Top Albums of 2022

This year’s top albums list is a mix of chill & aggressive, ranging from folky Americana, to psych rock, and even punk. While past favorites Kendrick Lamar & Earl Sweatshirt both released long-awaited albums, I did not find myself returning to them the way I did with their previous releases.

This list is probably the first that has included a new mix of an album that was released in a different year (The Beatles - Revolver), but I think it sounds so modern, its inclusion is defensible. And it’s my list, so my rules, right?

  1. Spoon - Lucifer on the Sofa This was easily my most listened. It’s yet another Spoon album (in the best way possible), but this one was made for playing live.
  2. Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You This album won me over after years of being aware of Big Thief, but not really considering myself a fan. It shows so many different sides of the band; there’s something here for everyone.
  3. The Black Angels - Wilderness of Mirrors Austin’s psych rock heroes return with so many great songs. I need to visit Levitation to catch them live again soon. The last time was in 2013!
  4. Kurt Vile - (watch my moves) Kurt Vile has a laid-back sound & style uniquely his own. Daydream fuel…if you know…whut I mean.
  5. Osees - A Foul Form Predictably, I have an Osees/Oh Sees/OCS/Thee Oh Sees album on the list! The prog-rock sounds of the last few albums have been supplanted by thrash/skate punk. The harsh mix itself acts as an instrument to evoke raw punk rock on cassette. It’s short enough to listen to twice in a row, which I did often.
  6. The Chats - Get Fucked Surf punk from Brisbane, Australia. Standout tracks include Panic Attack-tack-tack-tack-tack-tack, The Price of Smokes (the economy-minded sequel to Smoko) and 6L GTR.
  7. Alex G - God Save the Animals An Alex G album also made it on the 2019 list. This one has a lot of the same elements I appreciated on House of Sugar.
  8. Wilco - Cruel Country Wilco & country, what else do you need? This double album dials down the trademark Wilco mid-tempo ever so slightly most of the time, giving the listener time to feel the melancholy lyrics a bit more intensely.
  9. Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin - Ghosted This discovery can most certainly be attributed to NPR Music, either the All Songs Considered or New Music Friday podcast. Percussive, minimal jazz to soundtrack heady conversations with yourself or others.
  10. The Beatles - Revolver (2022 Mix) What if The Beatles recorded an album with modern technology? Since we can’t do that, what if we use modern technology to separate the instruments/voices from the source tapes and mix that, again with modern technology? This episode of the aforementioned NPR All Songs Considered podcast explains how that works in more detail. The result is stunning to anyone who’s fairly familiar with the 56 year old album.

Here’s a playlist with a song from each of the above albums: