Best of 2022 – Top 10 rock & indie compilations
The crowning comps of the year
An exhaustive and about as definitive as it gets guide to feminist punk in all its literal and spiritually-aligned forms, reaching back as far as Patti Smith, as wide as Blondie, Grace Jones and Nenah Cherry and as far forward as current tips Big Joanie. The album’s compiler, punk writer and academic Vivien Goldman, provides one of the many, many highlights, the dubbed up tale of her attempts to rid herself of a clingy boyfriend (‘Launderette’), but
Paul Hillery brings his hugely popular blog FFTT to vinyl life and extends his extensive curatorial skills to serve up not only a heap of unknown, often privately pressed gems, but effectively a whole new genre in its own right – folk funk. Among the 19 tracks here are those that have never seen the light of day, demo versions that never made the cut, new exclusive material and beloved classics, creating a sonic landscape of canyon rock, hot tub soul, Frisco folk, Balearic breeze and trippy troubadourial treasures.
Drawn from 1972-1986, ‘Silberland’ serves up doozey after doozey from the German artists who blazed the cosmic music trail between 1972-1986. While the big guns – Moebius, Plank, Cluster, Conrad Schnitzler, Faust – are here in various combinations, it’s some of the lesser-spotted tracks that grab the attention. The early 80s seems to be rich in quality tunage. Berlin Schooler Rolf Trostel serves up the lovely ‘Two Faces’, Populare Mechanik’s ‘Scharfer Schnitt No.1’ bring a kind of no wave/dub mash-up, while Tyndall’s mewing synth banger ‘Großstadtgefühl’ with its pots and pan percussion is a real winner. Of the big guns, it’s always good to be reminded just how brilliant Roedelius’ tribal ‘Regenmacher’, Moebius & Plank’s sleek ‘News’ and Faust’s squally ‘Vorsatz’ are.
Following the huge success of the prophetic 80s Underground Cassette Culture Vol 1, Vol 2 keeps the pressure up with the same brand of distortion soaked didactics. Twenty one tracks from across the globe – destined, in theory, to a life of cassette-only obscurity – dripping in wanton abandonment, electronic punk profanity, rusted guitar strings, cobbled drum machines and fire in the belly. Marginalised musicians spitting on the establishment and industry – it certainly sounds like our idea of fun.
NME’s mail-order ‘C86’ compilation, released way back in 1986, has become something of a cherished time capsule: an acclaimed, on-point collection that summed up indie and alternative rock in the mid 1980s. This three-disc compilation is touted by Cherry Red as a “prequel” to that legendary comp. It naturally features some of the same artists – usually in the form of earlier tracks or obscurities – as well as the rest of the cream of the crop of indie in 1985. There are pre-fame recordings from James, the Stone Roses and Primal Scream, jangly guitars aplenty and killer cuts from bands that briefly flickered brightly but time has generally forgotten.
Lovers of krautrock and kosmiche are well attuned to the worth of this fantastic and ongoing series from Soul Jazz. Taking theorem of a beginners guide, the series serves up the best of the best and now the fourth volume manages to do that once more. It combines cuts from pioneering electronic and art-rock bands like Neu!, Can and Gila with lesser known cuts and plenty in between. It’s one that will have you rocking and zoned out in no time and comes across four fantastic sides of wax.
The world of garage psychedelic rock is a mad one and this deep dive into it is a thrilling ride indeed, taking a look right at the start of the genre from the moment it exploded on the underground scene in the US and UK in the mid-60s right up until 2019 in the midst of its revival, with all the key bands such as The Paragons, The Preachers, The Strangeloves, The Squires and The Monks featured. A fine celebration of this unique genre.
Detroit’s impact on western music culture has been ridiculously consistent, from Motown to techno and Eminem, but less talked about is the space rock, shoegaze and dream pop scene the city has long been home to. The second Southeast of Saturn compilation returns to that community and its 90s heyday, presenting a number of lesser known talents from the area including Grimble Grumble, Sabine, Shapeshifter, Star Phase, and The Sunflower Conspiracy.
Despite being devoted to the decade that taste forgot, and within that the bit that came before punk, Hepworth has assembled some deep and unexpectedly enjoyable cuts from the likes of ZZ Top, Roy Harper, Big Star and a (whisper it) Status Quo still stuck in their pre-riffing psychedelic mode.
Almost certainly the best Basque Country tribute to Dave Vanian and co out this year, ha ha. But novelty factors aside, the assembled crew – Sweaty Lovers, Crap, Senor No and Las Hyenas among others – have definitely captured the rip roaring anarchy of their subjects, from opening tune ‘Stab Your Back’ by the Voidiots to the closing rendition of ‘Dark Asteroid’ by Positiva.