.WAV’s Favorite Albums of 2022

It’s a new year, again. You know what that means. These are some albums we liked – or loved.
We think you might like (or love) them too.
There’s not really much more to say than that, I guess. We’ll see you in 2023. Thanks for a great year!

NOT TiGHT – DOMi & JD Beck

This album includes a lot of crazy music theory in terms of using different tuning systems; JD Beck lays down some of the gnarliest grooves in odd time signatures. The features across this project are phenomenal, including Thundercat, Kurt Rosenwinkle, and Herbie Hancock. As complex as these songs are, they are equally fun. I think I pay more attention to the more complicated aspects because of my experience as a jazz musician, but at the end of the day this is an incredibly enjoyable album for anybody. We love a palatable genius work of contemporary art.

Alex Rennie, Playlisting Team

Once Twice Melody – Beach House

Although this album got a lot of heat for its length, it’s a masterpiece in my eyes. New Romance, Once Twice Melody, Superstar, and Pink Funeral are heavenly standouts. I can confidently say this was the year of Beach House, to me, between this album and their surprise addition to Desert Daze. I think it’s pretty rare the band ever misses, really. I saw them twice and they became my second favorite band all time.

Lyle Rumon / Max Ray / Nik Axelson

Guitar Music – Courting

My favorite album of 2022 is Guitar Music by Courting. While at it’s core a pop album, the production manages to make everything so in-your-face it’s almost overwhelming. The second single Loaded manages to blow my mind everytime I listen to it with a good sound system. It’s just a reliably fun record to listen to with all aspects being good enough to keep me coming back to it.

John Lindberg, .WAV Alumni

Ants from Up There – Black Country, New Road

There isn’t anything I can say about this album that hasn’t already been said, but it deserves all the praise in the world. It’s pretty rare — and always a treasure — when a piece of music captures such raw, overwhelming emotion. This is a benchmark album in recent music history.

Robbie Baker, General Manager

God Don’t Make Mistakes – Conway the Machine

As grim and haunting the production is across this project, it’s equally ethereal and ear-catching. This is the first album from the rapper since his leaving from Griselda Record Label and it’s clear that Conway has spent some time honing his sound. One of the best rap albums of the year!

Robbie Baker, General Manager

Spiderr – Bladee

This album gives me so much joy. Beautiful production and Bladee’s best vocal performances yet.

Max Ray, Content Team

Demo 3 – Prison Affair

So fun, so noisy, and so punchy. It makes me shake my head pretty vigorously. It’s short, but very sweet.

Lauren Gibson, Events Management

God Save the Animals – Alex G


(Actually though, what an album!)

Connor Ellis, General Manager

Caveworld Viagra Boys

It’s the fucking Viagra Boys. This album is loud, weird, and so much fun. Seriously, this project is hilarious, but so catchy and infectiously exciting. The themes across the board are niche and comedic, like exploration of devolution throughout “Cognitive Trade-Off” and “Return to Monke” or the story of a child growing up to be a murderer in “Baby Criminal”. A must-listen from this year if you’re a fan of garage or post-punk stuff.

Noa Brassfield / Robbie Baker

WET LEG – Wet Leg

Each song feels like a different journey into the band and the music they’re trying to create. It’s funky, out-there, and has tangible influences from 90s rock/grunge sound. I’ve probably listened to it 20 times through and haven’t tired of it yet.

Christina Glubovich, Photo/Video Team

Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, & Lava – King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

Ranking King Gizz’s five albums this year is a doomed effort, but IDPLML is my favorite release. Recorded in a week, this jammy concoction features jazzy, funky fusion tracks like “Ice V” and “Iron Lung” which are instant classics in the KG discography. It’s great to hear a band that thrives off of live energy release an album oozing with improvisation and collaboration.

Evan Gattuso, Content Team

Houston Riots – Fade ‘Em All

Seriously, Fade ‘Em All is one of the most underappreciated groups of the last few years. This album effortlessly blends the many different tasteful aspects of punk, hip-hop, hardcore, and post-punk. The definition of ‘short but sweet’. “Brainwashin” and “My Last Good” are my personal highlights. Go listen to it.

Robbie Baker, General Manager

Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar

After a five year hiatus, Kendrick came back full steam for what would be his latest masterpiece. Having heard hip hop albums all year long, this felt more genuine in its approach, particularly due to the heavy use of piano and conscious rap lyrics that Kendrick is known for. Bonus points for dropping on my birthday.

Brian Mendez, Playlisting Team

Ali – Vieux Farka Toure & Khruangbin

It’s Khruangbin’s signature groove, but with a new voice. Beautiful stuff.

Connor Ellis, General Manager

Diaspora Problems – Soul Glo

An angry, snarling, astoundingly fast hardcore punk album from none other than Soul Glo. Seriously, this project is not for the weak of heart. Hair-raisingly feral and raw. Highlights include “Jump!!! (Or Get Jumped)” and “We Wants Revenge”. Listen to “Driponomics” for a wild surprise on a hardcore punk record.

Tom Cruise, .WAV Member

Fossora – Bjork

Another weird, alien-sounding, effortlessly beautiful album from the queen herself. Does Bjork ever miss?

Lyle Rumon, Operations Manager

Man Plays the Horn – Cities Aviv

An exceptional piece of lo-fi experimental hip-hop. I eat this stuff up like candy — my hunger is insatiable.

Renee Kao, .WAV Alumni

You Will Never Work in Television – The Smile

Thom Yorke? Yes, please. Jonny Greenwood, too? Nice. Wait, AND Tom Skinner (drummer of Sons of Kemet)? Next thing you’re gonna tell me is that this is produced by Nigel Godrich or something…

Robbie Baker, General Manager

And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow –Weyes Blood

A somewhat melancholic, purely beautiful-sounding album. I love all the piano across this project. My favorite is “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody”. Fun fact: Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) is Connor Ellis’ celebrity crush!

Anonymous .WAV Member

Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe You – Big Thief

Sad, sweet, heartfelt, yet an utterly vulnerable comfort album. This album is a warm blanket and a hot chocolate on a cold, rainy day. Everything about this project is overwhelmingly touching, beautiful, and sonically cozy. “Simulation Swarm” is one of the prettiest songs I’ve heard in a long time. Thank you, Big Thief.

Nik Axelson, Drainer

Crystal Shards – blackwinterwells

A brutally honest work of self-reflection that manifests itself in a number of ways, ranging from slow ballads to atmospheric rap.

Mac Moran, Content Team

MAHALToro y Moi

Just a super fun album that feels a little different than what the artist has typically made in the past. Highlights include “The Medium” (featuring Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and “The Postman”.

Mac Moran, Content Team

The Forever Story – JID

Another front-runner for best rap album of the year. I know this got a lot of praise when it was released, but I haven’t seen it rank too highly in a lot of year-end album lists for 2022. The production and features across the board are phenomenal. You can’t go into 2023 without at least giving “Stars” a listen.

Adam Hey, .WAV Roommate

The Snow Strippers – Snow Strippers

Haunting vocals and an eerie-yet-euphoric production style make for an exciting LP debut from the mysterious synth pop duo.

Mac Moran, Content Team

This article is composed of the many music-lovers that are involved in .WAV Zine. If you’re reading, thank you for such a fun 2022!