Sure, you’ve been doom-scrolling through your share of year-end Best Albums lists, but there are some deep cuts out there that might not be getting the shine they deserve. While we stand by the diverse offering of the year’s best on Uproxx’s Best Albums of 2022’s round-up, these picks represent the ones you may have missed. From post-punk and global sounds to West Coast hip-hop and IDM, check out the best albums of 2022 that you might have missed below.
Khruangbin and Vieux Farka Touré – Ali
Much like how Khruangbin’s Texas Sun/Moon collaboration with Leon Bridges wonderfully melds together each artist’s sound while aiming for the essence of Texas, Ali is a sonic journey into West Africa with Vieux Farka Touré. The son of the great Malian desert blues guitarist Ali Farka Touré, Vieux joins forces with Khruangbin to honor his late father on the album. The Texan trio elevates Touré as a vocalist and guitarist, and together they tap in deeply to the spirit of West African blues and folk. One that can finally be felt in widespread fashion well outside of the continent.
Greentea Peng – Greenzone 108
The British rapper’s latest mixtape sees her spitting metaphysical rhymes over jazzy psychedelic soul beats and dancehall riddims. “Stuck In The Middle” showcases her sly wordsmithery over a groovy twang, while “Your Mind” lays down lush strings and funky horns for Peng to flow over with impeccable cadence: “I see you still, cower at your power. I see you still, doubt the world is ours / But I’m here to shower you, with messages from higher you, in spite of you, inside of you, there’s light in you, and fight in you.”
Widowspeak – The Jacket
On their sixth album, Brooklyn’s Widowspeak have found their highest form. Straddling shoegaze and cowboy pop, The Jacket is a calming, extremely pleasant, and flat-out gorgeous display from a band that’s aging gently and gracefully. Through standout tracks like the kaleidoscopic “While You Wait,” the balmy “Everything Is Simple” and the brilliantly arranged “The Drive,” singer Molly Hamilton’s vocals are a salve throughout one of the best evening companion albums of the year.
Ela Minus & DJ Python – Corazón
Before the arresting dance music pulse of Ela Minus’ breakthrough 2020 album, Acts Of Rebellion, the 2017 Adapt EP was a more playful, vocal IDM essay on synth mastery from the Colombian artist. Corazón harkens back to that early release through the earthy tonalities of New York-based producer DJ Python. As its title suggests, Corazón is a collection of love songs — only three of them to be exact — that leave a lasting feeling of sweet longing, tinged with palpable hope and nostalgia for sweet moments of romance. None do it better than “Pajaros en Verano,” one of the best songs of the year which brims with starry-eyed adoration wrapped in Ela and Python’s warm embrace of synths.
Thee Sacred Souls – Thee Sacred Souls
In the spirit of retro-soul-minded acts like Durand Jones & The Indications and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, the self-titled debut from SoCal’s Thee Sacred Souls is a display of lowrider soul tunes. Singer Josh Lane, drummer Alex Garcia, and bassist Sal Samano channel vintage ’60s soul and ’70s R&B vibes on the twelve-track Daptone Records release. But it’s in their full seven-piece setup where you get transported to a scene right out of that sock hop in Back To The Future, only this time, it’s the full Thee Sacred Souls touring ensemble commanding the stage for [radio DJ voice] alllll the lovers out there.
George Fitzgerald – Stellar Drifting
Domino Records really had their finger on the pulse of melodic IDM this year and George Fitzgerald’s Stellar Drifting was it’s most accessible offering. Breakneck soundscapes bloom everywhere, often making way for lasting vocal collabs like the glorious “Passed Tense” with Panda Bear and the magic carpet ride that is “Rainbow And Dreams” featuring Soak. For the album, Fitzgerald synthesized the literal sound of the cosmos and moments like “Cold” — featuring a pitched-down (and uncredited) Ellie Goulding — are downright interstellar.
Tim Bernardes – Mil Coisas Invisíveis
Brazilian singer-songwriter Tim Bernardes opened for Fleet Foxes on tour this year and recently collaborated with them on the track “A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen.” He even recorded a version of “Baby” with Brazilian legend Gal Costa before she passed this year. His trajectory is certainly on the rise and his solo album, Mil Coisas Invisíveis, is one of the finest modern Brazilian folk albums released in recent memory. Look no further than “BB (Garupa De Moto Amarela)” for a prime example of how Bernardes presents his elegant and poetic Portuguese-language lyricism, alongside bohemian arrangements that feel inspired by the flower child era of the Summer of Love.
Larry June & Jay Worthy – 2 P’z In A Pod
While San Francisco’s Larry June Spaceships On The Blade drew considerable attention this year (including from Uproxx’s Best Albums of 2022), June’s collaboration with Compton rapper Jay Worthy was likewise a standout. 2 P’z In A Pod is nothing short of a titanic West Coast rap release, bringing together two distinct voices from NorCal and SoCal. The record is produced entirely by Sean House and “Leave It Up To Me” doesn’t just show two rappers complementing each other with a distinct symbiosis, it might just be the best track June put out this year. There are even features from a slew of OGs in The Diplomats’ Jim Jones, West Coast rap fixture Suga Free, and then NYC’s Roc Marciano on the cognac-soaked “Leave It Up To Me.”
A.O. Gerber – Meet Me At The Gloaming
There’s a lot more than meets the eye on Los Angeles singer-songwriter A.O. Gerber’s latest album. If meticulously constructed and impassioned tunes like “You Got It Right” and “Walk In The Dark” remind you of Wye Oak, perhaps it’s because Gerber co-produced the album with Wye Oak collaborator Madeline Kenney. Out on the workhorse Father/Daughter Records label, melancholy strings permeate this beautiful album about staying optimistic in difficult emotional standstills. And even experimental jazz saxophonist Sam Gendel pops up at a couple turns, flashing ambitious layouts from Gerber and company that leave you wanting more.
Cola – Deep In View
While Montreal post-punk trio Ought disbanded recently, Cola immediately arose from the ashes. Most importantly, deep-voiced singer Tim Darcy is still at the helm lyrically on an album that easily slotted among the best post-punk releases of the year. Album opener “Blank Curtain” sets the stage with Darcy’s perfectly-paced vocals, sleek riffs, and a devious bass line from Ben Stidworthy. “Water Table” brings back Darcy’s signature callouts of our growing technocratic state, over drums from Ben Cartwright that thump like a tell-tale heart. And for a moment, it feels like Ought never left, they only got better.
Archibald Slim – Worldly Ways
While Archibald Slim is still rubbing elbows with Atlanta’s left-of-center Awful Records crew that he first came up with (including on Father’s “Let’s Kick His Ass!” along with Zack Fox this year), he’s found new life with LA’s P.O.W Recordings after a lengthy hiatus. Now Worldly Ways immediately slots him among the upper crust of the label’s eclectic roster of emerging rappers. The Boldy James comparisons are inescapable as Slim weaves stories with the hard-earned wisdom of a man who’s traversed many roads, but with the South as his recognizable point of origin. And he puts it down on the standout title track over a breezy thump, rapping: “I ain’t proud of some of the things that I had done. But my folks proud I stand my ground and I don’t run unless there’s time on the line.”