Rich Balling has been having a busy year. The experimental post-hardcore supergroup that he founded, The Sound Of Animals Fighting, are releasing their first EP in 14 years this week, and Rich recently released the debut album by his hyperpop project Hospital Gown, which features members of Funeral Diner, pageninetynine, Record Setter, Teen Suicide, Ink & Dagger, alongside Kreayshawn, Kitty, GFOTY, and more.

Rich is also always keeping up with new music, and with 2022 coming to a close, he made us a list of his favorite albums of the year, including Holy Fawn, MUNA, Sadurn, Knife Girl, BLACKPINK, and more. Read on for the list, with Rich's commentary on each pick...

Rich Balling's Favorite Albums of 2022

Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed

HF just owns this space better than anyone else. After 4 releases with Hydra Head and one with Profound Lore, if anyone ever cares about Pyramids (ehem…Roadburn) and speaks of us in the same sentence as this band ten years from now, it would be an honor.

Bloc Party - Alpha Games

No other band has managed to reinvent themselves album after album to the degree of BP. And each time they bring their A game. BP is a contender for most interesting band of our time. History will treat them favorably.

BLACKPINK - Born Pink

I don’t care who wrote the songs. I don’t care how the group was assembled. I stan BP and Lisa especially. Studying their records is like taking a pop song master class. This album is no exception.

MUNA - S/T

“What I Want” is the party anthem of the year. And bringing Phoebe [Bridgers] in for “Silk Chiffon” is just icing on the cake. I’m glad to see this band finally getting some attention.

Lucy Lohan - Gunk

The rap game is absolute trash right now. The superfluous world of bracing stacks of cash on your shoulders has become a caricature of itself. A snake eating it’s own tail. While Finnish artist LL bears a few tropes of the cloud rap movement, there is something so incredibly genuine and believable about the delivery, it’s impossible to turn off. LL is doing what I wish more did: be real. I feel so fortunate to have had LL on the Hospital Gown album.

Knife Girl - Uniform

Absolute genius. Criminally underrated. Someone in the States needs to do something for this artist immediately. Listen to this record and the previous EP Oona. KG produced and mixed the Hospital Gown record, and has taught me a great deal.

Sadurn - Radiator

Gives me the satisfaction of First Aid Kit but feels far more raw and vulnerable. Despite the prolific output, RFC continues to find gems, and this is one. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Model/Actriz - “Mosquito”

This is a single and not an album, but this band is one to watch and worth mentioning on this list. I can’t wait until their next record.

Tommy Genesis and Charlie Heat - World on Fire

TG can do no wrong. Every one of her records so far is perfect. This one is a different vibe, but undeniable like all the rest.

Soft Blue Shimmer - Love Lives in the Body

SBS is in the wave of a cluster of great indie and shoegaze adjacent bands. What sets them apart is the sincerity in Meredith’s voice. It’s equal parts beauty and apathy. She was gracious enough to participate in backing vocals across the entire Hospital Gown record. The initial idea there was to go for a Low-esque vibe which she is perfect for. It just so happens that the HG album evolved into much more.

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