Today & Tomorrow: Top Tunes of 2022

Here it is! The 20th edition of my Top Tunes list, whereby I publicly call to attention all the audio delights that tickled my eardrums these last twelve months. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Or that this year is finally ending. Or that it’s ending already. I don’t know anymore, time is so weird. Just like some of the tunes on this here list (segue!)

According to my Apple Music ‘Replay’ I listened to 41,541 minutes of streaming music this year — this is 114 minutes per day! I also listen to KEXP all day in the photo studio and to my own record collection in the evenings. Plus there is offline digital and listening with friends. Do I have other interests? Well, yes. But it is safe to say, music means the world to me. This is why I love to share with you.

This year we have million dollar beats paired off against futuristic exotica. Dark shoegaze once again nudges up against indie rock and dream pop. Sparse jazzy sounds and blissful tropical vibes. We have artists from around the world and no list these days is worth anything without a dash of Sault. Fire up your streamer and dig in!

SAULT – 11, Earth, Untitled (God), Today & Tomorrow, Aiir
By now, you know of my deep love for Sault. Back in June of 2019 my musical life changed for the better when I discovered ‘5’. Since then, I have told every single person I know (and many I don’t) about them. So it’s no surprise they are at the top of my list for the fourth year in a row! Sault is an amazing, anonymous collective of musicians with no interviews, no photos, no label, no tour, no marketing. It’s about the music, pure and simple — how refreshing in lieu of ‘image rules everything’. This year saw five full lengths at once (plus a triptych of a track on the ‘X’ EP). Sweet soul music, trippy psychedelic rock, spiritual poetry, deep earthy drumming and lots of funk — all of it given away for free and absolutely perfect for these times. I will champion this group until I die. Today I like 11 and Earth best, but tomorrow is another day. Listen/Buy

Lucrecia Dalt – ¡Ay!
This floored me when I first heard it. Each time I listen again, I am floored. I loved her last release ‘No Era Sólida’ but this one just took me places, far away places. It’s quiet, strange, experimental (wha? sign me up!). Lots of bolero, son and other Colombian traditions are here, filtered through strangeness, and something akin to futuristic exotica. I feel like I am just discovering a secret deep in the cosmic rain forest, one I blissfully embraced and allowed to infiltrate my dreams. It’s perfect. Listen/Buy

Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Like many of us, I got tickets for this gig back when they had one or two songs to their name. I figured there was no way I would still be interested by the time the concert came. I also wondered how any band would sustain buzz after that first perfect single. Well, somehow they have enamoured me and I have to say this album rocks from start to finish. Sure their concert was like 45 minutes and ended with Wham! Sure, they are almost more entertaining as awkward people in the spotlight, but hey, I like the Breeders a lot and hence, Wet Leg got a lot of play this summer. It’s just good fun. Listen/Buy

Rosalía – Motomami
I was introduced to this right after that Wet Leg concert, and I was then up all night listening on headphones (still buzzed from the show). This was a most unexpected sound – killer vocals, totally experimental songwriting and delivery, a mash up of styles I am quite fond of. I listen to so much in the Spanish language, one day I might just know what she’s on about! Her concert would be dynamite, but I am not holding my breath. Instead, I’ll keep this in rotation til the sun comes back. And then some. Listen/Buy

Perera Elsewhere – Home
I loved her Everlast EP so much she was on my 2013 Best Of list. I happened upon a new song and found out she has more music than I realized! This is one deep, moody and downright dubby album. Her vocals are so good, the music is at times sparse, then dense with dark beats. I only just learned she fronted Jahcoozi, after listening to that band since the mid-00s. This all makes sense to me now. Listen/Buy

Beyoncé – Renaissance
This album is a party and way too much fun. Yep, I’m a Beyoncé fan – surprise! I will admit it. She is an incredible artist and I don’t know of any album this year that will get you moving like this one. It just sounds incredible, like million dollar beats on every song (likely!). I love Virgo’s Groove, it was made just for me, I know it ;) Listen/Buy

Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia
I got into this band not long after they played here for the Dogrel album. Curses!! I couldn’t believe they slipped under my radar — Dogrel is now a classic release imho. This one expands into dark shoegaze, post-punk psychedelia, traditional folk songs, Gaelic chants. On my Best Of in years past, and after seeing their explosive show in May, Fontaines DC are back here for more. Like me, give me more Fontaines! Listen/Buy

Kevin Morby – This is a Photograph
With ‘This is a Photograph’, Kevin Morby dropped his most immediate set of songs…ever. Some of his tunes — Harlem River, I Have Been to the Mountain — are mainstays in my life. Especially camping, you can do no wrong playing some KevMo. I like all his stuff except ‘Oh My God’ – sorry Kev. The live show brought these songs to life in a magical way — enchanting female vocals, violin, soft whispers on lyrics and plenty of joy amongst the sad sounding songs. Keep ’em coming! Listen/Buy

Beach House – Once Twice Melody
I fell for this band back in the Sasquatch-heavy 00s and this album feels to me like the culmination of their work. Hard to choose a favourite among from their illustrious career, but this album has bits of everything. Even some trap drums mixed in there at times. I appreciate the synth arpeggios that seem to bubble up to the forefront at just the right times. Fantastic songwriting, and the atmosphere is undeniable. Listen/Buy

Szun Waves – Earth Patterns
Instrumental vibes taking one to another dimension. A trio of electronics, saxophone, drums. It is grounded on earth, as they say, but the space surrounding these songs suggest otherwise. Take it all in, wide screen. Listen/Buy

Sam Gendel – blue blue
An album to get lost to. To work with, to read or think to. For night time or early mornings. Sam Gendel has a lot of great releases and collabs these last years but I find myself coming back to ‘blue blue’ for just the right amount of musical brain tickling. Listen/Buy

Sessa – Astrela Acesa
Music from Brazil is amongst my favourite in the world. As with Spanish, you’d think I would know Portuguese by now with all the Brazilian records I own. Subconsciously seeping in, and when I visit Brazil it’ll all just make sense. I wish. Sessa seems to be from another time, a golden time in Brazil where the sounds of Tropicalia and MBP mixed, the acoustic guitar with the samba ‘n’ bossa rhythms, the incredible-I’m-sure lyrics. It’s such a good vibe, I can’t imagine it would offend anyone (except lyrically, who knows haha). Listen/Buy


Not lesser, just different — I fully recommend checking these out, too!

Just Mustard – Heart Under

Working Mens Club – Fear Fear

Black Angels – Wilderness of Tears

Wombo – Fairy Rust

Goat – Oh Death

Jenny Hval – Classic Objects

Iara Rennó – Oríki

Nadine Khouri – Another Life


Essential Logic – Land of Kali

Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento – s/t

Gabriels – Angels & Queens Pt. 1

Protoje – Third Times the Charm

Revelators Sound System – Revelators

Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin – Ali

Horace Andy – Midnight Scorchers

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