2022 Team GDW Miscellaneous Honors

2022 Team GDW Year End Honors

As Martin and Lesley prepare to reveal their Favorite Canadian Albums this week, here are a selection of Canadian singles and albums from 2022 as chosen by our contributors at GDW.  Like last year, the team were also happy to share their favorite international album choices too, once again offering glimpses into their tastes in non-Canadian listening pleasures.

Favorite Canadian Singles of 2022

Hyaenas: “Little Trophy”

Yes, I know I already shared my favorite 20 singles last week, but I did not offer any hints as to which one earned the most spins this year. While there were a few contenders, I like to convince myself that I generated enough streaming revenue to feed a small island with the number of times I hit repeat on this one. This is textbook indie-rock-magnificence from an emerging band worthy of being a household name very soon. (Martin Noakes)

Jerry Leger: “Have You Ever Been Happy?”

Throughout the early part of the pandemic, Jerry Leger survived by writing a book of poetry (“Just The Night Birds”) and releasing singles to streaming platforms. It was his first single from his 2022 “Nothing Pressing” album that really cemented my love for his creative prowess as a songwriter. This song sums up succinctly the last few years’ emotional roller-coaster ride. Sardonic irony, with tongue firmly in cheek, Jerry’s uplifting song, full of word play and provocative insight, put a grin on my face for weeks. (Douglas McLean)

Kristen Martell: “Should I Run”

In June, NS-based Kristen Martell released this single and it’s a winsome, gently driving tune that stands at a relatable fork in the road. It’s a contemplation on a question, and the bridge lyric contains the song’s best line, repeated to make the point: “Maybe the answer’s found in standing still.” (Matt Wheeler)

The Sadies: “Cut Up High And Dry”

Final and poignant offering before singer-guitarist Dallas Good left this world for the next. (Richard Clark)

Favorite Canadian Albums of 2022

Fire & Grace: “Alma”

I reviewed the single “Libertango” for GDW, and even if that were the only song on the album, it would be worth a concerted listen. But it isn’t the only song, and the album as a whole is such an enjoyable audio adventure, with two virtuosos on violin (Edwin Huizinga) and classical guitar (William Coulter) respectively – a surprise find, in the best sense. (Matt Wheeler)

Julian Taylor: “Beyond The Reservoir”

Without question, Julian Taylor has created an album for the ages. Every note, every lyric, every chord progression, carefully, purposefully hewn to draw our hearts onward, through a coming-of-age journey, a narrative so delicate and courageous that one finds themselves gripping the headphones in suspenseful disbelief. Spiritual, tender, compelling and relevant, Taylor uses his life, his memories – from family to the streets, to inspire you to examine your own and ask “will you use it or lose it?” (Douglas McLean)

Notable Canadian Album Mentions

I can’t do it. It’s a draw. I really enjoyed too many songs from Alvvays and Kiwi Jr’s latest batch of angular guitar pop to choose. Both had me tapping toes. Close behind them, Daniel Romano continued his race with King Gizzard and Guided By Voices to have the largest catalogue with “La Luna.” Whether solo or with his bands The Outfit or Ancient Shapes, or producing albums by others, 2022 saw Romano release too many albums of great music to keep track of. (Steve Murphy)

Ron Sexsmith: “Long Player Late Bloomer (2022 RSD reissue)”

Ron’s commercial polished best serves up another to add to his already large and impressive back catalogue, with his first Record Store Day release. (Richard Clark)

Tennyson King: “Good Company”

Released back in January, this is one of the few albums that keep me circling back to listen to it the whole way through each time. I truly enjoy King’s unique sound and rhythms. He is also quite active on his social media pages, making it fun for fans to watch the acoustic shorts he posts, especially as he travels the globe. (Jess Lahr)

Personal Favorite (Non-Canadian) Albums of 2022

Black Country, New Road: “Ants from Up There” (UK)

Rarely does a record so immediately enthrall me. From the first minute of listening to “Concorde,” I knew I’d found something of interest. As the minutes passed and the song progressed, intensified with piano, pulsing horns, strings, and reached crescendo I was absolutely hooked. Before finishing the second song I’d already ordered one of the few remaining vinyl copies from their bandcamp page. The entire album flows together – a beautiful tapestry of heartbreaking poetry set to jazzed-up, punk-folk-rock music.  A close second place goes to Arctic Monkeys’ album, “Car” – a descriptively mellow affair that was beautifully produced and one I played again and again. (Steve Murphy)

Janis Ian: “The Light at the End of the Line” (USA)

A masterful, heart stopping album by a veteran songwriter, recorded simply, often with only her instrument, piano or guitar, Janis Ian clarifies why song and lyric are so damn important. Janis shares moments generously intimate, touchingly poignant, almost meditative, that hearken back to a time when the craft was revered for what it was always meant to be – ponderings on the road we find ourselves upon, whether lost or found, yearning for understanding, yearning for love. Steeped in a time-honored folk tradition, the soulful vocals and supple arrangements make us painfully aware of how often the best in us is overlooked, overshadowed by the noise, clatter and distraction. (Douglas McLean)

Julian Lage: “View With A Room” (USA)

Following up his fantastic 2021 album “Squint” was a tall order for phenomenal jazz guitarist Lage, but he somehow has done it. There isn’t a weak link among the 10 tracks, from the jubilant “Chavez” to the bouncy “Temple Steps,” to the flowing sounds of the lead-off track, “Tributary,” and it’s simply a joy to listen to the brilliance of it. (Matt Wheeler)

Melissa Carper: “Ramblin’ Soul” (USA)

I don’t pay too much attention to new music that originates from outside of Canada, but that does not prevent excellent international music from landing in my lap. And while there were several cracking candidates to consider – from Bonny Light Horsemen, Emily Nenni, Charley Crockett, The Hanging Stars, Margo Cilker (albeit late 2021) and Ian Noe – it would naturally be some ‘cool old-school country’ that earned enough spins to be my nominee. I was totally unfamiliar with this Arkansas LGBTQ+ artist until just a short while ago, but once these outstanding 13 album tracks hit my ear buds, they became very, very difficult to forget. (Martin Noakes)

Shannen Moser: “The Sun Still Seems To Move” (USA)

Organic and somehow deeply Human. (Richard Clark)

Martin’s Honorable Artist Mentions For 2022

  • Breakthrough Artist:  Aysanabee
  • Breakthrough Duo/Band:  Hyaenas
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