It seems like every year, our fair burg grasps the next highest rung on the gilded ladder of ascension toward Official Gold Star Nationally Recognized Music City® status, and that Everest-ian climb definitely looks to continue into the coming year. Perhaps due to being afforded some, um, “extra free time,” musicmakers in the 817 have gone into overdrive over the last year and a half, and now rolling, the snowball only looks to be growing. From bratty punk, abrasive metal, and leather-clad rock to sentimental acoustic balladry and country crooning to sparkly pop and hip-hop, our town has them all, and they all are busy. Grab your ropes and your pick and let our music writers be your sherpas as we attempt to climb this giant mountain of great music coming in 2022. Don’t forget your wayfarers because all indications are that the sun-smacked powder at this mountain’s peak, like the future of music in Fort Worth, projects so many lumens you’ve got to wear them shades.
Perhaps the most anticipated album due after the New Year belongs to sludge punkers Uncle Toasty. The Mean Motor Scooter side project just made their live debut a few weeks ago, and if attendance is any indication, the 10-inch EP from Saustex Records due in March will sell out quickly. Speaking of MMS, the beloved garage-rock quartet also hinted at a trio of new singles coming soon.
Keeping with punkier flavors, Phorids, FTW’s answer to Black Flag, hopes to release their first full-length soon, and if that isn’t enough to scratch your Travis Brown punk band-associated itch, his new project, Crucial Times, hopes to release a bevy of singles throughout the year, culminating in a collection toward the end.
Haltom City’s heavy-rock heroes The Me-Thinks are set to put out a 20-year anniversary EP titled 2112. One of the tracks has already been released as part of a Saustex Records sampler called Keep Haltom High. The Me-Thinks also have a limited edition 12-inch of their 2020 live set at ACL (Austin Corn Lovers) which was tracked without an audience during the pandemic.
Arenda Light has started recording a new batch of songs at frontman Nick Tittle’s home studio. “When You Ran Away” will be the first single with two more tracks, “Buena Vista” and “Rest in Peter,” to follow.
A bit more for those who like it loud, proggy metal outfit The Spectacle hope to make a reemergence in 2022, Bruce Magnus offer their third LP Spare Beans, and Royal Sons have more of their signature heavy blues coming in the spring.
Dream pop outfit Big Heaven is putting out a single on Christmas Eve “just for funsies,” but the group will be recording a couple of songs starting in January for a proposed EP. Details are still being settled on, but listeners can expect a new “cassingle” soon. Big Heaven drummer Sam Dobbin also teased a track from an EP of his own energetic indie-pop coming in summer.
Self-described “divorce pop” icons Son of Stan have a couple of singles due early in the year, and Jackon Eudy, the songwriter normally known as Mouse Trap, has a forthcoming album of his signature emotive bedroom pop in the can. The minor-blues duo Washed Up Rookie, electronic wizards Annafell Lights, and the unnamed indie-rock project fronted by singer-songwriter Chase Johnson also have material ready to go.
Another acoustic-toter with work on the way is Arlington-based Court Hoang, who opened for Jackie Venson earlier this year at his hometown’s Levitt Pavilion. Hoang’s Get Right record is set to come out on June 10.
Levi Ray has a new EP set to be released in the spring, and he will promote the collection with the single “Burn the House Down,” which was co-written with Stefan Prigmore.
Fresh off the release of Sur Duda’s sophomore album, frontman Cameron Smith is wasting no time in putting yet more new music out. His forthcoming album Shine, on which he collaborated with fellow singer-songwriter Eric Osbourne, is due in late February. The set of songs was originally intended as a soundtrack to a documentary by the late artist Jeremy Joel, but plans for the film have fallen apart after Joel’s untimely death. Osbourne could put out a few new songs of his own as well.
Matthew Broyles, under his Matthew Show banner, is aiming for January for new singles, three of which will ultimately be combined with previous releases from this past year and last into an album.
Dani and Kris are also planning new tunes, and so are Clint Niosi and Wayne Floyd, who has embraced electronics and blazing guitar solos courtesy of Michael Doty (Son of Stan, Duell) as part of a new sonic direction.
If flava is more your flavor, you shouldn’t feel left out. The local king of sample-based boom-bap, BLKrKRT is working on dropping a previously unreleased tape every month for the entire year (!), and hip-hopper Ladi is set to release a single on New Year’s Eve. Young cat Neo Soul looks to build on the success of 2019’s “Pacing,” while veteran MC and Fort Nox alum Complete is dusting off the mic with new jams in the coming year and “hippie-hopper” Sage Mode Wrex has more of his mind-expanding, laidback flow on the horizon as well.
Add to the pile a whole mess of projects being recorded by producer Taylor Tatsch (including his own band, Shadows of Jets), starting with a pair of albums from country maverick Joe Savage, five (yes, five!) EPs from smoky-bar rockers Cut Throat Finches plus new material from both Spencer Wharton and Dead Vinyl’s Hayden Miller. Don’t forget about new stuff from the Yucca Men, Johndavid Bartlett’s Humans from Earth, Grady Spencer & The Work, Cotinga, and Ayden Trammell, and 2022 looks to put Fort Worth so high on the music mountain we’ll need a telescope to see other Texas cities looking like ants from our height.