Even with the COVID-19 pandemic still around, independent artists have found their way to be creative and get their music out there for the masses.
Budding musicians or indie artists with a passion for music that resonate and didn’t go through major labels found great success in appealing to the fans who matter, so we’ve scoured the interwebs to find them. In 2022 social media played a huge role in spreading unique music among new users. Thanks to Tiktok and Instagram reels.
There has been so much music to enjoy this year. So, let’s dive into 20 albums and EPs that you must not miss while you start your 2023 for a whole new bunch of music. 🙂
It is almost impossible for music fans to keep their feet, hands, or head still when listening to all the incredible dancing and headbanging moments within the 8 tracks of the album I Never Die. The album tells a story about a woman who arises with power and determination. It’s an exceptional collection of songs that demonstrate (G)I-DLE are aimed at helping to make you feel more confident and ready to take on the world.
Sudan Archives came out with a sophomore album entitled Natural Brown Prom Queen, demonstrating enticing beats and hooks, keeping the artist Brittany Parks genuine. The album thrives on daring lyricism and demonstrates technical ingenuity, with tracks that sound far ahead of their time.
Upcoming R&B artist Ari Lennox of Washington D.C. brings out all of the sexual tension and intimacy with dating in her album age/sex/location. Her neo-soul brand oozes validation and confidence, with songs that are grown-up and sexy. Her soothing voice floats effortlessly among funky guitar chords and synthesizers, bringing about inner peace.
Wisdom and musical aptitude pour from this debut album by Cardinal Black. All four members demonstrate understanding and you can hear how much love and effort went into it. Combining rock and blues magnificently, with rich vocals and soulful guitars.
Another rock and blues compilation for the top 20, Dan Patlansky demonstrates creativity and heartfelt storytelling in his album Shelter of Bones. He demonstrates his guitar style with massive talent, which goes well with his intelligent songwriting. You know that this record has the power to elevate you on many levels.
The group Soul Glo out of Philadelphia produced and launched this booming album Diaspora Problems, taking a stance on political issues including healthcare, community, poverty, higher education, and more. It’s a radical mix with a lot of subjects to make you feel uncomfortable, and that’s the point, they know how to edit audio with expert mixing and mastering.
No stranger to releasing albums, Vince Staples released his fifth album in 2022 entitled Ramona Park Broke My Heart, a tribute to his stolen youth. Rather than like his previous musical tracks where you find more proficiency, this album boasts a more introspective point of view. His rap
Metal music has its place in the top 20, too! Swedish group Meshuggah know how to rock with complex arrangements and syncopated rhythms, and with their latest album Immutable, their unique style still shines through. They haven’t changed but subtly from album to album, which makes them recognizable to long-term fans, and their abrasive metal sound provides a profound energy not to be matched by any other.
Another incredible metal quartet, Moodring put out their debut album Stargazer is an explosive and powerful album that boasts something a little different than most other rock compilations. Many of them center around issues like mental health or politics, so you don’t often hear sexual empowerment in a modern-rock expression. Following their self-released EP, this album is triumphant with its vivacious energy.
Norwegian musician Monia Birkenes shines with her sophomore album with the group Mr. Little Jeans, Batter Days. Electropop has its place within the masses, and this record of trauma is as enjoyable and mesmerizing as it is to listen to, breaking through with a sense of clarity from honest emotion.
Playful compositions demonstrating some sick choral music and Afrobeats, FKA Twigs released their newest mixtape Caprisongs. It features nine guest artists with a lively array of voices and mixes of slow, rocking ballads, lo-fi beats, and even some hints of gospel.
Alternative singer-songwriter Alix Page released her first EP Old News this year. The four songs are a great representation of the twenty-year-olds inner mind, thinking about conversations and what you “should have said” at the moment. Her lyrics are thought-provoking, and fans of other indie artists like Phoebe Bridgers or Jensen McRae are sure to enjoy this EP.
Steve Lacy produced and launched his second album this year full of soul and R&B and all about the aftermath of a breakup. He uses the star sign of Gemini, aligning it cleverly as reminiscent of the struggle for sexual or racial progress, and it hits the mark.
London singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya follows her 2019 debut album with this broken down, heartfelt and tender release, PAINLESS. She has gorgeous melodies matched with guitars and drum machines, bringing about a quiet power. Classically developed and well-thought-out, the expression in her voice is poetry.
Master guitarist Marcus King is well on his way to stardom in the rock & roll genre with this 2022 album from Nashville. His talents are apparent, as is the journey he takes us on with the challenges of his life, including drugs, alcohol, a breakup, and depression. The album was recorded live to give it a more emotional and organic feel, and it makes such an impression. Recordings are rarely done this way anymore.
British metal band Monuments has done it again, bringing us their atmospheric moodiness to grab your attention and hold it with their latest album, In Stasis. Chris Barretto makes his debut with the group and portrays numerous singing styles. The raw vocals help bring out dealing with struggles that we all experience in our lives, paired with a ferocious bite that packs an awesome punch.
Dream pop has its place in our hearts, and Australian artist Hatchie’s (Harriette Pilbeam) second album Giving The World Away, provides a brash and ambitiousness. The pandemic brought out the avoided insecurities and processes that made her question her future in the music industry, and the songs in this album explore all of these feelings.
Alberta duo Purity Ring brings us their EP Graves, with haunting chords and euphoric moments strewn throughout. Corin Riddick and Megan James bring a dash of electronica and pop glides that brings a sound unlike most of what you’ve heard before. The broken quality can feel like it interrupts the song flow, but the lyrics elevate themselves and the EP feels genuine in its delivery.
It’s impossible to have a list of the greats and not include Queen B herself. The anticipation of Beyoncé’s 7th album was such a treat, and it proudly portrays her flawless vocals with incredible harmonies and face-melting riffs and runs that knock your socks off! The dance music has some sick beats and it’s bound to get your body moving. It’s been critically acclaimed as the No. 1 album of 2022!
Previous Radiohead members Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Tom Skinner debuted their studio album under the new group name The Smile. The name is meant to indicate “the guy who lies to you every day” coming from Yorke. It sounds in tandem with a Radiohead album and highlights the creativity between Yorke and Greenwood. Modular tones create a sense of disorientation and are matched with wishful thinking, addressing politics and fragility.