With live music back in the game, this year saw some incredibly new indie albums. Some of those got pushed back while others were directly influenced by the experience of lockdowns and isolation.
Not only did 2022 see great debut releases by the likes of Wet Leg, it also saw amazing follow up records by the likes of Sea Girls or Black Country, New Road, while one of the most anticipated efforts arrived in the form of The 1975’s Being Funny In A Foreign Language. Here is our top 10 list of the best indie album 2022.
10. The 1975 – Being Funny In A Foreign Language
With their most recent release, Being Funny In A Foreign Language, it seems that The 1975 have come full circle. From the bangers (Happiness, I’m In Love) to mellow ballads (All I Need To Hear, Oh Caroline) to the weird ones (Part Of The Band) the record covers all there is to be desired.
Our verdict: “Overall, the album is their most refined, concise, and polished album yet. The 1975 have never been rough around the edges sonically, but there’s something about these 11 tracks, their shortest tracklisting to date, with their albums ranging from a busty 15 to an almost bloated 22 tracks, that really sets it apart as a body of work from everything prior.”
9. Pillow Queens – Leave The Light On
In 2020 Pillow Queens released their debut album, In Waiting, to scores of critical acclaim – still as an unsigned band. The album featured in Rough Trade’s Albums of The Year and at home in Ireland it was nominated for Best Album at The Choice Music Prize. Their debut was a hymnal to lives lived in societal no-man’s land whereas on their sophomore record, Leave The Light On, they take a path on which they grapple with accepting that nothing will ever be perfect.
Our verdict: “his sophomore album’s title is a perfect shorthand for the sense of belonging present within. Latecomers to the band (such as myself) are still granted the earnest hospitality of left-on light upon entry.”
8. Sea Girls – Homesick
Sea Girls are arguably one of the biggest indie bands coming out of the UK right now. Their uplifting indie rock and energetic live shows have catapulted them to the main stages across the country and the mainland. This year, they released their sophomore album Homesick and equally continued and evolved their signature sound.
Our verdict: “It’s clear that Sea Girls are well and truly comfortable in their own sound, and Homesick is an album that will enchant even more people to fall in love with them.”
7. A.O. Gerber – Meet Me At The Gloaming
It has been over 2 years since Los Angeles’ A.O. Gerber released her critically acclaimed debut album, Another Place To Need, which garnered attention for its orchestral ruminations on the tribulations of relationships and overthinking. The debut, which took over 3 years to complete – saw Gerber collaborate with a variety of her musical friends in Los Angeles. Yet, now, this week sees A.O. Gerber return stripped back, with the release of her second album, Meet Me At The Gloaming.
Our verdict: “Meet Me At The Glowing presents itself as a self-help guide for those who are going through periods of transformation. Allowing A.O. Gerber to return more open and honest than ever before, the album tackles grief head-on whilst still leaving space for a glimmer of hope to peek its way through.”
6. TV Priest – My Other People
It is just over a year since TV Priest shared their debut album, Uppers, with the world, since then, and despite the album being released amidst the pandemic, the band have swung from success to the next success, from playing shows across the globe to receiving praise from fans and critics alike, with the album being hailed a ‘dystopian doublespeak’. This year, the band unveiled their second offering, in the shape of My Other People – offering a new element of vulnerability, that does not distract from the band’s uniquely gritty, punk sound.
Our verdict: “My Other People presents TV Priest as a renewed and refined version of themselves, seeing the band on a journey to express a truer, more honest version of the band whilst still remaining true to their post-punk roots. Giving 13 tracks of compassion, integrity and courage, TV Priest assert themselves as band that not only wear their hearts on their sleeves, but also as a musical format for us all to enjoy. “
5. Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There
It’s been exactly a year since Black Country, New Road released their critically acclaimed, Mercury Prize nominated, debut album, For The First Time. Now, hot on its heels, the band are set to release its follow up, Ants From Up There, a 10 track body of work that sees the band take another bold, innovative musical leap.
Our verdict: “Ants From Up There is a glowing follow up to Black Country, New Road’s debut, proving that the band have not fallen victim to the second album curse. The album sees the band take continuous left turns, which will only pay off for them in the long haul. Accessible yet more innovative than ever, Black Country, New Road return on top of their game.”
4. Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Since releasing their debut single, Chaise Longue last June, the band have rapidly been propelled into the limelight, going from a small, tiny venue playing band to now selling out venues of over 2,000 people before even so much as releasing a debut album, Wet Leg have found themselves now a household name. Less than a year after the release of Chaise Longue this week Wet Leg released their highly anticipated, debut, self-titled album.
Our verdict: “Wet Leg’s debut sees them address the confusion of being a young adult getting to know themselves through witty, catchy songs filled with one-liners that could easily see the band go down the comedy avenue instead. An absolute all-rounder, Wet Leg are destined to feed hungry listeners with this release – and will even leave them hungry for more.”
3. Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia
Its been just over 3 years since Dublin post-punk 5-piece Fontaines D.C. released their debut album, Dogrel, which went on to receive a Mercury Prize nomination, and was doused in love by both fans and critics alike, with many calling it 2019s Album of the Year, A Hero’s Death, the bands second album, followed in July 2020, seeing the band receive a Grammy nomination, and allowing them to sell-out venues across the globe. Their third album, Skinty Fia is set to see the band reach new heights.
Our verdict: “Skinty Fia is a loaded listen, introducing itself as an album that is not supposed to be listened to as separate tracks – but rather as a complete listen where all the tracks latch on to each other harmoniously. Feeling like an instant classic from the offset, Skinty Fia proves Fontaines D.C. to be one of the most vital bands of this generation.”
2. Nilüfer Yanya – PAINLESS
‘Unique’ is an overused word – it gets thrown around like confetti at a wedding. Unfortunately for thesaurus enthusiasts, it really is the best descriptor of Nilüfer Yanya’s sound. Her sonic branding is so strikingly her own that she has all but established her own genre, and in the span of just two LPs.
Our verdict: “PAINLESS is, more than anything, engaging. Even within sparser tracks, the delicate gold-leaf layering of sound that Yanya employs throughout means that, ten listens in, new appreciation can be gleaned from elements previously unnoticed. It has the power of not only relevance, but longevity. And what better thought is there than enduring painlessness?”
1. Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
It’s clear from track one that the lavishly-titled Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky is another rung up from Porridge Radio’s already skyscraping previous album Every Bad. ‘Back To The Radio’ – it’s a phrase that reads like a newscaster directing very earned attention back to [Porridge] Radio.
Our verdict: “Indeed, Waterslide… provides a dueling sense of comfort and discomfort; its content is deeply personal, but universal, an exorcism for its creators and a corroboration for its listeners. It has hordes of likeminds in its introspection. It is a gift for all. “