Knifeplay, the Philly five-piece led by vocalist Tj Strohmer, released their sophomore album Animal Drowning this past fall. The album digs deep into textural sounds and emotional songwriting, with Tj's lyrics and heavy influence from shoegaze, dream pop, and slowcore. As the year ends, Knifeplay shared with us a list of their favorite albums of 2022, including a live album by Philly Grateful Dead cover band Friends of Jerry, a posthumous David Bowie demos collection, and albums by MJ Lenderman, Skullcrusher, Snoozer, and more. Read on for the band's list, with in-depth commentary...

Knifeplay's Favorite Albums of 2022

Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter

Having grown up in small town America, I really connect with Ethel Cain’s exploration of the sometimes charming, sometimes bleak, but always romantic aesthetic of modern Americana. It inspires me to explore that side of myself that’s been buried under 10 years of city life. Additionally, the vocal performances, songwriting, tasteful instrumentation and perfect production are all reasons to love this record. – Tj Strohmer

Mathew Lee Cothran – Worldwide Séance/Unfinished Music

Mat Cothran is one of my personal biggest lyrical/songwriting influences. His songs always manage to touch on some core of humanity that is lost on most of us through our waking life. This compilation of instrumentals spanning a huge portion of his musical career expresses that same unique authenticity that defines the rest of his catalogue. Being an innovative musician/producer in addition to a great lyricist, it’s a very enjoyable record to listen to and trace through his artistic evolution and the various aspects of his palette that have created his unique sound. It’s a perfect record for self-reflection by the moonlight. -Tj Strohmer

Les Rallizes Dénudés – The OZ Tapes

Another gem unearthed from the absolute legends. This record (which I believe is live) shows a bit of a poppier side compared the other material I’ve listened to from the group. But as always, they are fearless in their experimentation with noise and unhinged rock and roll. The guitar playing is incredible and unique. I wish I could have seen these shows. They’ve got to be one of the first true punk bands, and one of the baddest to ever do it. -Tj Strohmer

David Bowie – Divine Symmetry

Everyone knows Bowie is an all-time great. But this record shows with certainty that to call him “glam rock” would be purely reductive. These raw demos from the Hunky Dory era put on full display the pain that always lingered beneath the surface of Bowies massive songs. The demos for “Tired of my Life” “Quicksand” and “Shadow Man” are some personal favorites. -Tj Strohmer

Snoozer – ZZZ

Snoozer’s endearing underdog energy would make them the perfect band to exist in a coming of age movie. Also, they’re amazing live and their fans go hard. zzz is a great combo of sweet, succinct, and rambunctious. – Johanna Baumann

MJ Lenderman – Boat Songs

This record blew up, and for good reason. To me it’s a totally new and unique representation of a style of music that I love, MJ created a world of his own that touches on my love for the golden era of “alt country” -Johnny Klein

Skullcrusher - Quiet the Room

Quiet the Room pulls you into a quiet, internal world with imagery of households from the past and field recordings of nature sounds and a child’s voice. The introspective personal lyrics and thoughtfully crafted arrangements create this melancholy and comforting atmosphere that remains consistent throughout. This album is powerfully moving. – Max Black

aasev - love letters from my isp

love letters from my isp is a hypnotic and fast paced 20 minute electronic set that oscillates between techno, ambient, and breakcore. It feels nostalgic and emotional while embodying the hyperactive manic energy of life on the internet. – Max Black

Friends of Jerry - 08-18-22 - Ukie Club - Philadelphia, PA

FOJ injectst a bit of Philly diy energy into the classic songbook of the Grateful Dead. I've known most of the members pretty much my entire adult life here in Philly, and many of them are bandmates/collaborators both past and present. It's a treat to hear their spirited interpretation of these songs and remember that music can, in fact, be fun. I chose this particular recording because it happened to be my birthday, and witnessing it live capped off one of the better days of my year. -Alex Stackhouse

They are Gutting a Body of Water - lucky styles

The musical equivalent of Harrison Ford eating noodles in the rain in Blade Runner. -Alex Stackhouse

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