YES THANK YOU: The Best of a Bounty of Absorbing, Motorvating, Challenging, Exciting Albums Gifted Us By 2022

190 albums of new music I can sit down with and which will at the very least engage and stimulate me enough to play them again. 45 albums of music made in the past that’s been reissued or freshly excavated that make me realize I’m never going to get to the point where I don’t have to dive into the past anymore and simply live in the musical moment. Does it all make me feel something akin to Jerry Lee Lewis’ music does? No–none of it does. It makes me feel new and different things, though; Live at the Star Club was a high bar for all popular performers when it came out, has been in the interim, and will continue to be, I can hear it first second to last in my head without having to put it on, and it still makes my skin prickle. BUT I’m all about feeling new feelings (and thinking new thoughts) (and experiencing new physical reactions) today’s music (be it acoustic or electric or organic) can conjure before I die. It’s been a salve as well as a shot in the arm and ass for me all year, and simply surveying the diversity of the list stuns me…and gives me hope. That last is important, because I seriously contemplate (once in a while) the possibility, voiced by folks far more educated than I am, that we’re a virus on this globe. We aren’t, or at least we don’t have to be, and we choose to be, at least some of us will create sounds that honor us, and help us go down feeling fully alive. Merry fucking Christmas, eh? YES. Merry fucking Christmas!

Relatively Merry Musings:

  1. It’s absurd to try and put 190 (or even 45) records in precise modern music lovers’ order. After about #30, the procession gets a little I-Chingish; even so, days after I publish these, I find myself thinking, “Why’d I put that at #112?” I’m not gonna drive myself crazy, though. I feel pretty strongly about my Top 30, though when the wonderful and exacting Facebook group Expert Witness and the comfortably less exacting Facebook group Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll comes a-calling for my final Top 10, mine might not be THIS Top 10. WON’T be THIS Top 10. Might even have something in it not even among these 235 slabs.
  2. Thank you to one of my phenomenal Stephens College students (also a single mom) (also a veteran of our Middle Eastern wars) for writing an amazing essay on Mary Gauthier’s Rifles and Rosary Beads, which I forced on her (“folk music is not my jam”) and she ended up admiring, and giving a great presentation and handing in a nice research paper on previous-unknown-to-me Colombian-Canadian Jessie Reyez. Reyez has gotten her through some rough nights and I understand why.
  3. I am a Little Simz self-starter. Though, pre-Grey Area, I merely appreciate her work, from that point on I’ve gone starry-eared, and her brand-spanking-new one, delicately Saulted, is no exception. She sounds great, she writes tough, and she inspires. I may come down to Earth in the next month, but I can’t worry about that now.
  4. I have a California friend named Chris who often feeds me fuel I somehow miss, and he recently passed along a powerful, even rowdy record from Kinshasa, Lady Aicha and Pisko Crane’s N’Djila Wa Mudujimu, that moved me to immediately buy a vinyl copy. I could picture myself playing it over and over–and milady also seriously digs music from many African countries. I owe ya, Chris. THAT one may move UP.
  5. Petrol Girls’ new album lives up to the band name. On fire, and fire burns.
  6. Los Angeles’ Juke Bounce Werk label, which I just learned about a couple weeks ago, submitted an inexpensive 52-song comp of consistently propulsive–I dare say bangin’–dance music on Bandcamp. I thought, “Wow! I need to tell people about this!” Then I noticed it was the 10TH VOLUME of such compilations. Where’s the longform piece on these folks?
  7. Above, I mentioned the Facebook group Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll, which ably–I mean, ably–replaces the Voice’s influential but very gone original poll. Honestly, I like the Facebook version better: it’s more personal, interactive, flexible, surprising, funny–and group members’ early Top 10 submissions remind even the most avid music consumer that YOU CAN’T LISTEN TO EVERYTHING. Together, though, we can. I knew nothing about Mama’s Broke, took a flyer on Mama’s Broke’s Narrow Line on name and title alone from another user’s list…and heard echoes of Dock Boggs and The Carter Family modernized expertly for Struggle 2022. If I’d read about it, I’d have thought, “Not my jam”; it is my jam and peanut butter, too. Generic jars of each, because they’re more affordable.
  8. I came late to both Tyler Childers’ and Pillbox Patti’s albums. Childers had won my heart by writing a song about jacking off on the road, but I’d lost touch with him–and was a bit cold-cocked by his sober-Gram-Parsons gospel album. I knew nothing about Pillbox Patti, but I’d just finished Patrick Haddon Keefe’s Sackler-skewing Empire of Pain, which set me up to be knocked out by her tales of Parsonian heart-pain and substance reliance. Talk about a country paradigm.
  9. Anyone out there annually purchase Blues Images‘ calendar-and-CD combo that keeps the world of country blues alive? Well, hate to tell ya, this one’s the last one–they can’t afford to keep knocking them out. Follow that preceding link to help John Tefteller and crew go out in much-deserved fine and dignified style. PLUS? The accompanying CD, which includes the most amazing job of restoration of ’20s records I’ve heard so far, will stun you.
  10. Can you resist cumbia? I cannot. The two cumbia compilations, one from Mexico, the other from Peru, both from the esteemed Analog Africa label, that I just added to my archival dig list, aren’t just fun–they add twists, even experimentation, to that addictive rhythm.
  11. (Bonus Track I) Dickie Landry. No one like him.
  12. (Bonus Track II) D. Boon died UNJUSTLY–damn you, cosmos–on December 22, 1985. Too cool to be forgotten, corndog.


(New additions to the list are bolded.)

  1. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  2. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  3. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  4. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  5. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  6. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  7. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  8. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  9. Jeff Parker ETA IVTet: Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy(Eremite)
  10. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  11. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  12. Harry Styles: Harry’s House (Columbia)
  13. Sun Ra Arkestra (featuring Marshall Allen): Living Sky (Strut / Omni Sound)
  14. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  15. Amanda Shires: Take It Like a Man (ATO)
  16. Little Simz: NO THANK YOU (Forever Living Originals)
  17. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  18. Patricia Brennan: More Touch (Pyroclastic)
  19. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  20. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  21. SAULT: Untitled (God)(self-released)
  22. Lady Aicha & Pisko Crane’s Original Fulu Miziki of Kinshasa: N’Djili Wa Mudujimu (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  23. Sudan ArchivesNatural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
  24. Gogol Bordello: Solidaritine (Das Grand Kapital)
  25. Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City)
  26. Ashley McBryde: Presents…Lindeville (Warner Nashville)
  27. Steve Lacy: Gemini Rights (RCA)
  28. Suzi Analogue: Infinite Zonez (Never Normal)
  29. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  30. Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn: Pigments(Merge)
  31. Various Artists: Sowal Diabi—From Kabul to Bamako (Accords Croises)
  32. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  33. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  34. Anitta: Versions of Me (Deluxe) (Warner)
  35. Ka: Languish Arts (Iron Works)
  36. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  37. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  38. SAULT: Today & Tomorrow(self-released)
  39. The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out (Merge)
  40. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  41. The Ogun Meji DuoFreedom Suite (self-released)
  42. PhelimuncasiAma Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  43. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  44. Bruno Berle: No Reino Dos Afetos(Far Out)
  45. The Chats: Get Fucked (Cooking Vinyl)
  46. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  47. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  48. Jeong Lim Yang: Zodiac Suite—Reassured(Fresh Sound)
  49. WeFreeStrings: Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage (ESP-Disk)
  50. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  51. Homeboy Sandman: I Can’t Sell These (self-released)
  52. Horsegirl: “Billy” / “History Lesson, Part II” (Matador)
  53. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  54. Makaya McCraven: In These Times (International Anthem)
  55. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  56. Buck 65: King of Drums (4320739 Records DK)
  57. JID: The Forever Story (Dreamville/Interscope)
  58. Mdou Moctar: Niger EP Volume 1 (Matador)
  59. ifsonever: ifsonever (Jazz & Milk)
  60. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  61. Satoko Fujii: One Hundred Dreams (Libra)
  62. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  63. Special Interest: Endure (Rough Trade)
  64. Petrol Girls: Baby (Hassle)
  65. James Brandon Lewis: MSM Molecular Systematic Music—Live (Intakt)
  66. Kari Faux: Lowkey Superstar(Don Giovanni)
  67. Adeem the Artist: White Trash Revelry(self-released)
  68. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  70. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  71. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  72. Iara Renno: Oriki (self-released)
  73. Dr. John: Things Happen That Way (Rounder)
  74. Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers (On-U Sound)
  75. Ka: Woeful Studies (Iron Works)
  76. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  77. Various Artists: Juke Bounce Werk Presents JBDUBZ Volume X (Juke Bounce Werk)
  78. Lucrecia Dalt: Ay!(RVNG International)
  79. GloRilla: Anyways, Life’s Great (CMG/Interscope)
  80. Mama’s Broke: Narrow Line (Free Dirt)
  81. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  82. Tyshawn Sorey: The Off-Off Broadway Guide to Synergism (Pi)
  83. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  84. Florian ArbenzConversation #5—Elemental; Conversations #6 and 7
  85. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  86. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  87. Jussi ReijonenThree Seconds I Kolme Toista (Challenge Records International)
  88. Ran Blake: Driftwoods (Tompkins Square)
  89. Whit Dickey: Root Perspectives (Tao Forms)
  90. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  91. Ishmael Reed: The Hands of Grace(Reading Group)
  92. Dan Ex MachinaAll is Ours, Nothing is Theirs (self-released)
  93. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  94. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  95. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen(Pi Recordings)
  96. Tom ZéLingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  97. Tyler Childers: Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven (Hickman Holler)
  98. Joyce Moreno: Brasilieras Cancoes(Biscoito Fino)
  99. M.I.A.: Mata(Island)
  100. Pillbox Patti: Florida (Monument)
  101. Elaine Elias: Quietude(Candid)
  102. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  103. Rick Rosato: Homage (self-released)
  104. The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field (Carpark)
  105. Alvvays: Blue Rev(Polyvinyl / Transgressive)
  106. Ari Lennox: age/sex/location (Dreamville/Interscope)
  107. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  108. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  109. SeaJun Kwon: Micro Nap (Endectomorph Music)
  110. Gilla Band: Most Normal(Rough Trade)
  111. Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork(4AD)
  112. Jessie Reyez: Yessie (FMLY/Island)
  114. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  115. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity:Elastic Wave (ECM)
  116. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  117. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  118. The Comet is Coming: Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam(Impulse)
  119. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  120. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: I’m Good, HBU? (Distorted Muse)
  121. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  122. Charm Taylor: She Is The Future (Sinking City)
  123. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  124. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  125. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom (Cuneiform) 
  126. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  127. Crow Billiken (aka R.A.P. Ferreira): If I don’t have red I use blue (self-released)
  128. Dopolarians: Blues for Alvin Fielder—Live at Crosstown Arts, Memphis(Mahakala Music)
  129. The Paranoid Style: For Executive Meeting(Bar/None)
  130. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  131. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  132. Tasche de la Rocha: Tasche de la Rocha & The Psychedelic Roses (Sinking City)
  133. Meridian Brothers and El Grupo & Renacimiento (Ansonia)
  134. Avram Fefer Quartet: Juba Lee(Clean Feed)
  135. Jeffrey Lewis: When That Really Old Cat Dies(self-released)
  136. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  137. Jockstrap: Jockstrap (Rough Trade)
  138. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  139. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  140. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  141. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  142. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  143. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  144. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  145. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  146. Witchcraft BooksVolume 1—The Sundisk (Iapetus Records)
  147. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  148. Qasim Naqvi/Wadada Leo Smith/Andrew Cyrille: Two Centuries (Red Hook)
  149. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  150. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  151. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  152. Ibibio Sound Machine:Electricity (Merge)
  153. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1(577 Records)
  154. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  155. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  156. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  157. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  158. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  159. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  160. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  161. Open Mike Eagle: a tape called component system with the auto reverse (Auto Reverse)
  162. Chad Fowler/Ivo Perelman/Zoh Amba/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Steve Hirsch: Alien Skin(Mahakala Music)
  163. Tommy McLain: I Ran Down Every Dream (Yep Roc)
  164. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  165. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  166. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
  167. Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: MLDE(Mr. Bongo)
  168. Samara Joy: Linger Awhile (Verve)
  169. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  170. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  171. Dezron Douglas: Atalaya(International Anthem)
  172. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  173. Tomeka Reid & Joe McPhee: Let Our Rejoicing Rise (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
  174. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  175. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  176. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  177. R.A.P. Ferreira: 5 to the Eyes with Stars (self-released)
  178. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  179. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  180. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  181. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  182. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  183. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  184. Sonnyjim & The Purist: White Girl Wasted (Duape)
  185. Florian Arbenz: Conversation #8—Ablaze (Hammer Recordings)
  186. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)
  187. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino)
  188. Blue Reality Quartet: Ella’s Island (Mahakala Music)
  189. Cost of Living: Apollo Brown & Philmore Green (Mellow Music Group)
  190. Taylor Swift: Midnights(non-expanded) (Republic)


  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Tommy Womack: 30 Years Shot to Hell! An Anthology (Schoolkids Records)
  5. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  6. Staples Jr. Singers: When Do We Get Paid (Luaka Bop)
  7. Dickie Landry: Solos (Unseen Worlds)
  8. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  9. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  10. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  11. Various Artists: OZ DAYS LIVE ’72 – ’73 Kichijoji–The 50th Anniversary Collection (featuring Les Rallizes Dénudés)  (Temporal Drift)
  12. Les Raillizes Denudes: Live ’77 (Temporal Drift)
  13. Ernest Hood: Back to the Woodlands (Freedom to Spend)
  14. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  15. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  16. Various Artists: Blues Images—1920s Blues Classics, Volume 20 (Blues Images)
  17. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  18. Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  19. Mal Waldron: Searching in Grenoble—The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (Tompkins Square)
  20. Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (Mr. Bongo)
  21. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  22. Dickie Landry & Lawrence Weiner: Having Been Built on Sand(Unseen Worlds)
  23. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  24. Various Artists: Saturno 2000—La Rebajada De Los Sonideros 1962-1983 (Analog Africa)
  25. Various Artists: Peru Selvatico—Sonic Expedition into the Peruvian Amazon 1972-1986 (Analog Africa)
  26. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  27. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  28. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  29. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  30. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  31. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  32. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  33. Blondie: Against the Odds—1974-1982 (3-CD Rarities Version) (UMe / Numero Group)
  34. Joyce Moreno: Natureza (Far Out Recordings)
  35. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  36. Charles Stepney: Step-on-Step(International Anthem)
  37. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  38. John Ondolo: Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (Mississippi Records)
  39. Luciano Luciani y sus Mulatos: Mulata, vamos a la Salsa (Vampisoul)
  40. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  41. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  42. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  43. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  44. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  45. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)

2 thoughts on “YES THANK YOU: The Best of a Bounty of Absorbing, Motorvating, Challenging, Exciting Albums Gifted Us By 2022

  1. Phil, I wrote a length (i.e. verbose) comment and then it went lost. Don’t have the energy to try again now (maybe later). Good work. Nice to see you have come around on Rosalia. Mike

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