Roundup, January #1 : Most anticipated releases of 2022

Ah, the new year. Our annual clean slate. A time to reflect on another 365 days around the sun, pick up the pieces from the year gone by and hit reset. It’s a time of looking forward to things, and if you’re anything like us it’s the prospect of new music. While the past two years have been unprecedentedly strange for dance and electronic music, with clubs and festivals across the world laying dormant, 2022 is particularly exciting as the world begins to find its way out the grip of lockdown. Though at this point we’ve learned that nothing is certain, 2022 feels like the closest we’ve come to freedom since 2019. And it’s a feeling echoed by the year’s upcoming releases, at least based on what we can gather from all information teased and/or confirmed. Moving beyond the limbo head space of the quarantine album and brimming with hope to be played out to live audiences, here are our most anticipated releases of 2022. In no particular order:   

Bonobo – Fragments

After dropping uncharacteristically upbeat singles like the micro-house Rosewood and garage informed Otomo alongside more straightforward Bonobo chillhouse faire like Tides, it was immediately apparent that the UK producer’s upcoming seventh studio album would be his most diverse to date. Already being lauded by Ninja Tune as his masterpiece, expectations for Fragments couldn’t be higher going into its January 14th release date. Pre-order here, and listen to the latest single For You below.

Alice Glass – Prey/IV

Prey/IV marks Alice Glass’s solo debut, and the final stage in her self-reclamation post Crystal Castles. From what we’ve heard, it’s a wonderfully bizarre cybergoth rave that distils the parts of Glass’s dark artistry into a singular universe. Pulling from 2000’s scene aesthetics, lo-fi synthpop and distorted goth rock, Prey/IV promises to be a jagged, twisted trip into Glass’s mind but also one which looks to reveal her at her most human. Pre-order here and watch the music video for FAIR GAME below.  

Charli XCX – Crash 

For her final album on her current deal with major label Atlantic Records, Charli XCX decided to go all in and do the ‘main pop girl’ thing. Diverting from her hyperpop sound toward the mainstream, Crash is admittedly made all the more exciting in lieu of XCX’s constant, tongue-in-cheek trolling of her label. Featuring the electropop banger Good Ones and the breezy retro synthpop of New Shapes with Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek, Crash is XCX’s biggest reach for the airwaves since Boom Clap and we’re living for it. With the album out in March and XCX embarking on an extensive tour shortly after, there’s no doubt that the popstar will continue to drive herself to the top of our radars in 2022. Pre-order it here.

100 Gecs – 10000 Gecs 

The current reigning tastemakers of hyperpop 100 Gecs’s debut record 1000 Gecs was a chaotic smorgasbord of heightened pop tropes, meme iconography and an impish sense of delinquency. Immediately usurping the more curatorial PC Music as the new hyperpop standard (and making PC Music feel strangely subdued in the process), 100 Gecs’s sound is one of the most influential in our current landscape. 10000 Gecs promises more of the madness, and a likely blueprint for the direction that the ever burgeoning hyperpop will take this year. Watch the music video for lead single mememe below. 

Years & Years – Night Call

Over the past two years, Britain’s Olly Alexander has made a name for himself as one of the foremost voices in dancepop with his solo project Years & Years with a string of hits including King and the effervescent Desire. Following 2018’s sophomore effort Palo Santo and a year that included an official cover for Lady Gaga, Night Call is shaping up to be somewhat of a magnum opus for Years & Years. With its fairytale creature aesthetic and shimmering house singles like Sweet Talker and Crave, Night Call looks to be one of the year’s most delicious and decadent dance releases. See the music video for Crave below and pre-order Night Call here

Shamir – Hetrosexuality 

The eight studio album from Philadelphian singer-songwriter Shamir follows 2020’s self-titled record, and looks to be an exploration into the trans queer lived experience. Taking inspiration from queer theory and his own non-binary identity, Hetrosexuality promises to present Shamir at his most vulnerable. Speaking on the album, Shamir shares: “I think this album is me finally acknowledging my trauma. Everyone knows I’ve been through so much shit and I kind of just rammed through, without really acknowledging the actual trauma that I do feel on almost a daily basis.” Single Gay Agenda is a crunched out trip-hop, industrial ballad while the haunting Cisgender is goth-rock informed trap. See the video for Cisgender below. 

Grimes – TBA

While there’s no official title for the upcoming project from Canadian alt-pop star Grimes, there has been a massive amount shared and teased by the singer online. In her own words, the upcoming record is a space opera about CLAIRE DE LUNE – an artificial courtesan who was implanted in a simulation that is a memory of the AI creation story on earth from the brain of the engineer who invented AI because he wants to re live his life but see if his perfect dream girl could teach him to love and thereby he would preserve humanity…” High concept aside, we’ve already heard tracks like Shinigami Eyes and 100 Percent Tragedy take on a distinct electrohouse style, a direction pretty much confirmed with the release of probable lead single Player Of Games. Check out the music video below.

Soft Cell – Happiness Not Included 

Who doesn’t love a good comeback from a legacy act? The iconic British synth duo made up of Marc Almond and David Ball may have supposedly played their final show three years back, but this year will see Soft Cell emerge with their first new material in over two decades. According to Ball, the album which was recorded over the course of lockdown will feature “science fiction for the 21st Century” that takes a look at the current state of human society by presenting “a belief that there is a utopia if we can peel back the layers and understand what really matters.” Due at the end of February, pre-order Happiness Not Included here and listen to single Heart Like Chernobyl below.