Rosy Overdrive’s Top 100 Albums of 2022 (75-51)

Welcome to part two (of four) of Rosy Overdrive’s Top 100 Albums of 2022! For any and all background info, see part one.

See also:
Part One (100-76)
Part Three (50-26)
Part Four (25-1)
Playlist with all albums (Spotify link) (Tidal link)

75. Spacemoth – No Past No Future

Release date: July 22nd
Record label: Wax Nine/Carpark
Genre: Space pop, experimental pop, krautrock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

Spacemoth’s Maryam Qudus has amassed quite the resumé as a producer and engineer, interning at San Francisco’s Women’s Audio Mission and John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone before going on to produce everyone from Thao to Sad13. Her debut studio album as Spacemoth, unsurprisingly, has an excellent and unique sound—No Past No Future is a synth-heavy record that frequently rocks, dealing in hard-hitting programmed drums and Stereolab-esque analog “space pop” electronics but always serving Qudus’ pop songwriting.

74. Freakons – Freakons

Release date: March 25th
Record label: Fluff and Gravy
Genre: Folk, country
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

Freakons is, naturally, a collaboration between Jon Langford and Sally Timms of The Mekons and Freakwater’s Catherine Irwin and Janet Bean (also of Eleventh Dream Day) with several ringers (Jean Cook, Anna Krippenstapel, Jim Elkington) getting in on the action as well. They have been playing together in some form for awhile now, but their self-titled debut record as a group is a must-listen for fans of protest folk music, as the two bands find solidarity in the shared coal-mining backgrounds of their states of origin (England and Kentucky). The American Chestnut Blight, railroad culture, deadly mining disasters, and organized labor all get their moment in the spotlight on Freakons.

73. Weak Signal – WAR&WAR

Release date: March 25th
Record label: Colonel
Genre: Psychedelic rock, garage rock, fuzz rock
Formats: Digital

March’s WAR&WAR follows up Bianca, Weak Signal’s sophomore album (originally released in 2020 and reissued last year), and on their latest, the New York trio of Sasha Vine, Tran, and Mike Bones still have it—”it” being quality guitar-heavy, psych-infused indie rock. There’s a cavernous quality to these tracks and vocal interplay that makes WAR&WAR sound like a fuzzier, edgier Yo La Tengo at times, and there’s also straightforward garage rock stompers like “Poor People” and “Don’t Think About It” that feel loose in a new way for Weak Signal.

72. 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 have been slightly less prolific as This Is Lorelei in 2022 compared to last year (“merely” a full-length record, a couple of EPs, and some one-off singles), but Falls Like Water Falls is perhaps Amos’ biggest statement he’s made under the name yet. The record (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. 

71. Kiwi Jr. – Chopper

Release date: August 12th
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre: Jangle pop, power pop, 90s indie rock, synth rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

Like many a guitar-forward 90s indie rock-inspired group does eventually, Kiwi Jr. have used their third record as their “pivot to synths” moment. It works better for them on Chopper than it has for most bands—instead of weakening and watering down their sound, their take on the genre is of the Cars-esque, garishly-accented new wave variety (probably aided by their producer, Dan Boeckner, no stranger to making forceful-sounding synth rock). The Kiwi Jr. songwriting of Cooler Returns and Football Money takes no hits here—“The Sound of Music” might be the most “Kiwi Jr.- sounding” song ever, and all ten of these songs feel fully realized.

70. Bad Heaven Ltd. – In Our House Now

Release date: January 28th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Lo-fi indie rock, dream pop
Formats: Cassette, digital

Bad Heaven Ltd. is the solo project of Pennsylvania-based John Galm, and In Our House Now is his third album under the name since 2016. Galm is probably most famous for his cult emo group Snowing, but In Our House Now falls squarely into the category of “hazy, downcast indie rock” and sounds more like Hovvdy, Sparklehorse, and Grandaddy than anything else. Like the best records in this genre of music, Bad Heaven Ltd. avoids the common pratfalls of grayness and facelessness with memorable melodies and inspired instrumental choices from the get-go. Galm’s tender voice is a highlight throughout In Our House Now—it’s striking despite sounding humble and breathy, and is an essential part of these songs. (Read more)

69. EggS – A Glitter Year

Release date: November 4th
Record label: Prefect/Howlin Banana/Safe in the Rain
Genre: Jangle pop, indie pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Those of us who recall 1980s college rock fondly should do themselves a favor and check out A Glitter Year, the debut full-length record from Paris’ EggS. I read a Game Theory comparison for this band which intrigued me—I don’t really hear it, but the stuff it does actually remind me of (a louder Miracle Legion, Eleventh Dream Day with a saxophone) is all in the same ballpark and is bound to appeal to a similar audience (i.e., Rosy Overdrive readers). A Glitter Year is full of anthemic, loud indie guitar pop songs with just the right amount of vocal interplay.

68. Delivery – Forever Giving Handshakes

Release date: November 11th
Record label: Feel It/Spoilsport/Anti Fade
Genre: Garage rock, garage punk
Formats: Vinyl, cassette, digita

The debut record from Melbourne, Australia’s Delivery is a garage rock tour de force, sounding sharp and well-honed with a live-in-studio feel that reflects the five-piece band’s heavy gigging that predated its recording. Forever Giving Handshakes demonstrates impressive range as well—it contains synths without it falling cleanly under “synthpunk” and offers up power pop and post-punk moments without either tipping the scales. It all adds up to a full-on forty-minute record with little-to-no fat on it, which is particularly impressive in a genre known for its brevity and brief spurts. (Read more)

67. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Toast

Release date: July 8th
Record label: Reprise
Genre: Country rock, folk rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

I suppose that Toast should go on the album proper list instead of the reissue/compilation one, considering as it was never issued in the first place and it isn’t a compilation. This “lost” Neil Young & Crazy Horse album was recorded and shelved in the early 2000s, with most of its songs eventually ending up on the not-very-good Are You Passionate?. Toast goes to show that Young was, in fact, on to something with these tracks after all, with the delicate opener “Quit”, blaring rocker “Standing in the Light of Love”, and the ten-minute, ascendant “Gateway of Love” all standing as 21st-century Neil highlights.

66. Big Nothing – Dog Hours

Release date: February 18th
Record label: Lame-O
Genre: 90s alt-rock, punk rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

The members of Philadelphia’s Big Nothing have put their time in with various bands for a few years now; that is to say, they’ve earned their “indie punk band goes mellow alt-rock” moment. The ten tracks of Dog Hours evoke a very specific period of beginning-of-the-90s “college rock”—bands like late-period Replacements/early Paul Westerberg’s solo material, The Lemonheads, and Buffalo Tom. There’s a weariness to Dog Hours, but it doesn’t sacrifice hooks or pop songwriting either—it makes messiness and uncertainty sound simple and breezy. (Read more)

65. Kids on a Crime Spree – Fall in Love Not in Line

Release date: January 21st
Record label: Slumberland
Genre: Noise pop, indie pop
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

Bay Area noise pop trio Kids on a Crime Spree have been kicking around for a decade or so, but it took until 2022 for a full-length record of theirs to emerge, and Fall in Love Not in Line doesn’t disappoint. Plenty of fuzzy, reverb-y pop songs that reflect the Bay Area trio’s “singles band” past abound, including the opening one-two punch of “Karl Hardel Building” and the brisk “When Can I See You Again?”, although Mario Hernandez and crew also find time in Fall in Love Not in Line’s 25-minute runtime to expand their sound a little bit while still staying at the top of their loud indie pop game. (Read more)

64. Dazy – OUTOFBODY

Release date: October 28th
Record label: Lame-O/Convulse
Genre: Power pop, fuzz rock
Formats: Vinyl, cassette, digital

James Goodson’s Dazy exploded onto the scene last year with the contents of the 24-song MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD compilation, but OUTOFBODY is the one-man-power-pop band’s first attempt to present their sound in a dozen-track, one-statement format. Dazy’s debut record offers up big, hooky fuzz rock from the get-go (the opening trio of songs is as good a pop run as anything else from this year), and it also makes the requisite “probing a bit beyond their one (admittedly very good) trick” moves with the quiet “Inside Voice”, the melancholic “Motionless Parade”, and the multi-layered closing track “Gone”, among others. (Read more)

63. Options – Swimming Feeling

Release date: July 1st
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Slowcore, emo-indie-rock
Formats: Cassette, digital

The eighth album by Chicago’s Seth Engel under the Options moniker falls a bit closer to the chilly, serious indie rock of 2020’s Wind’s Gonna Blow and Window’s Open and further from the playful bedroom pop of 2021’s On the Draw, but there’s elements of that one here too, as well as songs that don’t fit neatly into either of those two camps. Swimming Feeling has a downcast but punchy alt-rock sound to it, with songs like “Toast” and “The Bend” chopping through solid Engel vocal melodies. Like most Options records, Swimming Feeling is a subtle one, but it reveals its distinguishing personality traits over time. (Read more)

62. Expert Timing – Stargazing

Release date: September 23rd
Record label: Count Your Lucky Stars
Genre: Power pop, emo, pop punk
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Orlando, Florida’s Expert Timing make a version of self-described “bubble-grunge power pop” that’s emotional but catchy in a way that reminds me of 90s indie punk bands like Superchunk and Heatmiser. Stargazing is the group’s second album and first as a four-piece, and the group take advantage of the extra pair of hands to rocket through eleven sharp pop songs. Expert Timing remains led by the husband and wife duo of Jeff and Katrina Snyder, both of whom trade off on lead vocals and provide their share of highlights on Stargazing. (Read more)

61. 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”).

60. Joan Kelsey – Standing Out on the Grass

Release date: November 11th
Record label: Dear Life
Genre: Indie folk
Formats: CD, cassette, digital

Seattle singer-songwriter Joan Kelsey’s newest album is an extraordinarily accessible and listenable indie folk record, carried heavily by their comforting, melodic vocals over top of humble-sounding but deftly constructed instrumentals. Standing Out on the Grass is openly a record about grief, written in the aftermath of Kelsey losing a loved one to suicide, the signs of which are present throughout the album—songs like opening track “Alone” are as pleasant of a listen as they are heavy lyrically and emotionally. Kelsey is the unambiguous center of the album, their voice always being complimented by the various instrumental flourishes rather than being drowned out. (Read more)

59. 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, which also could’ve made this list). 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”.

58. 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 band 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.

57. 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 here they’re tempered with a distance and from-a-remove analysis that fits well with the rest of the record’s pensive atmosphere.

56. The Tisburys – Exile on Main Street

Release date: September 16th
Record label: Sacks of Phones
Genre: Power pop
Formats: CD, digital

The third record from Philadelphia’s The Tisburys is an expansive album with a host of discernible influences that remains fresh-sounding. Containing shades of power pop, jangle pop, 90s radio-pop-rock, the heartland rock that seems to populate their home city, and Bruce Springsteen, Exile on Main Street (yes, they really called it that) provides an exciting backdrop for singer-songwriter Tyler Asay’s compelling lyrics. It’s an incredibly consistent record, with some of the less-showy, more-likely-to-be-overlooked songs popping out on repeat listens against the bigger, saxophone-aided “hits”. (Read more)

55. 40 Watt Sun – Perfect Light

Release date: January 21th
Record label: Cappio/Svart
Genre: Slowcore
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

I was partially drawn to 40 Watt Sun’s Perfect Light because the album artwork and group name reminded me of Mark Eitzel’s 60 Watt Silver Lining, and, well—the record doesn’t disappoint on this front. Patrick Walker, the mind behind 40 Watt Sun, apparently has a doom metal past, but Perfect Light is all gorgeously ornate, heartbreaking slowcore. Most of the record’s eight songs stretch beyond eight minutes long, with Walker’s strong but vulnerable vocals finding and holding on to striking melodies over top of ebbing and flowing piano and guitar.

54. Guided by Voices – Tremblers and Goggles by Rank

Release date: July 1st
Record label: GBV, Inc.
Genre: 90s indie rock, post-punk
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Tremblers and Goggles by Rank is the fourteenth Guided by Voices album since Robert Pollard re-revived the name in 2016, and it’s the third in a row to point in the direction of more focused, longer, and denser songs. Tremblers only has ten tracks (a GBV first), meaning several of them stretch into levels rarely seen on their records. The album contains plenty of proggy buildups and detours (closing track “Who Wants to Go Hunting?” is a six-minute iceberg), although as the opening two tracks show, Robert Pollard and crew can still be quite catchy in this mode.

53. The High Water Marks – Proclaimer of Things

Release date: February 4th
Record label: Minty Fresh
Genre: Power pop, shoegaze, noise pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Proclaimer of Things came out less than a year and a half after late 2020’s Ecstasy Rhymes, but if The High Water Marks are trying to make up the thirteen year gap between that record and the one before it, then that’s fine with me. The Oslo and Kentucky band’s latest record is a spirited noise pop album, burying melodies in the lightly psychedelic fuzz of tracks like “We Are Going to Kentucky” and the title track. The High Water Marks’ two bandleaders, Hilarie Sidney and Per Ole Bratset, take turns delivering highlights in songs like “Jenny” and “The Best Day”. These original Elephant Six folks are still at it, and still have a lot left in them.

52. 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 of two 2022 records 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)

51. Tin-Ear Cadastral Maps

Release date: September 9th
Record label: Home Late/Gentle Reminder
Genre: Noise pop, indie punk, emo, twee
Formats: Cassette, digital

One of the more intriguing under-the-radar bands that Rosy Overdrive discovered this year, Tin-Ear is from Prince Edward Island (which is a very cool fact in its own right), and their debut record Cadastral Maps is a roaring, fuzzy emo record that could at various spots be called “math rock” and “twee”, not to mention the fact that it contains a nine-minute song at the end of the record. Tin-Ear’s pop songs are odd and unbalanced but still catchy—”Tin Life” gallops in a runaway manner, and “Fling Straw Man” opens up Cadastral Maps by sticking gems in its start-stop structure.

Click here for:
Part One (100-76)
Part Three (50-26)
Part Four (25-1)

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