Back by popular demand, the albums of my year. Twenty-twenty-two was a doozy of a year, but at least there were some great tunes by some of my favorite bands to help get me through. Nothing beats the shot of adrenaline when a song connects. If you know me, you know it’s my drug. Here’s a look at the albums that I OD’d on this year.
Andrew Bird – Inside Problems
A career highlight in a solid, yet underrated career. The title track, “Inside Problems”, has been on repeat in my head and my turntable since its preview release. A clever, meditative record with more earworms than I can count. Inside Problems is a modern masterpiece.
Josh Rouse – Going Places
A breezy and somewhat slight entry in the Rouse discography. No real stand out tracks, but strong on the laid back vibe that Rouse had perfected over the years.
Metric – Formentera
It took me a few listens to unlock this album. “Doomscroller” hogs the spotlight from the rest of the album if you don’t skip it. Better to treat it as its own 12″ and do the rest of the album on its own terms. What lies beneath are some of the best singles of Metric’s career.
The Cult – Under The Midnight Sun
Classic Cult. Great songs. Produced like they were played underwater. Missed opportunity to clutch late-in-career greatness. A great album save for the flawed production.
The Afghan Whigs – How Do You Burn?
What’s with this year? Bombast on song one is required? The rest sounds like a good, late era, Whigs. I lost my hearing for a day after their show this year. They’ve still got it.
Kasabian – The Alchemist’s Euphoria
The first album without the “lead” singer. Riding the strength of his solo album, The SLP, Pizzorno makes Kasabian all his. Strangely, the ballads move me more than the other songs. Nevertheless, a strong debut from the new-ish Kasabian lineup.
Foals – Life Is Yours
This will always remind me of rediscovering momentum in my life in Croatian valley at 110km/hr while wondering when the next shoe would drop. It did, and even then I was listening to this in Atmos, dreaming of that drive. Probably the best album to have accompanied my year. Defiant. Beautiful. A light in the dark.
The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
Yorke and Greenwood find their footing in a new musical environment and bring us along for the ride. The best non-Radiohead album of all of the Radiohead side projects. Creeping, coy and big-hearted, A Light showcases renewed vigor and imagination from two of the most loved artists of a generation.
The Boo Radleys – Keep On With Falling
I think it was about February of 1998 when I got obsessed with the Boo Radleys. They were my Britpop band. I bought import CD singles on Ebay like they were some sort of rare drug. So to hear they were back, it was like one chapter of life bled into another. Martin Carr is missed but Sice more than carries on the legend. Welcome back.
Kurt Vile – (Watch My Moves)
I’ll admit it, this is my least favorite Kurt Vile record. It’s not a bad record. It just kind of meanders. Not something I had a ton of patience for. But he’s in full stoner-dad mode. Be well, Kurt.
Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia
I was in love with this album from the moment I hear the lead single, “Jackie Down the Line”. The first listening of the rest of the album was confusing. But in true Fontaines style, it clicked and this one is a keeper. Could be a number one. If you don’t like “Roman Holiday”, you don’t like Fontaines DC.
Gang of Youths – Angel In Realtime
An album about the loss of your dad? A little on the nose this year. But a superbly written, heartfelt album. Sincere in the most unguarded ways. Like sitting at a bar with a sobbing friend, sharing his grief. If you’ve been there, you know.
Spoon – Lucifer On The Sofa
This is in incredible album. But it’s one of my least favorite Spoon albums. It’s their most straightforward. But that said, it’s got some great songs. The title track alone would make it the best album of most bands’ careers. Such is the curse of consistency.
Spoon Vs On-U Sound – Lucifer On The Moon
A weird dub version of Spoon’s latest. A warped reflection of the album that uncovers sounds, beats and colors that the original hides. Not essential listening but a fun, dreamy detour.
Wilco – Cruel Country
I’ve given up giving up on bands. I tried it with U2 and was sucked back in on their least critically lauded album (you guess). I’ve been sucked into the hypnotic embrace of Tweedy’s solo albums. This seems like an extension of that. It ain’t no YHF, but it 20 years later, it’s good to hear this band doing what it wants.
Lyle Lovett – 12th of June
Lyle Lovett used to be a big part of the myth of Texas for me. I saw him at Wolftrap when I lived in DC and marveled at the greatness of that large band and big state far away. Now he’s in his 60’s and I’m in my near 50’s. He’s still great. And with the mystique stripped away from Texas, he sounds like a man set free. Sounds good. Feels good.