It’s safe to say 2021 has been a tough one… But if there’s one positive to take away from this year, it’s the immense amount of incredible new music that’s been released, and the hope of even more sublime offerings from some wonderful new bands in 2022.
For our final annual end of year round-up, we’re sharing our ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2022… Just a few of the amazing bands and artists who have impressed us throughout 2021, and that we predict will be reaching ears far and wide next year… Have a read of our choices, and make sure you give them all a follow to keep track of their unmissable achievements over the next 12 months.
Derry trio Cherym are one of my favourite discoveries of the year. Having had their EP Hey Tori pretty much on repeat over the last few months, seeing their gig at Paper Dress Vintage in October left me buzzing with a joyous sense of nostalgic euphoria – not only because it was my first gig since Covid, but because of the band’s unmatched exuberant energy and fiery spirit. Each of their songs is a perfect master class in pure, perfect punk-pop – instant singalong anthems. I just can’t get enough of their empowering energy and bubbling, sugar-coated scuzz. And, having now been featured in Kerrang!, and with plans to play at SXSW this Spring, it seems they’re definitely ones to keep your eyes and ears out for in 2022!
(Mari Lane – Co-Founder)
I still crack up when I think of Pretty Happy guitarist Abbey Blake commenting “you’re the first person to say we have genuine talent” when I told them how great I thought their music was back in September. Together, Pretty Happy – aka art-punk trio Abbey, Arann Blake and Andy Killian – create riotous, tongue-in-cheek offerings often centred around their observations and experiences of living in their home county of Cork, Ireland. I had their EP Sluggers Bridge on heavy rotation during 2021, chanting along to ‘Sea Sea Sea’ and ‘Sudocrem’ as loudly and obnoxious-ly as possible. The band should hopefully be supporting Gilla Band on NYE if restrictions in Ireland allow, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make it over to the UK in 2022 so I can see them live for the first time.
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder)
Blasting out the pink, fuzzy energy we’ve so needed this year, and having received acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, London trio Floss, Bash and Keiko – aka BAXTR – have fast become one of my favourite bands of 2021. With sunny, uplifting singles such as ‘In Pop We Trust’ and ‘Grace On Fire’, the band showcase their knack for combining a kitsch, honey-sweet pop allure with a fierce, frenzied rock spirit, consistently delivering an effervescent, euphoric power with each frenzied, fun-filled floor-filler. A band on the rise for sure, I can’t wait to host BAXTR playing live for us at The Shacklewell Arms on 24th February, along with headliners Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business and Sheffield band Potpourri. Get your tickets on DICE now.
Since I heard the opening riff of ‘Always Happy’ by Bristol trio Grandmas House, I have been hooked on their sardonic, thumping post-punk sounds. Formed of Yasmin Berndt, Poppy Dodgson and Zoë Zinsmeister, the band combine gritty guitars, powerhouse percussion and visceral vocals to create intensely relatable anthems. Watching them live at The WIndmill in Brixton was a real joy this year and I look forward to insisting Mari buy their last tote bag at the merch stand at more of their gigs in the future.
Following acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for their debut single ‘Shindigger‘, and support for explosive recent offerings ‘Show & Tell’ and ‘A Song About Consent’ from big names such as Bang Bang Romeo, Cheshire band Queen Cult have been fast making a name for themselves this year. Consisting of front person Maisie Johnson and bassist Leila Jacklin, as well as Brodie Carson on drums and Piers Jarvis on guitar, the band pride themselves on their LGBTQ+ identity and sharing their queer, politically-charged messages with the masses, and I cannot get enough of their seething, gritty energy and riotous, angst-driven power. And, with a tour with GIHE faves LibraLibra set for January, it seems as though many more people will be being lured to the band’s fierce colossal spirit and instantly catchy musicality very soon.
I have Mari to thank for bringing Danish artist Brimheim to my attention this year, after she played her shadowy, sublime single ‘poison fizzing on a tongue’ on our radio show. Brimheim’s buoyant second single ‘hey amanda’ is a gentler, but equally as emotive track that showcases her talent for capturing a moment in its purest form. I’m so excited to hear her new album, the magnificently titled can’t hate myself into a different shape, when it’s released in January 2022.
Dutch garage-pop punks 45ACIDBABIES have been providing a welcome quirky, fizzing soundtrack throughout 2021. Having previously shared stages with the likes of Sleigh Bells and Blood Red Shoes, with singles such as ‘Mommy’s Favourite 1’ and ‘Only Class6 From Now On’, they have showcased their ability to create perfectly catchy, danceable anthems. With each single offering a wonderfully obscure cacophony propelled by a swirling energy and vibrant honey-sweet allure, the band have already gathered a huge fan-base in their native Holland (with over 685k streams of their music on Spotify this year), but I predict that 2022 sees them headed for world domination… Watch this space!
Self-described as “a singer-songwriter who performs poignant tales of modern city life,” Lilith Ai writes relatable guitar tunes exploring turbulent emotions in a humble and engaging way. She was modest, self-deprecating but incredibly warm and open to talking about all aspects of her life and art when I spoke to her about her album, Folk You Hard, earlier in the year. Loud Women also awarded her their prestigious Hercury Prize Award for the record, which is further proof she’s definitely one to watch in 2022.
The Menstrual Cramps
Having been massive fans of raging queer punks The Menstrual Cramps since 2017’s debut album We’re Not Ovaryacting, and had the honour of hosting an epic night of them playing live for us at The Finsbury back in 2018 as well as having them as guests on our radio show, we have been wallowing in a Menstrual Cramps-less void for the last couple of years as the band were on a little hiatus. But, at the beginning of this week, just when we thought all was lost and we’d given up any hope of 2022 being better than the last two years… The Menstrual Cramps announced their return! Joining front person Emilia and drummer AJ, the band introduced two new members, Abi and Zam, and have promised new music for us. I cannot wait for more of their politically-charged, immensely empowering anthems!
Check out our Tracks Of 2021, Albums & EPs of 2021 and Personal Highlights now. Massive thanks to all who’ve supported GIHE this year, it really means the world. And huge thanks too to all the amazing bands and artists who’ve soundtracked it, and who will continue to soundtrack 2022!