Rosy Overdrive’s Top 100 Albums of 2022 (50-26)

Hello! Welcome back (or just welcome) to Rosy Overdrive’s Top 100 Albums of 2022! Today reveals the top 50 albums on the list. Yesterday unveiled numbers 100 through 51, so be sure to check those out as well if you haven’t yet.

See also:
Part One (100-76)
Part Two (75-51)
Part Four (25-1)
Playlist with all albums (Spotify link) (Tidal link)

50. Scarves – Delicate Creatures

Release date: August 26th
Record label: Good Eye
Genre: 90s indie rock, indie pop
Formats: Vinyl, digital

The fourth-full length record from Seattle’s Scarves points toward rainy, sprawling Pacific Northwest indie rock while retaining an indie pop simplicity as well. Guitarist/singer Niko Stathakopoulos’s high, comforting vocals evoke both Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch and John K. Samson of The Weakerthans on Delicate Creatures, and his songwriting veers between the found poetry that’s a hallmark of the latter and twee-indebted straightforwardness in which the former has dabbled. As tender as Delicate Creatures can sound, Scarves also probe the darker and deeper side of animal nature to striking effect. (Read more)

49. Blanche Blanche Blanche – Fiscal, Remote, Distilled

Release date: February 14th
Record label: La Loi
Genre: Jazz-pop
Formats: Cassette, digital

Blanche Blanche Blanche is the duo of singer Sarah Smith and multi-instrumentalist Zach Phillips (also of Fievel Is Glauque and a bunch of other bands). The two have made a lot of music together; so far, I’ve only heard their latest record, 2022’s Fiscal, Remote, Distilled, but it rules. It’s a shiny, original record of jazzy pop marked by Smith’s clear vocals that are sung-spoken but still quite melodic and by Phillips’ arsenal of jazz and rock band instruments that can both overwhelm and draw back to fit the songs. Fiscal, Remote, Distilled is smart, but comes off straightforward—songs like “That’s Siberia”, “Overdry Sensation”, and “Only Yesterday” have been bouncing around my head since I heard them initially.

48. The John-Pauls – Bon Mots

Release date: November 18th
Record label: Aagoo
Genre: 90s indie rock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

It feels wrong to call The John-Pauls’ second album “stripped down”, given that it’s made with three guitar players and a keyboardist, but the Austin five-piece band has a straightforward, no-frills sound that compliments Bon Mots‘ ten strong 1990s-inspired indie rock tunes. The record bounces back and forth in terms of formality, from the regal “Didn’t I” to the exuberant “Same Dweller, Different Cave”, but Bon Mots is consistent in its offering of economic pop hooks. There’s precious little on Bon Mots that feels unearned or superfluous in any way. (Read more)

47. The Paranoid Style – For Executive Meeting

Release date: August 12th
Record label: Bar None
Genre: Country rock, folk rock, garage rock, singer-songwriter
Formats: Vinyl, digital

The latest record from Washington, D.C. quintet The Paranoid Style is a particularly potent combination of long, unspooling lyricism, energetic garage rock, and rootsier influences. Lead singer Elizabeth Nelson is a singular songwriter and a conversational, compelling vocalist throughout For Executive Meeting—these songs remind me of the likes of John K. Samson, Christine Fellows, and Franklin Bruno, but with a full-band kick to them (aided in part by Rosy Overdrive favorite William Matheny on keyboards) that ensures that the album, is, above anything else, an incredibly fun listen.

46. 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 remote-collaboration 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)

45. Oneida – Success

Release date: August 19th
Record label: Joyful Noise
Genre: Garage rock, psychedelic rock, krautrock
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

Brooklyn’s Oneida has amassed a heady, intimidating discography of colossal, unpredictable masses of heavy psych, kraut, and experimental rock music over their twenty-five years as a band, but Success invites the listener to throw out one’s per-conceived ideas of what Oneida should sound like and just enjoy some roaring garage rock. While bursts of noise, feedback, and some long jams still populate Success, they sit alongside plainly-presented, three- (or even two-) chord euphoric rockers—declaring that the Oneida way is, in fact, consistent with rock and roll. (Read more)

44. Camp Trash – The Long Way, the Slow Way

Release date: July 1st
Record label: Count Your Lucky Stars
Genre: Power pop, emo, pop punk
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

The first Camp Trash full-length record echoes and expands on the promise that their 2021 debut EP, Downtiming, showed. The sound that’s most recognizably Camp Trash (the end-of-the-20th-century pop rock that pulls from both the 90s underground and 00s pop culture) is here on tracks like “Weird Florida”, “Let It Ride”, and “Lake Erie Boys”, but they also find space in The Long Way, The Slow Way‘s dozen tracks for LVL UP-evoking fuzz-drone (“Another Harsh Toyotathon”) and power ballads (“Poured Out”). It’s a stubbornly timeless-sounding record for evoking such a specific era of guitar music. (Read more)

43. Near Beer – Near Beer

Release date: July 15th
Record label: Double Helix
Genre: Punk rock, alt-rock, power pop, college rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Near Beer’s self-titled debut record is high-octane pop and punk that doesn’t sound like most “pop punk”—think something like a snottier Hüsker Dü, or even Hot Snakes trying to make power pop. They’ve also got a heartland sincerity to them (belying their hometown of Los Angeles)—a good portion of Near Beer has shout-along choruses, and the trio (particularly vocalist Joey Siara, who always sounds all-in on these songs) play like they want you to notice, get sucked in, and take part in the communal nature of music.

42. Office Culture – Big Time Things

Release date: September 30th
Record label: Northern Spy
Genre: Sophisti-pop, jazz rock, indie pop
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

Over Office Culture’s first couple of records, the Brooklyn four-piece band have cultivated a distinctive sound that pulls from 80s sophisti-pop and jazz fusion, and their third full-length album is the sound of the Winston Cook-Wilson-led group getting comfortable with stretching this sound and stripping it down to its basic elements (frequently little more than melodic bass and keyboard). Cook-Wilson’s keyboard tones give Big Time Things an inviting and warm feeling, and Office Culture continuously feel like they’re locked into a groove throughout the record. (Read more)

41. Hellrazor – Heaven’s Gate

Release date: August 2nd
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Fuzz rock, grunge, punk rock
Formats: Digital

Hellrazor’s Heaven’s Gate is blatantly indebted to classic alternative rock (you know, the underground version of it), but, as the album’s nine songs helpfully demonstrate, there’s a wide range of music within this field for Hellrazor to explore. Different songs on the trio’s record evoke everything from Nirvana’s intense pop music to Soundgarden riff rock to acid-fried Butthole Surfers punk, all shot through with a Dinosaur Jr.-esque fuzzy noise pop recording style. The group (whose core duo of Michael Falcone and Kate Meizner also play in Jobber) cover plenty of ground in a mere 26 minutes. (Read more)

40. Frank Meadows – Dead Weight

Release date: July 1st
Record label: Ruination
Genre: Folk, alt-country
Formats: CD, cassette, digital

Frank Meadows’ fingerprints are all over Rosy Overdrive as one of the three co-founders of Dear Life Records (MJ Lenderman, Wendy Eisenberg, Trevor Nikrant), but as Dead Weight demonstrates, he’s no slouch when it comes to his own music as well. Meadows has probed some experimental climes in his prolific solo career, but the latest from the New York-via-North Carolina artist is a compelling piano-heavy folk-country record that radiates accessibility. Meadows’ lightly-accented vocals confidently hold the center of Dead Weight, over top of instrumentals that are notably layered but never feel like “too much”.

39. 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 Lorelei has an album on this list, and both Konigsberg as a solo artist and Palberta made last year’s), 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.

38. 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)

37. 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.

36. SAVAK – Human Error / Human Delight

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

The members of Brooklyn’s SAVAK share a wealth of experience playing in several other notable bands, as well as a love for the less exploited (and subsequently more interesting) sides of punk and post-punk music. The SAVAK of their fifth record, Human Error / Human Delight, is the result of years of honing the friendlier sides of Wire, Sonic Youth, and Mission of Burma into something new and distinct, and seemingly guided by the principles of not only “making the music they want to make”, but “making what they’d want to listen to” as well. (Read more)

35. Motherhood – Winded

Release date: June 24th
Record label: Forward Music Group
Genre: Post-punk, art punk
Formats: Vinyl, CD, cassette, digital

An “avant-punk” trio hailing from the rather unlikely location of New Brunswick, Fredericton’s Motherhood have been marching to the beat of their own drum for nearly a decade now. Their latest record, Winded, has a barebones, almost live-in-studio feel, with the core of guitarist/vocalist Brydon Crain, bassist/vocalist Penelope Stevens, and drummer Adam Sipkema tearing through both garage rock rippers and weirder turns. Crain’s delivery somehow sounds both lazy and rushed at the same time, which serves Motherhood’s revved-up but still frequently eerie and hypnotic take on post-punk. (Read more)

34. 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)

33. Meat Wave – Malign Hex

Release date: October 14th
Record label: Swami
Genre: Noise rock, post-punk, punk rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Five years after the release of their cult classic 2017 record The Incessant, Chicago’s Meat Wave has offered up an incredibly potent 35-minute document of their particularly lean brand of noise rock and post-punk with Malign Hex. It picks up the thread of last year’s excellent Volcano Park EP; hard-hitting garage rock, nervous, bass-driven post-punk, and chilly, subtle, more atmospheric moments all populate the album. From the opening horror tapestry of “Disney” through several moments of tension and release, Malign Hex feels like an album made up of pure cauldron-stewing.

32. Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You

Release date: February 11th
Record label: 4AD
Genre: Indie folk, alt-country
Formats: Vinyl, cassette, CD, digital

I had been on the Big Fence about Big Thief for years now, rolling my eyes at some of the hyperbolic praise they’ve gotten even as the electric catharsis of Two Hands scraped my 2019 year-end list and I’ve been impressed by the prolific nature of the band’s members. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You is the first time I’ve strongly felt that the group is where they should be musically—it sounds like a record made by four people in tune with themselves and no one else, giddily embracing all of their own ideas just to see where they go.

31. Oceanator – Nothing’s Ever Fine

Release date: April 8th
Record label: Polyvinyl/Plastic Miracles/Disposable America
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.

30. J. Marinelli – Putting the World to Rights

Release date: August 19th
Record label: ORG
Genre: Lo-fi indie rock, folk punk, country punk
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Putting the World to Rights is far from the first record from Norway-by-way-of-West-Virginia’s James Marinelli, but the latest solo album from the lo-fi indie rock lifer feels like a major entry into his discography. Putting the World to Rights is “folk punk” in the sense that Marinelli uses an acoustic guitar, his Appalachian background, and no small amount of state-of-the-union invective to color his Guided by Voices-esque off-the-cuff pop music—the history lesson of “Antifa Grandpa” isn’t too difficult to grasp, but Marinelli is just as compelling spinning a more opaque yarn about “What Columbus Wants” or “Where They’d Have Us”.

29. Guided by Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral

Release date: March 4th
Record label: GBV, Inc.
Genre: Indie rock, post-punk, power pop
Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital

Judging by both Crystal Nuns Cathedral and the also-on-this-list Tremblers and Goggles by Rank, Guided by Voices are in a heavier, denser mood as of late. I’m on board with it. While Crystal Nuns Cathedral does contain plenty of muscular guitar pop that this current iteration of Guided by Voices can easily churn out (see “Come North Together” and “Never Mind the List”, not to mention the title track), there’s a darkness to these dozen tunes that colors songs like towering opening track “Eye City” and the surprisingly dramatic “Climbing a Ramp”. As the band’s “new lineup” enters a half-decade of playing together, Robert Pollard and his collaborators sound as invigorated as ever.

28. Vintage Crop – Kibitzer

Release date: June 24th
Record label: Anti Fade/Upset the Rhythm/Weather Vane
Genre: Post-punk, garage rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital

Geelong, Australia’s Vintage Crop have been tearing through their mix of ripping garage rock and talky post-punk since 2017, and their third full-length, Kibitzer, is perhaps their strongest collection of material yet. The band barrel through ten hooky but muscular pieces of egg punk over top of confident-as-ever observations from vocalist Jack Cherry. Kibitzer works as well as it does in large part because of how well-oiled Vintage Crop sound on these songs—particularly on rhythm-forward constructions like “Under Offer” and “Hold the Line”, kibitzing never sounded so good. (Read more)

27. The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Release date: September 16th
Record label: Carpark
Genre: Power pop, pop rock
Formats: Vinyl, cassette, CD, digital

Consistency is the nature of The Beths—I mean this in terms of their career, which has now featured three incredibly solid pop-rock records, and I also mean this with regards to Expert in a Dying Field, a more-than-worthy addition into their relatively small but rich discography. The Auckland band offer up a dozen power pop hits that balance wistfulness and exuberance deftly, but Expert in a Dying Field doesn’t feel too same-y, either; they hit different sub-sections of their range with the acoustic-strummed “I Want to Listen”, the zippy “Silence Is Golden”, and the chilly, unanswered final question of “2am”.

26. Non Bruises – Non Bruises

Release date: October 21st
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Indie rock, garage rock, psych rock, post-punk
Formats: Cassette, CD, digital

Non Bruises is a four-piece band comprised of a group of Cleveland music veterans, and their self-titled debut album does indeed sound like a record made by indie rock ringers. Non Bruises is the kind of humble but incredibly capable rock music that can shift from all-encompassing and wide-open to short and punchy without fundamentally changing its sound—fans of bands like Yo La Tengo, Silkworm, and Eleventh Dream Day will find a lot to appreciate here. The record casually, languidly moves through psychedelic workouts, breezy guitar pop, and lengthy slow-building jams with remarkable ease. (Read more)

Click here for:
Part One (100-76)
Part Two (75-51)
Part Four (25-1)

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