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Hi, I'm Hunter and I DJ Storm Surge of Reverb, Mondays 4-6pm. That whole show is surf music, but I listen to other music too. So here are some (non-surf) records that I liked enough to write something about, all of them released in 2022, in a mostly random order. It was important to get this out before I started reading other year end lists and finding all the stuff I completely missed. I hope you find something you like.

For surf stuff, check out stormsurgeofreverb.com in the coming months.


Pretty Lightning - Dust Moves

Maybe it's obvious between this list and my surf show, but I've heard a lot of electric guitar done a lot of ways. And yet, this record still feels like it's constantly showing off another fresh sound. It's all done tastefully, moodily, and with noises serving the song rather than the reverse. It's not too often you see a group shed vocals for an instrumental record, but it really feels like they had something to say without saying anything. I think this might be the one on this list I listened to most.

 The Speedways - Talk of the Town

I didn't need more power pop this year. With King Louie's passing I'd do fine just to comb through his catalog. It's extensive enough to sustain anybody that likes this music. As far as I know the UK-based Speedways have no actual connection to our local fallen king of rock & roll, I'm basically just using this as an excuse to mention him, but this is some primo stuff that excels in many of the same ways that he did. Aside from perhaps the keyboardey, disco-ey (and still good) track "Weekend 155", this is by-the-numbers for the genre but done well enough that they could teach classes in it. Tons of earworms, foot-stompers, and singalongs.

The Heavy Heavy - Life and Life Only

Debut EP from a group that replicates a late 60's longhair rock sound about as well as I've heard anybody do it. Great vocal male/female harmonies backed by really sharp instrumentation, tinged with light psychedelia and flower power but mostly demonstrating outstanding pop sensibilities. This was a knockout on first listen for me and I bet your dad will dig it too.

The Soundcarriers - Wilds

Sounds like the flowery psychedelia of Dungen with the hypnotic kraut beat and vocals of Stereolab. I mean that would be enough to sell me. Wonderful harmonies, some groovy bass, and overall fantastic musicianship. It's all there and it sounds cool as hell.

Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

It was clear enough from their previous material that there's a wealth of talent in this group, but this record has Big Thief really cutting loose and trying new sounds, almost always hitting the mark with great results. Sometimes it's expertly emulated americana that shows their knowledge of the genre they've inhabited, but there's also great experimentations in electronic and art-pop. At 20 tracks this is a bit much to take in, but each track feels lovingly crafted and deserving. I probably complained about not being able to digest their two LPs in 2019, so I don't know what the answer is. If only the cover art was as lovingly crafted. I can understand appreciating it in an endearing manner, but there's even visible digital digital artifacting on the cover! Anyway, this is a statement album from a band that's good enough to not need a statement.

Los Bitchos - Let the Festivities Begin

Even though they're very different I can't help but think of this band alongside Khruangbin. Not only are both instrumental guitar groups that fuse a wealth of world-music influences into a distinct hybrid concoction, but both had debut LPs that felt like they delivered on their full potential right from the start. There are lots of Khruangbin sound-alikes out there... and I'd hesitate to call Los Bitchos one of them. Both seemed to be looking to similar influences, but with their kaleidoscopes tilted different degrees. Los Bitchos aren't as pensive, they have a much more extroverted and loose sound. While the most obvious touchstones are probably cumbia and surf, I find myself enjoying them on a similar level as the dance-punk bands of the early 2000's like !!!. Their unique sound and infectious energy are why I anoint them as the most likely instrumental group to see Khruangbin-like success. Though I tend to be am frequently am nearly always wrong about that sort of thing.

Asteroid No. 4 - Tones of the Sparrow

The 11th studio album from Asteroid No. 4 is dependably full of reverbed-out psychedelic guitar and insanely catchy songwriting with a warm, friendly glow. There's a few more tricks in here, introducing a female vocalist on some tracks, and perhaps a more overtly shoegaze moment on the title track, but they still stick to their strengths. Every band releases a bad album eventually. But nothing I've heard from this group's 25 year history has made that believable.


Julie Odell

Julie Odell - Autumn Eve

I went to a Julie Odell show at the Marigny Opera House, a venue that kinda makes anything feel special, and she had a small army of musicians backing her up. It was fantastic, bursting with beautiful energy and creative composition. I could only imagine how much more fun it would have been to actually know these songs in advance. However, that would have been difficult. There were no recordings despite her being a known entity in the New Orleans music scene, even though this concert itself felt grandiose enough to be an album release party. Well, this problem is now rectified, and Autumn Eve has all the warmth and feeling that I experienced that night. Now with an album, a label, a European tour, it feels like this rocket has finally been lit.

Kikagaku Moyo - Kumoyo Island

I seem to be in the minority here, but this 5th LP from these Japanese psychsters is probably my favorite. It's overtly psychedelic, sitars and effect-laden scronking etc, and humming with a throttled explosive energy. These songs can be surprisingly propulsive and even funky, but also so relaxed and airy, and they've got such a good handle on when to be loud and quiet. It's a shame that this ended up being their last.

Saturno 2000

I first heard this compilation through a bluetooth speaker on a laidback afternoon at a modest little beach outside Slidell. It was perfect. Laid back cumbia, often with super basic and simple electronic blip bloops. As cumbia is having a moment, there's a lot from its past to dig up, a lot to sift though, and this really extracts a mood from that vastness.

Misha Panfilov - The Sea Will Outlive Us All

Since I stumbled upon him, Misha or a Misha-related project has appeared on each of these lists. Of the several things he released this year, this was the standout to me. An immersive, psychedelic, underwater float full of wonder. Like a diving into a reef, you feel like you're merely a visitor looking in on something wonderful operating on its own, rather than having something played for your benefit.

Nu Genea - Bar Mediterraneo

The high-energy single "Tienaté" from this record was a favorite of mine this year, with vocals that nearly commanded you to dance. While it remains the standout, I still found the rest of this album infectious. Great disco/funk grooves that animate your body into movement while generally stay low-key and fun. The concept behind this album is that it's built around the idea of a friendly venue filled with world travelers, and I feel it.

Passion Fruit Boys - Passion Fruit Boys

I feel like this year I had a tendency to gravitate towards more easy, unchallenging sounds, perhaps with some nostalgia towards the popular indie hits of the oughts. This falls into that category for me, enjoying it much as I would the likes of Belle & Sebastian. Calling them "unchallenging" isn't to suggest that these are simplistic -- there's some great arranging here and a very full sound, but everything lands neatly and comfortably. "Sex Swing" found its way into my head pretty often this year.

Vieux Farka Toure and Khruangbin - Ali

Khruangbin pairs wonderfully with Vieux, and I suppose with his father as well since these are covers of Ali Farka Toure songs. The one song that really stood out was "Mahine Me" which tossed some zydeco accordion into the mix, resulting in something that sounded both like nothing I'd known and strikingly close to home, and it's a nice reminder that a far-out sounding band like Khruangbin emerged from just a few hours from here.

Also gotta mention that this is one of my favorite album covers this year, glad I picked this up on vinyl.

Hooveriii - A Round of Applause

Despite the weird band name, I kind of forget about this record but end up enjoying each listen. They have a pretty meat & potatoes sound with some prominent, un-fancy guitar, a vocalist that is neither remarkable nor, crucially, remarkably obnoxious, and a propulsive beat that might draw comparisons to the krauty-psych of King Gizzard and Oh Sees but without the frantic everything-else those bands bring. Bands with a "plain" sound can be hard to find the words to praise, but this record is just good. And it's important to me that bands can still be good just for being good, not requiring any particular standout feature. If I were an actual music reviewer I'd give myself an F for this review, but I'm just a guy telling you to listen to things he likes and not getting paid for it.

Sound of Ceres - Emerald Sea

Previously I would have called Sound of Ceres (slash Candy Claws) shoegaze, and though they've always been a little different within that genre, I would have felt comfortable with it. Emerald Sea is an evolution for the group though, ramping up the mythos and theatricality into a majestic fantasy-gaze soundtrack. I hate the term "rock opera" but this feels like more of a journey than a collection of songs, and a beautiful one at that.

The Violet Mindfield - California Burning

Great lo-fi 60's garage-punk/freakbeat that feels tantalizing when quiet and explosive when loud. Sits somewhere between early kinks and early Black Lips. Maybe a little overboard on the lo-fi sound, but it all shines through well enough.

Trentemøller - Memoria

While my friend Dave and I have plenty of common musical ground, our areas of expertise tend to be pretty far apart, which caused alarm when he saw longstanding minimal electronic musician Trentemøller on my last.fm. And then he realized that this was no longer the Trentemøller from his world; this incarnation embraced gloomy reverbed-out dream pop. With some big cues from Slowdive, this album pulls you in with small-ego intimacy, then shines beautiful sounds on you as a reward. I listen to a lot of shoegaze, and yet one of the only albums that ended up on here was from an outsider to the genre.

Ansambl Mileta Petrovića

A collection of tracks from 1986-1991 from a Serbian/Yugoslavian group that was taking traditional roma rhythms and messing them up with synth and guitar. There's a surprising amount of variety from track to track here, but overall it was a pretty unique and funky listen for my untrained ears.

Alvvays - Blue Rev

I think the wild, emotive, youthful energy of this record can stand in the way from noticing just how deft the songwriting is. These songs never feel like they're at rest, jumping from one hook to the next, guitar and vocals either cleverly dancing against each other or fitting each other hand-in-glove with amazing lyrical cadence. This was actually the first Alvvways record I'd taken the time to listen to, and I guess there's a reason I'd heard about them so much.

Dungen - En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog

I had thought that maybe Dungen was done -- their last record was six years ago and was my least favorite. However, they remain a special band to me with their jazzy psychedelic style that makes me feel like I'm floating above the clouds. That feeling is still there, but it does lack a bit of the electric charge that drew me to them when I first heard Tio Bitar. Even a lesser record in their discography stands out amidst other listens this year, especially when they branch out with some surprising new tricks.

BRUTUS - Unison Life

This is the second time this band has been on my year-end list and both times I've felt slightly ashamed. People ascribe terms like Post-Hardcore and Post-Metal to them, and those feel nice and safe, but the truth is this this is barely a rapper away from Linkin Park or Evanescence. But what can I say, it's kinda all there. The vocalist is clearly putting her everything into this, the production is on-point, the guitars can really lift up the sound when called upon. I mean, Linkin Park was generally pretty good too back then, I just thought I'd outgrown this dramatic screamy stuff, but here I am owning three albums by this band and I'm 37.

Punku - Punku

Certainly one of the more unique things I listened to this year, Punku take traditional Andean vocals and instrumentation and infuse it with electronic elements and more. I wouldn't pretend to have much familiarity with the ancestral music it draws from, but it does feel like there's something very old to it despite sounding exceptionally modern -- perhaps even futuristic. Beyond that simple premise, there are hints of noise, bjork, trip-hop and other influences that keep you on your toes.

Les Rencards - Les Rencards

I was looking forward to a new release from another modern yé-yé outfit, but when it arrived it didn't really resonate with me. Thankfully, I came across this album nearly at the same time. Les Rencards are a lot more tough and heavy on the fuzz pedal than you'd typically expect from yé-yé, but it's a very fun and charismatic record and that's all I really ask.

Σtella - Up Up and Away

Σtella previously played synth-pop, but on this record leans into a much more analog direction with overt traditional Greek influence. It's still very much an indie-pop record and probably serves as well of an intro rebetiko as Beirut does to Balkan music (which is to say, not much). But hey, listen to "Up Up and Away" or "Titanic" and tell me you don't hear those pop sensibilities.

Makaya McCraven - In These Times

While I enjoyed the 2018 double-concept-album Universal Beings, I found it a little too daunting and my attention deficient listening habits just couldn't fully absorb it. I appreciate this more straightforward attempt. The strings on this are gorgeous and the rhythms feel great. Slip in for a moment and feel amazing, or stay the whole time -- this album doesn't ask much from you, only gives.

Boris - Heavy Rocks

I enjoyed Boris albums like Pink and Akuma no Uta a while back but there's a LOT of Boris out there. Too much. And it looked like a lot of them weren't reviewing very well at all, so I backed off. And then for whatever reason I came back here only to find that they didn't sound that much different than when I left off. This is the first of their three albums titled Heavy Rocks that I had heard, and I can't say how it fits in that series, but I found plenty of the abrasiveness, wild energy, chaos and spirit that I loved from their albums 15+ years ago.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Omnium Gatherum

I'm going to guess this band put out like 5 hours of music this year, and I still haven't had time to fully appreciate their back catalog. I liked this when I heard it. They're doing some things here that I perceive as "new" to the band. They're also continuing to do a lot of things that they do well. To somebody like me that feels like they're drowning when they think of this band's discography, it sounds like more good King Gizzard stuff. That's the best I can do.

JEFF The Brotherhood - Ye Olde

This group has been around for a while now and I believe one member may live in New Orleans? I know this was recorded in New Orleans! But admittedly I didn't really know much about them. From listening to brief snippets from them, I assume this is a departure -- eschewing noisy guitars for patient, psychedelic explorations. I'm generally down for either category, but I'm surprised this clicked with me as much as it did, as it leans a little too close to improvised throw-away album territory. But what can I say, the mood is there, and I enjoyed it.

Rich Ruth - I Survived, It's Over

I think Rich Ruth has a helluva record collection. While this album is perhaps most easily bucketed into "Spiritual Jazz", when listening I find myself slapping so many legends of disparate genres onto this and feeling like they stick. Alice Coltrane, Eno, Popol Vuh, Eddie Hazel all sitting comfortably next to each other. Even some pedal steel in there! With really great attention to sonic detail, this is most appreciable from second-to-second than on a melodic level, but when the mood is right it can really seize you. Full of surprising sounds and magical moods

Ruby the Hatchet - Fear is a Cruel Master

Crunchy Sabbath-like psych/proto-metal that sounds like it's got Heart's vocalist. It's pretty accessible and unchallenging, leaning heavily on their forebears, but it's pretty fun in that way. What's not to like?

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