The Top 20 Albums of 2022
After counting down our 10 favourite electronic, hip hop and Australian records for the year, it’s time for our overall top 20…
To wrap up a fantastic year of music, it’s time for the big one, our top 20 albums of the year! With the floodgates opening of releases on hold due to the pandemic, this list was no mean feat to narrow down - and of course there was a shortlist of 200 albums, many of which could have made this list depending on day or mood… but they didn’t, so here it is, our top 20 albums of 2022!
20. Drugdealer - Hiding In Plain Sight
Michael Collins third album as Drugdealer sees him doing what he does best - crafting psychedelic 70s style soft rock that’s as heartfelt and authentic as music gets in 2022.
19. Destroyer - Labyrinthitis
Dan Bejar does what he does best on the thirteenth Destroyer record - destroying any expectations by creating whatever genres and styles he wants, with LABYRINTHITIS taking a heavy disco and early house influence, with elements of post-punk, pop and ambient thrown in to make a truly singular sounding record.
18. Dawn Richard and Spencer Zahn - Pigments
R&B turned experimental electronic pop artist Dawn Richard teams up with multi-instrumentalist composer Spencer Zahn, who specliases in neo-classical leaning, jazz influenced electronic compositions to craft the contemplative and breathtaking ambient electronic pop LP that is Pigments.
17. Black Country, New Road - Ants From Up There
London experimentalists deliver a stunning second album of jazzy, post-punk and art-rock influenced sounds that has already become distinct and signature across just two records.
16. Lorraine James - Building Something Beautiful For Me
British exploratory electronic composer James does exactly as the album title implies - constructed a beautiful collection of music that pushes the boundaries of where ambient and club music intersect.
15. Louis Cole - Quality Over Opinion
A key player in the “new weird Los Angeles” scene for a number of years, the musical polymath dropped an epic 20 track album of jazzy, genre-hopping pop with no boundaries to his compositional approach on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label.
14. Makaya McCraven - In These Times
Chicago-based percussionist, composer and producer McCraven’s new album was seven years in the making and the hard work has more than paid off. Simply referring to the record as “jazz” misses the point, with McCraven referring to it as “organic beat music” which still barely scratches the surface of this orchestral world of soulful, psychedelic and yes, jazzy sounds.
13. Wet Leg - Wet Leg
After breaking through with the inescapable single Chaise Longue last year, British duo Wet Leg showed us they were more than the sum of their catchy singles on the self-titled, debut album of driving, punk influenced indie rock.
12. Beach House - Once Twice Melody
Showing no signs of slowing down, the legendary dream pop group’s eighth record was their most ambitious to date, with the double album of fuzzed out, psychedelic dreamy sounds split across four chapters, with incredible accompanying visuals for each track rounding out an incredible project.
11. Soccer Mommy - Sometimes, Forever
Stepping up for her third album as Soccer Mommy, Sophie Allison teamed up with producer Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), with the result a striking, luscious and deep collection of alternative indie and bedroom pop.
10. Dry Cleaning - Stumpwork
The album with potentially the most contentious artwork for the year (which we still don’t get, it rules) was also a damn good listen, with British post-punk’s Dry Cleaning building fleshing out and expanding on the styles and sounds we heard on their debut in extremely fine style.
9. Nilüfer Yanya - Painless
London singer-songwriter Yanya got emotional and personal on her second record, sitting in and examining feelings of pain that arise from heartbreak and rejection while also honing in on her sound of soulful alternative and indie rock.
8. Alex G - God Save The Animals
Cult indie rock icon’s ninth album is quite possibly his best so far, with the anti-rockstar who is Alex Giannascoli once again letting his genre-blurring music and lyrics do the talking on his most cohesive record to date. Still hopping between styles, a layer of piano permeates the majority of the record, acting as a sonic anchor as Alex fuses seemingly disparate influences as far reaching as industrial, hip-hop, 90s jangly alt pop vibes and more.
7. Aldous Harding - Warm Chris
The long-awaited follow-up to Designer saw New Zealand’s Harding deliver a slightly more challenging yet potentially more rewarding album in the form of Warm Chris. Showing why she’s one of the most talented songwriters in modern alternative music, the psychedelic folk pop of Warm Chris might not be as instantly catchy as her past releases, but the tradeoff of exploratory and boundary pushing songwriting that stays with you long after the record has finished was more than worth it.
6. Jenny Hval - Classic Objects
Similar to Alex G, Norwegian multidisciplinary artist Hval’s eighth album might just be her “best” to date. Having covered everything from noisy art rock (2013’s Innocence is Kinky), an experimental avant-folk concept album about period blood (2016’s Blood Bitch) and an album influenced by 90s trance (2019’s The Practice of Love), Classic Objects is Hval’s “version of a pop album”, and is exactly what modern art pop should be.
5. 700 Bliss - Nothing to Declare
Two of the underground’s finest - DJ Haram and Moor Mother - have been collaborating for nearly a decade now, with that creativity culminating in the brilliant Nothing To Declare, an intense, heavy, experimental record of electronic hip hop like nothing else you’ll hear this year.
4. Weyes Blood - And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Natalie Mehring’s fifth album as Weyes Blood took everything we heard on her last album Titanic Rising to the next level, with her compositions broadly steeped in “chamber pop” but touching on alt-country, folk-rock and psychedelic across ten tracks of ethereal indie goodness.
3. Björk - Fossora
Twenty-nine years and 10 albums on from her groundbreaking first album Debut, Björk proves (like she hadn’t already) that she is one of the most unique, inimitable, exploratory and esoteric artists of our time. Fossora is unpredictable and sometimes challenging as Björk weaves and cleverly juxtaposes elements of pop and ambient with all manner of electronic influences on this fungus themed marvel of a recording.
2. Sudan Archives - Natural Brown Prom Queen
While her 2019 debut album Athena was a fantastic record, upon listening to Sudan Archives’ followup Natural Brown Prom Queen, you can’t help but feel like she was holding back just a tad, as NBPQ really sees Brittney Parks’ personality and attitude emerge. Across 18 tracks of alternative r&b, soul and hip hop, Sudan Archives crafted one of the most enjoyable front to back listens of 2022.
1. SAULT - Untitled (God)
One of the most exciting groups of the decade, mysterious British soulful-jazz-funk group SAULT released not one, two but six records this year, and honestly, a few of the others could have made this list, but the epic, diverse, expansive, twenty-one track Untitled (God) was the best of the bunch. An epic record of modern gospel sounds, Untitled (God) is sure to convert new believers to the church of SAULT while delighting the existing congregation.