Canadian Artists Name Their Favourite Albums of 2022

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Dec 7, 2022

Here at Exclaim!, we've already had our say about the best music to come out in 2022 in our lists of the best albums, best songs and Canadian albums you might have missed.

Now, it's the artists' turn. We reached out to a selection of Canadian artists (including some of the ones who made our favourite albums this year) to ask who they were listening to in 2022.

Their choices were as eclectic as the musicians themselves: one artist chose their ex-husband's album, some picked global hits, and others shone a light on peers and obscure local favourites. And there was a whole lot of love for KEN mode and Georgia Harmer.

Scroll down to see what Canadian musicians picked as their favourite albums of 2022.

George Pettit of Alexisonfire
Blending by High Vis

"I told Jonah Falco (producer and handsome Fucked Up'er) that Blending is the 'physical realization of the Floorpunch Oasis T-shirt.' I was kind of joking. What I was getting at is that it's a perfect blend of modern hardcore and '90s, delay-heavy English rock. Think Spiritualized but with stage dives."

Adrian Teacher of Apollo Ghosts

"HEALTHY by Aaron Charles Read had the heaviest rotation this year for me. Gorgeous arrangements, wacked-out instrumentation and pure heartfelt lyricism. Aaron writes soul poetry (his words, not mine),  and every time I listen to this album, I discover a new jewel-encrusted earworm."

Lance Sampson of Aquakultre
Enjoy by Ambeez x Uncle Fester

"These two have been creating together for what seems like a lifetime. The passion they have for this music bleeds out of this record, and Ambeez's honesty and awareness as a man, father and artist is always refreshing to hear."

Tim Baker
Stay in Touch by Georgia Harmer

"I began listening to this record because we were discussing Georgia coming out and opening the tour this fall. But then I just kept listening to it. It feels so pure and effortless. Her voice, yes, but also the songs and the recordings — it's all made out of the same natural grace. It's a giving companion, an instant classic, an impressive debut. And she did come out on tour. And she was all of these things, every night."

Quinton Barnes
Jazz Codes by Moor Mother

"Jazz Codes by Moor Mother is definitely one of my favourite albums of the year. Moor Mother is a huge inspiration and one of my favourite artists working today, and this multifaceted, dense record is just one (of many) demonstrations of her seemingly endless ambition, artistic prowess and vision. A beautiful work."

Christy Hurn-Morrison of Basement Revolver
Suddenly by Math Club

"My favourite record of 2022 is Suddenly by Math Club (for fans of Jimmy Eat World, Manchester Orchestra and the Wonder Years). While I may be biased (the album is completely written, played, recorded, produced and engineered by my ex-husband), I truly believe that it is one of the best independent records you will ever come across. Suddenly is what records used to be — reminiscent of riding the bus to high school and discovering Death Cab for Cutie for the first time and going to your first show at the Phoenix. I cannot listen to it without weeping — and maybe it is because I love this human so deeply, maybe it is because some of the songs are about our life together — the hardships we experienced together, the people we have lost, how ending our marriage was the most loving thing to do — or maybe it is just because it is a picture of a kind man's heart. Regardless of the meaning, sonically you are taken on a journey through the nostalgic world of Midwestern emo what Wade has coined as post-teen-angst. If you want to feel like you are smoking a sneaky ciggy behind the bleachers, if you want to know the story of platonic soulmates, if you want something to cry to, this is the record for you."

Sophia Bel
Sometimes, Forever by Soccer Mommy

"Soccer Mommy always has my heart, with her catchy melodies and organic soundscapes. I feel like her influences in this album are taking a darker and sassier turn and I love it."

Haley Blais
Revealer by Madison Cunningham

"Every time I listen to this album it gets better and reveals (!!!) itself it to me in different, beautiful ways. You can hear the careful contemplation in every bar, every breath. Aside from the fact Cunningham is simply a maestro on the guitar, the lyrics are what really floored me; they're the kind of words you can chew on. Like, they literally feel satisfying in my mouth? I don't know how else to explain it, but I think I want to eat this album. I love a tasty 7/4 time signature."

Rachel Bobbit
Blue Rev by Alvvays

"This album is a perfect blend of shoegaze-y guitar layers and ear worm melodies. The production is incredible, with a different layer opening up with each new listen. The lyrics are like a witty journal entry — wry and personal, with vocals spanning octaves. Being a fellow Maritimer also adds another level of connection to the music. I haven't loved an album like this since high school."

Blurry by RIP Swirl

"It doesn't matter when this record comes on or what mood I'm in, I won't skip it. I found RIP Swirl via an NTS playlist. The production first struck me, and then this intense feeling of nostalgia. I'm most impressed with the treatment of seemingly simple, lo-fi, guitar-based songs through electronic production. This record is heavy in vibe, a beautifully rendered collection of songs. Standouts are 'Slipping My Mind' and 'Smiling Dog.'"

Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats
This Is the Blackout by Punitive Damage

"There's been a lot of great albums in 2022, but Vancouver's Punitive Damage really put out the record of the year for me. This Is the Blackout is 13 songs clocking in at just under 18 minutes of fast, pissed-off hardcore at its finest. Killer riffs, awesome drums and shredding vocals, Puni D deliver the goods. Oh, and they rip live! 10/10 fav new HC band."

Andrew Baena of Carcosa
Suffer in Hell by Chelsea Grin

"I was hesitant to pick this album because it is so new and I am sure there is some recency bias, but it is just so good. It's no secret that Carcosa take a huge amount of influence from Chelsea Grin's 2018 album Eternal Nightmare, so I couldn't wait to hear what they made next. This is the first part of a double album and is honestly everything I could have hoped for. It is ridiculously heavy and proves once again why Chelsea Grin are one of the bands at the forefront of deathcore."

Ben Stidworthy of Cola
The Zug by Yves Jarvis

"The Zug is another hit record from the multigenerational generation talent Yves Jarvis. Each action-beamed track is a small world built from textures and moods like staring into a mirror ten feet under the sea. I've listened to Yves for almost a decade and will always await his next move."

Matt McGachy of Cryptopsy and Vox&Hops Metal Podcast
As the Moon Rests by A.A. Williams

"As the year reached its end, I found myself completely captivated by this atmospheric post-rock masterpiece. I have been a fan of A.A. Williams since she collaborated with MONO back in 2019. Her music has evolved and become far more guitar-orientated on As the Moon Rests. This album is uncomfortable and brooding yet beautifully uplifting. The song structures are simple, but they are undeniably perfectly crafted. The album is emotionally charged and has ridiculously catchy melodies. It is, hands-down, for me, the best album of 2022."

Jeff Cancade of Devours and the Golden Age of Wrestling
Big Rig by Big Rig

"My favourite Canadian album of the year is Blue Rev by Alvvays, but my local obsession has been the debut self-titled album by alt-country rising stars Big Rig. The Vancouver music community delivered an embarrassment of riches in 2022 — dozens of incredible albums came out this year, including standouts from Apollo Ghosts, Wallgrin, and AC-PDF, among others — but Big Rig frontperson Jen Twynn Payne's pivot from the Courtneys' garage pop to indie country has been this year's most pleasant surprise. Jen has always had impeccable taste, but she is also a beautiful songwriter — plus don't even get me started on secret weapon Geoffo Reith and his bewitching banjo parts. I'm swooning."

Enterglactic by Kid Cudi

"Amazing soundtrack that accompanies Cudi's amazing film on Netflix. Double bonus if you listen while you're in love. It's sultry and emotional and sonically pleasing."

Hannah Judge of fanclubwallet
The Lakes of Zone B and C by Emperor X

"Emperor X has been making really great music forever, but I think this album is one of my favourites of his. 'Freeway in Heaven' is my fave track because it's just so beautifully awash with acoustic guitars and group vocals. it makes me feel like I'm part of a group of friends I've never had. He always utilizes the coolest recording techniques, and the musicianship and lyricism is next level. It makes me believe in music!!"

Goodnight Sunrise
Terribly Good by Skye Wallace

"Aside from the fact that Skye Wallace's voice legit gives us full-body goosebumps, this album has been our sonic pep talk since the moment it dropped. Skye masterfully combines saucy, biting lyrics with the most uniquely beautiful melodies. Terribly Good is the perfect soundtrack for anyone who feels rejected, lost, defeated, but simultaneously refuses to let the haters win!"

Trouble the Water by Show Me the Body

"I don't listen to a ton of music but my brother (+ bass player) introduced me to an LP this year called Trouble the Water by Show Me the Body that is insane. The vocals just set the bar in the way that he gives everything, the way the whole album does. Made me feel like I was 16 again."

Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys
Control by Au Suisse

"I'll say Control by Au Suisse. It's a tour de force by Morgan and Kelly Polar. A great song and performance and a production master class."

John Brennan of Kamikaze Nurse
Jazz Codes by Moor Mother

"The way Moor Mother weaves and collages sounds, spaces, histories, beats and the future/past sonic jazz history is something fresh and exciting to listen to. I also enjoy the collaborations with other artists on this record giving each track its own unique sound."

Jesse Matthewson of KEN mode
Aveilut by Scarcity

"From the moment this album begins, I always feel like I am starring in a movie where something is about to go terribly awry. The album is hypnotic and disorienting in the best possible way, almost like a discordant classical record with double kick set to it. The more I listen to this album, the more it puts me in a trance. Extreme music for your ongoing existential crisis."

Les Louanges
The Forever Story by JID

"The Forever Story is, I think, the album that I've listened to the most in 2022. JID is at the top of of his game on this one. The lyrical content, the storytelling and the beat choices on the album are simply out of this world."

Raphaëlle Chouinard of Les Shirley
Digital Damage + Superficial Stains by Emma Beko

"Emma Beko is truly speaking to my 16-year-old self. It reminds me of the infinite love I had for bands like Linkin Park and the nu metal era. Her music mixes gracefully emo guitar riffs with hip-hop and her lyrics are very self-reflective. Those two EPs form a great album — give it a listen!"

Luna Li
HYPNOS by Ravyn Lenae

"Ravyn's voice has such a beautiful floating quality, and I absolutely love the textural vocal arrangements on this record. I've had "Where I'm From" on repeat since it came out, and always put this album on for a chill and feel-good mood."

Magi Merlin
A Sky Without Stars by ELIZA

"This album has become an Instant classic for me. It actually has been heavily influencing the music that I'm making right now. How Eliza and Finley Robson manage to blow my mind so nonchalantly is, for lack of a better word, BONKERS! It's always so nice when an artist you love relentlessly reminds you why you love them 💖"

Dan Mangan
Stay in Touch by Georgia Harmer

"I got to hear this a bit before it came out, and from the first listen of the first song, it was so obvious how special it was. We asked Georgia to come on tour with us and got to hear these songs every night. Her delivery and depth as a writer and performer are so far beyond her years. Stay in Touch has the perfect blend of youthful happenstance and considered maturity. The songs feel like they've fallen into place almost by accident, but perfectly so."

Cassidy Mann
Big Time by Angel Olsen

"I love an album that instantly puts you in a specific headspace and this one lives in such a vivid world to me. The organic timbre of every instrument, the space on this record, the horn melodies, how the drums feel. The string arrangements are so tasteful too, which I think can be hard to do. Overall, the production just really hits me in a way I've been craving this year, and the vocals and lyrics ride that wave effortlessly, with so much emotion. Such a sweet record to get lost in. My favourite track is 'All The Good Times.'"

G. Thérèse Lanz of Mares of Thrace
NULL by KEN mode

"It's very difficult to pick just one, as 2022 has been a year of nonstop bangers (Brutus and Holy Fawn's records, for instance, are also on the podium here) but my No. 1 has to be NULL by KEN mode. I know, I know, I'm biased because I'm KEN mode bassist alumni, but I've also been a fan since 2006's Reprisal, and I honestly think this is the best record of their career. Two decades later and they're still pushing boundaries; just when you think a band this long-running has no surprises left in them, they hire a SAXOPHONIST, who really takes things to the next level. No one does absolute emotional devastation better; this record is a bloody, bleak, vicious triumph."

Malocchio by Bonnie Trash

"On Malocchio, Guelph siblings Emmalia and Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor pose a future sound while honouring their oral (see: aural) history of matriarchal storytelling. Bonnie Trash conjure cultural visions upon the haunted post-punk altar, always with great respect for their Nonna Maria and her cryptic teachings. 'A beautiful reunion' of ancestry and past to present communion."

Chris Vanderkooy of Peach Pit
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You by Big Thief

"This record blends unique recording techniques with old writing motifs. It's simplicity with depth. It can either be easy listening or a thoughtful experience, depending on how much attention you choose to pay."

Lido Pimienta
Se Ve Desde Aquí by Mabe Fratti

"Mabe is from Guatemala but is based in Mexico City. She is a cellist and experimental electronic musician and producer. Se Ve Desde Aquí translates to You Could See It from Here. This album has quickly become my favorite of the present year because it represents the uncertainty of music that happens when one experiments with noise or simply expands the vowels in words. I identify deeply with each song in this album. What I like the most about it perhaps is the way each song is equally simple as it is complicated in terms of the instrumentation and tools used to create it, but, to be clear, the complication is emotional. Physically, there are just tools used to produce the pieces — but there is nothing snobby about it, it's just a tender feeling, something nostalgic but true and real takes over you when you listen. And even though there are songs that Mabe sings so beautifully, she is also just simply speaking and singing from the heart, there is no preoccupation with being a virtuoso of anything, she just exists as a whole and each song is a poem one could get lost in. I don't remember all the names of the songs — I don't skip a single song in this record. I listen from beginning to end and feel the entire record is one continuous story I can't put down, like a beautiful book we can't put down. I hear each song as an exploration and a yearning. It's the way I like to write, an accident waiting to happen, and then it happens, but then no one gets hurt — on the contrary, everyone appreciates their life deeper after such a fright."

Tyler Corbett of Osyron
BILO IV by David Maxim Micic

"This is the final album in the BILO series from David Maxim Micic. His music is whimsical, progressive, emotional, deep, and is interwoven with many motifs from one album to the next. Bilo IV had been highly anticipated for almost a decade, but was absolutely worth the wait. Truly a work of art — I think David is one of the most masterful composers of our time."

Steve Sladkowski by PUP
A Light For Attracting Attention by the Smile

"Initially, I didn't think this record was going to be so different from Radiohead... and then, just like that, there's not a song that I listened to more this year than 'You Will Never Work in Television Again.' (You gotta love odd time signatures, don't you folks?) There's a sense of joy and bounce throughout a lot of this record, even on some of the downtempo work, that doesn't tend to permeate Radiohead records; it's poppier, jazzier and rockier without sacrificing any of the patent weirdness that draws me to the solo and ensemble work of Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke. A Light for Attracting Attention rewards repeated listening, and I can't think of anything more I'd want from a record in 2022."

Maddy Wilde of Rapport
Lee Paradise & Co. by Lee Paradise

"Lately I've been really obsessed with music I can draw to — a lot of instrumental stuff, jazz, some hip-hop, but most notably this record stands out: Lee Paradise's & Co. It's the perfect balance of upbeat dance and chill, psychedelic ambience. Lots of trippy, sparse vocals and amazing guest appearances by some of the best in the city; raw, chuggy beats and dreamy, buttery synths. It definitely sets a mood. You gotta put it on when you make stuff like food or art, or maybe when you're driving or dancing in your apartment. Sometimes it reminds me of the Chemical Brothers, but underwater? Listen, I'm not great at describing music, but I can say for certain that this record is amazing and I'm proud of my friends who made it!"

Truss of TRP.P
$oul $old $eparately by Freddie Gibbs

"It's very hard for me to choose, but I'm choosing based on the album that I keep going back to, and that's Freddie Gibb's $oul $old $eparately. I love the production on this album — the beat switches, the samples, the transitions! And Freddie's flow is nostalgic to me."

pHoenix Pagliacci of TRP.P
Ramona Park Broke My Heart by Vince Staples

"I'm a sucker for a unique story. Couple that with the hip-hop trifecta (dope flow, dope voice, dope beats) and you've got Vince Staples's Ramona Park Broke My Heart. I like how he uses clips from other people to share his point of view."

Ryan Kennedy of WAKE
No Oblivion by No Devotion, NULL by KEN mode and Astral Fortress by Darkthrone

"1. No Devotion - No Oblivion
The Cure but modern. I love everything Geoff Rickly makes and I think this is the band's best material.

2. KEN mode - NULL
KEN mde are very good at making songs you don't forget but working in references to obscure bands like Kittens you might not know. Jesse spent a lot of time in isolation working on this one and it shows.

3. Darkthrone - Astral Fortress
It's Darkthrone. The cover has someone ice skating on it. Anyone who hates this is a humourless narc."

Witch Prophet
Album Mode by DillanPonders

"Imagine being told that being a sober, independent rapper wont get you far — then imagine breaking all the rules for success within a year, releasing songs weekly with no PR and actually succeeding further than anyone ever dreamed. Well you don't have to imagine too hard, because that is the story of Toronto rapper DillanPonders. This year, not only did he release a fantastic album, Album Mode, alongside producer BVB (fave song: "Tuxedo Mask") but he's also become one of the (if not the) fastest-growing independent Canadian artists, with almost half a million monthly listeners on Spotify.  There will be a time real soon when the question will be asked, "Where were you when DillanPonders was blowing up?" and I am so happy that I will be able to say — RIGHT THERE BESIDE HIM! Because obviously, he is featured on my upcoming album :)"

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