This month I got my regular biannual dental check-up, where the dental hygienist informed me it had been a year and a half since my last visit. “Whaat?!” I also lost track of the year in putting together this music list. I was preparing to push Jane Weaver’s Flock to the top, having been won over by recently seeing her first U.S. headlining date, when someone reminded me it came out the year before. “Are you sure??” I wouldn’t say 2022 was uneventful per se, but almost three full years into the pandemic, I have new difficulties putting discoveries and other musical events in a proper timeline. I checked the metadata on these albums, though, and they came out in 2022… I think.


Shabaka – Afrikan Culture

The British saxophonist also appeared this year with the return of The Comet Is Coming, but these austere, haunting etudes that lean on other woodwinds stayed with me.


Madeleine Cocolas – Spectral

I need ambient music more and more, like this Australian album of emotional, unsettling drones layered over intimate piano/guitar figures and field recordings.


Rich Ruth – I Survived, It’s Over

Kosmiche jazz registers the traumas and growth to be found in these times.


Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Natalie Merling has been in the Karen Carpenter/soft rock zone for a few albums, waiting for the further development of her songwriting talents. It arrived!


Brian Eno – Foreverandevernomore

Eno returns to vocals for a chilling, beautiful album about climate collapse.


Dreadnought – The Endless

I felt this progressive metal band from Denver in the year when Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill” returned to the charts.


Modern Studies – We Are There

I loved discovering this mild-mannered book group from Scotland and their album of refined, probing reflections.


Moor Mother – Jazz Codes

The spoken-word vocalist from agitating free jazz group Irreversible Entanglements, Camae Ayewa explores a heady, expansive mix of collaborators, Black musics, and historical source points.


Theo Parrish – DJ Kicks: Detroit Forward

The techno-house producer flips the DJ Kicks mix series by commissioning all-new recordings by Detroit practitioners of jazz, hip hop, gospel, and electronic rhythms. I won’t forget walking Brooklyn streets while listening to this collection.


Horse Lords – Comradely Objects

Generally, “math rock” is a phrase I refuse to let myself use. Suffice it to say, I get off on the methodical grooves generated by this Baltimore group committed to the compositional use of “just intonation.”


Angel Olsen – Big Time

Big feels on a big album by Americana’s belle of the ball.


Messa – Close

Does the Italian metal band still call their style “scarlet doom”? Here Messa electrify the oud to absorb some kind of Mediterranean/middle eastern inspirations.


Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Moon

Khruangbin played one of my concerts this year, but their EPs with neosoul singer Leon Bridges inhabit a husky, sexy musical world all of their own.


Shilpa Ray – Portrait Of A Lady

Me too, says the New York rocker. Strap in and sit down.


Richard Dawson – The Ruby Cord

Progressive folk rock for the ages – I can’t recall the last time I encountered a 41-minute opening track.


Bonnie Trash – Malocchio

It turns out I still like goth rock! These sisters from Ontario keep theirs simple, torchy, and rockin’.


Kelley Stoltz – The Stylist

The music lifer from San Francisco comes clean about his schtick with the title of his 17th album.


Johnny Marr – Fever Dreams Pts 1-4

If we’re gonna give mobile Radiohead unit The Smile a pass for their very familiar-sounding debut album, then I’m going to wallow pleasurably in Johnny Marr’s very familiar-sounding alt-rock.