2022 was not a great year for me and I turned to live music for both solace and escape, logging 236 shows over the last 365 days. I spent a fair chunk of the year doing some problem-avoidance traveling so many of these gigs were on the road, in addition to many at my favorite venues across Los Angeles. Despite the number of shows, it felt like I listened to music less (blame audio books?) and fewer artists and songs really stuck with me, so it was easier to narrow down my list of tunes that defined my 2022. Listen here! For more on my choices, continue reading below the mix.
A couple of my favorite LA bands released new albums this year. Dear Boy finally (and I mean FINALLY) put out their debut album which included a song, “Wet Clothes” that I have been patiently waiting to hear for about a decade (it did not disappoint). The Wrecks released my favorite album of the year which prompted touring which prompted trips to San Francisco, Milwaukee, Chicago, and San Diego. The title of the album, Sonder, was so trendy that Dermot Kennedy released a near equally brilliant album of the same name towards the end of the year. I thought it would be fun to both open and close the mix with tracks from an album titled Sonder.
While most of these songs came out this year, several of the tracks are older and represent the trend of celebrating album anniversaries with shows. This year I traveled to London to see Twin Atlantic celebrate 10 years of one of my most played albums, Free, and I extended my trip so that I could attend similar shows for You Me at Six (10 years of Sinners Never Sleep) and Travis (20 years of The Invisible Band, the first album I ever purchased at a concert).
While abroad I feel in love with England and the music scene, discovering acts like Conrad and Wild Rivers (Canadian), seeing one of my very favorite bands, The Virginmarys, rock some new tunes, and realizing that my current band obsession, King No-One, is even better live! In addition to my annual sojourn to SXSW (see separate mix for top bands there), I was able to make “the SXSW of England” AKA The Great Escape Festival in Brighton where I stumbled upon amazing acts like Michael Aldag and Beth McCarthy, a last-minute “surprise act” that was exactly what I needed in that moment.
Other tracks included on my mix represent some 2022 highlights including the best live show (Enter Shikari), craziest dance party (Mothe), most memorable record store performance (Sigrid), most listened to track (“3 Dots” by Wheelwright), most exciting new voice (Evan Bartels) and a couple local discoveries (Beauty School Dropout and Cami Petyn) that I will hopefully be able to see many times in the future. There is only one artist on this list that I didn’t get to see live this year, but “Think Nothing” is my favorite track by Sydney Sprague and I was so thrilled when it was released.
To close, I’ll mention some memorable festival firsts; my first UK festival (Neighborhood Weekender), my first Summerfest in Milwaukee, and the very first When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas which gets my award for best festival crowd.
Please enjoy my 2022 Music Mix (best listened to in order) and feel free to share with me some of your year’s top musical moments and artists.
I’ll see you at the shows in 2023!