Updated: Dec 12, 2022
All songs debuted or were reissued this year except where noted and explained.
Butcher Brown - Freeze Me. Every year, I look to start these sets well. Remember "Give it Some Time" (2017), "Blood for You" (2020), "Falling In" (2016), or "Anthem" from I don't know when? Epic openings. Right? Anyway, Mr. Brown does the duties this year.
Billy Woods - NYNEX. This was my second most-played record of the year. It's angry for all the right reasons and brave in its telling.
Danger Mouse + Black Thought - Strangers (featuring A$AP Rocky & RTJ). Play this entire record. I honestly didn't know what song to pick... chose this one 'cause I think Killer Mike rhymes Dodge dealer with Godzilla. This album is a dadrap masterpiece.
They Hate Change - Who Next? Florida rappers fusing that state's party sound with Atlanta and UK influences. Mighty record on Jagjaguwar, where one expects to find Dinosaur Jr. and Pink Mountaintops. First got into these guys for name-dropping Raymond Pettibon.
Shirt - Dave Chappelle is Wrong (Beef with God). Really great delivery on, I think, the lazy inelegance of punching down.
Santigold - Fall First. Really good to hear her again.
PJ Harvey - The Community of Hope. I'm obsessed with demos. I don't even really know what a demo is. But John Doe's "Poor Girl" demo, with a false start, is one of the top 10 things I've ever heard. I remember reading that Nebraska was originally intended as simply a demo 'til someone told Springsteen, "Naw, it's good to go." I don't know if that's true. All I know is that I wish most records stopped at the demo stage. Pretty sure everything Billy Childish has done is basically such. And I'm supremely happy PJ Harvey has released all her records in their demo form. "They're gonna put a Walmart here" sounds even more devastating stripped bare.
Wilco - Kamera. Is this a demo? I don't know. Love its rawness. Gosh, this record is 20 years old (hence the re-release with bonus material).
King Bee - Death of a Gunfighter. Along with Demos, I love live. It's been really great seeing live music with regularity again. Whew. Need it. Anyway, this collection of King Bee songs is magical. I guess King bee was Fred Cole's band right before the Rats. Hard to keep track.
Robyn Hitchcock - The Shuffle Man. There's a gentleman a few songs below who shares the luxury of having a voice that almost doesn't age... or, at least, does so gracefully. This song reminds me of the Soft Boys... which was 100 years ago, yes?
Guided By Voices - Excited Ones. Guided By Voices put out 3 records and some singles this year. That's almost typical. I don't understand. You know what I think? It's all demos. That's great.
Upchuck - Facecard. I PROMISED MYSELF I'D STAY COOL ABOUT THIS BAND BUT IT'S EVERYTHING I WANT... KIND OF A FUGAZI/FUCKED UP/JANE'S ADDICTION... WITH A SOME SLUDGE SEEPING INTO A FEW SONGS. LISTEN TO THE WHOLE RECORD AND CALL ME... WE'LL DISCUSS THE GENIUS OF A SONG LIKE "OUR SKIN.'
CIVIC - End of the Line. CIVIC is just going to have a slot on these annual collections for awhile. If you like Radio Birdman and the Stooges (and of course you do), this is the band for our future.
Osees - Sacrifice. Best band on the planet right now? Maybe.
Soul Glo - Jump!!! (Or get jumped!!!)((By the Future)). Bad Brains + 30 more years of anger. My favorite album of the year.
Bjork - Atopos. Holy mackerel. This is some Diamanda Galas-level classical music. When the hammering starts and she sings "hope is a muscle," I am enchanted.
Wau Wau Collectif - Liguey Len (Arouna Kane Solo). This collection of songs from Senegal is dreamy. Get it.
Willie Nelson - Live Forever. One hopes this isn't the sort of song that becomes an epitaph. If so, it's a pretty one.
Litige - Regardez-Moi. Not a 2022 release, but a 22 discovery. Thanks, Tim!
Amyl & the Sniffers - I Got You. Also not of this year (although present on previous compilations), seeing this song done live was eye-opening. They had everyone.
Waco Brothers - Plenty Tough-Union Made. Again, rule-breaker, but seeing the Waco Brothers with four Mekons... right down the street from my house,.. with Tif... gosh.
Dionne Warwick - You Can Have Him. I know. What's the point of self-imposed rules if you don't follow 'em? One benefit of returning to the office this year is listening to 10 minutes of KPOO every morning. I catch the vintage (only 45s) show and discover songs Tif (more of an authority on this sound) hasn't played. This one is a banger.