2022 has been another great year for new music. Even with everything else going on, I’ve reviewed nearly 120 new albums this year on Musoscribe. And in compiling my annual best-of (okay, my favorites), it’s been a predictably challenging exercise. To whittle the list down to five, I’ve made a couple of arbitrary (read: unreasonable) rules for myself. The most significant one of those is not to include any artists I’ve named as a best-of in the last couple of years. That meant knocking two truly excellent albums off the list: Maple Mars’ Someone’s Got to Listen and Trees Speak’s Vertigo of Flaws. Both are nonetheless highly recommended.
With that out of the way, here are my top five new releases of 2022, along with links to full reviews of each. (They’re not ranked; they’re listed her in alphabetical order.)
Robert Berry’s 3.2 – Alive at ProgStock carries the progressive torch of solo Keith Emerson into the current day, courtesy of one of his creative collaborators.
The Comet is Coming – Hyper-dimensional Expansion Beam somehow finds a way to combine EDM textures and a Sun Ra musical sensibility, coming up with some of the most original and compelling music you’re likely to encounter.
GA-20 – Crackdown – I’m on record as rolling my eyes at guitar-and-drums duos. But this blues outfit is so exceptionally good that they merit an exception. (review and feature coming soon)
April March – In Cinerama is a delightfully retro album that underscores just how great “pop” music can truly be when it’s done with intelligence, sophistication and feeling.
The New Mastersounds – The Deplar Effect is the latest by one of the most engaging bands out there. And on this record, they’ve completely integrated a vocalist, with excellent results.