My Favorite Albums from 2022

It’s that time again, though I’m a little earlier than usual! I’m not going to make you scroll to the bottom to find my top recommendation, so here we go:

  1. PAINLESS by Nilufur Yanya (Listen)

I really, really hope this record gets it’s due. Everything is top notch: the lyrics, the melodies, the arrangements, her voice. It’s a perfect indie rock album, from someone who obviously loves really good music and knows how to fold those diverse influences into her songwriting. She deserves to be HUGE.

  1. sore thumb by Oso Oso (Listen)

Jade Lilitri can really write a catchy song. Musically, Oso Oso is equal parts emo and indie rock (think Death Cab crossed with Built to Spill crossed with Taking Back Sunday and a touch of Pinback) with really great lyrics that you just can’t help but sing along with… this album is high quality from top to bottom and has been in steady rotation since release day.

  1. Your Neighbors Are Failures by Bitter Branches (Listen)

With former/current members of Deadguy, Kiss it Goodbye, Lifetime, Walleye, Kid Dynamite, and Paint it Black you can probably imagine what an amalgamation of those bands would sound like and it’s 100% accurate. It’s brutal, chaotic, and at times melodic – and 100% amazing. Definitely my top hardcore album from 2022.

  1. Careening by Hammered Hulls (Listen)

Hammered Hulls is Alec MacKaye (Faith, Ignition), Mary Timony (Helium, Autoclave, Wild Flag, Ex Hex), Mark Cisneros (Make-Up, Medications), and Chris Wilson (Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus) - a veritable supergroup, in terms of DC punk and indie rock. They also put together a total surprise of an album. You’d expect good from this group of musicians, but this is more than good – it’s top 5 of 2022 good. Political, DC punk in an age that NEEDS more of this kind of music. Highly recommended.

  1. My Other People by TV Priest (Listen)

The second album from TV Priest is a little more mature and maybe a little more melodic than their debut, Uppers – which was #14 on my 2021 list. They still do the post-punk, The Fall/Nick Cave thing, but in a way that I enjoy more than listening to those two groups. I really, really enjoy Charlie Drinkwater’s voice and lyrics. An underrated band and album for sure.

  1. I don’t know who needs to hear this… by Tomberlin (Listen)

Despite being on a record label (Saddle Creek, home of Big Thief, Hop Along, Cursive, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, and Spoon) that I tend to follow, I only discovered Tomberlin this year with the release of her second full length. And wow, what an experience. Well written indie folk music, with really great lyrics. Tomberlin really delivers and I honestly think she’s at a higher level than contemporaries like Phoebe Bridgers and even Taylor Swift’s indie folk albums – both of which I really liked.

  1. s/t by Wet Leg (Listen)

If you simply listen to Chaise Longue, you may overlook this band as a joke — but this album is REALLY good. Super catchy and fun. There isn’t enough fun in rock music nowadays and this band really delivers.

  1. Cheat Codes by Black Thought and Danger Mouse (Listen)

Black Thought (from The Roots) is an insanely good lyricist. Danger Mouse is a well respected producer who’s been involved in some great projects (Dangerdoom and Gnarls Barkley to name two.) The combination is divine, especially when you throw in guests like A$AP Rocky, Run the Jewels, Conway the Machine, Raekwon, and Joey Bada$$. It’s my favorite hip hop album of 2022.

  1. Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar (Listen)

King Kendrick is going to be on a lot of end of year lists, no doubt. And rightly deserved. Kendrick is hip hop royalty and this album delivers the ambitious lyrics, subject matter, and music you’ve come to expect.

  1. Natural Brown Prom Queen by Sudan Archives (Listen)

A blend of hip hop, gospel, R&B, folk, and electronic music, Brittney Parks (aka Sudan Archives) delivers a catchy, off-beat, diverse album that is super interesting to listen to as she sways from one mix of genres to another. Highly recommended.

  1. The Forever Story by JID (Listen)

Hip-hop FFO: Earthgang, J. Cole, Denzel Curry, Cordae

  1. Visitor by Empath (Listen)

FFO: lo-fi, eccentric indie punk with synths

  1. Little Green House by Anxious (Listen)

FFO: emo-influenced hardcore/indie rock

  1. God Save the Animals by Alex G (Listen)

FFO: eccentric lo-fi indie rock

  1. s/t by Spite House (Listen)

FFO: dynamic post-hardcore like Samiam, Seaweed, Jawbreaker

  1. Guitar Music by Courting (Listen)

FFO: chaotic, melodic post-punk with electronic textures

  1. Blue Rev by Alvvays (Listen)

FFO: female fronted indie rock with a touch of shoegaze. Think Velocity Girl, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, The Beths, and Hatchie

  1. Expert in a Dying Field by The Beths (Listen)

FFO: female fronted punk-tinged indie rock with major hooks

  1. Don’t Know What You’re In Until You’re Out by Gladie (Listen)

FFO: female fronted punk-tinged indie rock with major hooks (sense a trend?!). Think early Waxahatchee, Lemuria, Cayetana (ex-members), Hop Along, Swearin’

  1. Skinty Fia by Fontaines D.C. (Listen)

FFO: Post-punk with a hint of folk, electronic, and melodic indie pop

  1. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong by Sharon Van Etten (Listen)

FFO: dynamic indie singer-songwriter

  1. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You by Big Thief (Listen)

FFO: eccentric indie folk

  1. Few Good Things by Saba (Listen)

FFO: introspective R&B influenced hip-hop

  1. Melt My Eyez See Your Future by Denzel Curry (Listen)

FFO: eccentric hip-hop ranging from high energy punk to funk and jazz

  1. Farm to Table by Bartees Strange (Listen)

FFO: indie rock that incorporates elements of bedroom pop, electronic music, alt-rock, folk, and hip-hop.

Anxious at the Rec Room in Buffalo
Anxious at the Rec Room in Buffalo
Oso Oso at the Rec Room in Buffalo
Oso Oso at the Rec Room in Buffalo

Wrap Up

If you are on Apple Music, I’ve added these albums and another 25 or so of my honorable mentions to a playlist. I’ve also got plenty of reports on Last.fm, if you are interested in browsing.

SO, did I miss anything good? There was so much good music this year, I had to have missed something. Hit me up if you have something you think I’d like!

Addendum

Previous Years: Best of 2021, Best of 2020

Note: Looking back at 2021, I’d definitely put Turnstile at #6 and Tyler the Creator at #7, with every album from Quicksand on down moving one spot lower to fill in the remaining order.

Be sure to follow me on Apple Music — I create and share playlists throughout the year and I’m definitely interested in seeing what other folks are listening to!


Some recent vinyl pickups: new Soulside and Hammered Hulls, two classic Dinosaur Jr., and Check Your Head from Beastie Boys. 🔥

New vinyl: Soulside, Dinosaur Jr, Beastie Boys, Hammered Hulls

The sweetest pitty. Watson wedges himself behind me every single workday.


Beautiful fall day for a hike at Artpark


My assistant is being a little oppressive today. 🥰


Quicksand and Spotlights last night in Buffalo


Anxious, MAGS, and oso oso last night at Rec Room in Buffalo.


Amazon has gone full QVC.


Los Campesinos! at the Velvet Underground in Toronto. They’ve been on my bands to see bucket list and it was worth the wait. 🔥


What a show! Run the Jewels and Rage finally happened and it was glorious.


Summer Chet


Bon Iver and Bonny Light Horseman were amazing last night. I’ve seen hundreds of bands and it was a top 5 performance.


Retired the original vinyl storage unit with a larger 2x2 unit. Was kind of shocked how big the collection has grown in the last couple years. The overflow was in a few various locations, so this was the first time seeing it all in one spot!


Award season! High school high honors for these three. 🥰


Saw Iceage and Wiki at the Rec Room tonight. Crazy awesome show.


Watson was so tired after our hike today he didn’t even mind Chet sitting on his head. 😂


Shhhh! 🤫


1994 - An Ode to Hardcore

Welcome to issue #11 of One Last Wish – my regular series where I look back at records that changed my life. This issue: 1994. Thanks for reading!

I spent a good deal of time considering all of my favorite records that came out in 1994. I couldn’t pick one that impacted my life as much as the previous ten issues, but I did notice a theme: hardcore. Collectively, hardcore music definitely did change my life… and 1994 was the year I went all in on the music and scene. Let’s dig in…

With hardcore music, the shows are a huge part of the scene and experience. Sure, you can own some vinyl or cassettes and get the gist, but seeing those bands live, singing a long, dancing, and stage diving is where it’s at. Some of the bands I saw live that year:

  • Endpoint
  • Outspoken
  • Into Another
  • Snapcase
  • Unbroken
  • Undertow
  • Ricochet
  • Chokehold
  • Copper
  • Shift
  • Falling Forward
  • Empathy
  • Turmoil
  • Jasta 14
  • Green Day
  • Local bands: Against All Hope, IND, Redline, Envy, Fadeaway, Blend, Moment of Truth, and more…

Most of these shows are memorable for different reasons, but the two bands that absolutely sealed my interest were the Endpoint and Outspoken shows in June. The shows were about two weeks apart at the Icon in downtown Buffalo. Both bands were so powerful live and had a unique sound that really stood out. On top of that, both bands had the best lyrics of all the bands I was familiar with at the time.

Here’s Outspoken from their 2010 reunion show:

Outspoken - Sound and Fury set (2010)

Outspoken - Innocent

Alone. He doesn’t want to face the prejudice. Afraid. While the fear lies in the ignorant. All love is legitimate. It is hatred that is the enemy. An innocent man portrayed as being guilty. What crime is love between two people. The crime is hatred caused by ignorance of difference. Have to open my eyes to see a wider range. Have to open my mind. I’m the one that need to change.

And Endpoint from their 2010 reunion:

Endpoint reunion show in 2010

Endpoint - Caste

Hope is the savior, it will be the cure. It fuels them on. Dreams are the only escape from the rich man’s rape. So they still hold on. Equality: lies. Freedom: lies. But their spirit still shines. Justice: lies. Independence: lies. You cannot take their minds. All men are created equal? We’re not even born equal. One nation under God? God doesn’t have enough money.


Other bands that were crucial to me at the time included Strife, Chokehold, and Unbroken:

Strife

Strife - Gilman Street (2019)


Chokehold

Chokehold - Philly (2015)


Unbroken

Unbroken


Beyond the music, the hardcore scene introduced me to new friends and solidified friendships I’ve had since at least second grade. I went on many road trips all over the northeast United States — to festivals in Cleveland and Detroit, tours with both Despair and Union as the roadie/merch guy, and trips to meet Internet friends in Connecticut and Massachusetts when meeting people online meant IRC and Usenet newsgroups — all on an ASCII screen. Most importantly, I even met my wife through hardcore friends! For those things alone, the music has given me so much. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without those experiences.

Beyond that, the scene is also responsible for discovering and growing my belief system. If you’ve read the One Last Wish issues to date, you’ve probably noticed I’m drawn to lyrics — especially political lyrics – so it’s not a surprise that hardcore is the one genre that has meant the most to me over the years. It led me to vegetarianism, to books by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and many beliefs that were radical and “far left” in a time of centrism and Bill Clinton. I’m thankful for that – it’s given me compassion, empathy, and critical thinking skills that I couldn’t get from a formal education.

Finally, the hardcore music scene also got me into making zines and taking photos. I’ve been sharing pictures of mine in each issue, but I also have two Flickr albums that collect many of these pictures in an easy-to-browse format. It’s the entire reason I’m writing these today.

Thanks for reading.


The 1994 Playlist

71 songs released in 1994 — a mix of hardcore, punk, alternative, hip hop and more…

Enjoy!


Totally Digging: New Releases

  • Wet Leg - s/t (Listen)
  • Syd - Broken Hearts Club (Listen)
  • oso oso - sore thumb (Listen)
  • PUP - THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND (Listen)
  • Camp Cope - Running with the Hurricane (Listen)
  • PLOSIVS - s/t (Listen)
  • Drug Church - Hygiene (Listen)
  • Superchunk - Wild Loneliness (Listen)
  • Vince Staples - RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART (Listen)
  • Denzel Curry - Melt My Eyez See Your Future (Listen)
  • Tomberlin - i don’t know who needs to hear this… (Listen)

Other playlists: Best of 2022 and 2022/365 (my song a day project - also on Spotify)


Moving Music Pictures

Kowloon Walled City - Lampblack


Deadguy


Botch - Transitions from Persona to Object - final show


Arlo Parks - live on KEXP


Wet Leg - Too Late Now


illuminati hotties - live on KEXP


IDLES - Lollapalooza Brazil


Nilufer Yanya - Midnight Sun


Where does tone come from in an electric guitar?


Los Campesinos! Tiny Desk


Los Campesinos! Knee Deep in ATP / My Year in Lists


Elsewhere

I had the pleasure of seeing Jawbreaker this month in Philly with my friends Chris and Amy. As I mentioned previously, Jawbreaker is one of my favorite bands of all time and a band I’ve never seen (I did see Jets to Brazil a few times after Jawbreaker broke up…) until this trip.

It was a dream come true.

And a video I posted on Instagram.


Thanks for reading this issue of One Last Wish! Next issue we’ll see you in 1995.

– Jason


Finished reading: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel 📚


Went to see the cherry blossoms at the Buffalo History Museum and Japanese Gardens. Beautiful night!


One season ends and another begins. Tryout week done and so thankful Zoey has finally landed in a good spot for hockey. Now for a couple week break and they are back at it!


Some recent vinyl pickups: Guilt, Endpoint, Small Brown Bike, Sunny Day Real Estate, Modest Mouse, Karate, Nilufer Yanya, and Ian Sweet.


One of my favorite things about having three teenagers is sharing the experience of live music. Tonight with the kids: Cavetown


Selling Girl Scout cookies with these two amazing ladies over the weekend.


Hockey season almost over. Just in time to start the next. 🤪