In a year full of so much bullshit, music again wormed its way into life as we all need, which of course makes life easier to navigate. This list of 25 features everything I love about music as a whole. Different genres are included, with everything from sludge metal to pure pop making the list this year. I hope you enjoy it, and please don't forget to Follow us for more content at @thedeathofthemixtape on instagram, facebook and Spotify. Thanks for reading.
BLACKPINK: BORN IN PINK
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: ASPHALT MEADOWS
LAMB OF GOD: OMENS
SPIRIT IN THE ROOM: FLAMINGO
JACK WHITE: FEAR OF THE DAWN
20 SYLVAN ESSO: NO RULES SANDY
On the North Carolina married duo’s fifth album, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn push the electronic elements of their sound to dangerous new territory that pays off much more than it falters. They’ve become a fun, reliable band, and “No Rules Sandy” is no exception. Meath’s voice is slick yet warm and welcoming., and while the electronic beats are minimal and not in your face, the gradual nature of the music and beats present enough energy and movement to warrant a dance party wherever you are. “Echo Party,” the fourth track in the record, is probably my favorite, but if you were already a fan, there’s very little here that you won’t dig and get into it.
19 VIAGRA BOYS: CAVE WORLD
Viagra Boys from Stockholm are something else. I originally caught wind of then on the Coachella webcast this year and I couldn't take my eyes off the performance. Full of unbridled enthusiasm, the five piece band, featuring Sebastian Murphy on vocals, conveys a type of triumphant post punk that we don’t see too often. Murthy’s voice often reminds of a more crazed Nick Cave, which melts my heart in a abstract sort of way. “Cave World,” their third album, reverberates with intensity from the opening moments of “Baby Criminal” all the way to the climax of “Return to Monke,” which ends up being the icing on this crazed cake.
18 EDDIE VEDDER: EARTHLINGS
One of the most surprising albums for me this year was the first solo album from Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. I’m also somewhat ashamed that I enjoyed this more than the last few PJ records. The album itself is centered around all forms of rock. The break neck intensity of “Good and Evil” perfectly contrasts with some of the less aggressive songs like “On My Way,” or the Elton John feature in “Picture.” It’s also comforting to be enjoying an artist this much after so long in the spotlight. It’s just an easy record to enjoy the world with, even if the world is way more intense and scary than anything Vedder could write. For fans of Pearl Jam and rock in general, don’t sleep on “Earthlings.”
17 KING GARBAGE: HEAVY METAL GREASY LOVE
I know these guys from my jazz god friend Jason Moore, who collaborated with the two members of this band to bring an album that’s full of swagger, horns, and smokey vocals. As part of the Ipecac label, King Garbage crafted a 9 song whirlwind of sound, featuring all styles from jazz to indie rock to everything in between. The drumming by Vic Dimotsis is measured and cautious, only elevating when needed. “Heavy Metal Greasy Love” Is the type of record that fits in very well in the world of New Orleans Jazz Fest and surrounding jazz festivals. It’s takes a little to get used to in terms of atmosphere and approach, but on this, the bands debut album, they prove why they were asked to be part of this brilliant avant-garde record label. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
16 FONTAINES DC: SKINTY FA
In 2022, we continued to get a lot of great post punk records that put a new spin on the indelible word of shoegaze and post punk. The Irish lunatics known as Fontaines DC have so far crafted 3 relatively amazing albums. This solid output has made the band a big name in the up and coming world of alternative rock in a subtle yet distinct way. The record, “Skinty Fa” starts with ominous vocals from Grian Chatten and never lets up. I wouldn’t say the record is a slow burn, but the textures and melody exhibited throughout the 44 minute run time.
15 KING GIZZARD: OMNIUM GATHERUM
With their 499th album of 2022 the prog gods known as King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard crafted “Omnium Gatherum” as a 80 minute death defying travel through various rhythms, styles, elevations and lows. On this, maybe they’re most well rounded record to date, the band tackles hip hop in the electric “The Grim Reaper,” jams out to the heavens on “Gaia,” while also bridging the gap between jam bands and prog rock with the masterful “Blame It on the Weather.” All in all, another great experience tsk album from the Melbourne adventurists. Seeing a lot of this album a few weeks ago at Red Rocks also laid dividends in understanding the depth of the music in a love setting. Love live the King Gizzard.
14 KIKAGAKU MAYO: KUMOYO ISLAND
Only in the last year or two have I grown to appreciate the music of Japan's Kikagaku Mayo, who this year released their sixth album “Kumoyo Island,” which is spellbinding in its musicianship. There are individual songs, but the record as a whole feels like one long adventure into a psyche-rock world of beauty. Tracks like “Effe” are casually cool, almost effortless in the way the listener receives the music. And while the music at times feels like a tidal wave of serenity, you never lose sight of the focus of the musicians making this music. This was announced as the band's last album, which sucks, but at least they gave us ten years and multiple records to remember them by.
13 CULT OF LUNA: LONG ROAD
Part post rock, part stoner metal, Sweden's Cult of Luna has been perfecting the sonically sludgy sound in a way that has yet to be matched. The tracks are heavy, with the vocals of Johannes Persson bullying their way to the front of the mix, albeit only when necessary. Clocking in at nearly 70 minutes, “The Long Road '' requires patience through brutal guitar sound and depth, like a cave ready to devour you. It’s easy to get wrapped in the melody and passion, but that comes with listening to a band who’s been perfecting their sound for over two decades.
12 NILUFER YANYA: PAINLESS
When I heard Yanya’s single from this record, a track called “Stabalise,” I knew this record was going to impact me more than her previous. Which isn’t to say the last albums wasn’t good (it very much was), but I found myself more drawn to the lyrics on this record. For fans of heartbreak driven indie-ish rock, Nilufer Yayna elicits a woeful portrait of loneliness, open ended declarations, and a profound sense of self. Seeing her this year during the afternoon at Shaky Knees, underneath gorgeous trees further cemented her as a rising star who so far has only made remarkably impactful music.
11 COMET IS COMING: HYPER DIMENSIONAL EXPANSION BEAM
One of a few dark horses that released an album that immediately ended up on the year end countdown , the third release from the trio known as Comet is Coming delivers a sound filled with classic jazz interlocked with electronic club beats. It delivers in a manner that is both uplifting and surprising. Surprising for how well it works, the whole record, spanning 11 tracks and about 45 minuets, has a little of everything that hardcore music fans will enjoy. It’s also mixed in a way as to let the music breathe in a less rushed, more organic sort of way. At number 11, the exquisite beauty of “Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam.”
10 SUDAN ARCHIVES: NATURAL BROWN PROM
A little over a year ago, Sudan Archives was the opening act at a Tame Impala show I took my bride to. At the time we hadn’t heard of Brittany Denise Parks, aka Sudan Archives. Needless to say the Ohio violinist left an impression on us, and this album was excitedly played after I learned it had been released. Part hip hop, funk, and classically African music, Sudan has created a sound full of complex layers, with the mixing process helping to make the sound of the record more fluid. Parks is phenomenal at her mastery of the violin, and with tracks like “OMG BRITT,” and the infectious “NBPQ (Topless) it’s hard to imagine her staying unknown for much longer.
9 TAYLOR SWIFT: MIDNIGHTS
Recently I spent way too much time trying to get tickets to this woman’s concert, but there’s a reason she’s continually the most popular musician in the world. She makes goddamn great albums, and over the course of ten solo records, her sound has revolved way past where she began. She’s like the Ferris Bueller of music, everyone fucking loves her. “Midnights” is another excellent reason to get into the sentimental, thoughtful quasi pop of Taylor Swift. “Karma” is a stand out track, while “Anti-Hero” struggles with open ended honesty and the thought that you either are a mess or a villain. On tracks like these Swift is brutally honest about her shortcomings, which is refreshing to hear in a world where no one likes to admit they’re anything less than perfect.”
8 WET LEG: WET LEG
When I first heard of this little recording duo Wet leg, I was reminded at how good consciously sexual lyrics and double entendres can be utilized in modern rock. The band's debut record, which is self titled, checks all of those boxes. It’s scandalously written, with a brilliant approach by lead guitarists and vocalists Rhian Teasdale that’s everything you want out of a sexually charged band. It’s an easy record to listen to, the musicianship is fun and energetic, yet it fills the listener with modern day approaches that we can all latch onto. Also, “Chaise Lounge,” the second song on the record, is a masterpiece of word play and precision. Keep an eye on this band, they will be known more and more as time goes, if my prediction is correct.
7 PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS: NIGHT GNOMES
On “Nigh Gnomes,” the band's fifth album, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, current contender for weirdest band name, leader singer Jack McEwen and his band demonstrate why they’re right under Tame Impala and King Gizzard as one of Australia’s leading progressive psychedelic rock bands. The opening track “Terminus, the Creator” is built for an arena caliber light show, while the remaking minutes are spent making genre blurring psyche rock very much in the vein of early prog rock masters. I’ve been into PPC for a few records now, and “Night Gnomes'' is by far my favorite so far. They’re still getting bigger and bigger, and I don’t see that ending with this album, but if other bands mentioned here are your favorites, don’t sleep on this band. Once you get past the unusual name, it should be all glory and enjoyment after.
6 KENDRICK LAMAR: MR. MORALE & THE STEPPERS
At this point in Lamar’s career, he’s not only untouchable lyrically and musically, but sadly he’s still one of the only men in hip hop who offers support and understanding to trans and gay people. It’s a violently sexist genre, with no signs that the other head honchos want anything to change, but when you hear Lamar’s words, especially on a track like “Aunties Diaries,” you hear understanding, welcoming hip hop that bridges the gap between the normally sexist genre. In short, Kendrick’s decision to go more A Tribe Called Quest and less Eminem is a good sign that at least some people in hip hop actually believe in being good people. Another classic from Lamar, “Mr. Morale” shows up at number 6.
5 AUTOMATIC: EXCESS
In May of this year I had never heard of this brilliant Los Angeles trio, but by July it was all I could listen to after seeing them open for Idles. The album, titled “Excess,” it at face value a typical Indie synth pop record, but the maturity and instrumentation make this sophomore album irresistible and captivating. Tracks like “On the Edge” push Ladytron-esque beats with singer- guitarist Glaudini captivating, sexy swirl of a voice. The trio of Izzy Gladudini, the low key off to herself bassist coolness of Halle Saxon and energizing to watch drummer Lola Dompé, who also sings make it easy to absorb the music, as the hallucinatory nature of the instrumental mix reverberates over the loudspeaker. The band has since opened for the massive Tame Impala, so here’s to hoping for many years of casually cool woman led indie rock.
4 SHARON VAN ETTEN: WE’VE BEEN GOING ABOUT THIS ALL WRONG
In short, Sharon continues to amaze with her thoughtful, passionate and transparent lyrics and storytelling. After her last record, I had a difficult time initially getting into this record, but once I understood its narrative theme of loss and hopelessness, I was in love with it. The musicianship is warm with slow building beats that give room to Van Etten's raspy, sultry voice. Her compassion is also evident, as she takes shots at her shortcomings in the eye opening “Mistakes,” while still maintaining the strong image of a woman who has tons to offer the world. Breathed into life and recorded at Ettens home studio, you get that warm vibe permeating through the record that makes it feel even more personal, as if that was possible. Like I said at the start, she never fails to inspire me with her art, and I hope many feel the same way I do.
3 YEAH YEAH YEAHS: COOL IT DOWN
When a band essentially vanishes from recording, at some point you assume two things, if your mind works like mine. One, you assume the band is done. The second thing I assume is that if a new record does surface, the chances it’ll be anything good are minimal. For the NYC trios first album in nearly ten years, both of those notions are way off. “Cool It Down” does exactly that, it delivers a less intense but musically more mature record than we’re used to as fans of the band. “Spitting off the Edge of the Earth” is a brilliant record opener, with guitarist Zinner and drummer Brian Chase creating gorgeous melodies for which Karen O applies simmering, beautifully arranged vocals. At times the listener feels her grasp pulling you into the low key atmosphere of darkness created by the other 2/3 of the band. After a long break, some bands don’t even sound like the same band. This isn’t necessarily true or untrue in the case of the YYY’s, but it feels more akin to being reintroduced to an old friend who has grown and changed slightly in the years since your last encounter. It’s still amazing. Just in a different way.
2 PUP: UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND
Good god, I just can’t quit Pup, the band. On the heels of their excellent album of the year from 2019, Pup, with the fourth record has mastered the art of effective quips, tongue in cheek sarcasm, and to top it all off, heartfelt emotionally charged songs about the pains of being stuck between the super young and super old. The album has a general loose concept around the undoing of this great band, but it still excels in a way they never did before. Tracks like “Robot writes a Love Song” are filled with brilliant double meanings as vocalist- guitarist Stefan Babcock imagines trying to pick up a relationship while coming to terms with his own difficulties in life. In short it’s a punk pop filled record hemorrhaging emotions and darkly veiled moments of clarity. The upbeat songs are perfect for dancing and rocking, but even songs like “Cutting Off the Corners'' showcase just how far the brilliant PUP, compromised of Babcock, bassist Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula as the drummer, Steve Sladkowski on on guitar have come in a relatively short amount of time.
1 THE SMILE: A LIGHT FOR ATTRACTING
Radiohead is maybe the best band of the last 30 years. but it’s still remarkable when you can hear some artists in a way you’ve never gotten to experience before. With The Smile, Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, both of RH for the unaware, as well as drummer Tim Skinner form the foreword thinking Sons Of Kemet, crafted an album hat leans more towards ambient post rock than anything else. The beats are distantly cold, like an alien learning a new world. It’s not an in your face record per se, but the melodies, how the mix is laid out, and the slow methodical nature of the songs help build intensity in a more nuanced. Sonically it’s more reserved at times, but bangers like “You Will Never Work in Television Again” remind you that these old guys can still rock out in glorious manners. More subtle than trippy, The Smile deliver on a debut album something that’s very hard to do- a fully fleshed out sound that makes the listener think they’ve been a band for much longer than the band has actually existed for. The number one album of 2022, The Smile’s “A Light for Attracting Attention.”
Thanks for reading, see you next year.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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