Favourite Albums of 2022

2022, another year of new music and further blurring of the distinction between genres new and old. This fragmentation and amalgamation of form continues to thrill and rejuvenate my depth of listening and inspire a renewed sense of vigour in digging deeper to find new artists. Like all of you I trawl the web, listen to favourite radio stations and shows, draw on the recommendations of friends and heroes to find new music and just when I start to get blasé, something new will careen into view, catch my ear and inspire another deep dive into a label, scene or back catalogue.

This year I’ve narrowed my list down to a top ten of albums that I’ve listened to the most and gained the most enjoyment from. Albums that demand repeat listening, offer up new and different angles on each spin and are strong from front to back.

The Smile take out the top spot for a number of reasons. The surprise that 2/5 of Radiohead started another group with an insanely talented drummer and recorded and album that surpassed any expectations one would have for even a Radiohead album at this point. It felt list such a holistic statement. Wild and vital, swinging guitars, distortion and precision, Krautrock, ambient synths, the dexterity and intellectualism of Tortoise married to simple and affecting songcraft. Both energetic and astute it ticked all the boxes and maintained it across its 13 songs and 53 minutes.

Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg but ranking the rest of the other highlights of the year was a fruitless and futile exercise in all reality. As a result, the further 50 albums listened below all come highly recommended.

From the hypnotic heartache and VHS-frazzled post-vapor euphoric melodrama of Dean Hurley and Romance to the avant metal/post rock of Ashenspire, the deep-thinking and dextrous jazz meets hip hop of Avantdale Bowling Club, the glistening 80s synth soundtrack sounding Auragraph and onto the rich, life-affirming songwriting of Andy Golledge, the fey post-punk snarl of Suede and Black Midi’s postmodern and wild musicianship… it all comes back to the thrilling transformative and transportive power of music.

Top Ten:

  1. The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
  2. Ian Noe – River Fools and Mountain Saints
  3. Peter Doherty & Frederic Lo – The Fantasy Life Of Poetry & Crime
  4. Black Country, New Road – Arise From Up There
  5. Viagra Boys – Cave World
  6. Wilco – Cruel Country
  7. Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
  8. Lewis Goldmark – Cut And Flash
  9. Drive-By Truckers –Welcome 2 Club XIII
  10. Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia

Highly Recommended:

  • Popstrangers – In Spirit
  • Marlon Williams – My Boy
  • Freya Josephine Hollick – The Real World
  • Sin City – Welcome To Sin City
  • Andy Golledge – Strength Of A Queen
  • Party Dozen – The Real Work
  • The Delines – The Sea Drift
  • Caroline – Caroline
  • Ryan Adams – Romeo & Juliet
  • Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph
  • Double Vanity – Love To Leave You
  • Aldous Harding – Warm Chris
  • Black Midi – Welcome To Hell
  • D.C Cross – Hot-wire the Lay-low
  • Michael Beach – Michael Beach
  • Carmen Villain – Only Love From Now On
  • Destroyer – Labyrinthitis
  • Avantdale Bowling Club – Trees
  • Chris Forsyth – Evolution Here We Come
  • The Nethered – Lost Songs
  • Oren Ambarchi – Shebang
  • Jo Meares – Dream Hotel
  • Suede – Autofiction
  • Drycleaning – Stumpwork
  • Auragraph – Reflection Plane
  • Salamanda – Ashbalkum
  • Body Type – Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising
  • The Cult – Under The Midnight Sun
  • The Soft Pink Truth – Is It Going To Get Any Deeper Than This?
  • Lambchop – The Bible
  • Caroline No – Caroline No
  • Blackbirds FC – Magiclands
  • Alannah Russack’s Entropy Band – As Memories Pass Each Other
  • Gwenno – Tresor
  • The Valery Trails – The Sky Is Blue
  • Eric Chenaux – Say Laura
  • Dylan Moon Option Explore
  • Hans Pucket – No Drama
  • Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture
  • Maxine Funke – Pieces Of Driftwood
  • Wet Leg – Wet Leg
  • Romance & Dean Hurley – In Every Dream Home A Heartache
  • Blue Divers – Blue Divers II
  • Mythic Sunship – Light/Flux
  • Honey 2 Honey – To Water A Road
  • Cate Le Bon – Pompeii
  • Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance
  • Dumb – Pray 4 Tomorrow
  • Michael Rault – Michael Rault
  • Delicate Steve – After Hours

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