Wet Leg

Wet Leg

Top 10 Albums of 2022


Gus Englehorn
Dungeon Master
Secret City Records [2022]

Montreal singer-songwriter Gus Englehorn’s sophomore record, Dungeon Master, may be one of the most unique listens TFN put its ear on this year. The album was written in a cabin but it sounds much bigger with its frequent rock out moments from Englehorn’s guitar mashing with his drummer and wife, Estée Preda. The energy is real but everything about the record in the beginning may have you really questioning this ranking but I beg you to give Gus a chance. He has a higher pitched voice which takes some warming up to but then the harmonies blanket you in Dungeon Master and the record will strike your indie spine like lightning hits a metal rod. Dungeon Master is an album that needs repeat spins to absorb its greatness. The lyrics at times have a humorous tone and will make you smile with its very Dead Milkmen vibe. Dungeon Master is fun, catchy, weirdly intense and overall just a great listen. It is an album that you had no idea would be this good but you will not want to take it out of the playlist after one spin!


Black Country, New Road
Ants From Up There
Ninja Tune [2022]

When Black Country, New Road released their debut (last year’s For The First Time), they were lumped together with a slew of new UK bands who mixed post-punk arrangements, prog-rock structures, and half-spoken/half-sung vocals. But even within that group BCNR seemed like an anomaly, a seven-piece band stretching out their tracks to epic proportions while mixing in elements of eastern European music. With Ants From Up Here BCNR have not only managed a record that easily matches the quality of For The First Time, they’ve improved on it in just about every way. Ants From Up Here is more diverse, confidently exploring different sounds and moods over the course of its nine tracks (plus a short intro). A few days before Ants From Up Here’s release date, singer Isaac Woods announced his departure from BCNR. For some bands the loss of a front-man might call into question their future, but the remaining members have continued on with new songs as the remaining members now share vocal duties. Time will tell if Black Country, New Road can maintain their already high level output but they have a large fanbase already cheering them on!


Kendra Morris
Nine Lives
Karma Chief/Colemine Records [2022]

Kendra Morris has been releasing music for over a decade. She joined the ever-expanding roster of Colemine Records imprint Karma Chief in 2021 with her excellent single “This Life.” Blending classic soul sounds with modern production and a slight psychedelic feel, the single set high expectations for her debut album on the Loveland, Ohio label. Nine Lives proves that the success of “This Life” was no fluke and lived up to the hype. As the title suggests, Kendra Morris inhabits several different emotional, psychological, and musical spaces over the course of Nine Lives. Most people can probably relate to all these feelings in 2022, and the emotional punch is only made stronger by the sincere songs and passionate performances themselves. Nine Lives is a timeless listen from beginning to end!


Pray 4 Tomorrow
Mint Records [2022]

Vancouver’s Dumb shows progression here on their third full length Pray 4 Tomorrow, but the overall group sound did not drastically change. The band already has produced two solid indie post-punk albums and Pray 4 Tomorrow carried everything that was great about their previous efforts forward. Dumb’s frenzied yet focused slacker rock is in full effect with fast-paced songs and plenty of quick rhythm shifts. Pray 4 Tomorrow has even tighter song structures with laser focus and a maturity in both songwriting and musicianship. There are 18 tracks which gives the band plenty of creative room as you will find several ska Specials like vibes, a couple of folk tunes with vocals from bassist Shelby Vredik, and a series of stylistic rants that sounds like the band has been playing some classic DC hardcore. Pray 4 Tomorrow can be both noisy and melodic and both at the same time. It is an album that is smart and engaging as its content almost mocks the band’s name. Dumb is anything but!


Guided By Voices
Crystal Nuns Cathedral
GBV Inc. [2022]

If we asked you today to make a list of current rock bands that have been putting out consistent albums over the last several years what names would you write down? Still thinking? Is Guided By Voices on your list and looking fairly lonely at the top? Guess what – we have the same list. Sure, there is plenty of great new music out there with a multitude of artists blending genres and finding new spaces between the chords but where is the classic rock vibe that many of us grew up on? Guided By Voices’ 35th album, Crystal Nuns Cathedral, is the answer and it solidifies their current rock ranking with boisterous guitars, pounding skins and big sing along moments. Crystal Nuns Cathedral is really a continuation of GBV’s modernized classic rock sound from the last several years that just keeps evolving. Song after song, Crystal Nuns Cathedral just rocks out. Crystal Nuns Cathedral was one of the best more traditional rock records TFN heard this year, as it never once gave you any indication that it wasn’t!


MJ Lenderman
Boat Songs
Dear Life Records [2022]

Jake Lenderman, aka MJ, is from Asheville, North Carolina and the guitarist for indie group Wednesday. His solo work has a very DIY vibe compared to Wednesday but retains its indie spirt. Lenderman has a voice that sounds like Gram Parsons met J Mascis and is built for both country and indie rock. It is that dusty road that many bands travel like Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt and Old 97’s but where MJ turns the narrative a bit is that his music also reflects some elements of Neutral Milk Hotel, Built To Spill and Yo La Tengo. This Americana meets articulate indie rock gives every track on Boat Songs its own unique groove and confidence with just a touch of polish above a true lo-fi delivery. This combination of the rock spectrum comes together perfectly into an addictive mix as MJ Lenderman released one of the more under the radar great releases of 2022.


Blue Rev
Polyvinyl Records [2022]

Toronto’s Alvvays never intended to take five years to finish their third album, but life happens (a theft, a flood, border lockdowns) and that is how much time had passed since their catchy smart sophomore record Antisocialites was released. With the passing of nine years since Alvvays’ self-titled debut album this band has now matured in front of our ears as their new long player, Blue Rev, is not only the bands best album to date but its most sophisticated and mature. Alvvays uses multiple vocal layers and swirling effects within tracks to keep the listening experience fresh and current but also have created something here that goes beyond the standard music we have heard before from them or honestly – many of their contemporaries. Every component, be it instrument or voice, on Blue Rev sounds bigger and more dynamic as singer Molly Rankin guides each track with ease and confidence. These 14 tracks really will mesmerize your sonic experience as Alvvays have found a way to successfully inject their pop style into a shoegaze cloud that has resulted in one of the best albums released in 2022!


The Smile
A Light For Attracting Attention
XL Recordings [2022]

What a surprise release this became that blew past any expectations. The Smile being comprised of Radiohead members Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, bass, keys) and Jonny Greenwood (guitar, bass, keys) with drummer Tom Skinner should be good but like any Radiohead “side project” release, it could be a simple placeholder. Except it wasn’t and all signs point to maybe Radiohead being absent for a bit so The Smile feels bigger now then when the record released back in May. A Light For Attracting Attention comes with a certain aggression that we haven’t seen in a Radiohead album in a while. It’s this quality that makes it a beautiful new experience that is interesting, engaging and stretches the imagination. This fresh challenge finds Yorke and Greenwood sounding rejuvenated and with producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead’s longtime producer) behind the boards there is a spark to The Smile that leaves us in awe on A Light For Attracting Attention and of course – wanting more!


Alex G
God Save The Animals
Domino [2022]

God Save The Animals is Alex Giannascoli’s, aka Alex G, ninth album at the young age of 29. He has been a staple on the indie DIY scene for years now and continues to push his own boundaries as a singer songwriter with every release. Although the topic matter here was incredibly deep, the music landscape that Alex G creates kept the mood lighter as the music has the ability to mesmerize your ear on each track. From some early vocal trickery to a closing appearance from Jessica Lea Mayfield, Alex G consistently surprised you with a song’s direction. “Runner” was easily one of TFN’s favorite indie singles released this year with its straight forward guitar rock vibe, off-kilter vocals and catchy chorus. Elsewhere, Alex G’s experimentation never goes wrong and offers up so many memorable moments that takes God Save The Animals to its higher level. Alex G continues to evolve before your ears on God Save The Animals and is completely willing to colour outside the lines. For some artists, it can be a balancing act not to lose your core when changing the formula. Alex G perfectly walks the line and not only gives longtime fans an album they will adore but easily expanded his fanbase with the smartly played God Save The Animals.

#10 – Album of the Year

Wet Leg
Wet Leg
Domino Recording Company [2022]

“Excuse me?”, “What?” is the inquisitive back n’ forth question that gets repeatedly posed between Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers on the catchy single “Chaise Lounge” from the British indie band Wet Leg. Its surprise not surprised delivery tone is just one of the cool moments you can hear throughout this fantastic self-titled debut. Not many times does a record with hype live up to its potential but Wet Leg went beyond as this self-titled debut captures a confidence and witty prowess of its members. Each track has lyrics that grab your attention while Teasdale has a great voice and can handle the lead singer spotlight much like Debbie Harry, Karen O or PJ Harvey. Wet Leg is an album from a young and carefree band that is filled with enduring pieces of indie rock. Wet Leg’s smarts will impress you, their crassness will put you on edge and their musicianship will keep you coming back! Not many times do we know our album of the year early on but we’ve been waiting for something to knock Wet Leg out of the #1 spot since April. Well – it never happened as Wet Leg is a perfect album of the year!

The Fire Note writers
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