For those that have read my blog over the years, it will not surprise you that I am a "favorites" person. I have a favorite number (17), a favorite color (purple), a favorite cereal (Fruity Pebbles), a favorite baseball team (Baltimore Orioles), and each year of course I share my favorite top-20 or so albums.

With that being said, it has always been extremely difficult for me to list or share my favorite albums and songs of all time. However, recently I was invited to share my top-10 albums ever, and did for the top10albums Instagram account:

While that was the list I shared at that day and time, it of course changes. All 10 of those albums are in my top 30 or 40 albums ever, but outside of #1, which is locked in, the rest rotate.

Additionally, I have recently created two "Alan's top 100 songs" playlists, one on Apple Music and the other on BNDCMPR. My primary rule was only one song per artist, but I did welcome two creative ventures by the same principal songwriter (Mineral and The Gloria Record for example). Both playlists are totally random order, so not ranked. I have absolutely no idea what my favorite song of all time would be.

The biggest challenge in the Apple Music one is that I use iTunes match, which I like as a whole, but it makes it challenging to know what songs in my library are actually available on Apple Music. For example, when I first made the playlist it had 113 songs on it, but I shared it with a friend, and he only saw 87. There is way more 90's music than I realized that is not on Apple Music. I have recently updated it to where hopefully all Apple Music users see 100 songs like me!

On BNDCMPR, the challenge was to find 100 songs by 100 different artists that were worthy of the list. When I began the list, I was trying to copy the Apple Music list, but the Bandcamp library is SO different. Bandcamp doesn't have much major label or older music, so this playlist is dominated by newer songs. So now my plan is to make changes to both lists so it is 200 different songs. But in the meantime, both are up and public:

Finally, there is a new Sunny Day Real Estate song and it's fantastic! First one since 2014's "Lipton Witch".


Best of 2023

Two-thousand twenty-three was a turning point for me in my music fandom as in January I made the decision to begin selling off a huge chunk of my vinyl collection. I was nearing a thousand records, but after thought and discussion with many friends and family members for a few weeks, I decided to make available two-thirds of my collection for sale. I sold nearly 100 records in the first month, mostly word-of-mouth and online communities, and then sold ~150 more over the rest of the year, through direct sales, eBay, and now mostly Discogs. I continued to slowly list more and more on Discogs. My collection is down near 700 now with the goal of getting it below 500 and keeping it there (still buying new records, but moving on from others).

I made this challenging decision for many, many reasons– but primarily it was my desire to spend towards experiences instead of stuff. My record sales immediately funded a summer vacation for my family that we could not have done otherwise, and allowed me to attend shows way more often than usual. I have made a goal to attend one rock show a month, and I did that most of the year (sadly did not attend one in December). I have sold off most all of the high-price and rare items that I am willing to part with, but I still have a few hundred “budget buys” ($1 to $20 or less per record) available if you are reading this and interested.

One of the by-products of my decision and change in philosophy was that I purchased far less music in advance, as I used to pre-order just about every record I was interested in; later selling off the ones I didn’t like as much as I’d hoped. Now I am spending more time with music digitally first, for better or worse. So as I worked on this list I began buying records that I loved most in this year; meaning I didn't get physical copies of many of these until the last couple weeks. As I look down through my top 20 below, I did pre-order Bully, boygenius, and The National, but then Speedy Ortiz, Ratboys, Bonny Doon, Explosions in the Sky, and Sufjan Stevens were all purchased after Thanksgiving.

From a digital music perspective, I continue to boycott and protest Spotify (as I tweet about frequently), prioritize and promote Bandcamp, but also use Apple Music as the best way for my family of five to all listen and share playlists. 24 of the 25 albums mentioned below are available to stream and buy on Bandcamp.

As far as the shows I attended, I saw 14 different artists in and around the Detroit area and made a video summary (below). My favorite experience was seeing Middle Kids, Jimmy Eat World, and Manchester Orchestra on the same night, highlighted by all five of my family members attending. While I love all three of those bands, Jimmy Eat World was the standout on that night. Reflecting on my favorite show of the year, it was probably Thrice playing the 20th anniversary of The Artist in the Ambulance.

I created two CD-length mixes, the first of which is on Apple Music and the second is using BNDCMPR (all songs from Bandcamp; no account needed):


Top 20 albums of 2023:

1. Bully- Lucky for You

Nashville, Tennessee
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I’ve been listening to Alicia Bognanno’s Bully since she debuted the project 8 years ago. This is a breakthrough album and a massive jump in songwriting from my perspective. I had a pretty good feeling it would be my AOTY the day it was released:
I assumed me naming it my #1 of 2023 would be unique and random; little could I have known it would be critically acclaimed! I have seen at least three major publications also name it number one. The guitar work is layered and powerful and all 10 songs are catchy. JT Daly (Paper Route) produced and co-wrote a couple tracks. Album-closer “All This Noise” is my favorite song of 2023 and here is my recording of it when I saw Bully live in September.


2. boygenius- the record

Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I discovered Julien Baker in late 2015 and Phoebe Bridgers in early 2017 as indie musicians and could not have imagined what the future would bring. When they first collaborated with Lucy Dacus on the 2018 boygenius EP I thought of it as a one-time side project. At the time that EP it and most of their solo work was fairly sparse and folly. Now five years later the three songwriters have formed as a cohesive rock band and the results are huge in sound and worldwide notoriety.

3. Cusp- You Can Do It All
Chicago, Illinois
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Initially drawn in by the fantastic cover illustration while browsing Bandcamp, and then all the guitar tones and layers kept me interested. The only album on my list that has yet to be produced in a physical format as this Chicago band has yet to be noticed as they should. Stylistically all over the map, but always rocking.

4. Speedy Ortiz- Rabbit Rabbit
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

As I shared on Instagram, it took months for me to spend enough time with Rabbit Rabbit to really fall in love. Some of this is my own fault, but the main reason is that Side B is SO MUCH BETTER than Side A, and when listening digitally I would start from the top but then get interrupted. My three favorite songs on this album are probably “Ranch vs. Ranch”, “Emergency & Me”, and “Brace Thee”, which all fall within the last 5 songs.

5. Bonny Doon- Let There Be Music
Detroit, Michigan
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

When I first moved to Detroit in 2018 a co-worker of mine told me about Bonny Doon, as one of the best local bands. I didn’t take much time to listen to them at that point, but then they got more on my radar when they were Katie Crutchfield’s backing band on Waxahatchee’s 2020 album Saint Cloud (and she sings on “You Can’t Stay the Same” on this album). When this album dropped, I was immediately hooked. The songs are exceptionally clever, and the lyrics jump out at you. These are some of my favorite lines:
"Yeah I know God, she's a friend of mine
Comes over for beers all of the time
Says the only thing certain is they'll draw the curtain
And tie a little bow around your lovin' and hurtin'"

6. Ratboys- The Window

Chicago, Illinois
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I discovered Ratboys in 2015 and their debut album AOID was my #10 album that year. Then strangely I stopped listening to them and barely noticed their next two albums. Well, they sure got my attention again with the phenomenal The Window.

7. Sufjan Stevens- Javelin

New York, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Really powerful, emotional album from Sufjan during a terribly sad and turbulent year for him. On the day of Javelin's release he revealed his long-time partner had passed away. And then Sufjan himself has been sick and hospitalized. Gorgeous arrangements consistent with Sufjan's past work, but also breaking a little new ground.

8. Explosions In the Sky- End

Austin, Texas
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Explosions in the Sky, like their post-rock comrades in Mogwai, spend much of their time, and probably make most of their money, making film soundtracks. So whenever they release a true album, it is a treat. End is EITS's first LP in seven years, and absolutely gorgeous. I don't know that I would ever describe rock music without vocals "catchy", but these melodies definitely stick with me.

9. The New Pornographers- Continue as a Guest

Vancouver, British Columbia
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Most of the shows I attended this year were bands on tours unreleased to specific album releases, but this was an exception. I saw The New Pornographers a couple months after Continue as a Guest was released, and it did give me an appreciation for the songs that hadn't grabbed me much in recorded form. This was more of a grower than their last few albums were for me, partially due to the prominence and feature of saxophone throughout--not my favorite decision, and hoping it was a one-off. The show itself was phenomenal, highlighted by the vocals of Neko Case.

10. MxPx- Find a Way Home

Bremerton, Washington
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Honestly, I never thought an MxPx album would show up in a list of my again, or that I would ever listen to them much again. 90-plus percent of my MxPx listening took place in the 1994-1997 range, as they exposed me to the genre of pop-punk. After a few years I realized I didn’t really like pop-punk, but I’ve had nostalgia for MxPx ever since.

11. The National- First Two Pages of Frankenstein

Brooklyn, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I listened to this a ton the first half of the year, and probably originally would have predicted it to wind up in my top-5. But by the time the second The National album came out this year, I was somewhat tired of them, and I have yet to even listen to Laugh Track.

12. Paramore- This Is Why

Franklin, Tennessee

It took me way longer than it should have to listen to and buy a Paramore album on the day of its release, but glad I did! This is my favorite Paramore album and I love the energy of it. The only album in my top 20 not available on Bandcamp.

13. Nickel Creek- Celebrants

Carlsbad, California
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

14. runnner- like dying stars, we’re reaching out

Los Angeles, California
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

15. Bella White- Among Other Things

Victoria, British Columbia
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Over the month of December I read dozen(s) of year-end lists and sampled tons of artists and albums I missed out on over the year. Crazily, this country album is the one that stunned me and stuck with me. Bella White’s voice had me hooked immediately, and then her songwriting kept my attention. This is the most true country album I have liked in a very, very long time.

16. Caroline Rose- The Art of Forgetting

New York, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

17. LIES- Lies

New York, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

(This is sort-of the new American Football record.)

18. Blondshell- Blondshell

Los Angeles, California
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

19. Joy Oladokun- Proof Of Life

Casa Grande, Arizona
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

20. Fust- Genevieve

Durham, North Carolina
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Top 5 EPs of 2023:

1. Manchester Orchestra- The Valley Of Vision
Atlanta, Georgia
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

If this were fleshed out into an LP, would have definitely been in my top 5; perhaps my third favorite release of the year. Wrote at length about my dislike of Manchester Orchestra's live show and engaged in much online discussion about it; the bottom line is that I would love to see them play an acoustic show as I do not like how they try to make heavy all their gorgeous songs (like these six) in the live context. My family all likes Manchester Orchestra's recorded music, but they have now all seen them live twice and mostly hate how loud and blown out it is.

2. Rosie Thomas- Lullabies for Parents
Livonia, Michigan
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Most of these songs were released in 2022 as a series of singles and ultimately two EPs, but then this summer were ultimately released as a full-length album.

3. Lee Bozeman- We Should Rejoice

Tyler, Texas
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Lee Bozeman dropped these songs early in the year and mentioned they were songs considered, but not used for the next Luxury record, which was in progress of being written and recorded. Now we know that Luxury album is coming in February!

4. Laura Lucas- The Dreamer

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Unsure how I first heard Laura Lucas, but at some point in the year I noticed the occasional, beautiful single she would release. Finally a few weeks back she pulled them all together into an EP.

5. Kevin Klein- Random Space
Boston, Massachusetts
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Most highly anticipated albums of 2024:

Sixpence None the Richer. It's arrival is more hypothetical at this point, but I feel it. For one, they dropped a single, "The Tide" (even though it's bizarrely marketed as "Leigh Nash and Sixpence None the Richer"), their first song in a dozen years. Secondly, Matt and Leigh are now a part of 10,000 Maniacs (also bizarre, but awesome) and those shows include lots of Sixpence songs. Matt and Leigh writing and recording together is what we need, and I am pumped. Also, a 25th Anniversary vinyl reissue of the self-titled album is due in February (pre-order here), and I wrote the liner notes!

Mates of State. Details are still vague and incomplete, but Kori and Jason played shows in 2023 (and as recently as this month), they have shared studio photos on Instagram, and have said a new album is coming.

Middle Kids- Faith Crisis Pt 1
February 16

Middle Kids released four singles from this upcoming album throughout 2023, and for a long time I assumed it would have been released in the fall. Saw them play a couple of the new songs live in August.
Stay Inside- Ferried Away
February 28

Stay Inside first released "A Backyard" as a single over the summer, and was a radical departure into poppier territory for this experimental post-hardcore band. They have now released two other singles that better connect the dots from their past to current work. I love the vocal layering this band does and how it combines the singing (and occasional screaming) styles of Chris Johns, Bryn Nieboer, and Chris Lawless.
Luxury- Like Unto Lambs
February 1

Luxury has been hinting at this record for years, but they have been on a one album per decade rhythm for awhile, so it is easier to be patient with them than most bands. Thrilled we are finally close to hearing the whole thing after the single "The Wilderness" dropped earlier in December.


Records for sale!

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or interact with me in other ways, you'll know that I have made the decision to downsize and sell most of my record collection. I was nearing 1000 records, but I now have a goal of reducing that to 200 "essential" records. I have sold over 100 in the last couple months--it's definitely been weird, as I had thought I would keep them for the rest of my life. But I have peace with the change in focus and am happy to have owned them but now pass them on to another home.

For now, I am mostly selling directly, meaning not using other platforms. This means less fees for me and the buyer, but also obviously a level of trust. I have created a Google sheet that has 250+ records and I update it frequently. I am also am happy to take offers on most of the records in my Discogs collection, but there are some that are untouchable that I would not be willing to let go of. (I have sold a lot on Discogs in the past--with 100% feedback as a seller-- and will again, but currently trying to avoid giving them the 9%).

If anything interests you, reach out! My email address is in the Google sheet, or DM me on Instagram or Twitter.

*Also, I am happy to sell most of my CD's. However, I do not have them cataloged in any way. I do have hundreds or more, and most are from the 90's. If there are CDs you are looking for, reach out!


Best of 2022

Photo of Elliott, in Detroit in September, by me. See a full gallery and all my concert photography here.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have either listened to tons of Christmas music or listened to music released this year. I have an iTunes/Apple Music "smart" playlist with only songs from 2022 that I listen to on shuffle often while I'm driving. For one, this reminds me of all that was put out this year, but also it puts songs into context and comparison with each other. This is one of the most helpful ways for me to rank albums. 

This 2022 shuffle also leads to some albums climbing my list, or vice versa. The two biggest climbers go to Madison Cunningham and The Smile. I had never even heard of Madison Cunningham before November, and her album immediately grabbed me last month. And then The Smile I didn't spend much time with, which is my own fault. Had Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood simply called it a Radiohead album, I probably would have preordered it. Midnights wound up lower than I had hoped, and Havasu also didn't grab me like most Pedro the Lion albums. And then Tegan and Sara, who I love, released an album that I couldn't place on this list anywhere; more on that album below.

Here are my two primary playlists I made, one on BNDCMPR (all songs from Bandcamp, no account needed--may work better if you follow this link), and then Apple Music. The BNDCMPR playlist begins with melodic indie rock and then transitions into the harder stuff. The Apple Music playlist leans more mainstream, also begins with melodic indie rock, and transitions into folky and quiet.


Top 25 albums of 2022:

1. The Beths- Expert In A Dying Field
Auckland, New Zealand
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

This dominated my fall listening as it was released a few weeks after I saw The Beths in concert in August. They were so tight live, with four-part harmonies, and all their songs sounding better than the studio versions. Thankful The Beths got a lotta love this year, they deserve it!

2. Momma- Household Name
Los Angeles, California
See the record on my Instagram (I also constructed this album cover out of LEGO)
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I listed "Medicine" as one of my favorite singles of 2021, but it could not have prepared me for how much I would love this album. I listened to pretty much nothing but this album all summer. The 90's influence is huge and transports me back to high school (in the good ways!).
3. Caracara- New Preoccupations
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Was a nominal Caracara fan the last couple years, as I discovered them with the "Better" EP, which I ranked as one of my fav EPs that year. This LP is on a completely different plane--the songwriting is so intelligent and profound.
4. Spoon- Lucifer On the Sofa
Austin, Texas
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I want to call this the return of Spoon, but they never went anywhere. I love pretty much all that the band does, but the energy here is the highest from the band in quite some time. I read they wanted to make a "guitar record", and they did!

5. Death Cab for Cutie- Asphalt Meadows
Seattle, Washington
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp       

When Chris Walla left Death Cab for Cutie in 2014, I wasn't convinced the band would ever be the same. Death Cab is Ben Gibbard's band of course, but he has released tons of solo music, and Death Cab, with Walla's contributions, was always so much better. My feeling was validated with 2018's Thank You For Today (the first Death Cab album without Walla), as I find it incredibly bland and boring. I had barely thought about Death Cab since, and even after the first single "Roman Candles" dropped early this year, I though, "blah". So when I heard Asphalt Meadows in full, I was shocked. It is all over the map musically and an incredible return to form. "Wheat Like Waves" has perhaps jumped into my top 10 Death Cab songs of all time.

6. Brutus- Unison Life

Leuven, Belgium
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I had heard a little Brutus maybe as early as 2017, but it wasn't until 2019 that I became a huge fan. I decided to listen to Nest for the first time in full while walking around Washington, DC in December of 2019. It immediately grabbed me and I made an emotional connection. Unison Life is the next step in the band's progression, and I can't wait to see them live. They seem like a perfect fit for Furnace Fest so hoping they are announced for 2023.

7. Hatchie- Giving The World Away

Brisbane, Australia
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Hatchie makes great dream pop, and this was a huge progression for her instrumentally. I had a ticket to see her in Washington, DC in May but sadly missed the show as I was given free tickets to a professional soccer match the same night. It was a tough call ultimately picked based on location (soccer game right next to my Airbnb while the Hatchie show on the other side of the city).
8. Plains- I Walked with You a Ways

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

It's no secret I am an obsessive fan of Katie Crutchfield, primarily through her work as Waxahatchee. This new project is a collaboration with Jess Williamson, who I was previously unfamiliar with. While I prefer the five Crutchfield tunes, all the songs are all terrific--and the most pure country album I have liked ages.
9. Neighbor Lady- For The Birds

Atlanta, Georgia
See the record on my Instagram 
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Neighbor Lady is the project of Emily Braden, who is a former student of mine. She has been musical and creative since I knew her in high school, but I lost track of her for quite a while. But this album is stunning and caught be by surprise when it was released this past summer.
10. Madison Cunningham- Revealer

San Diego, California
Record ordered, awaiting delivery
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

As I mentioned in the intro, I had never heard of Madison Cunningham until I was reading year-end lists last month. This album immediately grabbed me with it's song-writing and intricate guitar work. And Cunningham has a significant back catalog that I am now working my way into.

11. Arcade Fire- WE

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
See the record on my Instagram

Really conflicted about the inclusion of this Arcade Fire record. I do like it, and listened to it a ton the first half of 2022. But recent news has made it difficult to listen to and unsure what that means long-term. One of my favorite bands ever, and this was a nice return to form. And I even wrote my Arcade Fire top 25 list early this year. But, future listening...
12. Drug Church- Hygiene

Albany, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Drug Church was new to me this year, a Furnace Fest discovery. They are a terrific hardcore band with fairly unique vocals for the genre. Super-high energy and amazing live.
13. Taylor Swift- Midnights

West Reading, Pennsylvania
See the record on my Instagram

I love Taylor Swift, but this album was underwhelming. There are a few highlight tracks, but I will rarely ever listen to it straight through again. This SputnikMusic review caught a ton of flak, but I find it spot on. And then of course there was this mess:

14. Phoenix- Alpha Zulu

Versailles, France

I had rarely listened to Phoenix in the last decade. Like most, I discovered the band with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in 2009, but then was underwhelmed by both their 2013 and 2017 albums. Alpha Zulu is  and fun and energetic.
15. Stars- From Capelton Hill

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I once wrote something to the effect, "Stars writes great songs, but not great albums." That was an immature thing for me to say, but does describe my fandom. I listen to all their releases at times, but the only one I return to frequently is 2010's The Five Ghosts. This is my fav full Stars album since that time.
16. Astronoid- Radiant Bloom

Groveland, Massachusetts
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Astronoid was the discovery of Furnace Fest 2021, as their blend of post-metal with soaring, melodic vocals is one-of-a-kind. This, their third album, continues the trend of complex and intricate guitar work.
17. Wild Pink- ILYSM
New York, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I discovered Wild Pink in 2017 as I had an annual subscription to the record label Tiny Engines on Bandcamp and downloaded their debut. I've always enjoyed them, but my fandom has remained nominal. ILYSM grabbed me in a completely different way and am trying to track down this beautiful vinyl variant.
18. Ethel Cain- Preacher’s Daughter

Tallahassee, Florida

This album is oh, so dark and a testament of what it's like to be scarred by the church. I hope it's stories aren't true, but I am guessing they are.
Also, bizarrely, this album is not available in any physical format-- no vinyl and no CDs.
19. Jump Little Children- Foundering

Charleston, South Carolina

In October I was sitting in a school parking lot waiting to pick up one of my kids when a Jump, Little Children song came up on shuffle. I forgot how much I loved them and over the next few days listened to three of their older albums in full while on a road trip. I think Googled them and was shocked to find that they are back! They had broken up originally in 2006, which I knew, but then they returned to performing live and dropped the album Sparrow in 2018.
20. Horsegirl- Versions of Modern Performance

Chicago, Illinois
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I still need to listen to this more and learn the songs, but I love the sound: noisy, grungy, and tons of interesting guitar tones.

21. The Smile- A Light for Attracting Attention
Oxford, UK
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

It's Radiohead! Sort of. ;)
22. Anxious- Little Green House
Fairfield, Connecticut
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

The first pop-punk album I have purchased since the mid-90's, but because it's more diverse than that. This is my favorite album COVER of 2022. 
23. Metric-
Toronto, Ontario

While loving Metric, I honestly haven't spent much time digging into this one. Listing it now as a reminder to spend more time listening.

24. Pedro the Lion- Havasu
Seattle, Washington
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I feel a deep connection to David Bazan and own all his music. That said, I don't like this as much as most of his work. I do love the autobiographical story-telling, but as he moves forward on the project of recording albums about the places he has lived, I hope for some more aggression and energy- I find this album kind-of a downer.
25. Holy Fawn- Dimensional Bleed
Phoenix, Arizona
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

See my comment about Metric and needing to listen more. The difference here is that Holy Fawn is new to me, and I am just getting started. Love the sound and need to dig into it more.

Top 5 EP's of 2022

1. Stay Inside-
New York, New York
Record pre-ordered and awaiting shipment soon.
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Had this been a full-length, would have been in my top 5 LPs of the year. I adore Stay Inside and they would be a perfect new band for Furnace Fest.

2. Rosie Thomas- Lullabies for Parents, Vol. 1

Record pre-ordered but doesn't ship until July 2023.
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I am so excited Rosie Thomas is writing and releasing music again. She took about a decade off while growing her family, and now she is back with songs about being a parent. Vol. 1of Lullabies for Parents dropped this year and Vol. 2 is coming in 2023.

3. football, etc.- Vision

Houston, Texas
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Football, etc. is the master of EPs. 2015's Disappear is the most beautiful 7" I own, and so glad they are back after what was maybe a 5 year break?

4. Manchester Orchestra- No Rule (single)

Atlanta, Georgia
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

There weren't that many EPs in 2022 for me, so cheating with these last couple. Manchester Orchestra though is constantly putting out music and did throughout 2022. While No Rule was the only new original song of the year, they also are monthly dropping numerous covers, in-studio live albums, demos, etc. mostly through their Patreon. I don't support many Patreon's, but based on my experience no artist is doing a better job of putting out content than Manchester Orchestra. Even this week while working on this post they shared a private video and studio live show, Christmas Songs, vol. 3.

5. Thrice- Open Your Eyes and Dream and Dead Wake (singles)
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Also not really an EP, but Thrice released these two fantastic singles in 2022, both songs left over yet unfinished from the Horizons-East sessions. They are both amazing and are better than half the songs on that album (which I love). As we await Horizons-West, Thrice also put out some great acoustic renditions this year of 2021 songs.

My favorite song of 2022

Frank Turner- "A Wave Across A Bay"

In 2018 Scott Hutchison, frontman of Frightened Rabbit, committed suicide. Despite not knowing Scott personally, it rattled and changed me. Frank Turner was good friends with Scott, and wrote this song about him. Hutchison's death led me to write the most vulnerable and honest essay I have ever published--about suicide, faith, community, and eternity. You can read it here: Thank God I’m Full of Holes;
What Scott Hutchison taught me about brokenness, love, God, and community.

Most disappointing album of 2022:

Tegan: "Hey sis, remember when we wrote that fun song for The Lego Movie?"
Sara: "Well, it was a little repetitive and irritating, but the kids loved that song didn't they?"
Tegan: "Ya well I was thinking, what if we recorded a whole album of songs like that?"
Sara: "Ooh, I like that idea. Considering we are in our 40's and most of our friends have children, that could work--the kids would love it!"
Tegan: "Yeah, I've been working on some really, catchy, poppy stuff."
Sara: "Me too! Do you have a lead single in mind?"
Tegan: "Oh yeah, it's called 'Fucking Up What Matters'."
Sara: "Um..."
Tegan: "And two more in the works are 'Pretty Shitty Time' and 'Smoking Weed Alone'."
Sara: "Um... what about the kids?"

In all seriousness, I actually have no problems with Tegan and Sara's use of profanity on their new album Crybaby. In fact, I even created a playlist this year called "E is for Everyone", in which every song on it contains the F-word. The difference in my playlist though is that I used songs that contain the F-word in discreet, sometimes surprise ways. I used to listen to Tegan and Sara with my kids quite a bit, specifically my fav album of theirs Heartthrob. I won't be playing this one for them, but not just because of lyrical content. Even if there was a "clean" version of Crybaby available, it's just not good.

The central problem(s) I have with Crybaby is that I just find it terrible musically. Eight of the first nine songs on the album are upbeat, electro-pop--I sadly find them goofy and mostly unlistenable. I am a HUGE Tegan and Sara fan, have almost all their albums on vinyl. This is easily my least favorite thing they have ever done. I saw them in concert in 2004 and 2007, both shows were fantastic. For the majority of this album I am just completely shocked this is what Tegan and Sara have progressed to. 

There are some great songs here which are all down-tempo and more somber-- "Faded by a Feeling", and then the final songs on the album: "This Ain't Going Well", "Sometimes I See Stars", and "Whatever That Was." Those are the only four songs on this album I plan to revisit--I'll stick to the rest of Tegan & Sara's back catalog.

Top 10 shows of 2022:

If 2021 was the return of live music, both for me and the industry, then in 2022 it reached the next level of awesomeness. I saw around 30 bands at Furnace Fest, but then went to a dozen other club shows. All that said, some incredible live music this year! Video links below are my footage.

1. Sunny Day Real Estate (Saw twice: in Detroit at Saint Andrews Hall, and Furnace Fest) "Pillars"
2. Elliott (Saw twice: in Detroit at The Fillmore and at Furnace Fest) "Calm Americans"
3. The Beths (took my kids to see them at the Magic Bag in Detroit)
4. Thrice (at Furnace Fest playing the album The Illusion of Safety)
5. Sleigh Bells (In Detroit at The Magic Stick)
6. mewithoutYou (In Detroit in January playing the album Brother, Sister)
7. Laura Stevenson (In Detroit at The Loving Touch)
8. Stretch Arm Strong (Furnace Fest)
9. Blindside (Furnace Fest)
10. Idle Threat (Furnace Fest)

See my video compilation of Furnace Fest here.

And here is a compilation of clips from other shows I saw in Detroit:

Top 9 vinyl reissues of 2022: