Best of 2022 - Em Moore's Picks (Cover Artwork)

Best of 2022

Em Moore's Picks (2022)

Staff Picks

“I'm finally taking back my life"

So much happened in 2022 that I don’t even know where to begin. This year was marked by unbelievable joy, intense fear, simmering rage, a great deal of gratitude, tons of laughter, and a lot of personal growth (not the height-related kind though *sigh*). Midway through this year, I realized what I truly wanted out of life and started working to make my dreams a reality. I started doing more interviews for Punknews and this year I am very happy to report that I put out 14 interviews that I am extremely proud of. Prepare for the first of many lists: I interviewed Kathryn McCaughey of NOBRO, Ash Stixx and Tyler Fieldhouse of GILT, Matty Grace, Carolina Plano of Boring Girls, Casey Cuff and Core Bee of Tarantula Tapes, Evie, Amanda, and Jen of Tits Up, G’Ra Asim, Rhiana Hernandez, and Jake Lazaroff of Baby Got Back Talk, Nadia Garofalo and Alicia Gaines of GanserAli Culotta and Danny Portilla of Stop The Presses, Paul Vallejo and Myron Houngbedji of Pinkshift, Malady Jane and Dot Homler of Thotcrime, Jim Ward of Sparta, Drew Thomson of Single Mothers, and Sarah Rose of Sarah and The Safe Word. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to interview these amazing people and look forward to doing more in the coming year. I was also interviewed for the first time this year on the great Punk Roquette Show (check that out here)! This year also marks the start of my bonus episode series of the Punknews Podcast where I pretend that I have a radio show and recap some of the awesome songs that were released each month. I have been having a blast doing these and it's really helped with putting together the year-end list that you are about to read or at least skim. I am immensely grateful to be working alongside everyone at Punknews who cares so deeply and works so hard. I have learned so much (and continue to learn) from all of you. Thank you so much. (I know I say some variant of this every year but it continues to be true).

This year also marked my (cautious, masked) return to shows! I went to three shows this year starting with Peter Hook and The Light on August 12 at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Ontario. They were on their "Celebrating Joy Division" tour and played Unknown Pleasures and Closer in full along with an opening set of New Order material. The show was three hours full of incredible songs, wonderful musicianship (including a killer melodica solo), and the most human contact I'd had in years. It was an amazing feeling to be back on the floor experiencing live music again after three long years away. My next show was My Chemical Romance (!!!!!) on September 5 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. My friend (who I hadn't seen since 2019) and I had gotten the tickets in 2020 when the reunion tour was announced and we were over the moon that the show was finally happening. Gerard Way was dressed like a cat (complete with tail), the band was on fire, the setlist spanned all eras, and they played two of my favourite songs "It's Not A Fashion Statement, It's A Fucking Deathwish" and "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back". There was an astounding sense of community in the arena (wish it had spread to security too) and barely a day goes by where I don't think about the show. My third and final show of 2022 was Tarantula Tapes' second-anniversary show on October 30 in Barrie, Ontario. Fang Binite, Viola Swamp, Matty Grace, Boring Girls, Audio Visceral, Heavy Petter, Guster, and The Black Void played. Everyone was there to support each other and it really showed me the true meaning of community within the punk scene. When I got back home and read the insert (which is about community and you can read here) that was in with the Tracknaphobia 2 comp tape, I teared up. Where I live is very isolated and whenever I think about this show, I feel instant happiness. I hope there are many more shows like this in 2023.

I listened to more music this year than last year and the year before combined and I can't fit everything that I loved this year onto my list. Here are my Honourable Mentions for 2022 (LISTEN TO ALL OF THEM AND IF YOU'VE ALREADY LISTENED TO THEM THEN LISTEN AGAIN):

Got It by Stop The Presses, Exorcise Your Demons by Cliffdiver, Gender: War Machine's self-titled album, Suffer Summer by Chastity, Infinite Pleasure by Captain Wildchild, Punk Dancing For Self Defense by Breakup Haircut, Derealization by Julia Julia, Here's What You Could've Won by Kid Kapichi, Come Alive by Outtacontroller, Cry MFer by My Idea, We Found This by Gloin, Skinty Fia by Fontaines DC, A Eulogy for Those Still Here by Counterparts, Harmburger by Froggy, Cute Aggression by The Sewer Cats, Sense Yourself by Upchuck, Weird Nightmare's self-titled album, Diaspora Problems by Soul Glo, Ecstatsies of Never-Ending Night by Devil Master, Was Tue Due by Dead Cosmetics, Crone by Cursed Arrows, New Ruin by The Flatliners, Lunar Reflection by Glacier Veins, Process by Pinch Points, The Hurricane by Camp Cope, Psychic Jailbreak by Cancer Bats, Conditional Love by Sarchasm, Maniac by Fugitive, Precedent by Sonagi, Open Bar by Pkew Pkew Pkew, Feral Coast by Scrunchies, Float by Biitchseat, Sanguine Truth by The Casual Dots, Cave World by Viagra Boys, Growing Up by The Linda Lindas, Raise Hell by Fresh, Back Home by Big Joanie, Happy Now by THICK, Too Much to Ask by Cheekface, II by Dead Cross, Past Lives by L.S. Dunes, Hello, My Name Is by Currls, God's Country by Chat Pile, Pool Kids' self-titled album, The Muse Acsends by Girlsperm, His Happiness Shall Come First Even Though We Are Suffering by Backxwash, The Evil One by Nervus, Sparta's self-titled album, Free LSD by OFF!, Even in Jest by Cheerbleederz, Super Champon by Otoboke Beaver, House Without A View by Lande Hekt, This is The Blackout by Punitive Damage, Beyond The Swords by Nine of Swords, UZU's self-titled album, Nothing You Do Matters by Ganser, the Heavy Petter and Holdouts split, Powerviolence is for Lovers by Jetsam, Nosebleed by Blue Venus, Teens In Trouble's self-titled EP, ECOCIDE 3URTH by Mirrored Fatality, My Checkered Future by Eichlers, With A Vengeance by Hans Gruber and the Die Hards, Feel At Home by Wampums, and Slow Murder by The Holy Ghost Tabernacle Choir. Two standalone singles from this year that I've barely been able to stop listening to and want to mention are "Embryo" by Vial and "Y.A.W" by Problem Patterns. I love both of these bands (if you haven't checked out Problem Patterns' EP Good For You, Aren't You Great?  and their previous singles "TERFs Out" and "Big Shouty" do yourself a favour and go listen to them right now) and really hope that they will be releasing more awesome new music in 2023. 

Read my list below right now!

Top 20 albums of 2022

20. Gutser: Spill Everything

Tarantula Tapes

Gutser’s album Spill Everything is guaranteed to melt your face off. The Montreal punks’ mix of black metal, hardcore punk, powerviolence, death metal, and crust punk creates a sonic tornado that will have you opening up a pit in your living room. Their energy is off the charts with riffs for days and vocals that are equal parts guttural and pure biting punk. I was lucky enough to see Gutser live this year and they absolutely killed it. If you have the opportunity to see them live, grab it with both hands and find a spot near the front. 

19. JER: Bothered / Unbothered

Bad Time Records

When the ska punk urge struck me this year one of the albums I reached for most was Bothered / Unbothered, the debut full-length album by JER (who you might recognize from their YouTube channel Skatune Network or from We Are The Union). The album is full of bright horns, great lyrics, and an energy that never fails to get me moving. I love how the songs progress from “BOTHERED” to “UNBOTHERED”, starting out angrier and leaning more into their punk side before becoming more positive and leaning more into their ska side. Bothered / Unbothered will help you turn a bad day into a good one with the help of JER’s limitless energy. 

18. Pinkshift : Love Me Forever

Hopeless Records

Pinkshift are a band that I’ve been looking forward to hearing more from since I first heard their single “i’m gonna tell my therapist on you”. I was ecstatic when the band announced they’d be releasing their debut LP Love Me Forever and the first time I listened to it, I knew that it would be in heavy rotation. The band leans into their rage even more and unleashes it with great unapologetic lyrics and excellent musicianship that combines emo, punk, grunge, and hard rock together. Lead vocalist Ashrita Kumar harnesses their fury for fierce punk screams that can be heard throughout the album and also showcases their vocal range with a moving piano ballad (“In A Breath”). Pinkshift highlight the importance of acknowledging and working through your feelings on Love Me Forever and it couldn’t have come at a better time. 

17. Try The Pie: A Widening Burst of Forever

Get Better Records

The first time I heard Try The Pie I was blown away. All of the dots connected and it felt like I’d finally found something that I’d been looking a long time for. A Widening Burst of Forever is one of those albums that I can feel in my chest. Bean Tupou’s voice is emotive, soulful, and punk as fuck as they tell stories of heartbreak, rebirth, existential dread, and personal history. The lyrics are perfectly crafted to pull you in and make you a part of the song. The poetic imagery is reinforced by the instrumentation which is full of harmonic dissonance, guitarwork that ranges from acoustic to electric, and melodies that will be stuck in your head for days. One of the lyrics on “3 Swords” is “here are some words spoken through air / to drive the demons away” and I can’t think of a better way to describe A Widening Burst of Forever

16. Martha: Please Don't Take Me Back

Specialist Subject and Dirtnap Records

I love when people recommend bands to me and Martha is one of the best band recommendations I got this year. The first time I heard “Please Don’t Take Me Back” I was hooked, everything about the band just clicked. I went back and listened to Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart and Love Keeps Kicking and started getting really excited for the new album. The vocals, the lyrics, the instrumentation, absolutely everything about Please Don’t Take Me Back is just superb. Each song has a sense of intimacy and connection to it that is unparalleled. I lose all sense of time when I listen to Please Don’t Take Me Back and before I know it I’m pressing play again. 

15. Career Day: Where We've Always Been

Old Press Records

New York-based Career Day fucking rock. I found their debut full-length album Where We’ve Always Been on Bandcamp a month after it came out and have been listening to it ever since. Once you hit play, the album wraps itself around you. It becomes impossible to focus on anything other than the stellar lyrics and top-notch emo-pop-punk instrumentation. You will feel compelled to recommend the album to friends, family, and random passersby. You will keep returning to Where We’ve Always Been and every time you listen you will find something new.  

14. Tanya Tagaq: Tongues

Six Shooter Records

Tongues by Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq is one of the most intense albums that I listened to this year. Once you hit play you exist only within the music - intricate electronic and industrial music blends together with her powerful voice and fill your mind with complex imagery. As you listen you'll discover that some of the lyrics come from her 2018 novel Split Tooth which will draw you in even further. For the next 29 minutes, you are fully immersed in the world of Tanya Tagaq. Nothing else exists. The visuals and urgency within Tongues will stick with you long after you've listened to it and will keep you coming back time after time.  

13. Bruce Lee Band: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Asian Man Records

Bruce Lee Band blend ska and punk rock together absolutely seamlessly on One Step Forward, Two Steps Back. The lyrics are political and angry, pulling no punches as they tackle the ever-widening wealth gap (“Did You Find The Money Farm?”), the consequences of evil people being given power (“Lie Big and Do It Often”), the horrific handling of the (ongoing) global pandemic (“Beats Me Up”), and the unaffordability of education (“Dance Dance Revolution”). The instrumentation is superb and even the horns in these songs have some bite. “I Hate This!” was one of my anthems this year and I have screamed along to it so loudly that I have startled my cat on multiple occasions. That being said, not all of the songs on One Step Forward, Two Steps Back are full of rage. “Putting Up With My Crazy” is a very sweet tribute to Mike Park’s wife, “사랑 키스 입​니​다” is a fun song sung in Korean with infectious gang vocals, and “I’ll Feel Better” and “So Nice For Me and You” are optimistic and hopeful. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back is an outstanding album that captures all of the emotions brought about by these past few years. 

12 . Special Interest: Endure

Rough Trade

When my energy is running low I put on Endure by New Orleans-based no-wavers Special Interest. The minute I hit play, I can feel my spirit strengthen and power begin to course through my veins. This is one album that is absolutely impossible to listen to without dancing. If you don’t believe me, hit play on “Cherry Blue Intention” and you’ll find yourself grooving along within the first ten seconds. The lyrics are oftentimes politically charged, infusing the fun with a simmering rage that enhances the listening experience and turns dancing into a joyous act of resistance. Special Interest are a force to be reckoned with. I hope to see them live in the coming year. 

11. Proper.: The Great American Novel

Big Scary Monsters and Father/Daughter Records

Proper.’s The Great American Novel is one of if not the most interesting albums I listened to this year. Between lyrics full of literary references and callbacks to previous albums and instrumentation that ranges in time signatures and styles from song to song there is so much going on. I know that even after all of the times I’ve listened to this album this year (which numbers well into the double digits) I’m still nowhere near catching all of the things that Proper. have put into this album. Each song in The Great American Novel is like a chapter in a book that is impossible to put down. 

10. Unsanitary Napkin: All Billionaires Are Bastards

Hardcore Victim and Sorry State Records

I think that we can all agree that there are few, if any, good billionaires out there. They destroy the environment, they underpay their workers, they take drastic measures to bust unions, they are transphobic jerks, and they only care about themselves. Aotearoa’s Unsanitary Napkin takes aim at all of this and more on All Billionaires Are Bastards. The band kicks out fast, ferocious, politically charged anarcho-punk that is sure to light a fire under your ass. In less than 20 minutes the band rips into TERFs, police brutality, union busting, the alt-right, and the meat industry. They also include an ode to activist Josie Butler (who threw a sex toy at then-Minister of Economic Development Stephen Joyce) and finish the album with a spirited cover of “Do They Owe Us A Living?” originally by Crass. With everything that has happened in recent years, it is easy to become burned out and apathetic but All Billionaires Are Bastards serves as a reminder that a better world is possible when we stand up for what we believe in. Never lose hope, and never give up the fight.  

9. Single Mothers : Everything You Need

Dine Alone Records

Single Mothers are one of my favourite bands. It seems like they always release something when I need it the most. That’s certainly the case with Everything You Need. I have barely stopped listening to it since it came out. The songs are full of the spirit that you expect from Single Mothers with lyrics that are at turns angry, funny, emotional (just try listening to "Throw" and not tear up a bit),  and sarcastic. Everything about this album rocks from the more experimental direction to the mini-cover of Sublime's "Santeria" in "Things". I have sung along to every song on this album a lot this year, especially “Baby Bird” which became my pump-up song. I really hope they tour next year because I need to see these songs live and Single Mothers pits are the best. 

8. Pleasure Venom: Rebirth/Return

Wolfshield Records

Pleasure Venom’s debut LP Rebirth/Return was one of the albums that I was looking forward the most to listening to this year. I loved everything that I’d heard leading up to the album and when I listened to it for the first time my socks blew clean off. The riffs!! The lyrics!! The drumming!! The vocals!! The bass!! Everything comes together perfectly and their blend of punk, noise rock, groove, and hard rock is full of energy. Audrey Campbell’s vocals are stellar and go from clean and clear to high screams (especially on “Peril” and “Bemusement Waltz”) to hardcore punk influenced in a matter of seconds. Pleasure Venom are on the top of their game and then some on Rebirth/Return. I hope that they tour Canada soon because if this is what the songs sound like recorded, imagine how awesome they sound live. 

7. Nova Twins: Supernova

Marshall Records

Whenever Nova Twins put out new music it is cause for excitement. On Supernova the UK based duo got more experimental with even more intricate riffs, kickass distortion, empowering lyrics, and extremely infectious “ooh-ooh”s (especially on “Puzzles”). Every time I listen to this album, I can feel electricity and power running through me. Supernova is one of those albums that makes me feel like I can move mountains every time I listen to it. 

6 (tie). Pillow Queens: Leave The Light On

Royal Mountain Records

There are few other bands that give me The Ache as strongly as Pillow Queens do. What is The Ache you ask? Every time I listen to them, I can feel the music reverberating deep within my being. It feels like someone is returning something to me that was lost long ago and that tears are being mended. That is the best way I can describe The Ache. I had it when I listened to their 2020 album In Waiting but Leave The Light On upped its intensity. The way the vocals, the instrumentation, and the lyrics come together is a thing of beauty. The songs move me through so many different emotions in what feels like no time at all. Listening to Leave The Light On is a special form of catharsis that only Pillow Queens can deliver. 

6 (tie). Book Buddies: Best Before


I have been waiting for more music from Nova Scotia's Book Buddies ever since I heard their single “Neon” for the first time. Now “Neon” opens their outstanding first album Best Before and sets the tone for what’s to follow. The songs are full of emotion, amazing lyrics, and superb indie rock instrumentation. When I hit play, I can feel the songs wrap around me and settle in my chest. Everything about Best Before just clicks. If you see me wearing headphones it's a pretty safe bet that I'm listening to Book Buddies. 

5 . Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life

Ghost Theatre

Listening to Bob Vylan is like being struck by lightning (in the best way possible). The songs on The Price of Life are full of intense energy that will light a fire under your ass to get up and do something. A sense of urgency is present throughout the album as they rip into capitalism, the class system, fascism, and the monarchy with lyrics calculated to inflict the most damage while retaining some humour. The instrumentation is a fantastic blend of punk, indie rock, hip-hop, and grime that will have you on your feet in no time. Bob Vylan are making music for the revolution so turn The Price of Life up loud. 

4. Witch Fever: Congregation

Music For Nations

Witch Fever have been among my most-played bands since I found their awesome two-song single Bezerk(h)er on Bandcamp a few years ago. I listened to their 2021 EP Reincarnate so much that all I have to do is see a song title and I have it going through my head immediately. Congregation takes those releases and cranks everything up past 11. The band sounds a bit more polished and a lot angrier as they continue to rip into those who abuse their (real or perceived) power, the patriarchy, and the religious establishment with lyrics full of symbolism and imagery. The songs are powerfully cathartic and help me to access and release some of my anger especially “Blessed Be Thy” and “Beauty and Grace”. The slow burn of “Congregation” and “I Saw You Dancing” is truly something to behold. The band creates a deep, sinister sound that simmers with a fury that promises to shred those responsible to pieces. Congregation has saved my sanity at multiple points this year and always helps me turn my anger into useful determined energy. 

3 . Thotcrime: D1G1T4L_DR1FT

Prosthetic Records

Exciting doesn’t even begin to describe Thotcrime’s second album D1G1T4L_DR1FT. The first time I listened to it in full I knew immediately that this was going to be one of my top albums of 2022. Elements from hardcore punk, grindcore, PC Music, hyperpop, mathcore, electronic music, dance music, heavy metal, and so many more are blended together to create a sonic whirlwind that keeps you on your toes, waiting to see what comes next. It is impossible to catch everything on the first listen. For example, there is a part in “This Isn’t Foundation, Now Give Me Your Skin Please?” that is reminiscent of Faith No More and I (a huge Faith No More fan) didn’t notice until the fifth time I heard it. The lyrics are outstanding and each song has a unique, intense energy to it that has to be experienced. DIG1T4L_DR1FT knocks my socks off every single time I listen to it and I can't wait to hear more from Thotcrime. Long live cybergrind.

2 (tie). The Callous Daoboys : Celebrity Therapist


Once you listen to The Callous Daoboys there is no going back. You are compelled to listen to them at least once a week forever after. Celebrity Therapist is a beautifully crafted album. Metal, mathcore, powerviolence, post-hardcore, and jazz are combined to create lush, intricate songs that are full of killer riffs and phenomenal vocals. From the first note on “Violent Astrology,” I was completely drawn in and couldn’t form thoughts about anything other than what I was listening to. The songs on Celebrity Therapist are living, breathing entities and they seem to reveal something new to me each time I listen. 

2 (tie). Ithaca: They Fear Us

Hassle Records

Every time that I’ve felt consumed by fear or doubt this year I’ve put on Ithaca’s They Fear Us. From the first note on opener “In The Way” to the last note on “Hold, Be Held” the album grabs me and refuses to let go. The songs are all-consuming and filled with visual, visceral lyrics and intricate, perfectly heavy instrumentation. Every time I listen to the album I feel like my soul has been fortified. All of the fear and doubts melt away and are replaced with a feeling of immense power like I can take on the world and win. They Fear Us is powerful, cathartic, and an album that I will always carry with me. 

1. Riverby: Absolution

Take This to Heart Records

I have loved Riverby since I heard their 2020 EP Smart Mouth and since then have been eagerly awaiting the day that they would be releasing their full-length album. I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when they announced Absolution and I listened to the first single “Baseless” for the first time. I have never had that strong of a reaction to a song before or since. Over the course of the song’s 2 minutes and 39 seconds I cried, shook, and screamed. Then I hit play again. And again. And again. By the fifth listen I knew all of the lyrics and I screamed them like they were being ripped out of me. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for the rest of the album to come out. Absolution did not disappoint. Each song immediately became filled with meaning and emotion and I have barely stopped listening (and singing along) to it since. Riverby’s Absolution came into my life at the exact right time and is another album that I will carry with me forever. 

Best new My Chemical Romance song of 2022

1. My Chemical Romance: The Foundations of Decay

Reprise Records

This year marked the release of the first new music by My Chemical Romance since 2014. When my friend texted me the news I screamed and almost spiked my phone into the floor. I stopped what I was doing and immediately went onto YouTube to listen to the song. “The Foundations of Decay” lasts for six glorious minutes and I listened to it three times in a row right away. After that, I started forming theories based on the lyrics (don’t worry, I will spare you my word-by-word breakdown) and listened to it an unhealthy amount of times over the following months. The band are back with a heavier direction with great riffs, stellar clean vocals and screams, infectious melodies, and a song that is fucking anthemic. My Chemical Romance opened all of the shows on their reunion tour with this song and when I saw them in Toronto every person was singing along with every single word. “The Foundations of Decay” has ushered in a new era of My Chemical Romance and I hope we hear more of that in the future. 

Best 'compilation release' of 2022

1. Spaced : Spaced Jams

New Morality Zine

If I had to pick one song to be my anthem for this year it would be “Prove You Wrong” by Buffalo-based hardcore punks Spaced. The lyrics have become a kind of mantra that I repeat to myself whenever someone tries to knock me down and the words never fail to strengthen my resolve to live how I want. The rest of Spaced Jams also kicks ass and features two more new songs (“Tear It Away” and “Point of View”) as well as collecting their Two New Joints single along with the 4 songs on their 2021 Demo. Spaced are one of the most exciting hardcore bands going right now and I can’t wait to hear more from them. 

Top EPs & splits of 2022 (unranked)

Future Girls: Year Long Winter

Tarantula Tapes and Dirt Cult Records

When your hands are cracked you reach for lotion to soothe them. When your heart and soul feel like they’ve been torn to pieces you reach for Year Long Winter by Future Girls to begin to repair them. I have a habit of avoiding my feelings and the five songs on this EP helped me allow myself to get in touch with my emotions. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I sang along to “Ghost”, “Year Long Winter”, and “Cross Streets” this year. I am very glad that this EP exists.

Matty Grace: Winter Trash


Winter Trash came out in October and since then it has become one of my most-played EPs. The three songs quickly became part of my regular rotation, especially “i (Blocked)” (fun fact: the opening to my list is a lyric from this song). Much like  Year Long Winter, the songs on Winter Trash have helped me get in touch with my emotions and actually feel my feelings. I had the chance to see Matty Grace live earlier this year and she was fucking amazing. If you are able to see her live (solo or with one of her bands) do it, you will not regret it. 

NOBRO: Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar

Dine Alone Records

I remember the day in 2021 when NOBRO dropped their single “Better Each Day”. I listened to it upwards of five times a day for about a month. Then when they announced their new EP Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar, I just about hit the ceiling with excitement. I started listening to Sick Hustle (their excellent 2020 EP) on loop in anticipation and when Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar came out I couldn’t get enough of it. It is high energy, catchy as hell, and impossible to listen to without singing along (especially on “Bye Bye Baby” and “Life is A Voyage”) . I missed seeing NOBRO live in Toronto with the OBGMs this year and will never make that mistake again. I can't wait until they tour again. 

Tits Up: Greatest Tits


Not to brag but I found out about Liverpool-based punk rockers Tits Up before they even had music available online. Someone posted a video of the band performing live on Instagram and I immediately went to their page and hit the “follow” button faster than the blink of an eye. The minute the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve and 2022 began, I got a notification on my phone that their first EP Greatest Tits was out. I practically flew down to my computer and started listening to the EP that would become the soundtrack of my year. The number of times I yelled “please fuck off” like a person possessed while listening to “Birthday Party” has probably broken a world record. Greatest Tits is very great indeed and I look forward to hearing more from Tits Up. 

G.R.O.S.S.: Demo

Sewercide Records

Matty Grace and Becca Dalley are a musical dream team and whenever they do something together you know that it is going to kick ass. That is certainly the case with G.R.O.S.S. Their Demo tears by in just under five minutes in a flurry of gloriously fuzzy hardcore punk. The songs are furious, full of frenetic energy, and very cathartic especially “Rift”. Everything about this demo rocks and I can’t wait to hear more from G.R.O.S.S. 

Panic Shack: Baby Shack

Brace Yourself Records

Listening to Panic Shack is an absolute blast. Whether it’s the slow-burning punk explosion of “I Don’t Really Like It” or the high energy promise to “Jiu Jits you, bitch!" on “Jiu Jits You” or the hilarious post-punk influenced “The Ick” (“You do not shush me in the cinema”) the songs on Baby Shack will have you singing and dancing in no time. This is one of the best debut EPs I’ve heard and I can’t wait to hear more from Panic Shack. 

Candy Apple: World For Sale

Convulse Records

I found out about Denver hardcore punks Candy Apple last year when they released their excellent album Sweet Dreams of Violence and they have been in heavy rotation ever since. World For Sale features four songs full of great riffs, killer vocals, and a frantic energy that I can’t help but mosh along to (my cat has been swept up in more impromptu one-person moshpits than ever this year). World For Sale zooms by in what feels like seconds and makes me want more music from Candy Apple. 

Cluttered & Talk Show Host: Enemy Us


I have Cluttered and Talk Show Host to thank for introducing me to Enemy You. Enemy Us sees the bands joining forces to each cover two songs by Enemy You BUT THERE’S A TWIST - the bands swapped singers. That means that Matty Grace sings with Talk Show Host and Chris Veinot sings with Cluttered. The swap sounds so good that if you didn’t know this was a split you would be forgiven for thinking this EP was done by one band. I love these covers (especially “Where No One Knows My Name”) and have listened to them so much that they are now a part of my very being. Cluttered and Talk Show Host are a match made in heaven and if they tour together again you’d better believe that I’ll be upfront singing along (and demanding more Enemy You covers). 

Boring Girls: Fuck You So Much

Tarantula Tapes

Montreal’s Boring Girls are fucking awesome. Fuck You So Much has it all - furious hardcore punk energy, samples from movies including They Live and Clue, and an electricity that will have you moshing along in no time. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing them live and they absolutely destroyed. Boring Girls blow the roof off of wherever they play so do yourself a favour and go see them live as soon as you possibly can. 

Baby Got Back Talk: Existential Shred

Wiretap Records

Baby Got Back Talk’s EP Existential Shred more than lives up to the name as the band delves into the existential nature of life, death, and the state of the world. The lyrics are full of literary references, existential riddles, and memorable hooks. With lyrics that make you think and music that makes you want to dance, Baby Got Back Talk are making the best kind of pop punk and more than living up to their self-given title of “the most interesting band in the world”. 

Matty Grace: I Was A Fat Stupid

Tarantula Tapes

I Was A Fat Stupid sees Matty Grace returning to writing in the garage-y punk-y pop stylings of her band the Fat Stupids and it rocks. The songs are a loving tribute to the band while also showcasing how far her songwriting has come. “Wintertime” is my favourite song on the EP and I’ve listened to it more times than I can count this year. Nostalgia is a complicated thing but Matty Grace does it perfectly on I Was A Fat Stupid.

Mvll Crimes: You Embvrrvss Me

Cursed Blessings Records

London, Ontario’s Mvll Crimes kick out six fast and furious jams on You Embvrrvss Me. In a little over fifteen minutes, they rip into cops, list things they don’t eat, ponder the value of CDs, and argue with strvngers with gusto. Mvll Crimes always keep me coming back for more of their post-hardcore greatness and hopefully, I’m finally able to see them live in 2023. Don’t be a cop. 

Comeback Clit & Ättestor: Split

Toxic Wotsit Records

Some things are just meant to be. I found out about Comeback Clit a few days before their split with Ättestor came out. The split marks Comeback Clit’s first released music and pairs their three debut songs with four new tracks from Ättestor. Both bands come out swinging on their respective songs with Ättestor’s aggressive d-beat mixing perfectly into Comeback Clit’s frenetic hardcore punk. This split is fast, political, and everything that a good split should be. I was introduced to two new cool bands, both of which I can’t wait to hear more from. 

Crisis Party: Welcome to the Party

Dirt Cult Records

Crisis Party are one of my favourite bands that formed this year. The band is made up of Matty Grace (Cluttered, Future Girls, G.R.O.S.S.), Anthony Cardozo (Precious Failures, The Flying Hellfish), and “Ska” Jeff (Doxx, Dogma). On their debut EP Welcome to the Party the band plays fantastic garage-y, doom-y, punk rock. I have listened to this EP way too many times this year and haven't been able to stop singing along with "Exist" and "Warble". The best way I can sum up Welcome to the Party is to quote Crisis Party, “Life is suffering. Let’s Party”. 

Gel & Cold Brats: Shock Therapy

Convulse Records

There is nothing better than finding out about a new band, especially if they put out a split with one of your favourite bands. I have been a huge fan of Gel since I heard their 2019 HC for the Freaks promo tape and always look forward to hearing new music from them. They released their single “Mental Static” in 2021 and when it was announced earlier this year that the single would be on an upcoming split with Cold Brats, I was stoked. I had not heard of Cold Brats before this split but the Romanian punks quickly won me over with “Cli-Check-Mate” and “I Love You Scooby Doo”. Shock Therapy shows both of the bands at the top of their game as they kick out gloriously chaotic hardcore punk that compliments each other perfectly. 

GILT: Conceit

Smartpunk Records

GILT take on death and grief with poetic lyrics, a fantastic lineup of guests, and terrific post-hardcore meets emo instrumentation on their EP Conceit. The result is heartbreaking, angry, and extremely cathartic. I can’t even begin to count how many times I listened to “Trophy Hunter” (feat. Nat Lacuna of The Holy Ghost Tabernacle Choir) and “209” (feat. Carson Pace of The Callous Daoboys) this year. Conceit couldn’t have come out at a better time. 

Jivebomb: Primitive Desires

Flatspot Records

Baltimore-based Jivebomb are one of the bands ushering in an electrifying new era in hardcore punk. The five songs on Primitive Desires are thrashy, dynamic, and rip by in what feels like seconds. When I listen to Primitive Desires I always feel like I’m being transported into the middle of a moshpit. I hope my visions of a Jivebomb pit become a reality in 2023. 

Cluttered: Transgender Dystopia Blues


I am always excited to hear more music from Cluttered. Transgender Dystopia Blues is made up of one new song (“Take Me Away”), a punked-up cover of “Anchorless” by The Weakerthans, and full band versions of two of singer and guitarist Matty Grace’s solo songs, “Dysphoria City Limits” and “This Rusted Bike Lock”. The songs delve into isolation, gender dysphoria, and heartbreak with stellar lyrics and extremely catchy pop-punk instrumentation. Transgender Dystopia Blues rocks and I am eagerly anticipating the day when they release their full-length album. 

La Neve: History Solved


La Neve mixes dance music, digital hardcore, and punk rock together on History Solved to create a dynamic, intense sound that never fails to get me dancing. The songs are filled with driving chaotic energy as La Neve rips into unfair labour practices, explores the meaning of power, sex, and tears into the broken capitalist system. History Solved is high-energy protest music and I hope to experience these songs live one day. 

Fucked Up: Oberon


Fucked Up have been many things over the years, they have been a hardcore band, they have been indie rock darlings, they have gone down the path of psychedelic rock, and have written an operatic play about a horse. Oberon finds them back at their hardcore punk roots and it fucking rules. The music has an otherworldly feeling of depth to it and the lyrics are rich with mythology. Damian Abraham sounds phenomenal as does Oberon. Whenever I listen to Oberon, I get caught up in the world that Fucked Up has brought to being and I never want to leave. 

Sprints: A Modern Job

Nice Swan Records

Sprints just keep getting better and better. Last year they put out their excellent EP Manifesto and they’ve continued to build on their fierce, noisy blend of post-punk and garage rock. Over the course of five songs, the band tackles economic uncertainty, growing up queer, dealing with mental health, and rips into capitalism with bite and plenty of distortion. They also put out an exceptional cover of Wet Leg’s “Chaise Lounge” this year which I think I like more than the original. I love Sprints and whenever they put out new music it is a highlight of my year. Fingers crossed for a full-length album soon!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read through my list! Remember to wear your masks, wash your hands, stay up to date on your vaccines, and protect those around you. Stay safe and look after yourself and others. I hope to see you in 2023 for a year filled with (hopefully) more shows, more writing, more interviews, more podcasts, and eventually world domination.