Almanac Music: Best Albums and EPs of 2022


Another fantastic year of Australian (and New Zealand) releases, so much talent in this part of the world. Here are my top 15 albums and EP’s of 2022:



Endless Rooms – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever





Guitar driven Australian rock at its very best. The third Rolling Blackouts album is more interesting and mature lyrically than their first two excellent albums, while still highlighting all three vocalists. A very Australian rock sound that has clear influences yet completely has their own stamp. My 2022 album of the year.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘The Way It Shatters’, ‘Tidal River’, ‘Saw You At The Eastern Beach’, ‘My Echo’



Omnium Gatherum – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard





Australia’s most prolific band had a very prolific 2022. Four albums released, as diverse and as interesting as any of their previous releases. Omnium Gatherum was my favourite King Gizz release from 2022, an album that took the band into many different areas and was lauded by hardcore fans as their best effort yet. The opening track ‘The Dripping Tap’ clocks in at 18 minutes yet is a rollicking prog rock song that seems to fly by in seemingly much less time. The tracks that follow showcase the incredible range of King Gizz, from the pop of ‘Magenta Mountain’, the doom metal of ‘Gaia’ and ‘Predator X’ to the hip hop of ‘Sadie Sorceress’ and ‘The Grim Reaper’. An album that showcases their wide range of talents more than any before.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘The Dripping Tap’, ‘Magenta Mountain’, ‘Sadie Sorceress’, ‘Presumptuous’



Choose Your Own Light – Catherine Traicos





A diverse, interesting 6 track EP from Perth based Catherine Traicos, showing her songwriting has gone to another level. While working with some fantastic musicians, as always Catherine’s voice is the star on these recordings. These songs lyrically give plenty to ponder, the final track ‘Too Wild’ a magnificent, upbeat ending from an artist at the peak of her powers. Can’t wait for her upcoming 2023 album.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Too Wild’, ‘Run For Your Life’, ‘Lovebomb’



Chariot Of The Gods – Hoodoo Gurus





The third album from the Gurus since their ‘comeback’ in 2003, and right up there as one of the very best in their career. The Gurus always deliver albums of quality from start to finish, Dave Faulkner’s wry observations, smart songwriting and distinctive voice remain undiminished, his lyrics both current and timeless. A highlight is the first Brad Shepherd sung song since 1994’s ‘You Open My Eyes’ in I Come From Your Future, but Faulkner has all bases covered with typically superb driving rock, fun pop rock and easy going rock tunes all the way through. The Hoodoo Gurus still have plenty to offer.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘World of Pain’, ‘Get Out Of Dodge’, ‘I Come From Your Future’, ‘My Imaginary Friend’, ‘Settle Down’



The Storm Before The Calm – Chris Cheney




The long promised Chris Cheney solo album finally dropped in 2022, the result a stripped back recording from the Melbourne rocker. Made with the full support of his The Living End bandmates, the album has a theme of introspectively looking back, sometimes with regret. Veering into thoughtful soft rock and even at times country rock areas, there is still room for catchy first single ‘California’ and a banger of a closing track in ‘Little White Pills’, in a well crafted album that highlights Cheney’s voice and songwriting skill. Now he’s got a solo record out of his system, more from The Living End please!


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘California’, ‘Football Team’, ‘Still Got Friday On My Mind’, ‘Little White Pills’



Canvas – Helen Shanahan





The third album, and first since 2017, from the Perth based Shanahan again highlights her wonderful voice in these beautiful songs. There’s vulnerability and looking back to the past in these tunes, but plenty of uplifting themes too. Very much a star on the rise.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Deer In Headlight’s, ‘Subtlety in the Silence’, ‘Under the Maple Tree’, ‘No’



You Reap What You Sow – The Weeping Willows





Melbourne duo Laura Coates and Andrew Wrigglesworth offer exquisite harmonies in their folky, bluesy, self described ‘gothic americana’ songs. You Reap What You Sow is their finest album yet, songs that are fun yet grim at the same time and will grab you on first listen.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Black Crow’, ‘House of Sin’, ‘Singin’ The Blues’, ‘Wheels Won’t Roll’



Resist – Midnight Oil





The Oils have signed off with their best album in a long time. Resist has all the best qualities of Midnight Oil with its powerful, anthemic songs. If this is really it for the Oils, this is the equivalent of signing off with a ton at the SCG in the 5th Test. An incredible legacy. ‘At The Time Of Writing’ is a song that should make every future Oils compilation.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘At The Time Of Writing’, ‘Rising Seas’, ‘Nobody’s Child’, ‘Lost At Sea’



Life After Football – The Smith Street Band





A back to basics album from the Smithies, and it works beautifully. Stripped back of the sometimes overproduced sound of their previous record, this is nearly 36 minutes of the sound that anyone who has ever liked the band will really enjoy. Frontman Will Wagner is seemingly more upbeat, while the backing vocals of Jess Locke add greatly to many of the songs. Readers of The Footy Almanac will especially love the wonderful album artwork done by our very own Kate Birrell.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘A Conversation With Billy Bragg About The Purpose Of Art’, ‘Everyone Is Lying To You For Money’, ‘Life After Football’, ‘Dilute’



Shades and Echoes – Forenzics





The most intriguing release of 2022. A reimagining of parts of several Split Enz songs by Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner (see lead single ‘Chances Are’, inspired by a riff and a line from the 1975 Split Enz song ‘Spellbound’), there are easter eggs aplenty for fans of Split Enz, particularly 1970’s Split Enz. And it works. With Phil Manzanera (of Roxy Music fame and producer of the second Enz album), Meg Washington and Enz multi instrumentalist Noel Crombie on board, the record is appealing whether you’ve listened to Split Enz or not. But very rewarding if you are a fan of the Enz.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Chances Are’, ‘Rules’, ‘Premier Fois’



The Real World – Freya Josephine Hollick





I’ve seen the style of music from Ballarat’s Freya Josephine Hollick described as ‘Cosmic Country’, but this album has a wide range of sounds, her voice and guitar always prominent. Recorded in the California desert just before Covid hit, the release was held back until this year. Her best album yet, it’s powerful, cinematic and a record that delivers more with each listen. A huge talent.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Nobody’s Better Than No One’, ‘Impossible To Love’, ‘Me & Mine’, ‘The Real World’



Rapscallion – The Murlocs





King Gizzard offshoot The Murlocs are becoming reasonably prolific in their own right, and Rapscallion, the 6th album for the band, continues the high bar set by their superb 5th album, 2021’s Bittersweet Demons. Strong progressive rock songs throughout, there’s hints in Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s vocals of Graeme ‘Shirley’ Strachan and the riffs of Skyhooks in plenty of these tunes, most prominent in 3rd single ‘Bellarine Ballerina’. A hint of what a modern day Skyhooks would have sounded like.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Bellarine Ballerina’, ‘Living Under A Rock’, ‘Compos Mentis’, ‘Virgin Criminal’



Overgrown – Sly Withers





I came to this record very late in the year (thanks Mattias!), but was hooked from first listen. If you go through their back catalogue you’ll find a punk sound, but Overgrown is a record full of well produced and very accessible rock tracks. Look forward to hearing more from Perth’s Sly Withers.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Overgrown’, ‘Tongue’, ‘Radio’, ‘Stoopid’, ‘Hotel Stuck’



Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard





Long form, coherent jamming over 7 tracks. There’s a myriad of styles, it’s a lot to take in, but it works. And it is loads of fun.


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Iron Lung’, ‘Ice V’



Light It Up – Casey Barnes





Catchy pop country rock with plenty of hooks. A very slickly produced, commercial album, Casey can really sing, has a fantastic band behind him, the ARIA award success this album received was much deserved (Best Country Album).


Songs to add to your playlist: ‘Light It Up’, ‘Get To Know Ya’, ‘Come Turn Me On’


Honourable mentions:
Pre Pleasure – Julia Jacklin
Changes – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
My Boy – Marlon Williams
Get F***** – The Chats
Warm Chris – Aldous Harding



Luke’s best albums of 2021
Luke’s best albums of 2020
Luke’s best albums of 2019
Luke’s best albums of 2018
Luke’s best albums of 2017
Luke’s best albums of 2016






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About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ve let the team down by not chasing up Forenzics. Thanks for the reminder Luke.

  2. Always anticipate your list, Luke. Will give Weeping Willows a listen later today as I barbeque some fish! Really enjoy the Julia Jacklin album despite needing a few listens to get it. And I find King Gizzard funny, but I guess that’s half the point.

  3. A very interesting and diverse list, Crackers.

    Two of these albums are in my top 10.

    I really did end up getting into Chris Cheney’s record after you insisted that I do.

  4. Yes your list has become an annual treat, Crackers.
    I wonder where you find your first exposure to these.

    Outstanding post.

  5. Thanks Luke.

    I can rely on you to replenish and refresh my playlist each year.

    Love it and look forward to some great listening and creating new memories.

    Thx too for the mention.

    Have a great 2023.


  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks for the comments.

    ER- exposure to these greatly varies. New music segments I listen to on radio, recommendations from a wide variety of sources, a lot of it comes from artists I already follow, Double J etc.
    Always keen to listen to new Australian music.

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