Finally, here it is. I know many of you have been waiting with bated breath for me to release my obligatory end of year album list. I will preface that this is a wholly subjective list, though if pushed I will go into bat for it as a definitive best albums of the year list. Whether you agree with me, disagree, or are a bit nonplussed by the whole palaver. I still hope you can glean some entertainment from my ten picks, or perhaps more importantly, give an album you’d never heard of a bit of a spin.
Anyway, enough from me. This is the first half of my list for my top ten albums of 2022.
10. Endless Rooms by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (Ivy League Records)
Standout track: ‘The Way it Shatters’
Stalwart’s of Australia’s indie alternative scene for quite some time now, RCBF’s third album is sumptuous and finely polished. They haven’t lost their warm, fuzzy acoustic guitar sound, but the vocals in particular are much sharper and clean than on previous outings. With just the right amount of Victorian-centric lyrics and catchy hooks. Endless Rooms is full of crowd pleasing, guitar driven pop. For first time listens I’d recommend playing it on summer road trips to the Bellarine and beyond.
9. Education and Recreation by Surprise Chef (Big Crown Records)
Standout Track: ‘Velodrome’
Coburg’s finest fired out another jazz filled groove-fest for us in 2022. Another soundtrack to Melbourne’s inner-north, Education and Recreation is jam-packed with ear-worms and funky hooks. Crisp percussion and bass lines lay the foundations for experimental instrument selection on the melodies that are laid atop. The occasional found sounds keeps the listener intrigued throughout. A favourite of mine is the sound of a bicycle wheel being spun at the beginning of the track ‘Velodrome’. All in all, you’re in for fourty minutes of blissful escapism.
8. Honeyglaze by Honeyglaze (Speedy Wunderground)
Standout Track: ‘Female Lead’
I was introduced to Honeyglaze and their self-titled debut album, when I saw them supporting shoegaze mainstays ‘Ride’ in November this year. Since then I’ve listened to this album on a weekly basis. As a debut album, the three-piece from south London have manage to craft a baroque indie pop record that feels understated and well-considered. With the vocals ranging from dreamy english folk, to soft murmurings, each song acts as a reflection of their varying musical influences. It’s a chocolate box of a record, but that is certainly not a bad thing for a debut.
7. Sans Souffrance Ajoutée by Clovis & Camouflage Monk (Tuff Kong Records)
Standout Track: ‘V!#%&+!@‘
Now this one is definitely a subjective pick. I understand that the debut album by a French sommelier cum-rapper may not be everyones cup of tea. However, for me it was the soundtrack to my European travels this summer and for that alone it earns itself a spot on this list. With Camouflage Monk’s soulful samples and Clovis’ enthusiastic delivery, the record screams summer. Admittedly, the french language does a lot of heavy lifting in regard to the lyrics, but how can you not love verses about natural wine.
6. Le Tioko-Tioko by Idrissa Soumaoro & L’Eclipse De L’I.J.A (Mr. Bongo)
Standout Track: ‘Nissodia’
Technically an album from 1978, Le Tioko-Tioko had been lost for years. Given a new lease on life by record label Mr. Bongo and finally re-released in full this year. This Malian gem is an afrobeat classic from a golden period in electronic experimentation on the African continent. Influenced by traditional West African blues, and pulsating with drums and funky organ. Whether you’re hosting a party or relaxing in the backyard with a beer in hand, this album will have you tapping your toes and shaking your hips.