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36 Of The Best Albums Of 2022 So Far

Every July, we pause for just a moment to take stock of the year and gather the best albums we've wrapped our ears around so far. This year, we have help for the first time -- we're presenting our mid-year list differently and have thrown open the door to Waxx Lyrical Club Members to contribute to what makes the cut and have their say. A few of these utter legends have contributed here. The result, we believe, is the best and most accurate, real picture of what's happening in music for Australian audiences.

We only imposed one rule -- the album had to have a vinyl release or, at least, have one on the way.


In alphabetical order....


The Dream

Alt-J's fourth studio album is an absolute standout of this year so far. Somewhat of return to form for these ears, it simultaneously feels a giant leap into new territory.

Holding onto their eccentric music styling, they have also stripped back and simplified on a number of songs - the stunning and sparse 'Get Better' is a standout for this reason. The lyrics are far more personal than previous records and range from everything from death, and COVID, to crypto and cocaine. After a full decade since their outstanding debut, Alt-J still manage to keep us guessing and have some mighty fine tricks left up their sleeve. As a wise man once said, it's the shiznit!

- Tim Pearson | @1984tpearson



The Canadian seven-piece's arguable return to form comes in the form of a rather melancholic approach to the world at large, offering huge stadium-sized moments, for which we've come to love the band for, paired with more intimate and intricate moments that see the band reflecting and more honest and upfront than their previous effort.

Win Butler sounds simultaneously exhausted and renewed, melodic and sincere, but it's the songs themselves which, for the most part, allow themselves to be what they are without falling on the wrong side of naff. Arcade Fire have always been a band to be felt and WE thankfully returns them to this preferable position. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of their journey back to this prevailing sentiment

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl

BALL PARK MUSIC 🇳🇿 Weirder & Weirder

It’s almost incomprehensible, but Ball Park Music have done it yet again! Here on their seventh studio album, Weirder & Weirder, they have managed to seamlessly evolve with their fan base and the times. As the album title suggests, the songs are an eclectic mix of indie rock anthems ('Manny', 'Sunscreen') and blue-eyed soul-speakers like 'Stars In My Eyes' and 'Beautiful Blueberries'. Ball Park Music have a perfect uncanny talent of grasping the intelligible feelings of the world's current climate and putting them into wonderfully lyrics and songs, which anyone can relate to. Through wit and sheer honesty, Ball Park Music have once again made a record that will stay with us for years to come.

- Angie Vlismas | @vinylvlis


Once Twice Melody

Look up the word "dreamy" in the dictionary and you'll probably see a photo of Beach House in lieu of a definition. Their 8th studio album reveals the band at the peak of their powers. Frankly, it's a flex, modernising their signature sound enough to bring it forward, not enough to polarise longtime admirers. The quality of the songwriting is up there with their finest - the intoxicating title track is completely subversive and 'Superstar' is a subtle empowerment anthem. Both can be isolated and would slip into your 'dream pop' playlist perfectly alongside their best, but the whopping 90 minute runtime needs to be experienced from front to back. Beach House are creators of worlds, indulge them - it's better than any substance used to escape.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl


Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

While I'll never truly remember the album title and its lack of punctuation shits me to tears, negatives for this album stop right here. It's REMARKABLE and many outlets have already called it the album of the year. Nearing their 10th anniversary, the album shows the band in possession of the vitality and ambition of one that's brand new. Its colourful 20 song, 80 minute journey is completely intoxicating, a thing of beauty, wit and invention on which the inimitable Adrienne Lenker, and the three men in her orbit, have never sounded quite as free and intentional. It's raw, where lesser bands would throw in an orchestra, they take they simple sonic path less traveled. The songwriting is the key - one listen to the opening 'Change' and you'll be hooked.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl


Ants From Up There

The hangover from 2021’s excellent debut release has barely settled and, the uber-talented British seven-piece piece have quickly treated to us even better follow-up.

It's a towering collection of tracks, sometimes with soaring crescendos deeply impactful lyrics with, at times, whimsical references to the likes of Atkins Diet and Billie Eilish masterfully entwined. The record intentionally grabs you from the outset and you can’t help but listen and feel every note. Sadly, lead singer Isaac Wood quit the band four days before the release. Regardless of the band's next moves, this record will live on and the world is much richer for its release. - Ben Thurtell @spicysourvinyls



The approach on Charli XCX's fifth album is more conventional than its predecessors with enough pop smarts to truly cement her as the front running trailblazer we've come to accept her as over the years. Some of her absolute finest moments to dat exist here on CRASH as she approaches the mainstream a little closer than usual, without losing her voice and sense of self, simplifying her sound has proven to be the biggest risk she could've taken.

- Rose Hunt |



Confidence Man understand dance music. Perhaps an obvious statement, but there are signs here, an authenticity of sounds and approach here on their second album to suggest that they actually hail from another time and aren't the Brisbane youngsters we thought they were. While it doesn't actually deviate too far from their 2018 debut, it's safe to say it's better. It sees them stepping forward a bit with better rounded songs that, while are no less seemingly fun and ready for the dancefloor, are more serious and lyrically purposeful. Sonically, they further contribute to the dance pop resurgence of the '90s and 2000s, paying homage to classic house, glittering disco and beat-smart club music, as much as they deliver a fittingly solid pop aesthetic. Regarding the latter, they can easily slip in with the likes of Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa, but perhaps with a more sincere augmented hedonistic approach of the rave days of old.

- Benjamin Drinkwater | @benny.drinks


Life Is Yours

After tackling tracks in the dance rock scene previously, Foals, now a trio, have jumped head first full into the disco-dance-rock genre on their seventh studio album.

Written and produced during countless COVID restrictions that the band endured, it's a lockdown album that sounds anything but. Full of huge festival ready singalongs and dance floor fillers, Foals have found a unique sound that is reminiscent of when rock bands released party dance albums in the post-punk revivalism during the early to mid noughties. The band states this record was created as a party record for groups of friends to blast before hitting the town, setting the scene for mayhem and euphoria to ensue. Fair to say they’ve nailed the brief.

- Ben Thurtell | @spicysourvinyls


An album of light and dark, synths and gentle melodies, Dance Fever was recorded in London and produced by Florence Welch, go-to producer of the moment Jack Antonoff and Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley during a worldwide pandemic and two cancelled tours. It's unabashedly and unapologetically cathartic, an album about re-joining the world after the pandemic led by a bohemian queen skipping joyously down some lost faerie path. Featuring Florence’s self-reflection and with lush production to back it up, Dance Fever is a euphoric listen with solid songs that will equally become festival bangers while also enabling drunk dancing in your lounge alone. - Kylie May | @what_budget_vinyl_spins


Skinty Fia

Understanding Skinty Fia is an Irish slur - translating as "damnation of the deer" - somehow goes someway to understanding what sort of band Fontaines D.C. is. They've traveled a remarkable distance in a short time, once mining scrappy post-punk, they now seem keen on choral arrangements and tough yet tender ballads. The record further separates them from their peers, almost as much as their own previous work. It's less pint-smashing and more open hearted and musically demanding, eying something that is more universal rather than fixated on their own backyard. However, there are enough vivid fish-out-of-water metaphors and an overall air of trying to fit in hunger to fuel further.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl


C'mon You Know

Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the consistency of the younger Gallagher brother's solo records, is his list of collaborators. On this, his third, the credits include everyone from Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow, pop writer Greg Kurstin to Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Dave Grohl and Tove Lo. Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't see a younger Liam tolerating any of them. Still, he hasn't missed a beat here, experimenting more and digging deeper more than usual, still wearing his love of The Beatles on his sleeve and singing better than ever without compromising his trademark drawl. Liam Gallagher, for now at least, seems to have uncovered all the right the buttons and isn't afraid to unabashedly push them all.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl


angel in realtime.

Gang of Youths' third studio album highlight the band's maturity and artistic diversity, maintaining their longstanding reputation as lyricists who stimulate emotion within every listener. Angel in Realtime is a cathartic narrative of front man David Le’aupepe’s reflection of his late father's legacy and impact, both the positive elements and the negative. The album brings the audience to their feet early with 'the angel of 8th ave.', before transitioning in and out of huge, soaring choruses on the likes of 'spirit boy' and 'the man himself'. However, a personal favourite, 'brothers', juxtaposes these choruses and captures the essence of the album best - a soft, pianistic tale, ebbing and flowing through the Le'aupepe family tree amid Dave's own development of an understanding of who his family truly is. The album represents the ongoing artistic progression, both lyrically and technically, of one of Australia's best homegrown talents who continue to succeed in creating symphonic tracks without forsaking their trademark emotive lyrics.

- Pat Huolohan | @pat__huolohan


Warm Chris

Anytime this Kiwi native with the global audience releases an album, it inevitably ends near the top of year end lists. This one is no different. To call it "indie-folk" might underestimate it entirely, it sits better more in the psychedelic late 1960's when the acid was flowing and music was finding itself a new pair of feet. Still beautifully weird and dodging interpretation, Harding evokes images like no other, here presenting some of her best, most complex songwriting to date. Not as instantly accessible as Designer, its excellent predecessor, it rewards repeated listens, pulling the veil back on denser arrangements and less-obvious hooks. However, it is one for the serious music fans who find joy in stewing on an imaginative album until it sits just right.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl


Giving The World Away

Brisbane's own Hatchie returns with an album not so much the dream pop which inspired her inception and instead appears to be eying the dancefloor. Dodging predictable themes, she tackles her own anxieties and insecurities, presenting them with an ambitious sonic palette that goes a way further without dismissing her past. An album in whole, GTWA features some of her finest tracks - 'The Rhythm' arguably the best, brasher in execution than we're used to with a healthy dose of experimentation. How she manages to make something so exciting, with confident pop sensibilities and ultimately danceability deserves all the applause. I know I am here for it.

- Benjamin Drinkwater | @benny.drinks

DANIEL JOHNS 🇳🇿 FutureNever

Daniel Johns’ second solo album feels like the culmination of all his releases to date. It builds on the foundations he began laying on Neon Ballroom and Diorama when Silverchair were in full stride, but continues to push into him into the more modern territory of his first solo effort. Stylistically, the album is hard to pin down, it has a heavily electronic feel at times and is intertwined with an R&B influence that shines through on tracks like 'I Feel Electric'. The album also features incredible orchestral arrangements at other times, which beautifully contributes to his theatrical songwriting. His haunting reimagining of ‘Freak’ is a brilliant full circle moment, giving the song new life and perspective. It feels like much more of a “part two” than a rehash. Johns’ vocals are strong on FutureNever - the lower end of his range has gained more and more depth and gravity in recent years, while his falsetto hits new heights and is paired perfectly with sophisticated songwriting and melodic prowess. It is the next step in Daniel John’s evolution, and showcases him as an artist untethered at the height of his abilities.

- Nick Cronin | @foalcronin


Omnium Gatherum

There have been a lot of quality albums released so far in 2022, with my pick of the litter being King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s 20th studio album Omnium Gatherum. Over the last 10 years, the band has earned a reputation for ‘genre hopping’, this one has provided a sublime collection of clectic songs that feels more likef a ‘greatest hits’ album, except all of the songs are new. Old Gizz fans will love this Oddments and Gumboot Soup styled album and as for the uninitiated, this is a great entry point to a band whose genre is fluid and hard to nail down. Enjoy.

- Peter Houghton | @petes_record_collection


Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

So far divisive, the detractors noting its lack of bangers, Kendrick's fifth record abandons the spotlight and instead presents something that plays like his own manifesto of beliefs, demons, prejudices and healing, all while meditating on fatherhood and family. It's a detailed, uncomfortable and beautiful guide through the man's own psyche, no holds barred. He lets the trauma responses and tackles it all - black, familial, parental - and lays it bare. Yes, it takes patience and repeated spins to grasp firmly, the layers are insanely deep and peeling them back takes time, but really ought to happen. It's a fiery representation of Kendrick Lamar's skill as a rapper and vision as a creative.

- Rose Hunt |



Dear listener, the comparisons might be obvious, but please ignore for this album is like wow. Psyche-rock outfit The Lazy Eyes' first, a band this young has no right to be this good. The album is unconventional, exciting, tight, polished and is only made all the more impressive by the fact that they produced it themselves. All hail, the new kings of Aussie psyche rock.

- Loren Kerr | @lorenkerr


Butterfly Blue

Emerging Brisbane artist, Grace Shaw - aka Mallrat - feels like she has been a part of the

furniture for a long time with well-established EPs and large social media following. In 2022, we are witness to the amazingly ambitious debut album, Butterfly Blue. The album is aptly titled, as it reflects Mallrat's evolution as an artist. Starting out as a caterpillar working tirelessly on her craft and releasing her debut sounding like a fully-

fledged melodious butterfly. It is so full of life and includes a hidden bonus track on

Side B as a special treat for us wax lovers!

- Mitchell Rylands | @rnrwithrylo


Are You Haunted?

Whether we realise it or not, Methyl Ethel is one of Australia's most important projects, refusing to adhere to any one promotional outlet or radio station and, instead, opting to create art on a level akin to any one international artist. The sole protagonist of their fourth album, Jake Webb, observes the many shortcomings of the world from lockdown and has made something that is as groove-laden as it is thought provoking. Webb's self-made production values have taken to the next level as has his unconventional, yet accessible songwriting. But a huge question I have is "why aren't we talking about him in vocalist's terms yet?!" He is becoming dangerously good at, well, everything he shifts his focus to.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl



Australia’s premier political rock band have returned with possibly their most impassioned plea to date. From climate change to the treatment of asylum seekers, you are never in any doubt on where Midnight Oil stand on the issues addressed. Teaming up with producer Warne Livesey, who’s past credits with the band include Diesel and Dust and Blue Sky Mining, this record has a trademark Oils sound. Driving rhythms, scintillating guitar rifts, and scathing lyrics all carrying the urgency of their message. Nearly 45 years since their debut album, these veterans of the industry have crafted another solid, out and out rock record.

- Will O'Brien | @willobrien268



Arguably one of the most consistent metalcore bands hailing from Sydney, Northlane’s sixth studio album is no exception to this rule. Resuming where they left off with the success of Alien (2019), the band continues to take their sound to new and exciting heights. Diving deeper into the blurred line between metalcore, EDM, and Alternative rock, Obsidian is packed with tracks that will get the blood pumping and heads banging, proving once again that Australian Metal hits different.

- Stephen Thorpe | @beardsandbreakdowns_vinyls


Up In The Air Forever

Ocean Grove have absolutely killed it with this album. The catchy melodies, dirty riffs and flawless drums make for an album that puts a smile on your face from start to finish. It’s the type of album that makes you want to throw elbows in your living room as soon as the first drop hits. This album is easily my favourite of the year so far. Ocean Grove have a killer sound and that is backed up by an incredible live performance, so if you haven’t already, definitely check them out.

- Ben Wells | @benwells44/


It's Almost Dry

With three decades in the game, Pusha T remains as vital as ever and if records like this keep a-coming, that's unlikely to change any time soon. Impressively, it's a star-studded affair - production duties were split jointly down the middle between Kanye West and Pharrell Williams and there are guest appearances from both as well as Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Labrinth, Lil Uzi Vert and his brother / fellow member of Clipse, Malice. Both producers have brought their impressive A-game, almost like they're sparring and still managing to sound effortless. But it's Pusha who continues to steal the show, dripping with confidence and delivering evocative story-telling - his own unique take on bulletproof gangster rap. One of the best in the game, no one can do what Pusha does and he's flexing everything he has here. After what he's been through, he deserves the right to.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl


A Light For Attracting Attention

With Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood at the helm, this new Radiohead side-project, also featuring the fantastic Tom Skinner on drums and Nigel Godrich on production was never not going to dodge attention. But what we didn't expect was it to be this good. Like their main project, The Smile still is a bid for beauty amidst the chaos of the world, with Yorke's lyrics still sounding as bewildered and as relevant as the days of OK Computer. The guitars are fantastically prickly, the drums are jazzy and funky and the horn stabs and gorgeous string lines perhaps pull it up just shy of Radiohead territory. It remains unseen why this isn't a project of that band, but who cares, there's something fresh, inviting and immensely invigorating about this new project, and they sound half their age.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl


Lucifer On The Sofa

On their 10th record, these indie stalwarts continue to shine deep into their career, near-on 30 years as a band. Lucifer On The Sofa doesn't reinvent the wheel so much as reinforce it, delivering a fucks-free and effortless bunch of songs that sound fresh enough tp be from a band half their age. And whose voice is cooler than Britt Daniel? His sophisticated songwriting pen finds one of his finest on 'Wild', something that can quickly be added to the list with your favourite Spoon songs. Elsewhere, it's all frills-free hooks, blues riffs, chunky guitar and beefy drums all sounding like one take-wonders that were all cut in a day or two.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl



If they say pop punk is dead, then this album is the genre's resurrection. Sydney-based Stand Atlantic's third studio album F.E.A.R hits all the landmarks of a masterpiece by understanding what made their last two albums successful.

Taking that, plus exploring genres and styles that don't usually sit within the pop-punk world, makes F.E.A.R the band's most entertaining, adventurous and creative album to date, solidifying Stand Atlantic as a pop punk powerhouse!

- Stephen Thorpe | @beardsandbreakdowns_vinyls


Listen To The Water

Luke Steele is a part of West Aussie music royalty. His sister Katy, brother Jesse and father Rick have been part of the Perth scene for years. His debut album, Listen To The Water, is a beautiful collection of heartfelt songs recorded in a secluded cabin by a private lake in southern California. There are glimpses of Empire Of The Sun with some soft and quirky synths poking their head through, but also you can pick some of The Sleepy Jackson vibes. This album, though, is much more than that. It's a walk into Luke's sadness, dreams, nightmares and salvation. "A chance for me to be naked, fearless and on my own. That was confronting." A very minimalist stripped back approach with some songs possessing a very Dylan-esque vibe, it's a great solo album and if you're a fan of Luke's other work this should be on the radar.



Nilüfer Yanya's second full-length studio album, Painless, is best enjoyed with headphones!

By taking advantage of every sonic pocket, this album seamlessly blends indie pop-rock, soul and psychedelics, pairing perfectly with Yanya’s haunting vocals. This English singer/songwriter will take you on a journey. You may not know where you are going, but you will enjoy every moment. As a lover of metal, I did not expect to love this album as much as I did, and it's becoming a regular spin!

- Stephen Thorpe @beardsandbreakdowns_vinyls


Dawn FM

The Weeknd's fifth long player is a guilt-free pop romp, guising under the concept of a late night retro-pop radio station. The songs are instant - some of the finest pop around - and there are parody commercials and neighbour / fellow-Canadian Jim Carrey as the radio host himself. Not a joke. This just might be the finest album The Weeknd has released -- its beauty sits comfortably beside its boogie and its largely danceable tracklist confronts much of the trauma in his life, without ever taking himself too seriously. A shameless and complete ałbum from front to finish, it's a lot of what pop music should be - dynamic, uncompromising, exhilarating and universally accessible.

- Rose Hunt |


Wet Leg

The eponymous debut from this Isle Of Wight group has no right to be as good as it is and, seemingly, came out of nowhere. Having already released one of the best singles of last year in debut ‘Chaise Longue’, Wet Leg quickly followed it up with 11 more, all of them radio-worthy in same way or another. That may actually be this album's only flaw, but that would be nit-picking. Unabashedly catchy melodies from front to back meet witty, clever and oft-naughty lyricism, a bullet proof, diverse production steeped in 90’s nostalgia and hooks for days, it’s kinda faultless. If what they say is true about a debut album being a new artist’s ‘greatest hits’, then consider just how fascinating it’s going to be to watch where Wet Leg go next.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl

JACK WHITE Fear Of The Dawn

The fourth album from Jack White pretty much sounds like classic Jack White – with plenty of blues heavy guitar riffs – until it doesn’t. Synthesisers and samples feature heavily throughout as we are taken on an eclectic journey that even features an uncharacteristic appearance from Q-Tip. It’s very much a feel good album that makes you want to jump around your living room.

- Josh Smith | @smutters

THE WOMBATS Fix Yourself Not the World

Fix Yourself Not the World is The Wombat’s fifth studio album. The Liverpool trio returned in full force with hits like 'People Don’t Change People, Time Does', 'Method to The Madness' and 'If You Ever Leave I’m Coming With You'.

With lyrics that say what we often are afraid to, Fix Yourself Not the World stunningly encapsulates the crushing feeling of the world being fucked, the nuances of interpersonal relationships, and all the little joys in between.

Whether you walk away from the album anxiety ridden, or with a sense of calm there is one thing we can all agree on, The Wombats have quite frankly nailed the post-covid emotional rollercoaster we have all been cruising on. - Angie Vlismas | @vinylvlis


Alison Wonderland’s third full length album, released May this year, digs deep into her emotions and mental health struggles and how she emerges on the other side in a new awakening. Mental health issues are so prolific in modern life and it takes courage to explore it so all the world can see. Loner is a complicated journey of intense lyrics, super heavy bass lines blended with an airiness throughout each song. This is a superb album, one that needs to be in your collection.

- David Kersting | @littlelizziesvinyladventures


The Overload

These cats are largely under-appreciated down here in Australia, but guaranteeing that will change in the next six months or so. The debut record from the Leeds lads is a mouthy and infectious romp that will undoubtedly cop a heftier saturation as the year progresses. Forgive us, fellas, we're a bit slow. Unapologetically British and lodged in a post-Brexit, post-punk sound, the band's undeniably frank lyrics and deeply infectious groove are part of the appeal. The rest can't be articulated into words, what the band are doing comes from a place of hunger and passion with a sincere and potent voice for a generation who choose to laugh with their anger. For a debut album, The Overload arrives fully-formed is positively stuffed with song after song, an immeasurable embarrassment of riches which effortlessly form one of the year's best records.

- Ben Preece | @preece.on.vinyl

Have we missed your favourite?! Let us know -


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