10 Great 2022 Albums You Might’ve Missed
We posted tons of Best of 2022 lists, and so did the rest of the world, and even if you've read them all and dedicated hours to checking out all the great music released last year, you've still probably missed a few gems. (We know we have.) With that in mind, we put together a list of 10 great albums from 2022 that we think deserve an extra light shone on them. Some of these are albums we were talking about all throughout 2022, and some we've discovered or come around to more recently. Some are more popular and/or more acclaimed than others, and some feel like they're about to get even more attention in 2023, but all of them feel overlooked in one way or another. If you're looking for a new favorite album before the onslaught of 2023 music begins, you might find it here.
Read on for the list, in alphabetical order...
Crack Cloud - Tough Baby
Vancouver's Crack Cloud have always been a "no rules" kind of collective, and their cinematic aesthetic has time for all Posts: punk, modern, apocalyptic. Mad Max Meets Meat Loaf? It's not that far off, though you get a little closer to what they are if you throw in Repo Man, The Clash's Sandinista and The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy & The Lash. Even more than on their fantastic debut, Tough Baby feels like a concept album, a rock opera, a Broadway Musical in the waiting. It's a tale of survival against the greatest of odds where the fate of the world may hang in the balance, delivered with catchy choruses, thrilling twists and inventive production, and the album only gets better on repeat listens. Bring on Tough Baby: The Movie.
SEE ALSO: Indie Basement: Top 40 Albums of 2022
Denitia - Highways
Having risen to prominence as a maker of airy R&B, Denitia (of Denitia & Sene) got back to her childhood roots this year with a country-folk album. The New York-based Houston native grew up listening to country and folk (and singing in church choirs), and her approach to the genre on Highways is just as dreamlike and blissful as her R&B. Denitia primarily wrote the album alone in her studio, and it feels intimate and personal but also spacious and welcoming and ready for the world. It's a light, breezy album that feels like a warm day of spring every time you click play, and some of the most purely gorgeous music of its kind that we've heard all year.
SEE ALSO: 15 great country albums from 2022
Garrett T. Capps & NASA Country - People Are Beautiful
Garrett T. Capps calls his music "Kraut-country," and he and his band take as much influence from the country music of their Texas home state as they do from groups like Kraftwerk, Neu!, and Stereolab. As cool as that sounds on paper, it's even better in execution; on People Are Beautiful, Capps and NASA Country employ modular synths and break out into extended psychedelic jams, all while Capps leads the way with his countrified Texas drawl. They're a rare band who would sound just as home at Stagecoach as they would at Levitation, and they don't just embrace the head-trip sonics of the psychedelic era; they also remember that much of the early psychedelic music was protest music, as on People Are Beautiful's title track, a motorik jam about the state of humanity written in the wake of George Floyd's murder.
SEE ALSO: 15 great country albums from 2022
Gwenno - Tresor
Gwenno Saunders has had such a distinctive solo career it's hard to think she was once part of the '00s-era neo-girl group The Pipettes. She has explored the Welsh and Cornish languages of her birth and created a beautiful, verdant and alien sonic universe for them to flourish. On Tresor, her third album, the many vowels which linger on the tongue in breathy delivery become one with the swirl of harps, woodwinds, vibraphones and synthesizers. It's a transportive effect, taking you to a fully realized world where the past, present and never-was exist on the same beguiling plane.
SEE ALSO: Indie Basement: Top 40 Albums of 2022
High Vis - Blending
Formed in the mid-2010s and featuring members of UK hardcore bands like Tremors and Dirty Money (who released a split with Trapped Under Ice in 2008), London's High Vis pull influence from a variety of British indie, from grey-skied post-punk through swaying Britpop. With Blending, a very apropos title, the band really found their sound, dropping a pin in mid-'90s Manchester, part Happy Mondays, part Oasis, and more than a little of The Verve's stadium atmospherics in there too, all filtered through their hard-charging, aggressive past. It all makes for a very fun listen, drawing you in immediately with the rousing, danceable opening cut "Talk For Hours," and keeping you engaged throughout, from the ripping "0151" and "Out Cold," to the the baggy vibes of "Fever Dream" and "Shame" and pint-glass-raised anthems like "Join Hands." As Praise (who share a drummer with Turnstile) told us in their Best of 2022 list, "It's the record I didn’t know I was looking for until I found it."
BONUS: Don't miss this amazing video of their much-talked-about Outbreak Fest set:
Shannen Moser - The Sun Still Seems to Move
A sudden loss led Shannen Moser to switch direction after two years of working on their third album. Its songs had begun as simple vocals-and-guitar pieces, and they enlisted their extended musical community to help transform them into gorgeous multi-layered works rich with banjo, woodwinds, lap steel, and more. They touch on grief and illness, love and loss with a gentle steadfastness that's brought out in the pastoral beauty of the arrangements. "At a certain point I was like, let’s just go for it. Let’s just really lean into the sadness of the world," Shannen says. "I really wanted to make a thing that I had never made before, because I was feeling a way that I had never felt before."
SEE ALSO: 15 great folk albums from 2022
Smidley - Here Comes The Devil
Foxing singer Conor Murphy's 2017 self-titled album as Smidley gave him the chance to dive into traditional indie rock, following the heart-on-sleeve emo and deep post-rock of Foxing's first two albums, and since then Foxing have pushed themselves in a variety of disparate directions, from towering art rock to roaring post-hardcore to shiny synthpop. It's hard to imagine a style of music that wouldn't work on a Foxing album, but Conor's still got some ideas to explore on his own, as heard on Smidley's sophomore album Here Comes The Devil, the weirdest music Conor's released yet. Conor played almost every instrument and engineered/produced it himself, and he calls it a "concept record about a journey through hell" that was inspired by Dante's Inferno. "In letting it become a thematic record, it freed the record to become more personal," he said. "I wrote about the death of a friend, getting engaged, contemplating having a child, aging rapidly, etc." Conor sings about those topics over a shapeshifting backdrop that ranges from dirgey ballads to sax-fueled sophisti-pop to demonic experimental rock songs. Devil has some of his darkest, most clamoring music yet as well as some of his softest, and a whole lot of unpredictable stuff in between.
Sweet Pill - Where The Heart Is
At one point in emo's history, there was a divide between the math rock-leaning emo bands and the pop punk-leaning emo bands, but now we're seeing new generations of bands emerge that have absorbed it all and aren't drawing those nebulous lines. One of those bands is Sweet Pill, whose debut album Where The Heart Is gives you the best of both worlds. There's all kinds of technical musicianship in this band's noodly guitar work and beastly drumming, along with the attack of a band who clearly came up in the punk scene, but singer Zayna Youssef has this big, soaring voice and these satisfying melodies that give Sweet Pill the same widespread appeal as the mid-aughts emo-pop that everyone is nostalgic for lately. The album has no lack of immediately-appealing rippers, but Sweet Pill are no one trick ponies, and they've also got these towering, climactic slow-burners that populate the album's second half. There's a whole lot of substance to this album, and as big a year as 2022 was for Sweet Pill, I have a feeling 2023 is gonna be an even bigger one.
Syd - Broken Hearts Club
Syd's sophomore album Broken Hearts Club did crack a few major year-end lists, and she's certainly more popular than anyone else on this list, but in may ways, this album does feel overlooked. As far as the mainstream that this album had the potential to infiltrate is concerned, Broken Hearts Club stalled out, not cracking any charts or launching any big singles (unlike her The Internet bandmate Steve Lacy), and the music critic-driven indie/alternative world hasn't celebrated it nearly as much as it deserves. The latter sector is really where this album belongs; it may be on a major label, but Broken Hearts Club is far more "alternative" sounding than almost anything on pop or hip hop radio. It ranges from art pop to downtempo R&B to Prince-worthy synth-funk, and Syd does it in a way that really doesn't sound like any other artist on the planet. As an album about queer love and heartbreak, it offers perspective that's still largely underrepresented within the context of mainstream pop and R&B, and Syd's lyrics are too candid and personal to ever rely on overused clichés. It's also a capital-A Album that follows a clear thematic and musical arc from start to finish. Maybe none of its tracks were built to go viral on TikTok, but if you give Broken Hearts Club the time it deserves, you're treated to one of 2022's true triumphs.
Syndrome 81 - Prisons imaginaires
One of the year's most undeniable punk albums was Prisons imaginaires, the debut album by France's Syndrome 81. They sing in French, but even if you don't understand a word of what they're saying, it's very easy to latch on to their very catchy melodies and uniquely genre-blurring approach, which kinda nails a balance between Cock Sparrer's Oi!/street punk and The Cure's early post-punk records. Even if you've never heard of them before, you'll see why members of Scowl, Citizen, Praise, Indecision/Most Precious Blood, and Angel Du$t/Trapped Under Ice have been singing this album's praises as soon as you click play.
SEE ALSO: 20 Great Hardcore Releases from 2022
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