alt-J — “The Dream”
Released in February, “The Dream” is alt-J’s second studio album since the release of “RELAXER” in 2017. In an interview with Atwood Magazine, drummer Thom Green said that in the six years since the recording of “RELAXER,” they returned to the studio with a greater sense of “maturity … grounding, better well-being and mental health.”
The most popular tracks on the album include “U&ME,” “Hard Drive Gold” and “Get Better.” This album is chopped full of eccentric vocals and discordant yet dreamy harmonies. If you are a fan of Broken Bells, TV On The Radio or Grizzly Bear, this could be your new favorite album.
Beach House — “Once Twice Melody”
Pitchfork’s gleaming review of this album said “you don’t listen to ‘Once Twice Melody,’ you dissolve into it.” Released in February, the album feels like a coming-of-age movie, with 18 songs full of gut-wrenchingly beautiful lyrics and climactic melodies. If you’re a fan of Beach Fossils, Cocteau Twins, Alvvays or Melody’s Echo Chamber, consider giving this album a listen.
Orville Peck — “Bronco”
In April, Orville Peck released his second studio album, “Bronco.” He released the songs in three segments, or “chapters,” in the months leading up to the album’s release. Through “Bronco” and his first record, “Pony,” Peck has managed to take a modern twist on mid-century Americana and country and make it mainstream. The queer Canadian cowboy has amassed a cult following in recent years through his impressive vocals, nostalgic sound and extravagant, theatrical wardrobe.
Wet Leg — “Wet Leg”
British indie band Wet Leg released their first self-titled studio album in April. Rolling Stone said the album is “the sneeringly sarcastic, relentlessly catchy post-punk album the world has been fiending for.” The album contains the duo’s usual crystal-clear vocals, provocative lyrics and relatable storylines — this time all about annoying exes, antisocial desires, getting high with crushes and the experiences of today’s younger generations. The most popular song on the album, “Wet Dream,” has already amassed 44 million streams on Spotify. If you are curious about the origins of the band’s name, it is slang for a self-pitying person.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — “Omnium Gatherum”
Also in April, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released their 24th album, “Omnium Gatherum.” In an interview with Exberliner, the Australian psychedelic-rock band said “we were just ready to give something really fun and it was just an amazing album to make.” The title of the record is Latin for a “collection of miscellaneous things,” much in line with the album’s whimsical tapestry of sound and concept. If you’re a fan of modern psychedelic rock, this record is certainly worth a listen.
Father John Misty — “Chloë and the Next 20th Century”
Another pick from April is Father John Misty’s “Chloë and the Next 20th Century.” Compared to Misty’s usual folk-alternative discography, this record took a swing at jazz. As surprising as it may have been, it is a beautiful album. In Pitchfork’s review, it was described as a “lushly orchestrated, wryly comic collection of vignettes that all depend upon the timelessness of a love song.” Josh Tillman’s reputation for being an incredible storyteller and lyricist shine in this album, as seen with tracks like “Chloe” and “Q4”.
of Montreal — “Freewave Lucifer F<ck F^ck F>ck”
In July, the American indie pop band of Montreal released their 24th studio album, “Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck.” While the album is as whimsical as their past records, it certainly has a darker feel. Pitchfork’s review of the record called it “a transfixing, chimeric work of art.” In an interview with The Woodward, lead singer and songwriter Kevin Barnes said “being able to make the record was a therapeutic experience,” following the loss of his mother and dog the year before its release.
Metric — “Formentera”
Also in July, Metric released “Formentera.” The band is best known for their song “Black Sheep,” which appeared in the cult classic film “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Under the Radar’s review of the record said “you could view the album as one that comes in three acts: anxiety, escapism and catharsis.” The opening track, “Doomscroller,” has a runtime of 10 and a half minutes and, according to Pitchfork, is the most notable song on the album. As for the entirety of the release, Pitchfork said “the Canadian new wave torchbearers interrogate their career and mourn the death of a kind of rockstar success even as they celebrate their achievement of it.”
Hot Chip — “Freakout/Release”
Hot Chip also released an album in July: “Freakout/Release.” The album is upbeat and has a nostalgic indie-pop sound. In an interview with Stereogum, lead vocalist Alexis Taylor said “tracks like ‘Freakout/Release,’ ‘Down,’ ‘Time,’ ‘Eleanor‘ are quite either uptempo or, in the case of ‘Time’ and ‘Freakout/Release,’ quite frenetic.” Pitchfork described it as joining “doubt with deliverance over the cleansing pulse of a disco beat.” If you’re a fan of bands like LCD Soundsystem, Metronomy or Cut Copy you might be doing yourself a disservice by not giving this record a listen.
The Mountain Goats — “Bleed Out”
The Mountain Goats released “Bleed Out” in August. The album is refreshing, with its take on hard folk rock led primarily by guitar. The entire record has a sense of catharsis about it, particularly in tracks like “Mark on You,” “Training Montage” and “Incandescent Ruins.” According to lead singer John Darnielle, much of the album is inspired by action movies.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs — “Cool it Down”
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, best known for their song “Heads Will Roll,” released this album in September, roughly nine years after their last album. Pitchfork’s review of “Cool it Down” said the band has “reaffirmed their magnetic devotion to unearthing vulnerability.” NPR said the album is “both an intuitive and exhilarating step forward” for the group. If you’re a fan of St Vincent, Arcade Fire or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, you are sure to get a kick out of this record.
Melody’s Echo Chamber — “Unfold”
Melody’s Echo Chamber released her second album of 2022, “Unfold,” in September. Like her earlier music, this record combines hard psychedelic instrumentals with soft vocals, creating a fantastic and all-encompassing sound. Much of the album was produced by Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. This album is likely to be a hit with fans of Pond, Foxygen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala, or psychedelic rock as a whole.
Courting — “Guitar Music”
Also in September, Courting released “Guitar Music.” The album is a combination of different elements of pop music, particularly hyper pop, which produce a totally original sound. “From head-scratching to head-banging, Courting transforms observations from our bizarre reality into vivid storytelling and ambitious song structure, all in an effort to push pop further into the future,” Pitchfork said in an album review. In an interview with Alternative Press, frontman Sean Murphy-O’Neill said he “hope[s] people don’t judge this album as if we’re an indie band trying to be shocking, and more that we just really like the music that we’re making.”
Alvvays — “Blue Rev”
In October, Alvvays released their first album since 2017, “Blue Rev.” This record may be the best received on this list — it has the highest Pitchfork rating by far (an 8.8 out of 10). For comparison, most of the other records in this article scored somewhere in the sevens. It was described as “a triumph of power pop, a densely layered, witty, blithe and beautiful record that sets a new benchmark for the genre.” The track “Belinda Says” even took the number one spot on Pitchfork’s “Best 100 Songs of 2022” list. This album is perfect for fans of Japanese Breakfast, Soccer Mommy, Jay Som and Tennis.
Weyes Blood — “And in Darkness, Hearts Aglow”
Weyes Blood released her fifth studio album, “And in Darkness, Hearts Aglow,” in November and received rave reviews. Rolling Stone described the album as “a beautifully wrought pop record that grapples with the disquiet hanging over the globe.” Variety said “her writing registers with crisp clarity, cutting to the bone of the themes she is excavating.”
The album is also among Pitchfork’s top-rated, having a score of 8.4 out of 10. It was described as “an idiosyncratic set of love songs and secular hymns with lushly orchestral arrangements.” If you are a fan of Julia Jacklin, Spellling, Drugdealer or Cate Le Bon, chances are you will adore this album.
Phoenix — “Alpha Zulu”
Finally, in November, Phoenix released “Alpha Zulu.” A review by Variety said “it hardly seems likely that they’d make the most fresh-sounding album since the one that lit up the alt-rock charts in 2009, ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’ — but they’ve done it with ‘Alpha Zulu.’” Similarly, Pitchfork said “Phoenix’s euphoric synth-rock sounds as good as it ever has, the songs gushing with renewed enthusiasm and glittery production.” The group even collaborated with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koening on “Tonight.” If you are a fan of indie rock in any capacity, be sure to give this album a listen.