Rosy Overdrive’s Top 100 Albums of 2022 (100-76)

We’re finally here! Welcome to the third annual (and second annual ranked version of) Rosy Overdrive’s Top 100 Albums of the Year. Today, albums 51 through 100 are being posted, and tomorrow (Tuesday, December 6th), the top 50 will be revealed.

2021 was a successful debut year for Rosy Overdrive, and this year was even better. I wrote about 206 albums and EPs (so far, I’m not done yet) this year in Pressing Concerns, and again highlighted over 24 hours of individual songs in the monthly playlists. Considering just how many records I thought were worth writing about, there will be some good albums left off of this list; I’ll include some honorable mentions at the end, and browsing the archive will reveal even more worthwhile releases.

Here is a playlist featuring all of the records from this list that are available on streaming services: on Spotify, on Tidal. As with last year, separate lists for EPs and compilations/reissues will go up over the next month. To read about more music beyond what’s on this list, check out the site directory, and if you’d like to support Rosy Overdrive, you can share this (or another) post, or donate here. Thank you for reading, and, to anyone who has shared Rosy Overdrive with others or even just makes it a regular part of their music life–I’m truly grateful.

See also:
Part Two (75-51)
Part Three (50-26)
Part Four (25-1)
Playlist links (Spotify) (Tidal)

100. Golden Boots – Liquid Ranch

Release date: April 28th
Record label: Pass Without Trace
Genre: Alt-country, lo-fi indie rock, psych-country
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Golden Boots’ core duo of Ryan Eggleston and Dimitri Manos cite both 70s country and 90s lo-fi indie weird pop (Pavement, yes, but also eyebrow-raising names like Bingo Trappers, Strapping Fieldhands, and Tall Dwarfs) as wells from which they draw their sound. Liquid Ranch is apparently the Tucson band’s seventeenth record, and while it’s the first Golden Boots album I’ve heard, I feel like I understand where they’re coming from just based on its contents.  Liquid Ranch is a very accessible record at its core, but it isn’t without its share of odd, scenic-route detours as well. It has hooky alt-country tracks (“Lookout”, “Sedona”) as well as more cosmic moments like “Skylight” and “Chemical Burn”. (Read more)

99. Ace of Spit – Ace of Spit

Release date: July 29th
Record label: Sophomore Lounge
Genre: Garage rock, garage punk, surf rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

St. Louis’ Ace of Spit are runaway-train garage rockers who embrace a proto-punk wildness and maximum amp-cranked distortion on their self-titled debut record. The songs on Ace of Spit are fuzz-drenched, surf-rock-flavored lasers, shooting off hits like the scorching “Message for Ira Meg”, the creeping Cramps-esque opener “Apollo Bay”, and the barreling-forward power pop tune “Lonedell Wildflower” in quick succession—at least, until they uncork the eleven-minute journey of closing track “Kaw-Tikvah”.

98. Martha – Please Don’t Take Me Back

Release date: October 28th
Record label: Dirtnap/Specialist Subject
Genre: Power pop, pop punk, indie punk
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

The fourth record from Durham, England’s power-pop-punk four-piece Martha is probably my second favorite album of theirs, behind 2016’s unbeatable Blisters in the Pit of My Heart. The band lets everyone know that they don’t intend to mellow out as they enter their second decade together with opening track “Beat, Perpetual”, one of their strongest tracks yet bar none, and they match the energy with highlights like “Hope Gets Harder” and “F L A G // B U R N E R” (with features some excellent chorus harmonies). The second half of Please Don’t Take Me Back remains sharp even as it lets the songs stretch out a bit more—the driving “I Didn’t Come Here to Surrender” in particular is a success.

97. Will Sheff – Nothing Special

Release date: October 7th
Record label: ATO
Genre: Folk rock, indie folk
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Like a lot of Okkervil River fans, I’ve struggled a bit with their post-2000s output. This is the attitude with which I went into frontman Will Sheff’s debut solo album (which, considering the last couple of Okkervil River albums have been effectively Sheff solo efforts, wasn’t a distinction that really mattered to me). Nothing Special has really grown on me since its release, however—these songs feel full and welcoming, with tracks like “The Spiral Season” and “Like the Last Time” climbing to the heights of Sheff’s biggest successes, and its several ballads are given plenty of room to breathe musically.

96. Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain

Release date: November 5th
Record label: The Beautiful Music
Genre: Post-punk, jangle pop
Formats: CD, digital

Dot Dash hail from Washington, D.C., and over the past decade or so they’ve been reliably putting out records with a familiar-sounding but welcome and distinct spin on mid-1980s college rock. On their seventh record, Madman in the Rain, the group prove that they know their way around a jangly power pop hook, and the album as a whole contains a lot of melodic and upfront bass work that nails a particular subset of 1980s new wave and post-punk. Although Dot Dash are a guitar pop band first and foremost, there’s some post-punk preoccupation with death and mortality throughout Madman in the Rain—and the trio don’t dampen their pop hooks when tackling these subjects. (Read more)

95. Ylayali – Separation

Release date: September 2nd
Record label: Dear Life
Genre: Lo-fi indie rock, slowcore
Formats: CD, cassette, digital

Separation is Philadelphia singer-songwriter Francis Lyons’ fourth record under the Ylayali name since 2019, and it sounds like the work of somebody who’s developed a distinct sound—dreamy without being “dream pop”, “slowcore” that is only at times slow, “bedroom pop” with a host of other contributions from fellow musicians. Separation evokes the more humble side of 90s indie rock, with bands like Duster and Sparklehorse seeming to be touchstones. Separation moves through ambient pop, fuzz rock, and bass-driven indie pop, and the back half of the record features a few lengthy instrumentals that are meant to (and do) evoke the feel of dreaming. (Read more)

94. Non Plus Temps – Desire Choir

Release date: November 4th
Record label: Post Present Medium
Genre: Post-punk, dub, experimental rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Non Plus Temps is a new Oakland, California duo made up of Andy Human (of Andy Human and the Reptoids) and music writer Sam Lefebvre, and with Desire Choir, they’ve made a potent record of kinetic, dub-influenced post-punk. It’s a solidly hypnotic record, featuring no shortage of captivating basslines, dub-like instrumental injections, and monotone vocals throughout its eleven tracks. Desire Choir features a host of guest instrumentalists and even vocalists beyond the founding duo (like Amber Sermeno, whose talk-singing anchors the groove of opening highlight “Continuous Hinge”, among other tracks).

93. Maneka – Dark Matters

Release date: March 11th
Record label: Skeletal Lightning
Genre: Experimental rock, lo-fi indie rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

Dark Matters is either the second or third album from Maneka, the project of Brooklyn-based Devin McKnight (depending on how one views 2017’s Is You Is), and it’s certainly the most ambitious record I’ve heard yet from him. The album cycles through jazz interludes, lo-fi, slowcore-influenced indie rock, experimental pop, and guitar-rock workouts in a clean half-hour, resulting in several peaks throughout Dark Matter: the chaotic multi-part single “Winner’s Circle”, the mid-tempo middle of “The Glow Up”, and the propulsive closing track “Bluest Star”.

92. Long Neck – Soft Animal

Release date: June 21st
Record label: Plastic Miracles/Specialist Subject
Genre: Indie folk, lo-fi indie rock
Formats: Cassette, digital

The appropriately-titled Soft Animal is the fourth Long Neck album, and it finds Lily Mastrodimos backing away from the rockier elements of 2018’s Will This Do? and 2020’s World’s Strongest Dog to lean on acoustic and folkier material. This side of Long Neck has always been present in their records, and Soft Animal shows that Mastrodimos is no less effective when being a big quieter. Even with its short 23 minutes and stripped-down sound, Soft Animal covers ground from beautiful fingerpicked folk (“Ants”) to piano balladry (“The Headwaters”) to lo-fi synthpop (“558”) to slow-burn, full-band indie rock (the title track).

91. Russel the Leaf – You Blocked the Light for Me

Release date: April 24th
Record label: Records from Russ
Genre: Power pop, indie pop, baroque pop
Formats: Cassette, digital

Russel the Leaf’s Evan Marré trades in sparkling, Beach Boys-inspired pop songs, but despite the musical sunshine, his lyrics can range from bittersweet to downright sad. His second record of 2022, You Blocked the Light for Me, is, as its title suggests, a downer record even by Marré’s standards. It’s still a pop album, to be sure, but it seems like writing about fractured relationships knocked something loose musically as well—it’s a bit more off-the-cuff and frayed than the last couple of Russel the Leaf albums. Marré jumps from the pin-drop acoustic sound of “Flock Up to My Window” to the overly busy noise pop of “New Love”, and I’m not sure how he makes a pop song as pretty as “When I Take Out Both of My Eyes” sound like seething underneath (it probably starts with the title).

90. Chronophage – Chronophage

Release date: June 3rd
Record label: Post Present Medium/Bruit Direct Disques
Genre: Post-punk, college rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

The third record from Austin’s Chronophage is a collaboratively-driven pop album that lets its charms sneak up on you. Chronophage has a looseness to it reflecting the band’s DIY punk background, and several of its songs hit immediately, like the breezy college rock single “Summer to Fall” and retro pop-rockers “Burst the Shell” and “Old City Back Again”. The other side of the band is found in the more intricate, multi-layered compositions like sleepy opener “Love Torn in a Dream”, charming ballad “Spirit Armor”, and sprinting post-punk closing track “Fear Agony”—but it all hangs together seamlessly.

89. Dear Nora – Human Futures

Release date: October 28th
Record label: Orindal
Genre: Indie folk, experimental folk, indie pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Human Futures is the fifth record under the Dear Nora name, and is also, notably, the first album of theirs made in a recording studio. Singer-songwriter Katy Davidson still takes the lead and contributes all lyrics and vocal melodies, but increased contributions from the rest of the band result in an accessible but varied experimental pop record that veers between Dear Nora’s recognizable indie folk and some stranger moments. Tracks as disparate as the bright, minimalist synthpop “Sedona” and the gorgeous rambling folk song “Shadows” both feature excellent melodies and self-harmonies from Davidson, as they pull together a record that covers a lot of ground sonically and geographically. (Read more)

88. 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)

87. Status/Non-Status – Surely Travel

Release date: September 23rd
Record label: You’ve Changed
Genre: Alt-rock, folk rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Adam Sturgeon has had a busy past year and half. 2021 saw his band Status/Non-Status release the 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP, and he put out two full-length albums this year: Sewn Back Together, a collaboration with Daniel Monkman of Zoon as OMBIIGIZI that almost made this list as well, and Surely Travel. The Ontario-based Anishinaabe alt-rocker leads his band through ten inspired songs that range from dreamy and folky (the sleepy “Bineshiinh”, the lightly psychedelic “Mashkiki Sunset”) to swaggering and grunge-y (the band-on-the-road tale of “Mainly Crows”, the stomping opener “Blown Tire”), and the closing title track is a transcendent Canadian rock experience.

86. Dan Friel – Factoryland

Release date: August 19th
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre: Noise pop, experimental pop, electronic
Formats: Cassette, digital

It seems like most musicians earmark their more pop material for their “rock band”, and save the really “out there” stuff for their instrumental, synth-based side projects. Not exactly the case with Dan Friel—he makes loud, catchy pop music with Upper Wilds, sure, but his latest solo record, Factoryland, features plenty of moments that rise to Friel’s high shrill pop music standard, all while staying firmly in the world of electronica. Songs like “Phantom Factory”, “Rust Clouds”, and “The Welder” are all melodic beasts with distinct personalities, to say nothing of the seven-minute, collapsing-in-on-itself “Trash Dunes”.

85. Booter – 10/10

Release date: September 9th
Record label: Midwest Debris
Genre: Power pop, indie pop, twee
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Booter (a Canadian band name if I ever heard one) make rough-around-the-edges, poppy indie rock—one might actually miss how barebones the sound is on their debut record, 10/10, because these thirteen tracks are all sturdy songs led by singer-songwriter Alannah Walker’s full and confident vocals. 10/10 can do automatic, hooky rockers like “In Control” and “Time Warp”, but Booter also offer up some variety, like the bass-led “Know Completely”, or “Seventeen”, in which guitarist Brendon Yarish takes the lead and duets with Walker in the chorus.

84. Snow Coats – If It Wasn’t Me, I Would’ve Called It Funny

Release date: September 9th
Record label: Alcopop!
Genre: Indie pop, pop rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

Snow Coats’ sophomore record, If It Wasn’t Me, I Would’ve Called It Funny, nails a very specific indie guitar pop sound very well—a little bit emo, a little bit jangly, and a hundred percent catchy. Singer/lyricist Anouk van der Kemp’s vocals match the band’s sparkling energy on infectious pop highlights like “Dinosaur” and “For a Moment”, even as, if one really listens to the words of If It Wasn’t Me, I Would’ve Called It Funny, you really start to pick up on the end-of-relationship sadness that permeates the record.

83. Ex-Gold – We Are Good

Release date: March 5th
Record label: Pig Man
Genre: Post-punk, garage rock, garage punk
Formats: Digital

Ex-Gold hail from Knoxville, Tennessee, and they’re a fierce southern garage punk band on their second release and first-full length record, the accurately-titled We Are Good. The record’s eleven songs are all brief but hefty jolts of post-punk energy—the guitars (provided by Chris Rusk) roar and slice with equal measure, the rhythm section (bassist Kelsey Baby and drummer Sam Stratton) doesn’t stop punching, and the vocals (provided by everybody in the band) are delightfully wild in a basement new wave-y way.

82. Joe Kenkel – Naturale

Release date: January 13th
Record label: Earth Libraries
Genre: Folk rock, alt-country
Formats: CD, digital

Rosy Overdrive is a noted fan of Nashville supergroup Styrofoam Winos, and the latest solo record from the trio’s Joe Kenkel is a record that holds up well against his band’s work. Kenkel’s songs are some of the lighter and spacier moments on the most recent Styrofoam Winos record, and Naturale inhabits a similar territory. Kenkel’s acoustic guitar and humble vocals are in a familiar dreamy country/folk style throughout Naturale, but there’s also a drum machine and synths hanging out in the background that reveals of another side of the singer-songwriter, that of an 80s sophisti-pop aficionado.

81. Noah Roth – Breakfast of Champions

Release date: September 16th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Alt-country, indie folk
Formats: Digital

Breakfast of Champions was recorded in several locations over three years, but it still retains a cohesive feeling due to Noah Roth’s consistent writing and presence. It’s a subtle alt-country- and folk-tinged indie rock record that reminds me of Slaughter Beach, Dog (whose Jake Ewald guests on the record), albeit with something of a studio experimentalist streak. Breakfast of Champions’ tracks take too many sonic turns to fall into the “easy listening” side of folk rock even as they remain pop songs, resulting in a compelling listen of a record that’s nevertheless unafraid to be challenging. (Read more)

80. The Bug Club – Green Dreams in F#

Release date: October 14th
Record label: Bingo
Genre: Pop rock, twee, indie pop, pop punk
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

The Bug Club’s Green Dream in F# is a fizzy, excitable pop rock album from front to back, burning through fourteen sharp, electric indie punk-pop tracks in barely a half hour. The Welsh band certainly know how to rock, as early hits like the unstoppable “Only in Love”, the careening “Little Coy Space Boy”, and the triumphant “Love Is a Painting” show, but Green Dream in F# hits just as hard with its mid-tempo numbers—the payoff to “Going Down” more than justifies its four minutes, and the airiness of “Love Letters from Jupiter” is perhaps the most successful of the record’s handful of space songs.

79. Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway – Crooked Tree

Release date: April 1st
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre: Bluegrass, folk
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Molly Tuttle is an acclaimed and seemingly busy banjoist who’s played with the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show, Billy Strings, and Béla Fleck, but her third solo record (and first with backing band Golden Highway) demonstrates Tuttle’s skill as a singer and songwriter as well. Crooked Tree is a fervent bluegrass record, with Tuttle and Golden Highway confidently believing in the power of banjo, fiddle, and acoustic guitar to carry everything from “Dooley’s Farm” (a, uh, modern take on the moonshining outlaw tune) to the dark shadow at the heart of “The River Knows” to the inarguable parable of the title track.

78. The Mountain Goats – Bleed Out

Release date: August 19th
Record label: Merge
Genre: Folk rock, alt-rock, singer-songwriter
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

The best Mountain Goats studio album in at least a decade, Bleed Out finds John Darnielle and his band wandering out of the rewarding but occasionally frustrating “lost in the recording studio” sound of their last couple of albums and into a poppy alt-rock sound that…well, has never really been their “thing” either. Producer Alicia Bognanno guides them into this terrain effortlessly, however—it sounds like an extension of the band’s 2000s 4AD Records output, but fuller-sounding, kind of finally delivering on the promise of a two-guitar, four-piece Mountain Goats.

77. CLASS – Epoca de Los Vaqueros

Release date: October 28th
Record label: Feel It
Genre: Garage rock, power pop, punk rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Epoca de Los Vaqueros is eight tracks and twenty minutes’ worth of exhilarating garage-y punk rock that show off the full range of CLASS, a wide expanse that contains nervy, Devo-core egg punk, rough-and-tumble, glam-inspired power pop, and sneering, dangerously-loitering 70s punk rock. “Box My Own Shadow” and “Left in the Sink” barrel forward with their hooks, “The Way It Goes” rides pent-up rage to a robotic chorus, and the whole thing ends on a note of despair and nihilism with “Unlocking Heaven’s Gate”, their own “Final Solution”. (Read more)

76. Sloan – Steady

Release date: October 21st
Record label: Yep Roc/Murderecords
Genre: Power pop
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

Steady, Sloan’s thirteenth album together, is unsurprisingly quite good—but even considering their track record, the new LP sounds particularly energized and consistent. First track “Magical Thinking” is as catchy as any of their other openers, but it surges forward in a darker, not-as-familiar way. The record still nevertheless offers up plenty of their lightly-psychedelic guitar pop, power chord-infused glam-ish stompers, and baroque moments. Steady feels like a great place for Sloan to be at this stage in their career.

Click here for:

Part Two (75-51)
Part Three (50-26)
Part Four (25-1)

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