Rick’s Top 10!!! Exclamation point!

(in no particular order)

New album: “And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow” by Weyes Blood

Maybe the best “post-COVID record” so far. Sublime and psychedelic, timely, and gorgeous. Mering’s voice is inexplicably great. Like, I have no more words. Just listen.

New artist: Baby Cool

“Magic,” “The Sea” and “Poison”: three singles, three absolute gems. In a year overflowing with great new music out of Australia, Nice Biscuit’s Grace Cuell leads the pack with these songs from her forthcoming debut LP as Baby Cool. Each song is somehow cooler than the last, “Earthling on the Road to Self Love” is my most eagerly anticipated release due out in 2023, and these songs were probably played on repeat more than any others in 2022.

Live show: Sharon Van Etten @ the Jefferson

If you haven’t seen SVE live, TREAT YOURSELF. Opening with a thundering rendition of “Anything” from her gorgeous new release, “We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong,” Sharon and her band were pitch-perfect and put it all out there for 2 solid hours. SVE’s command of the stage, her ability to connect with her audience: those alone are worth the price of admission. It’s been a joy to watch her evolve from an anxiety-wracked “singer-songwriter” to an all-out rockstar.

Live show: Stereolab @ the Jefferson

NO EXPLANATION NECESSARY. My bucket list is officially shorter.

TV show: Andor

I grew up a Star Wars fan, but I’d pretty much sworn off that whole universe before hearing the rumblings that Andor was… actually great? AND IT IS. How did the best show of the year end up as a Star Wars spinoff on Disney+? A prequel to a prequel, even! Beautifully directed with wonderful performances and gorgeous cinematography, and easily the best Star Wars-adjacent writing since Empire. And if Stellan Skarsgård doesn’t get nominated for some sort of major award for that monologue in episode 10, then truly this world is a bleak and unjust place and the Empire has won already.

Reissue: “Revolver: Special Edition” by the Beatles

“Revolver” was my favorite Beatles record for years, so listening to this from start to finish was pretty special. There is something truly joyous in hearing a Beatles song, one you’ve loved for years, for the first time with different arrangements, different melodies, performed by the legends themselves. During my first listen of “Got to Get You Into My Life (First Version) – Take 5,” I literally laughed at how happy it made me.

New album: “Green Dream in F#” by the Bug Club

The best thing to come out of Wales since Cate Le Bon. It is impossible to have a bad time listening to the Bug Club, and their debut LP is no exception.

Moviefilm: Everything Everywhere All at Once

As an admitted MCU junkie, I still have to admit the whole “multiverse” concept was becoming a little trying. Then I watched “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Talk about injecting some life into the concept. Or lives, maybe. Fantastic performances, brilliantly executed effects and a great story. Easily my favorite flick of the year.

New album: “How Do You Burn?” by the Afghan Whigs

We lost Mark Lanegan in February, so as a big fan of his it’s pretty great I’m still getting to hear his voice and words on albums as great as the new one from the Afghan Whigs. “How Do You Burn?” (a question lifted from Lanegan’s vernacular) is probably their crunchiest yet. On top of that raucous energy there’s the catharsis of Marcy Mays’ return on “Domino and Jimmy,” providing a spiritual sequel to the fantastic “My Curse” off of their 1993 masterpiece, “Gentlemen.” Simply put, top to bottom this record kicks.

New album: “Expert in a Dying Field” by the Beths

The Beths do not have the ability to write and record a bad song, and their albums just keep getting exponentially better. Considering how great their debut record was back in 2018, that’s kind of mind-boggling. Played this from start to finish more than any other record this year. “Delightful” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Honorable Mentions: “Aura” by Hatis Noit; “God is So Lonely Tonight” by Hallelujah the Hills; “Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees” by the Brian Jonestown Massacre; “We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong” by Sharon Van Etten; “The Will to Live” by Titus Andronicus

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