We are coming to the end of another crazy year. A long rollercoaster that some of us wanted to get off quicker than others. However, I’m here to talk about the music that was part of my year’s soundtrack. Let’s call it my Music Review of 2022. The songs, albums, or EPs that made me smile or helped me through challenging moments. Regular readers or people who know me know I’m more about the albums/eps than individual singles. However, the ones that stood out for me all had impactful energy. These include the epic tracks “We All Fall Down” by ROOM 11 and “Shut Up a Second” by GRAMMS.
I want to talk about the albums and EPs that have stood out the most. The ones that made me smile, dancing around (when no one was looking), or getting lost in their stories. Before I talk about my top 5 independent releases of the year, I want to list the ones that just missed out on the final cut. These are:
GRIM17 – Messing with Your Faith
Blue Malee – Shout that Whisper
They are all outstanding for various reasons and all worth checking out. Now, let’s get into the top 5 and start with:
5. Ruby Rae – True Crime
It won’t be the first time I talk about captivating stories created by an artist. Ruby Rae will be the first with her album True Crimes. A collection of songs recommended by the equally talented Jessi Robertson. When you listen to this release in full, you can’t help but become enchanted by her storytelling qualities. Her voice shares many different emotions to help express her words to their maximum potential. Each track shares something different, but the calibre is always to the highest standard. Definitely worth your listening time, especially with moments such as “True Crime” and “Desperate Things”.
4. Third Lung – Gameplay
Following their impressive EP Dialogues of the Fatal Few, Third Lung returned with their album Gameplay. The expectation was high for them to deliver another release filled with sing-along anthems. However, we got more than that. Not only did they have us singing at the top of our voices, but offered some captivating softer tracks. There is something here for everyone. It promises not to disappoint with outstanding songs such as “Dance Me Lover” and “I Won’t Sleep Tonight”.
3. Title Holder – Story of My Life
After hearing their infectious song “Animal”, I was eager to hear more from the band Title Holder. Lucky for me, they released the EP Story Of My Life. From start to finish, the energy this band projects within their music puts a smile on your face. These guys are having a blast, and you can hear it. Don’t be fooled, as there is depth to their lyrics. Either with sing-along hooks or with honest moments that the title track offers. If you love a bit of ska pop-punk, then this one is for you!
2. Benjamin Amos – Letters
Now to a gifted songwriter who understands the power of storytelling within his music. Benjamin Amos has crafted a beautiful album Letters, that has many tales to tell. It is more than how he moulds his words, as there is an exceptional quality to how they are shared. His tone is authentic and helps bring each of his songs to life. It all comes together to create a compelling release with outstanding tracks like “The Weight” and “Maelstrom”. But, this can change due to the calibre of his work.
1. Holy Wars – Eat it Up, Spit it Out
Now to the number one spot, which goes to the Holy Wars. From the first listen of Eat it Up, Spit it Out, I knew this was the one to beat. It is an unapologetic force of nature wrapped in rock goodness, and I love it! There are no boundaries, and this duo tells it as it is with tracks like “Little Godz” and “21st Century Bitch”. The depth and content of their lyrics are outstanding. It should never be underestimated, along with their audio arrangement. It is what rock music should all be about! For me, “Get Mine” is easily one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. As a bonus, they released a deluxe version which gives you even more by the Holy Wars.
Well, that’s my list. What’s on yours? I’ve now got my eye on what will make the 2023 list, with a few artists/bands who I feel will be strong contenders. Who they will be, you will have to stay tuned at IndieBandGuru.com to find out!