In no particular order, here are my twenty artist to watch in 2022. Covering everything from local talents, hot up and comers and left-field alternatives to your traditional playlisting here are 20 bands I personally think you have to check out in 2022.
1 – Witch Fever
Our first ones to watch are none other than the legendary Manchester punk outfit Witch Fever. Having just supported Idles at O2 Academy Brixton, then on their European tour, they are the perfect way to begin to explore the heavier side of guitar music this year. Check out their latest EP Reincarnate for the best Witch Fever listening experience, or catch them at Colours London this week.
Having recently worked in Nave studios bringing more music to life, Sugarstoneare 80’s glam rock brought well and truly into the 21st century. Their latest track ‘Pink Duct Tape’ has been making waves within the BBC introducing scene, and are well worth checking out at a local show in Manchester! Previous support slots with Kid Kapachi and Strange Bones prove just how great these boys are!
3 – Slap Rash
The ying to Sugarstone’s yang, Slap Rash are an iconic duo that the Mancunion has covered more than once before! A brother sister punk duo that play each gig like they have a point to prove played the House of Vans in London on February 10th, following that up with an support slot with the aforementioned Witch Fever this week shows how white-hot this band are. New track ‘Holy Smoke’ is bound to impress, but there is certainly no better way to see this band other than live and in the flesh.
4 – King Mob
King Mob ended their 2021 with a sold out show headlining Manchester’s Aatma and have continued into 2022 in the same fashion. Supporting French band Tapeworms at the same venue on February 10th they have been working hard in the studio preparing a 4 track EP for release this spring. Dreamlike in their indie anthems they are destined for big things, a GABS favourite they should very much be on your radar, student or not.
5 – Phoebe Green
Working with members of Everything Everything to deliver her newest album and then joining them on tour Phoebe Green continues to define herself as the “Shirley Temple of the North”. Check out her latest single ‘All Grown Up’ and if you like what you see you can find Phoebe at Manchester’s own academy 1 on Friday 8th April. Set for a summer of wonderful festivals Green makes indie pop that is simply to die for. Joining both Baby Queen and Self Esteem to make three tours this year shows just how hard Phoebe is working to make 2022 her year!
6 – Me Rex
My most listened to band of last year were Me Rex. Heavily connected to the London scene through members playing in other outfits Fresh and Happy Accidents, the fourpiece have just released their best work yet. Pterodactyl is a four track EP that continues to blow fans out of the water! Fresh off of shows at SXSW the four piece were supposed to support Foxes on their long awaited return to the UK, which has sadly been cancelled. Me Rex aren’t ones to let this stop them though announcing the release of another dinosaur inspired EP ‘Plesiosaur’.
7 – DEAF DEAF DEAF
Manchester born and bred, the self dubbed ‘post-something’ Deaf Deaf Deaf have just announced the re-scheduling of their Rough Trade Bristol headline show to 2nd April. With a new single coming on Friday 25th March with ‘One by One’ this band just refuse to slow down. A personal favourite of mine to catch live DEAF DEAF DEAF are best friends with student favourites Pyncher and deserve a lot more recognition from UOM’s student community and the music scene at large.
8 – Wargasm
Just announced as a nominee for the Heavy Music Awards for best live band Wargasm are undoubtedly the best band I have seen live in the past six months. Faster than lighting and heavier than a mountain Wargasm deliver riffs that rip your face off and stitch it back on upside down. The perfect support that Limp Bizkit could ask for on their ‘still sucks tour’ of the United States. If you’re into heavy music and haven’t seen this band live, you’re missing out.
9 – Wet Leg
Bands that can sell out the O2 Ritz having only released five singles come few and far between. Yet that’s exactly what Wet Leg have managed since the release of ‘Angelica’. Following the single up with an American tour and an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s the tonight show. The Isle of Wight natives have captured the hearts and souls of so many, I’m certain only bigger things await for them.
10 – Nova Twins
How do you top a nomination for best UK artist at the Heavy music awards and a sold out headine show at Academy 3? Announce a headline tour at Academy 2 in Manchester, Glasgow’s St Lukes and Electric Brixton in London. Not only this Nova Twins are hitting Europe as Yungblud’s lead tour support! What can’t this alt duo do? Hitting every venue from Albert Hall to stages in Munich and Zurich this is very much Nova Twins year!
11 – Atmos Bloom
Whilst dormant for 2022’s early months, Atmos Bloom are the very best dreamgaze I’ve come across. Bedroom styled DIY dream pop fused with shoegaze excellence is just as awe inspiring as you can imagine. Having released their first self titled EP in 2020 this band have been working hard to record their next masterpiece. Now internationally backed this new project is due for release this year and deserves a spot in your playlist.
12 – Auto Suggestion
Auto Suggestion ended their year in Manchester with lead support slot at Night and Day café with the wonderfully French psychedelic ensemble The Psychotic Monks, promoted by the much loved Sour Grapes. Since then these Leeds natives have announced a co-headline weekend with Pop Vulture and had to reschedule it due to covid, joined the bud fest line up and set themselves well up for their biggest year yet. Taking post punk and making it their own Auto Suggestion are way up there with DEAF DEAF DEAF.
13 – Baby Dave
Baby Dave, the solo project of Slaves legend Isaac is certainly a different direction for the punk frontman/ percussionist but one I simply adore. ‘Gen Z baby’ has such a beautiful melodic harmony that its cemented in my head. Isaac covers each painstakingly crafted backing track with his iconic vocals. Covering all manner of themes his new tracks are culminating into an album that is sure to solidify Isaac back well into the UK’s music scene with Baby Dave. A true journey of personal growth this record isn’t just going to be an album it’ll be an art piece.
14 – Larry Pink the Human
Baby Dave isn’t the only wonderful creation to stem from Slaves. Laurie, Isaac’s guitarist counterpart, has taken just as different a turn as Baby Dave with his alt pop creations. The beautiful hook “Love is love is love is love” on ‘Might Delete Later’ is haunting in its beauty. Each section of a Larry Pink The Human track is vastly different yet very much part of an astounding whole. Live Laurie is even better, making use of a trucker microphone for other vocals bring even more individuality to Laurie’s live performances. Whilst having to cancel his UK tour this march due to Covid this project definitely deserves all the love in the world.
15 – Bilk
Bilk are more than just indie, they are the very definition of emotion with feeling. They compile indie, rap, punk, and rock influences into their unique blend of Essex based garage indie guaranteed to get any room moving. Just about to set off on an April UK tour that takes them to Manchester’s Deaf Institute this three piece are moving from strength to strength. Recently signed to the Manchester record label Scruff of The Neck with an album on the way, Bilk are bound to impress a Manc crowd on April 7th, for the freshest flavour of these rising stars listen to their newest single due for release on March 25th.
16 – Factor 50
Despite having only released one song to major streaming platforms with ‘Fetusman’ this five piece have still delighted stages and local crowds up and down the country. Incorporating brass instruments into Cornwall based surf-rock and psychedelia they are amongst the most interesting outfits I’ve encountered in long while. Factor 50 are signed to BYP’s booking agency they are bound to continue their run of nation wide shows and should certainly be on your radar!
17 – Geoblu
Having spent the later half off 2021 promoting with his company, “Geopresents” featuring an event booked at Manchester’s rebellion on the 31st March Geobluis still very much releasing banger after banger. Most well known for his publicly acclaimed ‘Greaze’, he’s been making a name for himself since moving to Manchester. Blessing major Spotify playlists since the birthing of his career this rising star is hungry and working towards a major career in the grime scene. A must see for both those in Manchester and further afield.
18 – Crawlers
Crawlers are truly a demonstration of the power of Tik Tok as a musical marketing tool. The earth shattering hook “Take her name out of your mouth” on their single ‘Come over (again)’ has catapulted them to stardom, over a million monthly listeners on Spotify and a record deal with Polydor records. Whilst this might have been enough action to last some bands a lifetime Crawlers followed up this success a UK nationwide tour for 2022 that completely sold out. Trying to find a ticket to this band is harder than finding cheap petrol even in modern Britain. I’d suggest its best to catch Crawlers at a festival but spinning their already débuted tracks should be enough to scratch the itch until their album is released.
19 – Nara
Nara are a personal favourite of mine from the local Manchester music scene. Having supported the likes of Gender Roles at Yes’ basement last year they’ve just announced a show at the legendary Night and Day café. A partial product of Manchester BIMM, they seem to have taken a new turn with each and every track they play, certainly a four-piece that keep you on your toes. With a new single ‘Up The Walls’ due on 30th March I can’t see where this band go next!
20 – Vundabar
‘Alien Blues’ is undoubtedly one of the best single tracks released in the 2010s, yet it has still managed to find new life in 2022. With the release of new music videos and taking Tik Tok by storm Vundabar have cemented themselves as ever evolving. Described as both indie-rock and jangle pop these three Boston natives are something else! Having just played on Seth Myers show, releasing their new single ‘Lord’ and on an American tour there has never been a better time to become a Vundabar fan!
So that’s it! Twenty artists to expand your music library this year! I hope you find something new, make sure you go out into the world and support these bands. Especially the local ones, they more than deserve the love.
Keep checking out new artists, long live live music!
Reece is the Mancunion’s Music Editor, leading the team covering Manchester’s music scene and beyond. He is also an editor at Music Is To Blame, an independent music publications and has written words for WHATWESPEW the Manchester punk collective.
Now Head Rep for the record label Scruff of the Neck and the host of The Northwest Emo Show he continues to deliver articles on the very best music Manchester and the UK has to offer. He also features his own photography within his articles, working with the likes of Slowthai, Enter Shikari and Wargasm.