The Fire Note Writer Edition Top Albums of 2022

The Fire Note would not be possible without the talented writers that share their educated thoughts and true enjoyment of music with our readers. The time and commitment that goes into writing consistently is appreciated by TFN and taken for granted by everyone else!

Our official year end Top 50 is coming at the end of the week but clearly everyone has different tastes and ideas when naming the best albums released in 2022. Thanks again to all our contributors and check out their thoughts below!

We also are always up for some new voices so if you want to be on this list next year send us an email to [email protected] with your interest in receiving advance music and sharing your voice!

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Thomas Wilde

  1. Wet Leg – Wet Leg
  2. Dumb – Pray 4 Tomorrow
  3. MJ Lenderman – Boat Songs
  4. Gus Englehorn – Dungeon Master
  5. Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph
  6. Alex G – God Save The Animals
  7. Smirk – Material
  8. Dry Cleaning – Stumpwork
  9. Guided By Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral
  10. Oso Oso – Sore Thumb
  11. The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
  12. Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
  13. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava
  14. Good Grief – Shake Your Faith
  15. FonFon Ru – Collapse Of The Silver Bridge
  16. Delivery – Forever Giving Handshakes
  17. Florist – Florist
  18. The Chats – Get Fucked
  19. Plains – I Walked With You A Ways
  20. The Reds, Pinks & Purples – Summer At Land’s End
  21. Ribbon Stage – Hit With The Most
  22. The Stroppies – Levity
  23. Young Guv – GUV III
  24. The Bug Club – Green Dream In F#
  25. Dehd – Blue Skies

Brian Q. Newcomb

25. Robyn Hitchcock: Shufflemania!

Like Elvis Costello, at the other end of this list, English singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is still doing what he’s done so very well for so very long, and this newest collection of songs, with musical contributions from a host of his musical friends from around the world is a next level achievement. The nods to John Lennon, and a host of others makes this a must hear album.

24. The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out

The Mountain Goats are such a fun, literate, intelligent, and quirky band that I’ve been down with every new release over the last few years. Seem John Darnielle can write a great song about anything, but this collection of songs inspired by action movies excels above and beyond the call of duty. I do need to see them again live someday soon, and I’ll be ready to join the chant of “Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome.”

23. Simple Minds: Direction Of The Heart

While I was a big Minds’ fan in the 80’s, I kind of lost track of them. But like James, they kept making music, and were huge in Europe. I tracked down this release primarily because I’d read that they covered an old song by Michael Been of The Call, and I wanted to hear their cover. But once I was reviewing this album, it played through again and again for several days, because the duo at the center of this band continue to write great songs.

22. Johnny Marr: Fever Dreams Pts 1 – 4

While Morrissey is still getting more attention, Johnny Marr is the one from The Smith’s whose still making music I care about. 2018’s “Call the Comet” was all the proof needed to show he could stand on his own two feet as an artist, still playing amazing guitar but also singing lead, and this long 16-track selection more that delivers the goods. Like Paul Weller, Marr is still making music that matters.

21. Soccer Mommy: Sometimes, Forever

Soccer Mommy, aka Sophie Allison, alongside Snail Mail and other newer female artists have been making some of the most arresting and interesting newer music, incorporating more musical textures and noisy elements into their essentially singer/songwriter rock. Here, aided by producer Daniel Lopatin, who goes by Oneohtrix Point Never, Soccer Mommy strikes an artful balance, that enhances her music while still letting those essential melodies, like the one in “newdemo” shine out. Smart, serious concepts make her songs all the more compelling.

20. The Afghan Whigs: How Do You Burn?

I really dug Greg Dulli’s albums with the Whigs back when the R&B influences were more pronounced, on “Black Love” and “1965,” and even sought out shows with the Twilight Singers when possible. The albums since the reunion over the last decade have been a lot heavier, and darker in a way, but they still connect at a very primal level. This one, IMHO, is the best of their last three, and has some connections back to earlier albums that are nice to hear.

19. The 1975: Being Funny In A Foreign Language

I’ve really been interested in this British pop/rock band’s music and albums, but they’ve often contained so much music reflecting a wide variety of musical styles and techniques that it was hard to hold it all together in my head. On this more concise, 11-track release produced with Jack Antonoff they’ve manage to distill their talent into a more accessible package, and it’s an impressive pop album from start to finish.

18. Ben Harper: Bloodline Maintenance

Ben Harper’s collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama to produce “There Will Be a Light” is one of my favorite Gospel albums, and that spirit lives on here in this collection of songs, especially his take on racial justice, “We Need to Talk About It.” This is a soulful album, and one of Harper’s best.

17. Wilco: Cruel Country

There’s no doubt that part of my openness to any country music these days is a direct result to following Uncle Tupelo in the clubs of St. Louis before they were credited with creating alt/country/punk Americana. But after “Ode to Joy,” which except for “Everybody Hides” and a couple other fine rock morsels, tended to feel a little too much like Jeff Tweedy’s quieter solo albums, so I’d heard their next album would be a rocker, and I was down for that. But I’m too much of a Wilco fan for this fine double album collection not to grow on me, and it has. “Falling Apart (Right Now)” may be one of the best songs ever written about married life, and while the album only gently touches on politics, the double entendre of the title track manages to nail it. There’s just too many great songs on the double album for me to turn my back on this band any time soon.

16. Arcade Fire: WE

Since the release of The Suburbs, it’s felt like Arcade Fire has wandered in a wilderness of their own creation, taking themselves too seriously, but maybe not the music so much. This album, reportedly written at home by husband-wife team Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, felt like they’d found their way back to something more foundational, and I really loved the song written for their son, “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” plus “Unconditional II (Race and Religion)” which featured Peter Gabriel.

15. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, And Lava

This Aussie prog/psychedelic rock collective is almost too prolific to keep up with, given they released 5 full-length projects just this year. But, wading into all of it, this one held my attention, and reminded me of my early fascination with bands like Gentle Giant, early Yes and Genesis, and Frank Zappa. Inventive and endlessly engaging, and quirky as hell, what’s not to love?

14. Sunflower Bean: Headful Of Sugar

There’s a heady quality to the third album from this NYC trio that screams “New York.” Sophisticated but gritty, post-punk for sure, but also conscious of the need for a dance floor beat that gets you where you need to go, and just in time a melody that carries you to the desired altitude. Hints of Velvet Underground, Blondie, and a nod or two to soulful R&B. Sunflower Bean is better than their name, and nothing like what I expected.

13. Frank Turner: FTHC

“The first time that a beat drops in a bar it’s going to be Biblical,” shout British punk/folk artist Frank Turner at the beginning of “The Gathering,” a song about how great it’s going to be back together hearing live music after the pandemic forced us into a year of isolation. This loud, angry, 14-song album came along as the winter was wearing me down and was a perfect antidote to the doldrums and frustration of the last few years, and it’s held up throughout. And it’s hilarious that he’s writing his stuff after getting over addiction to cocaine, getting married and moving to the country. I love that good things happening in one’s life don’t mean you get mellow and sanguine, this is the mental health album that got me through the year.

12. The Beths: Expert In A Dying Field

This New Zealand power-pop quartet have been a bright spot in recent days, delivering three studio outings, a new set every 2 years, each a little more mature and self-assured than the last. Elizabeth Stokes is a great soinger/songwriter, but this feels like a real band effort, fine guitar work from Jonathan Pearce, and solid harmonies from all four, with some fun creative twists and turns, occasional jolts of adrenaline, and edginess thrown in to make sure you’re in for the full ride experience. Case in point, the punkiest sounding thing here is titled “Silence Is Golden.” You gotta love that.

11. Adrian Belew: Elevator

After dropping out of mind in recent years, 2022 proved to be Adrian Belew’s year. Along with this fine collection of original songs, the King Crimson/Talking Heads/David Bowie guitarist has been on the road with Todd Rundgren playing a Bowie tribute show, and served up a “Remain In Light” show with TH’s Jerry Harrison at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival and the West Coast, with a national tour announced for the new year. This guy’s guitar playing is still as exciting as ever, and the music proves his as relevant and durable as ever.

10. Tedeschi Trucks Band: I Am The Moon

The TTB came out of the pandemic with enough music for four solid EPs that added up to one great album, a reminder why this multifaceted combination of singer/songwriter Susan Tedeschi’s band and former Allman Bros. slide guitar phenom’s Derek Trucks band into one stunning mega-group continues to delight. One of the best live rock bands working today, the TTB has the songs and the soloing talent to go the distance.

9. Bonnie Raitt: Just Like That…

Now in her 7th decade, Bonnie Raitt has started to remind me of a favorite B.B. King quote, when he was asked about in his 60’s if he was thinking about leaving the road. The veteran blues artist and an innovative hit maker in his prime responded that, “the blues do not retire.” Still delivering the goods, solid songs in her sweet voice and her salty slide guitar sound, Raitt is the real deal, and she’s aging nicely as this amazingly listenable collection proves.

8. Pixies: Doggerel

I think it’s obvious I have a bias in favor of legacy artists/bands that don’t sit back on their laurels while cashing in by doing “greatest hits” tours ad infinitum. As a long-time Frank Black fan, it’s great to hear him making relevant, smart, and serious rock noise all these decades after first breaking the seal. This “Dog” still has legs.

7. Andrew Bird: Inside Problems

While I’ve been aware of Andrew Bird all the way back to his time in Squirrel Nut Zippers, and his albums with his band Bowl of Fire, but he totally won me over anew with his 2019 release “My Finest Work Yet,” and he continues to develop his knack for clever folky avant garde pop and inventive and thoughtful lyrical songs, accented by his violin and whistling skills. Who knew this combination would be so artful and compelling?

6. The Smile: A Light For Attracting Attention

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead have shown us what you do when you seem to have painted yourselves into a corner in your primary band, whose primary credo appears to have been to never repeat yourselves. In The Smile they have thrown of the burden and found a way to do more of what they have always done so very well – make interesting, engaging music that stretches the imagination and challenges the listener.

5. Wet Leg: Wet Leg

Every year someone rings the “rock is dead” bell, and yet every year we discover a new band that restores our faith in the essential elements of rock & roll, and British female-led Wet Leg is the latest, flying high on the collective power of this fun, 12-song debut. They deserve that New Artist Grammy they were just nominated for… and we all want more from them.

4. Spoon: Lucifer On The Sofa

The tenth studio album from Spoon delivers the kind of smart, classic pop/rock songwriting that have made them a favorite for a couple decades. This album is golden start to finish, and there’s now a new dub music remix of the entire collection available under the title “Lucifer on the Moon,” but the original is the one to get.

3. King’s X: Three Sides Of One

Getting an album from this power trio feels a bit like a miracle. It’s been fourteen years since their last studio outing, and while these guys should have been hard rock/metal/prog superstars back in the day, the fact that they’ve continued to rock on after 40 years, that they’ve continued touring (I’ve seen them 3 times in the last 6 years) while recovering from numerous health and other setbacks, and then to release this fabulous 12-song collection of new material… and that is still so very good… well, it’s mind-blowing.

2. Midnight Oil: Resist

This Aussie band has always written great, rock songs and Peter Garrett, while an unlikely singer/front man, is a force of nature. Plus, they write the best political rock songs, and in a time when most of the First World is in complete denial about climate change, they have been sounding the alarm for decades. This new one, first full on release in 20 years, was a fabulous finale, and my biggest concert regret of the year was missing their final tour.

1. Elvis Costello & The Imposters: The Boy Named If

EC is always a favorite, totally owns my wheelhouse: clever lyrics, gritty yet catchy melodies, and here a return to aggressive guitars and punk influenced rock & roll. He’s been a favorite since his 1977 debut “My Aim Is True,” but I’ve followed him on his journey into acoustic music on “King of America” and his T Bone Burnett country phase, his Bacharach golden age of pop period, because the songwriting always held up… so the early albums were classics, but as the matured I loved his rockers best – “Imperial Bedroom,” “Blood & Chocolate,” and “Delivery Man” – and this new one is a return to form that capped off my year in grand form.

Christopher Tahy

20.) The Black Angels – Wilderness of Mirrors

19.) Somali Yacht Club – The Space 

18.) Charley No Face –  Eleven Thousand Volts 

17.) Cloakroom – Dissolution Wave

16.) Kikagaku Moyo – Kumoyo Island

15.) Wet Leg – Wet Leg

14.) Elder – Innate Passage

13.) Dumb – Pray 4 Tomorrow

12.) Mr. Goblin – Bunny

11.) Hooveriii – A Round of Applause

10.) Osees – A Foul Form

As an Osees fan I’ll take them in any musical I can get. Kraut-prog, garage psych, proto-metal, and blistering punk. Their latest A Foul Form is a punk record made for punks by true fans of the genre. I must admit that it took a few spins before it sank in but, this is one of the rawest records of the year. Dwyer and Co. pummel the shit out of everything, their instruments, his voice, and your ears. One of the most short, sweet, and to the point albums you’ll hear all year. 

9.) Jack White – Fear of the Dawn

Guided By Voices released one of the year’s first raw rock records in March, then Jack White followed it up in April with Fear of the Dawn. When you start your solo career with an album like Blunderbuss it can be tough to hit that mark again. Here with Fear of the Dawn White conjures a mad scientist persona where at times, to quote writer Brian, the guitar buzzes and whines like Tom Morello. Where Boarding House Reach felt like a bit of a misstep in experimentation. Fear of the Dawn hits a sweet spot making it my second favorite album in his solo catalogue and one of my favorite albums this year. 

8.) Guided By Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral 

If you have a hankering for some raw rock n’ roll then Guided By Voices will never steer you wrong. Releasing albums at a blistering pace, they have to run out of juice at some point! Crystal Nuns Cathedral is continuing proof that hasn’t happened yet-don’t forget about Tremblers and Goggles by Rank and Scalping the Guru too. This one has some has some high-ups in the GBV catalogue: the slinky, hand in the air heft of “Eye City,”  the exhilarating pace and ring of “Re-Develop,” the orchestration and sing along power of “Climbing a Ramp,” The heavy hooks of “Come North Together,” and the simplistic ballad that laments “Mad River Man.” All these songs will have you throwing out your best rock kicks. Just be careful where you listen to the album, we don’t want to hurt any one or cause any property damage.

7.) Telekinetic Yeti – Primordial 

One of the most brutal albums this year was Telekinetic Yeti’s Primordial. With songs like “Ghost Train,” “Stoned Ape Theory,” and “Rogue Planet Primordial is just a straight stomp to the throat. As branded by their label, Tee Pee Records, Yeti is a two-piece that sounds like an army. As a duo carrying this album, it makes Primordial extra impressive. Just like one of the themes of the album, it cast a black magic spell on me and kept me coming back to it again and again. 

6.) Ghost Funk Orchestra – A New Kind of Love

You always have to look forward to a Ghost Funk Orchestra release because it’s hard to find modern music that sounds like this anymore. After releasing the excellent Ode to Escapism in 2020 Ghost Funk Orchestra has done it again. A New Kind of Love continues the same lush and mysterious jive. It was reviewer Simon that said it best, “the album emphasizes the jazz, funk, and soul side of their sound.” A New Kind of Love conveys a feeling of weightlessness through its’ 40 minute run time and it’s one of the most satisfying funk albums you’ll hear all year. 

5.) King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Omnium Gatherum / Changes

When you release 4 albums in one year it’s really hard to pick your favorites- 5 if you count Made In Timeland. Out of the bunch of Omnium Gatherum, Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, and Lava, Laminated Denim, and Changes my top two had to be Omnium Gatherum and Changes. With the first four tracks on Omnium Gatherum Gizz makes a strong case for why this album should show up on many end of the year lists. Then songs like “Evilest Man” and “Red Smoke” upped the enjoyment of this double LP even more. This is Gizz at their most fun and experimental. Changes is an experimental Gizz record but it’s quite the opposite. In fact, this album had the most time spent on it in the Gizz catalogue. In the hopper since 2017, Changes is more of a song cycle where every song is built around one chord progressions. The album sinks in after many listens and is an epic journey of 60’s pop, R&B, retro rhythms, and sunshine psychedelics. All the albums are good but, this pair of albums takes the cake this year. 

4.) Drugdealer – Hiding In Plain Sight

I was so happy that I finally got a Drugdealer review up on the site but, if there was one to start at Hiding In Plain Sight is the one. Taking lessons learned on previous albums The End of Comedy (2016) and Raw Honey (2019), Collins and co. distill the R&B and Yacht-Rock of the 70’s and 80’s into one smooth flow. Hiding In Plain Sight has to be one of the most replay-able albums this year. From the gentle grooves of “Madison,” to the simplistically soul-full “Pictures of You,” and the final duo R&B stunner “Posse Cut.” As an album that almost never was Hiding In Plain Sight really makes a case for why Collins should continue. Here’s hoping that we get a follow up because this album proves that Collins has a place in music.  

3.) Cave In – Heavy Pendulum

I wasn’t able to discover and dive into this album until the end of the year. After giving it multiple listens this is the metal album of the year. With songs like “Blood Spiller,” “Heavy Pendulum,” “Floating Skulls,” and the finale “Wavering Angel” the album makes its’ 1 hour 11 minutes run time count. Bringing back flashes of early Mastodon, Converge, Alice In Chains,  and dark flashes of Failure. It creates a really engaging combination of post-hardcore, alt-rock, and prog rock. If you only take one metal album away from this list then this is the one to engage. 

2.) The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention

This was one of my most anticipated albums of the year and for good reason too. I’ll at least listen once to anything Thom Yorke is involved in but, when you add Johnny Greenwood let me at it! The group is then rounded out by Tom Skinner from the very talented, British jazz group Sons of Kemet. Born out of a surprise performance in May of 2021, The Smile released their debut album A Light For Attracting Attention in April. Not exactly a Radiohead clone, The Smile takes a minimal approach which seems to allow for more possibilities. The wonder and the beauty are there with songs such as “Pana-Vision,” “Open The Floodgates,” and former unreleased Radiohead song “Skirting on the Surface.” But, the album also indulges in the use of guitar and bass jams. Songs like “The Opposite,” “You’ll Never Work In Television Again,” The very groovy “The Smoke,” the hard hitting “Thin Thing,” and my personal favorite “A Hairdryer.” Really what I want to say is that if we never get another Radiohead album, I wouldn’t be sad. The Smile seems to be picking up steam and easily released one of the years’ best albums.

1.) black midi –  Hellfire

Having released Cavalcade last year it makes Hellfire extra impressive. Geordie Greep shoots right out of the pipe as a demonic carnival barker preaching the damnations of “its always something.” After inviting you in the Michael Buffer stylings begin and “Sugar/Tzu” stylings send you off to the races. Just like a coveted prize-fighter the boys start out with one of the strongest tracks in their catalogue. “Sugar/Tzu” weaves in and out of loose, glassy jazz and tight, chaotic ear assaults. “Eat Men Eat” goes demonic as Cameron Picton tells us the story of red wine made from stomach acid. Picton’s delivery of “Eat, men, eat!” Will have you shouting back in unison. “Still” takes a turn and dials down the hellfire only slightly. Beautiful finger picked passages, subtle keys, lonesome pedal-steel, and light brass seem like a bastardization of honky-tonk. “The Race is About to Begin” rages between psychopathic doomsayers and moonlight driven, operatic soliloquy. This is an album that bands only like Black Midi could make. The first half goes for heresy and hellfire and the second half goes for the greatest showman. It’s a mashup that really caught my ear and made for an exciting and energetic listen every time it hit my ears. 

Simon Workman

Top 25 of 20222

  1. Kendra Morris – Nine Lives
  2. Ghost Funk Orchestra – A New Kind of Love
  3. Joseph Airport – Vector 23
  4. Guided By Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral (+Tremblers and Goggles by Rank)
  5. M. Ross Perkins – E Pluribus M Ross
  6. King Gizzard – Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, and Lava (+ Changes, Laminated Denim, & Omnium Gatherum)
  7. black midi – Hellfire
  8. Duster – Together
  9. Kikagaku Moyo – Kumoyo Island
  10. Reverend Baron – From Anywhere
  11. Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There
  12. GA20 – Crackdown
  13. The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
  14. Andrew Bird – Inside Problems
  15. Monophonics – Sage Motel
  16. Heather Redman & The Reputation – Heather Redman & The Reputation
  17. Spoon – Lucifer on the Sofa
  18. Dry Cleaning – Stumpwork
  19. Say She She – Prism
  20. Wet Leg – Wet Leg
  21. Wilco – Cruel Country
  22. Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – Cold As Weiss
  23. Hooveriii – A Round of Applause
  24. Rattle Snake Venom Trip – Dead Empire
  25. The Gabbard Brothers – The Gabbard Brothers

Best archival releases:

  1. Karate – Time Expired
  2. Blondie – Against The Odds 1974-1982
  3. Bill Nelson’s Red Noise – Art / Empire / Industry (The Complete Red Noise)
  4. Ghost Funk Orchestra – Night Walker / Death Waltz
  5. Frank Zappa and The Mothers – The Mothers 1971
  6. V/A–Brown Acid – The Fourteenth Trip and The Fifteenth Trip
  7. Miles Davis – That’s What Happened: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7, 1982-1985
  8. Apocalypse – The Castle
  9. Pearls Before Swine – The Exaltation of Tom Rapp
  10. The Beach Boys – Sail On Sailor

Scot Lade

  1. Wet Leg – Wet Leg
  2. Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There
  3. The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
  4. Cloud Cult – Metamorphosis
  5. Guided By Voices – Tremblers And Goggles By Rank
  6. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – XI: Bleed Here Now
  7. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Changes
  8. Death Cab For Cutie – Asphalt Meadows
  9. The Dear Hunter – Antimai
  10. Pixies – Doggerel
  11. Muse – The Will Of The People
  12. Ghost – Impera
  13. Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia
  14. The Mountain Goats – Bleed Out
  15. Spoon – Lucifer On The Sofa
  16. Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point
  17. Animal Collective – Time Skiffs
  18. Yard Act – The Overload
  19. Midlake – For The Sake Of Bethel Woods
  20. Built To Spill – When The Wind Forgets Your Name
  21. Titus Andronicus – The Will To Live
  22. Beach House – Once Twice Melody
  23. Soccer Mommy – Sometimes Forever
  24. Bjork – Fossora
  25. The Mars Volta – The Mars Volta

Kevin Poindexter

  1. Guided By Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral, Tremblers and Goggles by Rank
  2. Orville Peck – Bronco
  3. Jeanines – Don’t Wait for a Sign
  4. The Comet is Coming – Hyper Dimensional Expansion Beam
  5. Papercuts – Past Life Regression
  6. Joel Ross – The Parable of the Poet
  7. Binker and Moses – Feeding the Machine
  8. Green/Blue – Offering, Paper Thin
  9. The London Suede – Autofiction
  10. Lee Fields – Sentimental Fool
  11. The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
  12. The Afghan Whigs – How Do You Burn?
  13. The Reds, Pinks, and Purples – Summer at Land’s End
  14. The Beths – Experts In a Dying Field
  15. Elder – Innate Passage
  16. Immanuel Wilkins – The 7th Hand
  17. Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful
  18. A Place to Bury Strangers – See Through You
  19. Young Guv – GUV III
  20. Voivod – Synchro Anarchy
  21. MJ Lenderman – Boat Songs
  22. Makaya McCraven – In These Times
  23. Dumb – Pray 4 Tomorrow
  24. Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity
  25. Weird Nightmare – Weird Nightmare

Daniel Taylor

  1. Gus Englehorn – Dungeon Master: Hands down, this is the best LP I have heard all year. It’s a whimsical, weird, and incredibly catchy sophomore album. LIYL: Daniel Johnston, Pixies, The Unicorns
  2. Dumb – Pray 4 Tomorrow: The early release singles didn’t prepare me for how incredibly good this album is. It is absolutely loaded with catchy songs. Sometimes jangly, sometimes jaunty but always engaging and entertaining.
  3. CLAMM – Care: Aussie heavy garage punks, CLAMM return for their sophomore album, Care. Their debut, Beseech Me was an absolute powerhouse and there’s no sign of them slipping on this one.
  4. Cassels – A Gut Feeling: Taut, tense and a touch sinister in tone. Post-punk marvels have been putting out great music for years. This is as good an entry point as any. 
  5. Ex-Gold – We Are Good: If Superchunk went full bore power pop/punk over the course of an entire album, it might sound something like this. Ex-Gold has that delightful indie-punk sound that I cannot resist.
  6. Gilla Band – Most Normal: Just might be their best album. Gilla Band has left Girl Band behind in more ways than one. Accessible, but not overly so.
  7. Fat Earthers – Bored: UK psych-punk. No muss. No fuss. These lads just get in and get out with some of the heaviest riffs and hooks of 2022.
  8. Smirk – Material: Liked their debut 2021 LP. Loved their 2021 EP. Material finds the balance between the LP and EP from last year and makes a stunning sophomore release for this post-punk band.
  9. The Bug Club – Green Dream in F#: Charming, catchy, and crunchy indie pop from Wales.
  10. Warmduscher – At The Hotspot: I honestly wasn’t sure if these guys could top Tainted Lunch, but they did. Funky, filthy, and fun. LIYL: Odelay-era Beck
  11. Kal Marks – My Name Is Hell: The new Kal Marks is incredible. Maybe a bit more accessible than their past albums but it’s still a caustic and messy symphony.
  12. Punching Swans – Gameshow: Excellent punchy and sharp-witted noise rock. Highly recommended FFO Christian Fitness and Future of the Left.
  13. Wet Leg – Wet Leg: The debut LP that could have easily flopped under the weight of expectations, but it didn’t. It surprises and delights. Imperial Teen meets I Love You Airlines meets Electrelane.
  14. Pinch Points – Process: Relentless jangle punk.
  15. Total Wife – A Blip: Nashville-based band that effortlessly combines the gritter moments of Yo La Tengo, the noisy shoegaze of The Swirlies and the repetitive rhythm of krautrock.
  16. Built to Spill – When the Wind Forgets Your Name: Solid effort from one of my favorite bands of all time.
  17. Courting – Guitar Music: I am not as enamored with it as I was with their debut EP, but it does have its share of hits on it. Uncanny Valley Forever is quite remarkable.
  18. Enablers – Some Gift: Spoken word post-rock. Sort of an avant-garde Rodan/Slint. Hypnotic, sometimes sinister, sometimes soothing.
  19. The Web of Lies – Nude With A Demon: It’s just good indie rock.
  20. DITZ – The Great Regression: Another great band from the UK. Ditz from Brighton have a hell of a debut on their hands. Pretty heavy.
  21. OFF! – Free LSD: Can’t really say I have ever been a huge fan of OFF! but this new one is across the board solid. I may have to rethink how I feel about this band.
  22. Rider/Horse – Feed ‘Em Salt: Rider/Horse (guys from Spray Paint, Trans Am, Les Say Fav) ride again with a haunting and rhythmic sophomore release.
  23. Thank – Thoughtless Cruelty: Highly recommended for fans of Girl Band. Highly recommended for fans of good noise rock. And they are from Leeds…UK wins again.
  24. The Sheaves – Excess Death Cult Time Somewhere between the distorted genius of Pod-era Ween and the lo-fi era of GBV lurks a band called The Sheaves.
  25. Sad Eyed Beatniks – Claudia’s Ethereal Weaver: Lo-fi charmer.

Fire Note Staff

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