We’re doing it again, folks! Let’s do this year’s list in the format of “fake awards that I just made up”.
- The Probably My Album of the Year Award and Album that had the Best Live Show of the Year
Natural Brown Prom Queen by Sudan Archives
I played the absolute heck out of this album this year. Absolutely addictive. Each track is absolutely stuffed with ideas—a gorgeous little moment will pass, one that could easily have been enough for a whole song, and you think “surely I will hear that bit again”, but no, the track will take a left turn and you’ll just have to listen to the whole album again later, for the one millionth time. Also the show at the Independent in San Francisco was ridiculously good fun.
- The No-Hype Album of the Year
liminal spaces by zzzahara
Completely different vibes but I can’t choose between this and Natural Brown Prom Queen as my favorite of the year. Bandcamp put me on to it, and thank god for that because it’s criminally underhyped. Amazing singing voice and “get out of la” is an all-timer.
- The “Too Good to Just Say ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ Because That Seems Needlessly Dismissive” Award
7th Hand by Immanuel Wilkins
Feels like an instant classic with astonishing breadth and depth. The live show was incredibly powerful—left me feeling exhausted, in the best way. Improvisation of the highest quality; patient, precise, insistent.
- Guest Feature of the Year
Spell 31 by Ibeyi
Already a top album with great vocals, then Pa Salieu shows up on “Made of Gold” to take it to the stratosphere.
- Extremely Hard Not to Dance To Award
Electricity by Ibibio Sound Machine
High energy and full of hooks.
- Man, 2022 was a Long Year Award
Caprisongs by FKA twigs
Released January 2022, which was four years ago.
- Sometimes You Just Need Guitars Award
Fall In Love Not In Line by Kids on a Crime Spree
Great album name. Good clean fun.
- Feels Like the 90s Award
Hurray for the Riff Raff by Pierced Arrows
I promise I mean “feels like the 90s” as a compliment. Hooks for days on this record.
- Feels Like the 00s Award
PAINLESS by Nilufer Yanya
Everything on this album feels so very polished, which for some reason really makes me think of everything that was big in the early 2000s. “stabilise” is a great song.
- Standout in a Crowded Field Award
Twisted Bases by Crystal Murray
Of all the mildly sleazy R&B I enjoyed this year (lots), I think this is the sleeper hit.
- Opening Track of the Year Award
Two Ribbons by Let’s Eat Grandma
Shout out to everyone (me) who will play “Happy New Year” this New Year.
- The They’re Back Award
Cool It Down by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
They make it look so easy, which I’m quite sure it is not.
- The CRJ Released an Album this Year Award for Best CRJ Album of the Year
The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jepsen
Look, it’s never not going to be on my list.
- The SAULT Award for Being the Most SAULT
11 by SAULT
Look, if they keep releasing a million albums a year in a thousand different genres, they keep getting on the list. Those are the rules.
- The “Where is my Download Code” Award
Radiate Like This by Warpaint
Typically excellent album by Warpaint that I bought on vinyl but did not come with a download code. Bummer!
- Last But Not Least Award
Running in Waves by George Riley
See you next year!