Rosy Overdrive’s Top 40 Albums of 2022 So Far (Part 2 of 2)

If you’re only just now joining us: this is part two of my list of my favorite forty albums of 2022 thus far, presented alphabetically. Thanks for reading!

View part one of the list here.

Here are links to stream a playlist of these selections via Spotify and Tidal (Bandcamp links are provided for all records that have one below).

Mister Goblin – Bunny

Release date: April 22nd
Record label: Exploding in Sound
Genre: Post-hardcore, alt-rock, indie folk
Formats: Vinyl, digital

The third record from the Maryland-originating, Indiana-based Mister Goblin is the first to feature a full-on backing band–Sam Goblin is joined by bassist Aaron O’Neill and Options’ Seth Engel on drums. I don’t know if Bunny is the best Mister Goblin album yet, but it’s certainly the most full-throated-sounding one of them. The band go for it in the Brainiac post-hardcore opening track “Military Discount” and turn in invigorated versions of the Mister Goblin/Two Inch Astronaut sound in “Good Son/Bad Seed” and “Holiday World”, and (just as importantly) the trio still find room for Sam Goblin’s songwriting to breathe in the largely-acoustic final three songs on the record. (Read more)

My Idea – CRY MFER

Release date: April 22nd
Record label: Hardly Art
Genre: Indie pop
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

The debut full-length record from My Idea, the duo of Lily Konigsberg (Palberta, a solo career) and Nate Amos (Water from Your Eyes, This Is Lorelei) is predictably great, predictably full of intriguing and rewarding pop songs, and somewhat surprisingly dark underneath its surface. Konigsberg and Amos are both mainstays of Rosy Overdrive (this is not the only album featuring at least one of them that appears on this list), but CRY MFER stands out among their respective discographies with its autobiographical relationship fracturing at the record’s center. This doesn’t stop songs like “I Should Have Never Generated You”, “Yr a Blur”, and the title track from being some of the best pop moments in either of their music careers, however.

Oblivz – Managers

Release date: May 23rd
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Synthpop, post-punk
Formats: Digital

After over a decade of marking post-punk/power pop-inspired indie rock as half of Fox Japan, the duo of Charlie Wilmoth and Andrew Slater have formally forged something different with Oblivz. The group’s debut EP was 2021’s Uplifts, but its follow-up Managers sounds like a full-throated commitment, the debut of Oblivz as something more than a “Fox Japan side project”. The songs sound fuller and denser, with Slater and Wilmoth finding a New Order-ish medium between guitar rock and electronic music. The black humor and undercurrents of corporate unrest and horror that marked Uplifts and Fox Japan are both present in Managers, particularly in the grim execution bureaucracy of “Out of Time” and the manic “Dr. Y”. (Read more)

Oceanator – Nothing’s Ever Fine

Release date: April 8th
Record label: Polyvinyl/Disposable America/Plastic Miracles
Genre: Indie punk, alt-rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

Elise Okusami’s follow-up as Oceanator to 2020’s Things I Never Said (one of my favorite albums of that year) delivers another collection of deep (in multiple ways) but frequently accessible songs, even as it forges ahead a bit in terms of advancing Okusami’s sound. Nothing’s Ever Fine doesn’t exactly hold the listener’s hand, giving the cold shoulder initially with thorny opening duo “Morning” and “Nightmare Machine”, but “The Last Summer” and “Beach Days (Alive Again)” eventually reveal Okusami’s urgent, frantic version of upbeat and catchy indie rock.

OMBIIGIZI – Sewn Back Together

Release date: February 10th
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre: Indie rock, “Moccasin-gaze”
Formats: Vinyl, digital

OMBIIGIZI is a collaboration between Adam Sturgeon of Status / Non Status and Daniel Monkman of Zoon, two Anishnabee artists who already sound in tune to one another on their debut record as a duo, Sewn Back Together.  The album covers a lot of ground, from psychedelia to post-rock to dream pop and shoegaze, although as sonically interesting as Sewn Back Together is, the record still feels lyrics-forward—or, at least, message-forward.  Some of the songs (“Ookwemin”, “Yaweh”) repeat a line or two hypnotically to drive things home, and some of the record’s wordier tracks (“Residential Military”, “Birch Bark Paper Trails”) necessitate (and are granted) breaks in the clouds. (Read more)

Oso Oso – Sore Thumb

Release date: March 18th
Record label: Triple Crown
Genre: Pop punk, emo, power pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Oso Oso’s latest release, Sore Thumb, is apparently comprised of what were supposed to be demos recorded together by Oso Oso bandleader Jade Lilitri and his frequent collaborator and cousin Tavish Maloney, and then left basically untouched after Maloney’s sudden death last year. The record sounds awesome (even without a “for demos” caveat), and as a collection of songs Sore Thumb approaches the exhilarating consistency of 2017’s The Yunahon Mixtape. From the absolutely stunning opening track “Computer Exploder” to less aggressive but equally potent album songs (“Describe You”, “Father Tracy”) to new weird places (the hypnotic “Pensacola”), it’s a complete triumph.

Patches – Tales We Heard from the Fields

Release date: February 25th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Post-punk, jangle pop
Formats: Digital

Patches are a new Austin-based trio comprised of Evan Seurkamp (of The Laughing Chimes), RKC, and Aaron Griffin. Their debut release is the full-length Tales We Heard from the Fields, a generous 14-song collection that takes cues from all over the map of the past 40 years of alternative rock music. Several hallmarks of post-punk characterize songs like “Plastic and Gold” and “Revisitation”, and there’s also clear influence from classic guitar pop in the sunny “Parallel Mind” and the triumphant “Rosaley”. Plodding, expressive bass guitar tempers some of Tales We Heard from the Fields’ brighter moments, and hooks still mark the moodier ones. (Read more)

Pedro the Lion – Havasu

Release date: January 20th
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre: Indie rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

The list of singer-songwriters who I will allow to transport me back in time to middle school is very short indeed. If David Bazan wasn’t on it before Havasu, he’s probably somewhere near the top of it now. His latest record with Pedro the Lion sketches the titular Arizona military town in which he lived for a small but pivotal time in his youth. Like 2019’s Phoenix, Pedro mostly sticks to an austere rock band sound to call up the desert, but the music (played mostly by Bazan himself) is inspired and Bazan’s narration is able to take the listener both to the exact moment these old memories happened and to look at them with some remove.

Romero – Turn It On!

Release date: April 8th
Record label: Feel It/Cool Death
Genre: Power pop, garage rock, punk rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

The debut album from Melbourne, Australia’s Romero is a non-stop blast of classic punk rock-infused power pop that rips through eleven sturdy songs gleefully and deftly. Most of Turn It On! has a big, go-for-it kind of energy that evokes the 1970s as much as any of the deliberate “retro” flourishes in their music do—it reminds me of Sheer Mag’s starting points of influence, as well as the poppier moments of Screaming Females. Turn It On! demands to be played loud, and lead singer Alanna Oliver is more often than not belting out her lyrics—these are professionally-done pop songs that don’t let their foot off the gas for a second. (Read more)

Russel the Leaf – My Street

Release date: January 22nd
Record label: Records from Russ
Genre: Power pop, indie pop
Formats: Cassette, digital

Even though My Street commits towards more of a “rock band” sound, Russel the Leaf’s first record of 2022 (out of two, so far) contains plenty of the Brian Wilson-esque studio pop that marked last year’s Then You’re Gunna Wanna. Album opener “Listen to Me” and the violin-aided “Little Italy, Again” are both piano-led baroque pop as clear-eyed as ever, although Russel the Leaf’s Evan Marré also pulls out bouncy acoustic, almost folk-pop songs like the exquisite title track or the incredibly catchy “Catch the Spell”. The ironic grin of highlight “Oh, No” is the best example of Marré’s lyrical gift of creating catchy nosedive scenarios. (Read more)

Sadurn – Radiator

Release date: May 6th
Record label: Run for Cover
Genre: Alt-country, indie folk
Formats: Vinyl, cassette, digital

Philadelphia’s Sadurn make a very intriguing and attention-grabbing version of alt-country—it’s sincerely devoted to the “country” aspect of the genre, but they still sound quite accessible and built to emphasize frontperson Genevieve DeGroot’s songwriting. Sadurn started as DeGroot’s solo project, but the full band that they’ve assembled for their debut record is an asset throughout Radiator, and it’s rarely guilty of overplaying. For every shuffling roots-rock anthem like opening track “Snake”, there’s something like the unflinching relationship analysis of “Icepick”, in which drum machines and synths are DeGroot’s main accompaniment. (Read more)

SAVAK – Human Error / Human Delight

Release date: April 15th
Record label: Peculiar Works
Genre: Post-punk, garage rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

SAVAK’s fifth record, Human Error / Human Delight, sounds like the work of a band that’s automatically in tune with each other—I imagine that’s due to a combination of the members’ decades of experience in bands like Obits, Edsel, and Holy Fuck, their ever-growing repertoire together, and a shared love of the less exploited (and subsequently more interesting) sides of punk and post-punk music. Present-day SAVAK is less about imitation and more the result of years of honing the friendlier moments of Wire, Sonic Youth, and Mission of Burma into something new and distinct. Human Error / Human Delight comes off as SAVAK not only being guided by “making the music they want to make”, but by “making what they’d want to listen to” as well, with an accessible but meaty collection of songs resulting. (Read more)

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – Nightroamer

Release date: February 18th
Record label: Abeyance/Thirty Tigers
Genre: Alt-country, country rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers broke through in 2018 with the excellent Years, and after some label troubles and pandemic-related delays, Nightroamer picks up where the group left off four years ago. A lot of Nightroamer finds the North Carolina-based band allowing Shook’s songwriting to stretch out just a little more than in the past, but there’s no mistaking the record for anything less than the work of more-than-capable country rockers. It’s not exactly an uplifting record, but Nightroamer can be a comfort both in soundtracking darker moments (“It Doesn’t Change Anything”, “Stranger”) and in delivering genuine surprises (“I Got This”).

Stomatopod – Competing with Hindsight

Release date: January 29th
Record label: Pirate Alley
Genre: Punk rock, alt-rock, garage rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Chicago trio Stomatopod fall under the umbrella of “Steve Albini-at-Electrical Audio-recorded 90s-inspired indie rock”, but the trio pull from just about every decade in rock music history throughout Competing with Hindsight. All six of the record’s songs have a grunge-y/Wipers dark undercurrent, John Huston’s clean everyman vocals are very 90s Matador indie rock, and the ever-present earnest guitar rave-ups that characterize the record catch the spirit of garage and hard rock, even if they’re not quite as sloppy as the former nor showy as the latter. Competing with Hindsight is consistent to the point where it’s hard to point to specific songs to highlight—it’s all just one great jam. (Read more)

Superchunk – Wild Loneliness

Release date: February 25th
Record label: Merge
Genre: Power pop, indie rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

Wild Loneliness is, unsurprisingly, a good Superchunk album (I don’t think they make any other kind). Its mid-tempo, Portastatic-y surface make it a bit less immediate than 2018’s What a Time to Be Alive, but I think this one will have even more long-term staying power. Its ten tracks take me back to Here’s to Shutting Up and (especially) Come Pick Me Up, and Mac McCaughan’s lyrics keep just enough of the political-mindedness of What a Time to Be Alive, but tempers this focus with a distance and from-a-remove analysis that fits well with the rest of the record’s pensive atmosphere.

This Is Lorelei – Falls Like Water Falls

Release date: February 7th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Indie pop, indie folk
Formats: Digital

Nate Amos may not be churning out music as This Is Lorelei at the ridiculous pace he was setting in the middle of last year, but his first release under the moniker in 2022 more than compensates for that. Falls Like Water Falls (which Amos apparently found time to make in between full-lengths from the two bands he’s also in, Water from Your Eyes and My Idea) is a mix of weird airy minimalism (“Woof!”), Elliott Smith indie-folk (“He Was Leaving”), and sharp pop songs (“He Loves Me”) that feels like fully-realized in spite of the jumping around. 

Jeff Tobias – Recurring Dream

Release date: January 7th
Record label: Strategy of Tension
Genre: Experimental pop, post-punk, synthpop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

The debut “pop” record from New York multi-instrumentalist Jeff Tobias is something new for the Sunwatchers/Modern Nature saxophonist. Recurring Dream is an adventurous album—Tobias alone is credited with playing fourteen different instruments on the record—but it’s also a highly cohesive one. Tobias’ fervent yet intimate vocals help to ground Recurring Dream when it’s jumping from, say, the urgent chaos of opening track “Our Very Recent Past” to the minimalist funk rhythms of “We’re Here to Help”. Tobias has a lot to say on Recurring Dream, but this doesn’t get in the way of the “pop” side of things either—pretty much every song on the record has a strong hook, and it ends with “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror”, a shimmering piece of synthpop propulsion that feels like it could go on forever. (Read more)

Vundabar – Devil for the Fire

Release date: April 15th
Record label: Gawk
Genre: Post-punk, garage rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

I never think of Vundabar as one of my favorite bands or anything, but the Boston group deserve commendation for their recent string of solid post-punk-revival-indebted records delivered like clockwork every other year. The follow-up to 2020’s Either Light (which made my year-end list) finds Brandon Hagen, Zack Abramo, and Drew McDonald probing some surprisingly dark and atmospheric territory, but there’s plenty of classic Vundabar nervy pop music on Devil for the Fire, too. The opening duo of “Aphasia” and “Ringing Bell” starts the record off on a subtle note, but by the time “The Gloam” and “Nosferatu” roll around midway through the record, Vundabar are letting “loose” in the coiled way they do.

Young Guv – GUV III

Release date: March 11th
Record label: Run for Cover
Genre: Power pop, jangle pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

I greatly enjoyed GUV I and GUV II, the twin 2019 releases from Young Guv, the power pop project of former Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook. I’m happy to report that GUV III is solid as well (as is its follow-up, GUV IV, but you’ll have to wait for more on that one). Even for a record made by someone as clearly inspired by pop music as Cook, GUV III is wildly packed with could’ve-been hit singles. Every time I listen to GUV III, a different song sticks out—sometimes it’s the soaring chorus of “Only Wanna See U Tonight”, the melodic guitar washing-over of “Lo Lo Lonely”, or the zippy “Same Old Fool”.

Zinskē – Murder Mart

Release date: February 14th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: 90s indie rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Everything’s tight and in its right place on Murder Mart, the debut album from Philadelphia’s Zinskē. It’s a sleek, well-put-together record that reminds me both of austere, controlled post-punk and mid-tempo 90s alt-rock. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Lipczynski’s low, dry, and stoic vocals stick out throughout the record, as do Emily Cahill’s prominent and frequently melodic basslines. There’s a “sharp dullness” to Murder Mart—the songs might seem opaque at first, but there’s too much going on underneath the surface to ignore. Lipczynski and the band perform this balancing act of being a subtle band that yet always sounds animated by something—even in the lyrics (hell, whole songs) on Murder Mart that I can’t quite parse. (Read more)

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