10 emo, screamo, and post-hardcore albums not to miss from 2022 so far
It's a holiday weekend, the unofficial start of summer, almost halfway through the year, all of which makes now a good time to catch up on some of the many great records released in 2022 that you may have missed. For the emo kids out there, we've put together a list of 10 emo, screamo, and post-hardcore albums from 2022 that we think are unmissable. The list is unranked, and just a small portion of all the great stuff released in this realm so far this year. With that said, read on for the list and leave your suggestions in the comments.
See also: 13 hardcore releases not to miss from 2022 so far, including Soul Glo, Drug Church, Vein.fm, and more.
Anxious - Little Green House
Run For Cover
With their 2019, Triple B Records-released Never Better, Anxious found themselves among a group of "next Title Fight" contenders (alongside related band One Step Closer, Long Island emo torch-carriers Koyo, and others), but with Little Green House, it feels like Anxious' sites are set on next Jimmy Eat World. That might sound like hyperbole, but this record really earns it. It's an emo album that's in touch with the genre's gritty hardcore roots but also full of sparkly clean production, gorgeous harmonies, layered arrangements, and forays outside of punk entirely. The harmony-fueled acoustic ballad "Wayne" and the dream pop-inspired "You When You're Gone" (with guest vocals by Stella Branstool) are among the prettiest guitar pop songs you'll hear this year, and just when you think Anxious have gone soft, they'll break out a Title Fight/Movielife-esque ripper like "Speechless" or "Let Me" to remind you where they came from. The best parts, though, fall somewhere in between. The soaring tracks at the top half of the album ("Your One Way Street," "In April," "Growing Up Song," "More Than A Letter") are when Anxious sound like a band that could've ruled the airwaves in the era of Bleed American and Stay What You Are.
For much more on this LP, read our feature on the band, interview and album review included.
Pick up the Anxious album on color vinyl.
Prince Daddy & the Hyena - Prince Daddy & the Hyena
Prince Daddy & the Hyena's last album, 2019's Cosmic Thrill Seekers, was a three-act, DIY punk rock opera that channelled the ambition of American Idiot, The Black Parade, and The Monitor through a scrappy, lo-fi, basement scene lens. It's the kind of built-to-be-classic album that some artists would spend the rest of their careers living in the shadows of, but for its self-titled followup (and Pure Noise debut), Prince Daddy & the Hyena have made a new album that's even better.
The new LP is also a concept album, one that finds vocalist Kory Gregory grappling with the fear of his death in the wake of his severe 2018 van accident, but it's not necessarily a dark or sad album. "I think the record as a whole, as a journey, feels bittersweet and hopeful in a way," Kory said in the press materials for the LP. "In other words: we're all going to die, so we might as well enjoy the ride before we do."
Musically, the album finds Prince Daddy blurring the lines between punk, emo, and indie rock to the point where it never fits neatly into any genre, and it's got everything from mosh-inducing ragers to tender, atmospheric pop songs with so much else in between, sometimes in the span of a single song. One of the tracks is nine minutes long ("Black Mold") and you might not even know it if you didn't look at the tracklist; like the album itself, it's an ever-changing piece of music that flies by. Kory's also become an even better vocalist; his messy rasp that made Cosmic Thrill Seekers so charming is even grittier, and his softer side is smoother and cleaner, but never at the expense of what made him sound so unique in the first place. It's an unusual choice to follow a beloved breakthrough album with a self-titled, but it makes sense, because this is a reintroduction. Whatever you thought you knew about Prince Daddy & the Hyena, they're now even better at all of it.
Oso Oso - Sore Thumb
Round Hill/Triple Crown
Long Island's Oso Oso have just surprise-released their fourth album, Sore Thumb. Main member Jade Lilitri had been demo-ing the album in early 2021 with his cousin Tavish Maloney at producer Billy Mannino’s (of Bigger Better Sun) Two Worlds Recordings, and the plan was to take a month off and then go back and decide where and who to work with to complete the album, when Tavish suddenly passed away. When that happened, Jade decided not to touch the songs and release them as is, only handing it over to Long Island veteran Mike Sapone (who also produced and mixed Oso Oso's 2019 album Basking in the Glow) to mix. The result is a big, soaring, spacious indie rock album, and you can read more about it here.
p.s.you'redead - Sugar Rot
Throughout these 12 tracks, Buffalo's p.s.you'redead touch on mathcore insanity, metalcore breakdowns, glittery synths, throat-shreddding screams, shouted sass parts, and more. On the airy mid-section of "True Confessions of a Former Punisher," they show off a genuinely pretty side, and on the title track, they go full-on hyperpop. ("We’ve always liked having an electronic element to our music and thought it’d be fun to have a song that fully embraced that," Lilith said.) It's discordant, abrasive, in your face, and a lot to take in, and it's also a ton of fun. And underneath the often-ridiculous musical surface are some deeply serious lyrical concerns. "A lot of it is about my struggles with addiction and mental health and being angry at the situations that lead me there," Lilith says. "There’s a few songs on there too about my frustration with the amount of abusers and predators within the scene that are called out almost daily yet nothing seems to change."
Read our feature on the album for more.
Home Is Where / Record Setter - Dissection Lesson
Topshelf / Father/Daughter
Home Is Where and Record Setter are both responsible for releasing two of the best emo albums in recent memory, 2021's I Became Birds and 2020's I Owe You Nothing, respectively, so it's amazing news that they've teamed up for a split. They're also both bands with trans singers, they tapped another trans singer from the punk/emo scene to design the artwork (SeeYouSpaceCowboy's Connie Sgarbossa), and the songs are about trans issues, ranging from personal struggles navigating the world as a trans women to observing the violence enacted against trans women on a widespread level.
Record Setter's two contributions pick up where the emotive post-hardcore/screamo of I Owe You Nothing left off, and are just as impactful as anything on that great album, while Home Is Where's two contributions are heavier and more overtly screamo than anything they'd ever released. There was a little screamo on I Became Birds, but they've never gone full-on Ebullition Records like this before. According to their current bio on Bandcamp, Home Is Where were already "heading a heavier direction," and if these songs give us an idea of what to expect from LP2, then I am very excited to hear more. The 76-second opener "Names" is violent, discordant, '90s-style screamo, but the even more jawdropping song is the slower, lengthier "Creationish," which features guest screams from Soul Glo's Pierce Jordan that are as manic as anything on the great new Soul Glo album. It's a brooding, climactic post-hardcore song that sounds at various points like Unwound, Moss Icon, pg.99, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and if those comparisons sound like hyperbole, then you probably just haven't heard how stunning this song is.
Gospel - The Loser
In certain circles, Gospel need no introduction, but in most, they probably do. The Brooklyn screamo band released one album during its initial run, 2005's Kurt Ballou-produced The Moon Is A Dead World, and it took the kind of underground screamo pioneered by bands like Orchid, pg.99, and Saetia and fused it with early '70s prog and psychedelia. Even at a time when prog was starting to infiltrate post-hardcore more and more, nobody else sounded like Gospel. The band broke up not long after Moon's release, and their career might've ended up as a blip, but their style of DIY screamo lived on and helped pave the way for bands like Touche Amore and La Dispute, as well as the more recent screamo revival, and the true believers in this sound have rightfully elevated Gospel to legendary status. A brief reunion occurred in 2010, which found them performing new material and releasing one digital single, but the "album's worth of new material" they said they'd written never materialized into an actual album and the band went back on hiatus. Now they're back once again -- over a decade since their last reunion and 17 years since their debut album -- and this time they've really got a new album. At least some of the material dates back to that 2010 reunion, but Gospel have always been ahead of their time, so The Loser still sounds like the future. It also still sounds like no other band; even with their debut as a certified classic, no one has ever really managed to fuse screamo, prog, and psych like Gospel have, and this new album does it just as effectively as Moon did. It's got eight songs that clock in at 41 minutes, and they really engulf you. Even the few great singles that came out already can't prepare you for how much of a journey The Loser takes you on. They worked once again with Kurt Ballou, and Kurt once again employed a raw production style that keeps things sounding abrasive but still lets all of Gospel's proggy nuances shine. It might've come 17 years later, but it's the natural followup that The Moon Is A Dead World always deserved.
Hey, ily! - Psychokinetic Love Songs
Lonely Ghost Records
Genre-defying emo band Hey, ily! put out one of the best punk releases of 2021 with the Internet Breath EP, and in the time since then, main member Caleb Haynes expanded Hey, ily! into a five-piece band and recorded their first full-length album, Psychokinetic Love Songs. The album has an even wider palette of sounds than the EP, pulling from chiptune, IDM, screamo, thrash metal, classical, waltz, new age ambience, jazz, synth-funk, choral music, and more, all within the context of DIY emo, and the razor-sharp full band ties everything together even more seamlessly than Caleb did as a solo artist. It risks coming off as weird for the sake of weird, but it works because Hey, ily! always have powerful songwriting at the core of these songs. It may seem quirky on the surface, but as song titles like "Intrusive Thoughts Always" and "Stress Headache" suggest, the album addresses serious topics like mental health. It's music that ends up being fun, impactful, and innovative all at once.
Foxtails - fawn
As the latest wave of screamo was taking shape, Connecticut's Foxtails cemented themselves as one of the genre's most unique new bands with 2019's querida hija, a raw, chaotic album that owes as much to '90s screamo as it does to '80s art punk. For its followup fawn, Foxtails have taken a huge leap and made a record that tops its already-great predecessor by a mile. One of the big changes is the addition of violinist Jared Schmidt, who gives Foxtails a climactic, string-laden sound that puts them more in the lineage of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Dirty Three than of Ebullition Records-style screamo. And it's not just the strings that push this album into new territory for Foxtails. These 12 tracks are the most expansive, developed songs the band have written yet, and Blue Luno Solaz has become an even more commanding frontperson in the two years since the last album. I can't think of many other vocalists that remind me of Kim Gordon and La Dispute in the same song, and Blue's delivery and lyrics on this album are among the most powerful I've heard in modern screamo. With such an abundance of new bands channelling similar influences, some of the screamo revival stuff can admittedly sometimes start to blur, but Foxtails have always stood out from the pack, and with fawn, they've made an album that not only stands out, it pushes the genre to new heights.
Carly Cosgrove - See You In Chemistry
Often times, the best emo bands sound caught between the raw, humble approach of the underground and arena-sized ambition, and that's exactly how Carly Cosgrove sound on their debut album See You In Chemistry. The Philly trio get their band name and all of their album and song names from the Nickelodeon shows iCarly and Drake and Josh, which is both extremely silly and actually kind of impressive, but there's nothing at all silly about their actual music. (Not that emo bands putting silly pop culture references in song titles is anything new, but this band really commits to the bit.) Taking cues from scrappy, knotty '90s emo, the pop-centric 2000s era, and the fresh perspective of emo's fourth and fifth waves, See You In Chemistry scratches so many different itches. It feels like the kind of thing that could appeal just as much to the people who casually hummed along to "The Middle" on the radio as to the people who frequent DIY basement shows.
Static Dress - Rouge Carpet Disaster
Just about every trend/subgenre comes back around eventually, even -- or perhaps especially -- the much-maligned ones, and you may have noticed that right now we're in the middle of a serious mid 2000s Myspace/Hot Topic/scene revival. The original era did indeed produce a lot of stuff that's aged like milk, but there was some genuinely cool stuff happening back then, and Static Dress are here to remind you that you can love that stuff without an ounce of irony. A string of extremely good singles was followed in December of 2021 with their debut project, Prologue... (a 9-song, 15-minute EP that soundtracked the band's own original comic book), and now they've just put out their first full-length album, Rouge Carpet Disaster. Throughout the record, they tap directly back into stuff like They're Only Chasing Safety-era Underoath, Saosin, and The Bled, and there's a hint of Deftones in there too. If you lived through the mid 2000s, it comes off like a rush of nostalgia, but as with their peers in bands like SeeYouSpaceCowboy and Wristmeetrazor, Static Dress bring something new to the table. Rouge Carpet Disaster is an even stronger album than some of the stuff it constantly gets compared to. Again, not all of that mid 2000s stuff has aged well; sometimes you revisit it and it doesn't sound nearly as good as you remember. Rouge Carpet Disaster sounds like the way you want to remember it.