Rob Vera's favorite albums of 2022
Turn of the Century host Rob Vera shares his 12 favorite albums of 2022.
12. Astronoid – Radiant Bloom
Dream poppy, shoegazey metal with a dash of emo spirit. The sound of this album soars and soars until you can’t soar anymore.
11. Carly Rae Jepsen – The Loneliest Time
No one is making smarter, more well-constructed pop for my money than CRJ. The Loneliest Time finds itself in themes of doubt and frustration, but ultimately never falls short of finding the glimmer.
10. Kikagaku Moyo – Kumoyo Island
I am a moth to the flame of hypnotic rhythms done right in rock—especially that of the psychedelic persuasion. There’s a funk and playfulness surrounding the layers of prog, garage and acoustic sounds that make up a pastiche like few others on this, their (apparently) final album.
9. Spoon – Lucifer On The Sofa
Officially my 2022 “grower” album. The finest American rock band of the 21st century didn’t immediately grab me on the first listen. But with each subsequent play, Lucifer On The Sofa slowly but surely reveals enduring charms it excavates via a more elemental brand of raw rock and roll.
8. TOPS – Empty Seats (EP)
The lone EP on this year’s list, Montreal’s TOPS just keep delivering with top-notch, ear-wormy sophisto-pop and soft rock sounds that are simultaneously of yesterday and today. The first two tracks alone—“Perfected Steps” and “Janet Planet” are two of the finest singles the band has ever produced—which given their impressive body of work is a true compliment.
7. GIFT – Momentary Presence
An absolutely stellar debut filled with wonder and assuredness, the New York indie/psych/synth rock magicians of GIFT delivered an absolute treat for your earholes. It is a mix of so many elements that are familiar musically, and yet the dedication to creating finely-tuned songs at every turn allows you to dive in with your whole head and heart and just feel the—ahem—gift you’re receiving here.
6. Goat – Oh Death
There is something about a mercurial, mysterious, enigmatic band that operates outside the usual press/media/social media channels who you almost forget about until they show up like a party crasher every few years and drop a thrilling, adventurous, totally weird and wild masterwork on your doorstep—again. The stylishly sly Swedes deliver a visceral, tribal, and tantalizing set of thunderous sounds made to excite and dizzy, and it just works.
5. Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries
The Norwegian electronic icons return with part one of a three part album that is both audio and visual (every song has a dedicated visual accompaniment). The album feels like the ultimate escape to worlds unknown. It is the score to a beautifully-crafted alternate reality full of color and beats. So many beats. So many rabbit holes. And you’ll dive in, joyfully.
4. Sally Shapiro – Sad Cities
The Swedish duo with the singular name returns—this time on Johnny Jewel’s Italians Do It Better label, with a master class of Italo disco delights full of pop hooks sure to burrow their way into your sonic headspace. Sad Cities, partly in contradiction to its own name, is the soundtrack to a beautiful, nocturnal dream about love and longing and memory. With dancing.
3. King Buffalo – Regenerator
King Buffalo are hard rocking psych guitar Svengalis of the highest order who have taken their raw and rhythmically entrancing powers and refined it into a stoner rock epic that stands shoulder to shoulder with the greats of the craft. Clocking in at 44 minutes over the course of just seven tracks, it pushes into metal and prog territory with ease, but never meanders. Regenerator is not the first strong entry in their discography—but it nevertheless feels like an arrival of true consequence.
2. Marci –Marci
Sometimes a “side project” transcends said label. But every so often, it tears the label into shreds. TOPS keyboardist Marta Cikojevic, AKA Marci, has released an utterly magical debut of early to mid 80s-“feeling”, R&B-tinged electro pop that sounds and feels absurdly classic for a debut. The Thriller-esque hooks, the shimmering pop production, and her seductively dusky voice that feels like it was born to make this music combine to create an album that I kept going back to again and again and again. I absolutely love Marci’s band, TOPS—but she’s a budding star in her own right, and this album feels like her first big, beautiful shot. The girl is a GO, indeed.
1. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Omnium Gatherum
Some of the best, most creatively captive rock music in my world is coming from Australia these days (Cut Copy, Tame Impala, Eddy Current Suppression Ring to name a few), but there is no band from there—or really anywhere on this planet—that makes music like the great King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. From the band name which is a joy rolling off the tongue, to a constant deluge of albums filled with adventure and experimentation, Gizzard are a band making music without consideration for the artificial music business-y barriers and constructs that limit so many other artists. They get ideas and take those ideas into a studio and jam and jam and jam until they’re done jamming. And we’re the beneficiaries. Omnium Gatherum—admittedly, in a sea of albums from such a prolific band—feels like a true epic. Sixteen tracks and 80 minutes of genre cosplay at an elite level. You like death metal? Check. Indie or psych rock? You betcha. Early 90s-era Beastie Boys-esque rap and hip hop fury? Absolutely. Omnium Gatherum is Gizzard’s full arsenal on display, filtered through a myriad of musical styles and influences. It is an unfettered, unrestrained musical odyssey that is a world unto itself, inviting you in for a trip you won’t soon forget.
Listen to Turn of the Century, every Saturday night at 10 p.m. on The Spy on KOSU.