100 Cool Ones – The Top 100 Albums of 2022 (100-50)

100. The Moon City Masters – The Famous Moon City Masters

A throwback in all the best of ways, the opener, “Takin’ It Back” from the latest Moon City Masters record will take you all the way back to the James Gang ‘70s, bell-bottoms, cowbell and all. “Spinning Wheels” is pure Toulouse Street Doobie Brothers, and their cover of the Beatle’s “I’ve Got A Feeling” has a Bad Company vibe to it, and is one of the best songs we have heard all year.

099. Smut – How The Light Felt

Lousy name, great band, Smut will bring to the minds ear the best of Mazzy Star or Natalie Merchant and the 10,000 Maniacs.

Seemingly perfect for a teen angst soundtrack in the Princess Diaries or Lizzie McGuire mold, “Janeway” could have been a Bangles hit if the Bangles had been just a tad bit cooler, and ”Supersolar” would have been perfect John Hughes movie placement back in the day.

098. Shooter Jennings and Yelawolf – Sometimes Y

Shooter Jennings, son of Waylon, is on quite a roll of late with his production credits for Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker. And, here he teams up with Yelawolf on a highly polished genre departure with the anthemic, Indie Pop Americana -Noir leaning Sometimes Y.

097. Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – Ballad of a Misspent Youth

Back to the ‘70s in the Hot Tub Time Machine, Tuk Smith rises from the ashes of his tumultuous period with the Biters to lay down an energetic, set of pure rock and roll the way it was meant to be played.

096. Brant Bjork – Bouganvillea Suite

Digging deep into the 60’s era Psychedelic Rock think Iron Butterfly by way of The Doors on Brant Bjork’s latest, Bougainvillea Suite.

095. Drugdealer – Hiding in Plain Sight

Yacht Rock is back, and it’s like it never left. With equal parts Hall and Oates, Little River Band, and, for those in the know, Pablo Cruise. Hiding In Plain Site, the latest from Drugdealer is a time-warp affair that will take you back to the days before kids, jobs, and responsibilities pretty much killed the vibe.

094. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

This California quintet could have been time machined from the summer of 1977 with teenage hooks, sun-baked choruses, and Power Pop with a razor edge. “You Worry About Me” is perfect a.m. radio fare.

093. The Mellons … Introducing The Mellons

Channeling the essence of Brian Wilson and the mid-era Electric Light Orchestra, The anthemic opener sets the table for a psychedelic fun-fest that The Zombies would envy.

092. Beach Bugs – Beach Bugs

Coming to your ears all the way from Limoges, France, this Pop-Punk band delivers waves of surf rock and Power Pop in equal measures. “Sugar Ocean” could have been the flip side to Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” and “On a Bike” would have made a nice Buzzcocks single.

091. Dropkick Murphy’s – This Machine Still Kills Fascists

Some previously unseen Woody Guthrie lyrics pair well with the acoustic side of The Dropkick Murphy’s. The aggression is still there along with the messaging.

090. Babe Rainbow – The Organic Band

With album number five, the stoned mellowness of the Aussie band is still front and center, but here they are more Neil Young than Brian Wilson.

089. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening

The Philadelphia five-piece that is 2nd Grade is poised for next-level greatness with their third proper full-length, Easy Listening.

The texture transitions from song to song that the band pulls off make for not only an enjoyable listen but also reward the listener with new signature Nuggets to be unfurled with each successive spin.

088. Miko Marks and the Resurrectors – Feel Like Going Home

From the opening buzz of the lead-off song as well as the title track, you get an immediate sense that Miko Marks is on to something special. Aretha Franklin with a side of Bonnie Raitt is the vibe presented here with the overall band stepping in with an energy that would make the Tedeschi-Trucks band blush.

087. Cory Branan – When I Go I Ghost

Cory Branan is one of those under-the-radar artists that gets little play in the mainstream but those who know definitely know.

His latest, When I Go I Ghost is definitely a must-hear. From the opening salvo of “When In Rome, When in Memphis,” the sonic boom is palpable with his Steve Earle by way of James McMurty vibe hitting you between the ears.

086. The Chesterfields – New Modern Homes

Framed up with a Kinks by way of Big Star foundation, this one glistens with a Pop sheen that would make Weezer proud.

085. Crown Lands – Discover Crown Lands

The opener, “White Buffalo” would be what Rush would have sounded like if Robert Plant fronted them. And, “Howlin’ Back Again” could be Greta Van Fleet reinvented as a delta blues band. Retro-cool in all the best of ways, one of the best retro-stompers of the year.

084. Sonic Flower – Me And My Bellbottom Blues

Definite truth in advertising with this set of’70s rock-riff-inspired jams. MC-5 meets Black Sabbath on this set of tunes that will inspire you to get out your old black lights and lava lamps.

083. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – N.K-Pop

As close to a perfect pop record that your ears will have savored this year, the chemistry and lyric sparring skills that booth artists have on display here are complementary sides of the same coin. “Good Times” is a bouncy and ebullient opener, “I drove her away with my tears” is a perfectly constructed Brit-Pop single, and “Baby It’s Cold Inside” is a poignant juxtaposition of the original classic.

082. Silverbacks – Archive Material

There is more than a hint of The Talking Heads in the DNA of this Irish five-piece. The melodies are catchy with a post-punk flair that will bring to mind Devo.

081. Angel Olsen – Big Time

Much less symphonic and much more introspective, the new Angel Olson L.P. is a study in restraint. Going down like the last call at a honky tonk bar, the subtle arrangements and dreamy pedal steel coalesce with Olson’s dream weaver vocals to create a perfect antidote for a poisoned world.

081. Bonnie Raitt – Just Like That

When you sit down and listen to “Down The Hall,” the last track on Bonnie Raitt’s exquisite new record, you can immediately tell that even going on 50 years since her debut record was released, she hasn’t missed a songwriting beat. A somber ending it may be, but the song, narrated by a murderer that is in jail working in the cancer ward in prison trying to find meaning to a life well wasted checks every John Prine box and is as good of a song from a writing standpoint that has been released this year.

080. F.M. – Thirteen

Think Foreigner or Night Ranger with a slice of Toto on this AOR guilty pleasure melodic masterpiece.

079. Whiskey Myers – Tornillo

Their best yet, Tornillo presents all that is good in the Americana World. Barroom rocking, and Southern Rock ethos with slices of gospel and soul, are all represented on this dazzler.

078. Elvis Costello – The Boy If

With this follow-up to 2020s Hey Clockface, Elvis Costello shows no signs of slowing down. From the scorcher of an opener, “Farewell, OK,” Costello and his band, The Imposters, kick things into gear and party like it’s 1977 and they are living in the My Aim Is True glory days. The voice hasn’t changed too much, Elvis never was one for stretching out the high notes, and, here, he stays very much within his range with his delivery that is pure E.C. vocal splendor.

077. Chateau Chateau – Grow Up

With the punk attitude of Blondie along with the buoyant energy of The Bangles, Chateau Chateau is a loose-knit collective of Tucson-based musicians that self-describe themselves as making cathartic indie pop for weirdos, outcasts, queer folks, and anyone else who needs it.

076. The Bobby Lee’s – Bellevue

This high-energy, furnace blast of a record puts the post in Post-Punk. As frenetic as the Ramones before Phil Spector got a hold of them, the Bobby Lees are all about blasting through the status quo, in short, sometimes off-kilter blasts of sub 2:00 CBGB-worthy glory.

075. Gymnasium – Hansen’s Pop ‘N’ Rock Music ’22

A who’s who of the Boston music scene pitch in on this robustly energized set of 22 songs that will rekindle your love for Power Pop. The Cheap Trick-induced “Tavern at the End of the World” is worth the price of admission alone, and the ghosts of Pink Floyd that make an appearance on “Down to a Glimmer” will leave you wanting more.

074. Gyasi – Pronounced Jah See

Glittering bombast of rock and roll excess, shades of T-Rex, early David Bowie, and all the glam you can fit in one record, Gyasi will be your next favorite guilty pleasure.

073. Courtney Marie Andrews – Loose Future

A much more introspective record than prior efforts, the album was mostly written while Andrews was searching for the center of her soul in a beach shack on Cape Cod. The songs are well-crafted, plain-spoken, and some of the best work in her career.

072. Cat Power – Covers

It only took 12 years for Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall to come up with the follow-up to her 2010 release, The Covers Record, the album that featured her seminal version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” This time out, she covers songs by Bob Seger, The Replacements, and Billie Holiday among others in her own style making the songs almost recognizable but no less glorious.

071. Ari Roar – Made To Never Use

Ari Roar is the name that singer/songwriter Caleb Campbell uses for his self-released projects. With a Ben Folds by way of Wilco vibe, the songs are all Indie-Pop bangers that you will be able to digest in short 2-3 minute jangly bursts. “Take Me Over” is Jack Johnson by way of John Lennon, and “Far From The Rest” could have been a Replacements with a slight Police vibe.

070. Autoramas – Autointitulado

Mainstays on the Brazilian independent music scene, the Autoramas blend Punk Rock, nuggets style Garage Rock, and New Wave Pop into a blender of coolness. Part Devo, plenty of The Ramones, with a side order of Dick Dale, are all incorporated into the sound. And, regardless of your language of choice, the vocals presented here, exclusively in Spanish, will be easily recognizable and chorus-worthy after a few listens.

069. Night Shop – Forever Night

With Forever Night, Justin Sullivan, doing business as Night Shop, spins a record just a little West of Laurel Canyon, a tiny bit South of Bob Dylan, and straight to the heart of Conor Oberst, Brett Dennen territory.

068. The Cactus Blossoms – One Day

A bit more upbeat than their semi-dour 2019 release, Easy Way, their latest, One Day, finds the Cactus Blossoms channeling their inner Everly Brothers and outer Ricky Nelson in all the best of ways.

067. Foxy Shazam – The Heart Behead You

If, like us, you know exactly where you were the first time you heard the glam-glorious band Foxy Shazam, you are in luck, and your musical ship has arrived at the dock. Going back to their epic breakthrough record, The Church of Rock and Roll, a classic that is ten years old now, the band has never failed to deliver on their psychedelic, glam, power pop template that brings to the minds-ear the classic S.F.-based band Jellyfish. Until perhaps now, that is.

066. Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point

It should come as no surprise that after the passing of over forty years since the band originated and almost two decades away from their last record, Tears For Fears has released a new album. The headline here is that Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith have set aside artistic differences and petty personal squabbles in creating a song cycle that stands right up next to the iconic “Songs From The Big Chair.”

065. Diamond Dogs – Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous

From the name alone, you pretty much know what you are getting with Diamond Dogs and their new record, Slap Bang Blue Rendevous. 

Hailing from Sweden, their brand of incendiary Rock and Roll touches on David Bowie Glam, but their mojo goes much deeper than that. With touches of Aussie Rock in the Angels, Cold Chisel mode, and the essence of the Velvet Underground or Mott the Hoople respective oeuvres, this is a yellow brick road-worthy journey down the trail of Classic Rock coolness.

064. The Mysterines – Reeling

As debut albums go, Reeling, the sparkling, bombastic record from Liverpool rockers The Mysterines at the end of the year, might well be considered one of the best.

With a DIY feel to the songs along with aggressive production value, the garage punk-pop songs seem to burst from the speakers. Recorded live to capture the dynamics inherent in their incendiary live shows, from the opening salvo of “Life’s A Bitch (And I Like It So Much),” you are transformed in your hot tub time machine to a mid-‘80s mosh pit at CBGB’s.

063. Bryan Adams – So Happy It Hurts

Right from the opening title track, it might as well be the summer of ‘69 all over again. The Tom Waits-lite rasp is more whiskey-soaked than ever, the radio-friendly cruise with the top-down anthems all in place, and if you are looking for a summer jam you have come to the right place.

062. Ray Wylie Hubbard – Co-Starring Too

No need to mix words here. Ray Wylie Hubbard is a bonafide Texas outlaw legend. Here, in the sequel to Co-Starring, with Co-Starting Too, Hubbard is back in true collaboration glory spinning to include Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, and Hayes Carll along with harder rockers John 5 and Lzzy Hale. And yes, Hubbard’s BFF Ringo Starr is invited back to the party on “Ride or Die – Montar O Morir.”

061. Romero – Turn It On

It is no secret that some of the best vibrant, electrified, pure Rock and Roll currently is generated down under, in this case, Melbourne Australia. Turn It On, the debut record from the Band Romero is, simply put, a party on a platter.

060. Kelley Stoltz – The Stylist

Certainly on the medal stand of contemporary Power Pop mavens along with Brendan Benson and Matthew Sweet, weaving a tapestry of Rock, Folk Rock, Post Punk, and Power Pop, Kelley Stoltz proves, yet again, that he is simply incapable of making a bad record.

059. Tami Neilson – Kingmaker

Don’t let the Bond-theme swagger of “Kingmaker” the title track on Tami Neilson’s eclectically pleasing latest release sway your opinion. Shirley Bassey Bombast aside, there is a dangerous curve around every corner on this one. “Careless Woman” has a bit of R&B girl-group gravitas while “Baby, You’re A Gun” would be perfect fare for Kill Bill 3 should Tarrantino ever design to make another one.

058. Jon Pardi – Mr. Saturday Night

Coming out of the gates with another dose of Honky Tonk ennui much in the same vein as 2019’s Heartache Medication, Vol. 2, Mr. Saturday Night walks that delicate line between Bro Country, Midland vintage Nudie Suit Country, and traditional Honky Tonk.

057. Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

As debut albums go, Pressed & Ironed, delivered by Crossword Smiles, is as great a debut record that you are likely to have heard all year. From the breezy Little River Band adjacent “October Leaves” to the calmer side of The Replacements on “…Where’s The Sense,” and sliding into the early Who evoking wonderment of “The Girl With a Penchant For Yellow,” on this one, all of the coolest touchstones coalesce into a pool of power pop perfection.

056. Starcrawler – She Said

With front-woman Arrow De Wilde and their new record She Said, the band Starcrawler is in full-throttle mode to continue their assault on rock and roll supremacy.

With a style that brings to mind John Doe and his band X, The Distillers, along with the sleazier side of The Rolling Stones, it is no wonder that they count Jack White, Dave Grohl, And Iggy Pop in the fold as super fans.

055. Dead Daisies – Radiance

Full of high-tone ‘70s rock swagger in the Deep Purple mold, this super group that consists of former Whitesnake guitarist David Aldrich, Glen Hughes, major-domo, and bandleader David Lowy, and drummer for hire Brian Tichy, pull out all of the stops on a record that is full of heavy riffs, soaring vocals, and monster drumming.

054. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening

The Philadelphia five-piece that is 2nd Grade is poised for next-level greatness with their third proper full-length, Easy Listening.

The texture transitions from song to song that the band pulls off make for not only an interesting listen but also rewards the listener with new signature Nuggets to be unfurled with each successive spin.

053. The Airport 77s – We Realize You Have A Choice

From the opening Journey by way of Night Ranger riffage on “One Good Thing About Summer” to the Cheap Trick if The Struts Luke Spiller fronted the band splendor of “Birthday Girl” the ears are tuned to coolness with this sophomore release of Airport 77s.

052. The Mahones – Jameson Street

It is rare when an album comes out that is the perfect salve for a point in time that desperately calls out for a set of anthems the likes of which are presented here. All of the familiar Emerald Isle touch-points are front and center from The Waterboys to Thin Lizzy, The Chieftains, and beyond.

051. Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners – Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners

The Country rock and 70’s rock interplay on this record are refreshingly eclectic, and the cover songs curated here in The Georgia Satellite’s “Six Years Gone,” as well as the Status Quo classic “Dirty Water” represents a band that is at the top of their game.

050. Color Green – Color Green

Brought together on a shared love of Laurel Canyon-tinged Americana, there is a wafting of Grateful Dead, free-form Allman Brothers, and The Byrds throughout their eponymous debut record.

Author: falconi5

A place for musically minded folk to get together and share ideas, reviews, and basically spread the word.

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