Sergie Loobkoff (Samiam, Ways Away) tells us about the albums he loved most in 2022
Sergie Loobkoff of Samiam, the currently-defunct Knapsack, and the new-ish supergroup Ways Away (with members of Stick To Your Guns, The Hope Conspiracy, Boysetsfire, etc) stayed busy in 2022 with both the new Ways Away LP Torch Songs and the first Samiam single in over 10 years, "Lights Out Little Hustler." With the year coming to a close, Sergie told us about the albums he loved most this year, including some 2022 releases as well as some records from other recent years that he got into this year. The last includes The Beths, PLOSIVS, Beach House, Duster, Turnstile, and more. Read on for his picks, with commentary on each one...
Sergie Loobkoff's Favorite Albums of 2022
1. The Beths - Expert In A Dying Field
When I was a kid I loved Pat Benetar....and I suppose I still do, but I haven't listened recently, where am I going with this? The Beths don't really sound anything like PB, but man, they are so great and I don't start loving a new band like that all that often. The Beths do indie rock better than almost anyone that has come around lately, without any pretention and great songwriting and playing. I'm kind of an 'Expert In A Dying Field' by playing guitar in a band, when no one cares about that shit. Also, I'm a print designer, so with publishing on a long slow death for the last 20+ years...well, I extra relate to this band and record.
2. PLOSIVS - PLOSIVS
I bought the Pitchfork 7" when I was a wee tyke and it has been a long road of Reis fandom since, from Rocket to Jehu and everything in between. I also flipped when the first Pinback EP came out. So this was a no brainer. These are masterful players and the songs are great, I can't wait to see this live.
3. Beach House - One Twice Melody
Everytime a new Beach House record comes out, and that has been often, I go on a bender. I'm sad that I ignored them for so long and got to miss them playing small clubs. They just seemed too 'indie rock cool' and I just didn't pay attention....then, of course I discovered their album, Devotion, about 7 years ago and they were already a festival and theater band. Fuck me, I'm an asshole that is resistant to anything new, my fault.
4. Band of Horses - Things Are Great
I got to admit, I dropped off with these guys around the time of Infinite Arms. Don't get me wrong, they are one of my favorites...but do you ever just lose track? I'd hear a few songs off the subsequent records and felt they were going into a 'too pop country' direction and wrote those LPs off. Again, I'm an asshole. While this new record doesn't really conjure the greatness of the first 3 albums...is it fair to say, this is a return to form?
5. Dinosaur Jr. - Sweep It Into Space
Of course anything Mascis related is some of my very favorite music since I was a kid. I've seen him so many times over the decades and will continue to. With that said, I feel like, apart from a few songs on each following LP, their post reunion apex of songwriting/playing/soundcrafting was Farm. That record is as good as anything he did in the 80s, 90s or 2000s, at least to me. That first proper solo record around that time was also so great....I feel like he was on another level in 2008/2009, much like the previous 2 decades. Then came a bunch of pretty good records, that have some clunkers....progressively recorded rawer with what sounds like 'ambivalence', like, 'what do I have to prove to anyone'. This new record sounds like that to me. I love them so much and this album is better than 99.9% of what is out there (no pun intended) but it is in the shadow of former records.
6. Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light
This is a couple of years old, but kill me, I'm too narrow minded to get into 10 new albums in a year. I've liked very little metal since the early 90s too. But as a kid, in the years before that, I loved Exodus, Mercyful Fate, Metallica, Slayer, etc. This record is melodic, it's heavy, it's original and has the sound that (to me) is a modernized late 80s thing. Yeah, it's recorded in protools and everything is recorded to sound 'perfect'....but doesn't have those overly distorted guitars and weird clicky drums. I feel like they obviously listen to other types of music because this veers into Sonic Youth and even poppy territory just as much as whatever metal influences they have. So I got into them after they went on hiatus, and I guess this is their 2nd singer, so Skeletonwitch fans surely think I'm a poser moron....and they are right. Death to posers! (me)
7. Duster - Their whole discography
So I didn't know Duster when they were a band the first time around despite the fact that I lived in Oakland and they were from San Jose. So they reunite 20 years later and in the last few years re-release their classic records and a few new ones. ALL GREAT. Oddly seamless from back in the day and new and they've gained a totally new, young fanbase. There were almost 1,000 people when I saw them right before the pandemic and it wasn't old music nerds but mostly young 'hipsters'. They were awesome live despite the fact the vocal mix was off that night. On record, they veer closer to being on key and mix under swaths of distortion, feedback and dreamy-ness. So they might have been off, but not that bad and this band is THE GREATEST.
8. Turnstile - Glow On
I love that there is a band playing with guitars that has captured the imagination of the current youth. A lot of these music fans, in general, consider the guitar to be an instrument of their grandparents....so the fact that Turnstile made a splash not seen since At The Drive In almost did 'the Nirvana' ....well, it's amazing. It seems that right now, the band is today's Nirvana, right....or maybe today's Green Day at least? I got to be honest, I don't actually listen to this often (it's not intended for me) but I love that it exists. You can't beat their aesthetic, live show and intensity.
9. Quicksand - Distant Populations
Another favorite of mine from the 90s, Slip is universally considered a classic and I saw them many times back then. Then again several times after the reunion and they have been great every time, the most recent probably the best. But doing new records after years of inactivity is difficult to pull off. I don't think Refused nor At The Drive In succeeded at that task, as there were seemingly insurmountable expectations. With Quicksand, I don't feel like they tried to match Slip; Walter sings more than growls and the music is more dreamy than "heavy." It is still heavy, but in a different way. Thus, for me, they sort of sideswiped a lot of the pitfalls of a "second act album." This record and the one before it to a lesser extent, to me, rules.
10. Thurston Moore - Screen Time
After Chelea Lights, it seems Thurston decided to truly be "solo" and has put out music on par with his classic music of the 80s and 90s. This is unmistakably music written by "the guy from Sonic Youth" yet not as noisy/grungy as the 80s stuff and not as 'pop-y' (sic) as the 90s and 2000s stuff....somehow you recognize it being him anyway. I don't usually go for experimental, non-song-oriented music (and improvisational music usually irks me) but this is great music made by a master craftsman. Also, Screen Time doesn't have his voice like the great, recents albums such as Rock N Roll Consciousness or The Best Day, but this still is absolutely great music. I suppose this is my favorite background music ever.