"Year end lists are far more challenging than they let on - or at least for me, especially as this year (2022!) has been one alien blur," says Jae Matthews of electronic duo Boy Harsher in sending us her Best of 2022 list. "So much is hitting the proverbial newsstand, while the world spins so quickly. It’s hard to catch up. I also feel like what’s released earlier in any given year often gets overlooked (lol @ shameless self promotion). What one happens to hear and what happens to have impact is v circumstantial. So for this, I lean into the conditional magic of life."

Jae's list includes records by Special InterestEthel Cain, and more, films new and old, TV series, books, and podcasts. She also talks about all her picks, and more, actually. It's a terrific read and you can do so below.

Boy Harsher had an eventful 2022, writing and directing horror film The Runner which you can watch on Shudder. They did the soundtrack for it as well, naturally, and also contributed a song to the soundtrack of Halloween Ends. They also stayed busy on tour and just played Flesh and Steel at Queens' Knockdown Center. They've got a few European dates, including Roadburn fest in the Netherlands, and all those date are listed below.

BOY HARSHER'S JAE MATTHEWS - BEST OF 2022

hey, it’s me, jae matthews. heyyy.
I am one half of the electronic duo, Boy Harsher.

Year end lists are far more challenging than they let on - or at least for me, especially as this year (2022!) has been one alien blur. So much is hitting the proverbial newsstand, while the world spins so quickly. It’s hard to catch up. I also feel like what’s released earlier in any given year often gets overlooked (lol @ shameless self promotion). What one happens to hear and what happens to have impact is v circumstantial. So for this, I lean into the conditional magic of life.

Preacher’s Daughter - Ethel Cain
I was not familiar with Ethel Cain before 2022, but when I heard “Gibson Girl” in March, I was floored. The hypersexuality of the pop and the smoothness of the ever-present guitar is enough. Seriously. Anyone who knows what love (sex) is will understand. Every once in a while a song like this comes out and I get stuck playing it over in social situations, to get “the vibe going”. I see you jukebox at The Long Branch, Savannah GA! Really enjoyed the rest of Preacher’s Daughter as well, in particular “Family Tree” and “Ptolemaea”. This year sees me as a certified fan.

Endure - Special Interest
I’m lucky that I got to see SI play in a small club in Western MA just recently. This album is a feat and to see it live and to be in its groove is just pure exultation. No one is making such joyous fuck y’all punk, and I am 100 % here for it. But, most notably the Midnight Legend music video by Alli Logout is my ultimate takeaway. It is totally excellent. Logout expertly captures the feeling of late night club chaos - from puking, to fucking, to ketamine, to that incredibly specific feeling of walking home at dawn. It’s less a music video and more a film, directed with tenderness over a wild cast and seedy rave Berlin. Truthfully I wish the narrative would go on for a whole HBO series.

Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All
Maybe I favor this one as it’s so fresh on the brain, but I truly loved all the pieces of Bones and All. Not sure about the film in its entirety (or ol’ Timothee lol) - but those pieces! This film gets close to the type of film I’d like to make - the understated story arc, subtle, yet sinister encounters, authentic characters and locations and just one powerful wrench that generates “the flaw”. Sry this description is a bit cryptic, don’t want to spoil much. P.S. Chloe plays such a sad + broken support character, cannot stop thinking about her :0

Lapvona - Otessa Moshfegh
I read this on a red-eye to Berlin this summer. Set in a fictional medieval fiefdom, Moshfegh’s fifth novel is so, so bleak with cruel, unlikeable characters in a terribly gloomy, sadistic world. I could not put it down, lol. The book was a gift and although I was unfamiliar with Moshfegh, I got stuck in this story and read it straight-through. I only wish that I read it on a holiday somewhere, ‘cause the ennui is almost unbearable. Must temper with warm weather.

David Lynch’s Lost Highway
One of Boy Harsher’s favorite films was rereleased as a 4K restoration this summer. This film was released in 1997, so the opportunity to see it ‘live’ was not a possibility for us. But whew, there is nothing like watching a film you love in a movie theater. Saying all the lines in your head, eating popcorn, being excited. In my opinion we want Fred Madison way more than Pete Dayton, and it will take me years to untangle Lynch’s motive / intent around casting someone with a soul-patch in a ‘sexy’ role. But boy is Renee / Alice smoking ! Noteably, Richard Pryor’s last film before he succumbed to MS and Robert Blake’s last film before he was charged with murdering his wife.

HEY WHAT - Low
Okay, I know what you are thinking, all you year-end-list nerds, this album came out in 2021. However, circumstantially, I listened to this a lot this year. With the untimely death of Mimi Parker, I feel it’s important to include - in hopes that everyone will listen to HEY WHAT (or all Low albums tbh). The first song I heard from this record was “Days Like This” and it destroyed me. Like crying the whole flight destruction. So start there if you’d like or do yourself the favor - listen to the whole album, start to finish, as yr first time. I’ll do it with you, I’ll even smoke pot with you (I don’t even smoke pot), I’ll lay down on the carpet in your parent’s finished basement and we’ll listen to this whole fucking thing and we will hear it all. We will ascend. Hey What is deeply spiritual, arguably a gospel album, and in fact I remember once reading that Alan Sparhawk (½ Low) said there is “ecstasy in distortion”, which could not be more true for Hey What.

Palaces of Pity - Malibu
Every year I need a good record to dissociate to and this year, Malibu gave the gift of Palaces of Pity. The elusive Malibu finally touched down with an oceanic, zenned out album full of fractal momentum and submerged euphoria. Not to give too much away, but once on mush, I sat under an orange tree and listened to Palaces of Pity on repeat. I was ~glistening~. Is it Trance? Maybe for me? Maybe for us in 2022.

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty by Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht
I surprise myself with this one; I've never been much of a television person and absolutely not a sports player, but Winning Time got me this year. It gave Gus and I comfort in foreign hotels, after shows, so homesick, combining basketball (Gus loves it) and drama (I’m a sucker) and John C. Reilly can do no wrong, ever. And, Adrian Brody is H O T. Hilarious that Jerry West reacted so strongly irl, especially because his complaints are mainly about being portrayed as a hot-headed maniac, which maybe he’s proving accurate?

Devoted - LUCY (Cooper B. Handy)
We love LUCY in this household and I highly suggest watching the LUCY Youtube channel in its entirety. Sit down and turn on your television tuned to Coop. So many hits, so many unhinged videos that portray life in Western MA with bizzaro accuracy. LUCY released this EP earlier this year with the absolute gem “Radiation”. Go listen and love that Carly Simon ref x

New Meaning - Tempers
“Unfamiliar” is one of my 2022 anthems, filled with so much yearning and mystery. Not my first time hearing, but recently when I was at a goth club in São Paulo the DJ played this song. I lost my mind! Lit by only one bright strobe and so much fog, I felt completely lost in space, bodies appearing ever so often, Jasmine’s vocals calling us in the night. 10/10 Amazing time.

Tropical Depression - Jake Schrock
Although initially released in 2018, this beaut of a record was finally released on vinyl by Holodeck Records this year. This album, for the past six years or so, has been my dinner party music, my new friends on a night drive experience, my grocery store zone-out. Suffice to say, Jake has been in my ears for a bit now. Does anyone remember the heyday of Texas synth music? What a magical time. We’d pilgrimage to ATX in order to catch a show (mostly in garages in suburban ranch houses). Thousand Foot Whale Claw, SURVIVE, Troller. Pre Boy Harsher, but what a succinct influence. This is all to say, Tropical Depression is a great vinyl record.

Death is a Dream - HTRK
HTRK will live in my heart Forever. We’re lucky too, because the group is v prolific and generous with what they release into the world. Death is a Dream is a collection of thoughts, demos, lingerings that happened before Rhinestones (of last year). Already HTRK is known for their ethereal sound, but these intimate recordings bring us deeper into the chimera. Narcotic and dizzying. “Death is Dream” is another Jae Matthews’ 2022 anthem, a test song to send out to new friends in order to evaluate the response. If it doesn’t make you wanna’ kiss me then I’ll see you later !

Martine Syms’ The African Desperate
Sym’s breakout feature chronicles the final day at art graduate school for Palace (Diamond Stingily) as she navigates an awkward (racist) final review, interactions with various friends (both indifferent and impassioned), and one last chaotic party that evolves into drugs, lake swimming, psychic readings, hookups, barfs and attempts to get to the airport. This film is so funny and very relatable. Art school in America is its own specific hell and Syms captures the madness perfectly.

Keeping Records Podcast
Okay - without being too much of a bummer - I gotta admit that this year was hard. We were touring nonstop and when not touring, I’d have to drive several hours away to visit my mom a couple times a week. All that driving required a lot of listening: I’d do phone calls and music, but sometimes it felt best to pretend I was sitting at a table with really funny friends. Thus, I give you Keeping Records podcast, with Caleb Hearon, Shelby Wolstein, and later EJ Marcus! The hosts, all hilariously irreverent comedians, interview their friends (mostly comedians) about what the new golden records sent to space should contain. The premise sounds heavy, but it’s so light, and so, so funny. Highlight episodes for me are: ER Fightmaster, Jo Firestone, Meg Stalter, and Allison Raskin.

"Heartbeat" - Nuovo Testamento (Love Lines)
If you don’t know about Nuovo Testamento, it is about time you learn ! “Heartbeat” is off their upcoming album, Love Lines, and boy does it get us excited for 2023 ! This song makes me feel giddy and silly, like I should be roller skating or something. These guys are gonna’ make everyone fall in love.

Dario Argento’s Dark Glasses / Dark Glasses Soundtrack by Arnaud Rebotini
Dario is baaaack, baby ! Dark Glasses follows Diana, a luxury escort who tries to escape the clutches of a prostitute serial killer. Diana has been blinded in a car accident perpetrated by this maniac and is assisted by the young orphan, whose parents were killed in the crash. Not gonna’ lie, ‘twas very fearful about this one, lol. But, it’s a wild fun romp and the red blood is so red, I’d say it’s as giallo as any other Argento. Arnaud Rebotini’s score fits well with its pulsing, synth inclinations that make it new but nostalgic.

A lot of sad happened this year too, but we should not get into it. One sad thing that happened that I’ll include is that Sally’s Apizza discontinued my favorite pie: Tuna, onion, and pepperoncini on red sauce :<

It’s a bit melancholy now that I’m trying to wrap this up. Forgetting lots I reckon. But maybe the whole ‘year end list’ concept will evolve into a monthly ‘what I’m liking’ list or ‘what is making me Feel’ list. Who knows. When I asked Gus what he wanted to contribute he said: “the drive from Macedonia to Greece this May was my best moment of 2022”. I suppose he was referring to the actual drive: the jagged landscape, punctuated by kandilakia, specific greek eulogies, commiserating the holy journey across the dangerous dry mountains. Or maybe more poetic: that feeling of speeding through strange land, winding roads, almost languageless, with the blessing of being wanted in some small way by people who like your music. These people who have welcomed you warmly into their lives for a single night in order to disappear. That feeling when you get to disappear too.

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BOY HARSHER - 2023 TOUR DATES
21/04/23 - 22/04/23 Tilburg ROADBURN FESTIVAL Netherlands
24/04/23 Lisbon Music Box Portugal
25/04/23 Porto Mu.O.Co Portugal
30/04/23 Madrid Dark Mad Festival Spain

Check out pics of Boy Harsher's Flesh + Steel set:

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