Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner tells us about his favorite music of 2022
"I try not to get into situations that are potentially loaded with the weight of opinion," Lambchop's Kurt Wagner told us when we asked if he'd send us a list of his favorite music of 2022. "Ultimately some one, some where, will find fault in your beliefs because they’re not that of their own. I don’t want to let anyone down. So I shut the fuck up." But then he added, while giving us his list, "That said these days I really don’t give a fuck about much of anything except for those things that bring me peace or inspiration. To know that making anything is still worth the shit it stirs up. I still get up each day and hope that there’s something new out there to change my mind and make me glad I did."
Kurt's list of favorite music includes Joe Rainey, Soul Glo, SAULT and more. Check out his list and thoughtful commentary for each below.
Lambchop released a pretty great album this year, The Bible, which he made with Andrew Brodor (who also worked on Joe Rainey's album). It made year-end lists from MOJO and Uncut, and if you haven't listened to it yet, you can do so below.
Top Ten “Top Ten Lists” Biggest “Problems” by Kurt Wagner
I try not to get into situations that are potentially loaded with the weight of opinion. Ultimately some one, some where, will find fault in your beliefs because they’re not that of their own. I don’t want to let anyone down. So I shut the fuck up. That said these days I really don’t give a fuck about much of anything except for those things that bring me peace or inspiration. To know that making anything is still worth the shit it stirs up. I still get up each day and hope that there’s something new out there to change my mind and make me glad I did.
Joe Rainey put it all on the line for his Niineta release this year. It’s a record you can feel coming at you and it never lets you go. Not enough has been said about the importance of recognizing our debt to those who are in fact representing our true American Native culture. It will never come close to being enough or change the course of improving their status and situation. But this record at least puts its spirit up to the glass and says “look at this mutherfucker! I have soul and I know beauty and i can break your mind and make you look into your heart and say thank you”
Soul Glo played a small show this year that I attended. It made me think about all that had been lost these last few years, or what I assumed had been lost. Nope, it was there right in front of my eyes. Big burly communal combustion from the jump. I expected to see someone younger, maybe a bit naive, reinterpreting a patchwork of power and presence of a time gone so long it was coming back to bite you on the ass with a wink or thumb bobbing on a timeline. I was so wrong it hurt my eyes. Power, experience, fire, and contempt measured out in blasts of poise, deliverance, sense, and humility. These folks have been around long enough to have a hand in the creation of something further, something for our future. As great as their new record Diaspora Problems is, they are greater for who they are already.
Friendship, “what an ugly thought, I was thinking” is a quote from a group that seems to be testing out the laws of indie popular culture. Is this still a thing? Is there a place where someone who by the sheer thoughtfulness of their words and compositional confidence in the ability to move the left foot from heel to toe still can make a dent in our over-saturated existence? Fuck no, fuck yes, and so the fuck what. I'm pretty sure they could care less about that and more about each other and when they might get together next and continue to continue. Maybe it’s not just a band, maybe it’s a way to be.
SAULT is anyone’s guess. My guess is that it’s a way to avoid the things I find odious and distracting and dehumanizing or undignified, surrounding the release of music in these times of the great devaluation of creativity. The idea that they are “mysterious” is a quaint one but not really the point, only another distraction. What if there was a way to have music existing in a world where judgement and competition didn’t exist and things were simply allowed to just be there for you to enjoy? I’ve found each release, if you wanna even call them that, to be engaging on all levels of enjoyment and emotional quality. They don’t confound the listener by intent, the listener is free to make up their own damn mind about what they're hearing but on SAULT’s terms and their terms alone.
Then there’s the British Evasion. Benefits, Yard Act, Wet Leg, Black Country New Road, Special Interest ? (okay they're from NOLA). All these fine artists are basically a product of a system that has existed by essentially moving from a reaction to reaction since the big bang of insects and rocks colliding. Each swing of the pendant making the case for language to be used as a cudgel or a commitment to a desire for plain truths spoken plaintively. I find it all super engaging. Maybe I don’t get around like I used to and yearn for a discussion in the heated atmosphere of the club of night but in lieu of that there’s all these great examples of wit and repellence of the repulsive nature of a society on the brink of another death blow to the soul.