022. (Katie Conway-Flood)
Key Track: ‘Slice Of Lime’
Kathleen Hanna and her many projects have rarely had genuine heirs, but brand, brand new (the duo launched their debut single in October) Shelf Lives are changing that. With only two abrupt singles to date, the South London pair have proved themselves to be a natural continuation to Le Tigre as well as Peaches and, in many ways, the eclectic charm of Confidence Man.
Their wacky debut ‘Shelf Life’ and brisk follow-up ‘Mark Twain’ are two examples of hyperactive trash-pop that will be added to in April by a mini-album titled Yes, Offence. Be ready. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Shelf Life’
Its not easy to find a band that can effortlessly switch between Cocteau Twins dream-pop and scathing ‘90s riot grrrl punk, but thanks to Softcult, the search is over. The Ontario duo became fast favourites here at Gigwise with the release of their debut Year Of The Rat EP earlier in the year, and it looks like the twins aren’t taking much of a break, since their follow-up Year Of The Snake is due in February.
Taking on subjects like depression and misogyny, Softcult don’t shy away from difficult topics in their music. They embody the very spirit of DIY punk, taking on everything from production and visuals to their monthly SCripture zine. Still looking for reasons to listen to Softcult? Check out ‘Gloomy Girl’ and ‘BWBB’. You can thank us later. (Vicky Greer)
Key Track: ‘BWBB’
Dublin is still out here producing the best guitar bands in the business right now. Next in line is Sprints, a self-proclaimed garage-noise band that have been making waves all throughout 2021. With all the buzz surrounding their recent live shows, it’s hard to believe that they’ve just finished their very first tour as a band. Fans of raucous guitars and cathartic screaming will not want to miss out on Sprints.
If you want a taste of just how strong they are as a band, check out the spectacular ‘How Does The Story Go?’, which was the first taste of their upcoming Modern Job EP, set to arrive in March. Singing with brutal honesty and endless energy, they’re absolutely impossible to ignore. Hear Sprints once, and they’ll be in your head forever. (Vicky Greer)
Key Track: ‘Modern Job’
If you’re an indie fan living in Liverpool then you’ve likely already heard of STONE, that rare breed of indie band who emerge from the overcrowded melee and prove themselves a genuine hope for nationwide success. Having dropped only three songs in 2021 (one a B-side), STONE are looking to capitalise on the considerable—and rising—success of their live shows by having an incredibly prolific 2022.
Having supported YUNGBLUD on tour this year, the Scouse quartet have picked up a whole host of well-deserved fans who are waiting eagerly for more acerbic lyrics delivered in a regional accent and go-crazy garage indie compositions. They have a lot to look forward to. (Jessie Atkinson)
Key Track: ‘Let’s Dance To The Real Thing’
Making “angry songs for sad people”, electronic nu-metal duo WARGASM have made a name for themselves as one of the most innovative artists in the rock sphere, and have recently been tearing up the UK on a headline tour alongside pals Death Blooms after support slots with the likes of Creeper and YUNGBLUD. (They’re off supporting Enter Shikari across the Atlantic next year too.)
With a sound that incorporates EDM, nu-metal, post-hardcore, riot grrrl and hip-hop, there’s no-one else who sounds like them. Bassist Milkie Way and guitarist Sam Matlock trade vocals throughout their music, and the contrast between them makes for gripping listening—not least on 2020’s ‘PYRO PYRO’ (which is like Hybrid Theory given a post-hardcore makeover) and the more recent release ‘Salma Hayek’, which almost feels like three tracks in one.
To really get the true WARGASM experience, experiencing one of their vigorous, intense live shows is a must, however. Their electrifying performances live long in the memory. It’s clear to see how the duo bounce off each other, making them ones to watch in both a figurative and a literal sense. (Adam England)
Key Track: ‘Salma Hayek’
Rarely have bands make such a considerable impact with so little output as Wet Leg. The British two-piece set the airwaves alight with their Mean Girls-inspired debut single ‘Chaise Longue’ earlier in 2021, unveiling a charming, catchy, attitude-laden bop of new-wave riffs and spoken word groove. Following this came the equally inspired ‘Wet Dream’, a ditty loaded with joyous innuendo.
So compelling are Wet Leg that just the two singles have seen them sell out London’s Koko as well as a nationwide tour planned for 2022. Forming in 2019 with an album due next year, the duo has tapped into a consistently rich creative source many other longstanding groups dreams of. It’s loud, proud and wonderfully colourful. Wet Leg are lined up at the penalty spot. All they need to do now is score. (Harrison Smith)
Key Track: ‘Wet Dream’
For Witch Fever, 2022 brings an exciting new era, kicking off in January when they support IDLES on a spring tour. Although their aim was to never to be seen as political, their music has been used as an anthem for self-expression through artistic freedom and lyrics that inspire rage against structures of oppression.
After releasing their debut track ‘Carpet Asphyxiation’ together in 2017 this defiant and wonderful band are finally receiving the positive acknowledgment they deserve. (Charlotte Gould)
Key Track: ‘Reincarnate’