Philly-via-Maine indie folk band Friendship had one of our favorite albums of 2022 in their Merge debut Love The Stranger. They signed to the label in April, and since then, Love The Stranger has garnered praise as a year-end favorite by Wednesday's Karly Hartzman and Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, among others. Stream it below.

Friendship collaborated on a list of their own favorite albums of 2022, including picks by Cass McCombs, Mo Troper, Horse Jumper of Love, Tenci, and more. Find their list, with commentary, below.

Friendship's Favorite Albums of 2022

Robert Stillman - What Does it Mean To Be American? (Orindal + Kit Records)

It sounds like Robert Stillman put every song from the last century into a blender, then poured the resulting mixture into ice cube trays, sticking each with a popsicle stick to be frozen and saved for the next hot day. Shocking how cool and refreshing his music is, every damn time. I really love the lower-than-usual fidelity of this record, which he has spoken to as being a product of a much looser and more intuitive recording process. Thrilled Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood are introducing his genius to a much wider audience. -Michael

Kolb - Tyrannical Vibes (Ramp Local)

Arty, fun, funny, smart, intriguing, warm, sharp, yet also gloriously ramshackle, to me the kind of record that could only be made by a super idiosyncratic musician in a specific corner of New York’s music scene at this exact moment of the internet age. I’m reminded of Dirty Projectors in some ways, which of course isn’t a perfect comparison but perhaps indicates the galaxy-brain controlled-chaos synthesis of ideas I’m hearing. It’s all over the place stylistically, full of collaborators who frequently take center-stage, and finished in just 22 minutes, all of which makes it appealingly hard to describe the project’s chemical makeup or locate its center of gravity. Oh, and it’s absolutely saturated with incredible hooks. -Peter

Cass McCombs - Heartmind (ANTI-)

An ever-curious songwriter looks back toward youth, forward towards death, and seeks the lines that remain when all else fades away: grief ("Belong to Heaven"), regret ("Unproud Warrior"), love ("Karaoke"), the blues ("Blue Blue Band," "Music is Blue"), and gallows humor ("New Earth"). All these feelings are alive and living in the Heartmind, the cool, fog-filled room where we can reexamine scenes from our memory, and we can all visit whenever we want. -Jon

Robin Holcomb - One Way or Another (Westerlies)

Robin Holcomb reflects in solitude on a career marked by twists and turns with some of her most zig-zaggy compositions. It’s a record of intoxicating immediacy. Woozy feels like a descriptive word, but somehow these songs also feel like big sturdy trees. They manage to bend, but never break, even when met with gale force winds. Her rendition of "Hard Times Come Again No More" is so whacko and dense, I love it. My 2022 anxiety anthem of the year. -Michael

Mo Troper - MTV (Lame-O)

Hyper-intelligent power pop songs about disappointment, self-loathing, and losing touch with reality, fastidiously conceived only to be ripped apart by tape tricks that echo an awful desire to be anyone else, anywhere else, doing anything else. Like Elliott Smith, GBV, and Elephant 6 touchstones before him, Mo is a pro at repurposing Beatlesesque gestures to document his psychic damage with a great sense of humor, resulting in something deeply gratifying and life-affirming. “It was raining so hard that I fell out of style.” - Peter

Horse Lords - Comradely Object (RVNG Intl.)

Grids of airtight polyrhythms zoom outward like google maps, revealing further tessellations into dance and funk, stepping back again until the grand shape is revealed: the map is a sphere, a pure tonal oscillation. Like falling back home, the band then dissolves back into their disparate locking meters, taking us from microtonal jazz into tapeloop territory. -Jon

Zekkereya El-margharbel - DAYTIMES (self released)

I don’t have many words to describe this music, but it’s one of my most listened albums this year. El-margharbel describes it as an exercise in aural decolonialization, chipping away at the omnipresence of western systems of harmony and tuning via a trombone running through a SP-404. The result is pillowy and precise. All these micro-melodies arise out of thin air, almost relentlessly, but never feel cacophonous as they bounce off of each other. Sometimes I can feel a pulse, sometimes I can’t. It’s true heart music, murmurs, palpitations, and everything. -Michael

Horse Jumper of Love - Natural Part (Run for Cover)

With an out-of-the-blue guitar strangling or a close-up on a family of skunks, Horse Jumper repeatedly pulls the rug out from under me with a simple flick of the wrist. It’s tempting to describe these vertiginous shifts in perspective as “cinematic”, but that wouldn’t communicate how tangibly physical their art feels and has always felt. The production is bigger and poppier this time around, but Natural Part is no half-hearted hi-fi victory lap. When Dimitri asks “what do I do?” on “I Poured Sugar in Your Shoes,” he sounds like a person who’s really in trouble, in too deep to pretend there’s an easy way out. -Peter

Tenci - A Swollen River, a Well Overflowing (Keeled Scales)

Stomping around a shifting gloopy beach, heads stretching and feet stumbling through the morphing sand. Confident in its animal earthiness, it whines in a righteous key, always in tune with itself. Drinking from a dirty dog bowl, covered in blood-red cherry juice, spilling an overflowing cup: Tenci is sticks, mud, and horns. A vision distorted by droplets of water, memories and desire are lenses that amplify what we see. -Jon

Armbruster - Masses (Dear Life)

Violin music that reminds me of the first time I heard Kali Malone, Julius Eastman, or Hour. Perfect for the float tank. On the other hand it’s very roomy. There’s room for abstraction, meditation, nature, humanity, religion, perfection and frailty. Bound together by one four-note theme repeated and inverted in tracks 1 and 5, “In the First Leaves” and “Til the Last Leaves.” Armbruster has a line to heaven. -Dan

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