The year of our lord, 2022, was a voyage around the sun crammed with an unrelenting amount of happenings, events, and dramatic life changes, especially in the music industry. The world finally came to life again after what seemed like a lifetime of stasis. Following a minor lockdown at the beginning of the year, many bands were finally able to tour throughout the Americas and Europe after two years of waiting. Though I certainly think Spike Hellis, who finally released their full-length debut album, broke some variation of a record for most live dates in a year.

Bold moves were made in 2022, and new artists broke in popularity, with Harsh Symmetry‘s debut with their single “Mirror Twin,” rapidly leading to their subsequent signing to Fabrika Records, which was followed by the release of their fantastic full-length album Display Model.

Darkwave went mainstream with core acts such as Twin Tribes and She Past Away crossing over to a broader audience, while two unabashedly goth TV shows permeated the cultural zeitgeist on Netflix with both The Sandman and Wednesday, respectively.

With the overabundance of great music this year, my top three are all tied up, with each album serving as the best depending on what mood I find myself in. The Soft Moon‘s Exister serves as one of Luis Vasquez’s best albums since Zeros with its dark anthem “Become the Lies,” while SRSQ‘s Ever Crashing ranks as one the best dream pop LP’s of all time, with the heartwrenching Abyss. Boy Harsher remains one of the most creative acts of the year, soaring in much-earned popularity bolstered by the release of their meta John Carpenter-meets-Giallo Masterpiece The Runner and its accompanying film soundtrack crafted by Jae and Gus (and a few special guests).

Two legacy acts made the cut in the rest of the album roundup, with Suede releasing yet again another brilliant album, and Editors leapfrogging from channeling John Foxx on previous albums like 2015’s In Dream, to their bizarrely titled current release EBM, named so for both the genre, and their collaboration with Blanck Mass.

As far as EPs are concerned, Elizabeth Fraser, (Kennedy Ashlyn of SRSQ’s ethereal gothmother) released her first new music in 13 years as Sun’s Signature, which was more than I could ever hope for, and I am in full agreeance with Andi and Frank on the classic post-punk brilliance of Lathe of Heaven‘s Demo. A special shoutout has to go to former Chromatics vocalist Ruth Radelet, who appears on this list twice. First, with her guest appearance on Soft Kill‘s Canary Yellow, and then in full with the release of her debut solo EP The Other Side.

And finally, the bop to bang the year out has to go to Nuovo Testamento‘s unabashed old school synthpop jam “Heartbeat.”

But enough talk, have at you! See the full Post-Punk.com Best of 2022 list below:

Alex’s picks

LPs

1. The Soft Moon – Exister 

2. SRSQ – Ever Crashing

3. Boy Harsher – The Runner Soundtrack

4. Suede – Autofiction

5. Harsh Symmetry – Display Model

6. Editors – EBM

7. Secret Shame – Autonomy 

8. Tempers – New Meaning

9. Deserta – Every Moment, Everything You Need

10. Spike Hellis – Spike Hellis

11. Buzz Kull – Fascination 

12. Cold Gawd – God Get Me The Fuck Outta Here

13. Sleep Forever – Boyhood

14. Sacred Skin – The Decline of Pleasure

15. Death Bells – Between Here & Everywhere

16. Soft Kill – Canary Yellow

17. Lesser Care – Underneath, Beside Me

18. The Serfs – Primal Matter 

19. High Vis – Blending

20. VR Sex – Rough Dimension 

EPs/Singles: 

1. Sun’s Signature – Sun’s Signature

2. Lathe of Heaven – Demo

3. French Police – 1995

4. Normal Bias – Normal Bias

5. Ruth Radelet – The Other Side

Tracks:

1. Nuovo Testamento – “Heartbeat”

2. Sally Dige – “I Will Be The Sun For You”

3. Catherine Moan – “Soda Pop”

4. Forever Grey “Cold Hand”

5. Cathedral Bells “Fall Into Place”

Frank’s picks:

This year was all about branching outside of my comfort zone. With lots of life changes happening this year,  I listened to less “new” music than I usually do, instead seeking solace in old favorites and expanding my horizons across various genres, digging deep into the past and mining for gold, something which has always been deeply important to me with my work under Systems of Romance. It helped center me in a time where it was most necessary. As such, I feel like I clocked more listens to Curved Air’s Phantasmagoria, Courage of Lassie’s debut LP The Temptation to Exist, Mellow Candle’s sublime Swaddling Songs, and the much-needed reissues of Carola Baer’s The Story of Valerie, Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s The Scavenger Bride, and Euroshima’s Gala more than most anything else. That aside, the new music I enjoyed this year also spread across the post-punk spectrum, with plenty of dream pop, neofolk, indie pop, and more capturing the lion’s share of my attention, while the current influx of overly synth pop-soaked sounds took a major backseat (as did my club-going), for the most part. Guitars reigned supreme in 2022, as far as my interests lie.

As far as new releases are concerned, many of my favorite moments this year came from elder bands or reunited artists, from the triumphant return of my brothers in Blacklist and Cult of Youth, as well as the triple threat of And Also the Trees, Breathless, and Suede, three bands who remain forever favorites who can do no wrong. Speaking of artists near and dear to my heart, 2022 also marked the first taste of new music from Elizabeth Fraser as Sun’s Signature, and while nothing can touch Cocteau Twins in all their glory, hearing her voice once more stirs up an immense amount of joy. The same could be said about SRSQ‘s latest LP, which perfectly captured the shimmering sounds of summer. Meanwhile, Ireland’s Just Mustard easily took the top album spot for me upon first listen, with subsequent plays unraveling more layers of blissful noise and intense catharsis, the likes of which I haven’t heard since Cranes. Come to think of it, lots of dream pop love all around for this forever shoegaze kid, with Deserta, Blushing, Gloria de Oliveira, SPC ECO, and Sunfear padding out my list with ethereal energy. Coatie Pop‘s debut LP, a truly eclectic record that seamlessly blends genres with the greatest of ease, has jumped several spots this last week alone, and for that, it deserves an extra special shoutout.

As far as singular moments are concerned, I can’t get enough of Lathe of Heaven‘s scorching “Moon-Driven Sea,” equal parts indebted to both “The Killing Moon” as it is the tremendously underrated Lowlife. Also, deep thanks to Nuovo Testamento for dropping the best Madonna song in ages with “Heartbeat,” which makes even this sourpuss grin wide.

Otherwise, much love to everyone on this list as well as to our dear readers. See you all in 2023!

LPs 

1. Just Mustard – Heart Under

2. Blacklist – Afterworld

3. And Also the Trees – The Bone Carver

4. Breathless – See Those Colours Fly

5. Coatie Pop – Deathbed

6. Suede – Autofiction

7. SRSQ – Ever Crashing

8. Secret Shame – Autonomy

9. Cult of Youth – With Open Arms

10. Gloria de Oliveira & Dean Hurley – Oceans of Time

11. The Ire – What Dreams May Come

12. Heilung – Drif

13. SPC ECO – Be the Change

14. Winter Severity Index – Disgelo

15. Blushing – Possessions

16. Sunfear – Octopus

17. Oiseau de Proie – Catharsis

18. Harsh Symmetry – Display Model

19. Deserta – Every Moment, Everything You Need

20. Tempers – New Meaning



EPs/Singles: 

1. Lathe of Heaven – Demo

2. Sun’s Signature – Sun’s Signature

3. Lycia – Simpler Times

4. My Favorite – Tender Is the Nightshift: Part 1

5. Pilgrims of Yearning – Hadal

Tracks: 

1. Boy Harsher – “Machina (Featuring Ms. Boan).”

2. Nuovo Testamento – “Heartbeat”

3. Chasms – “Ache”

4. Rosegarden Funeral Party – “Almost Heaven”

5. Houses of Heaven – “Sightline”

Andi’s Picks:

Just let me dance2022’s theme was all about a strong beat, a seductive groove, or a weirdo sample that kept me moving—and left me wanting for more. Spike Hellis‘ self-titled was certainly the highlight of the year as a refreshing take on industrial music with its Wax Trax!-y quirks and unusual song structures (their live show is truly one to experience… which I did, several times over). The prolific Colombian producer, Filmmaker, also topped my list alongside Soft Crash, the supergroup of Phase Fatale and Pablo Bozzi. Both albums are less-than traditional, largely devoid of vocals but, instead, relied on high production, addictive melodies and urgent basslines to propel each album along. However, the funk-industrial decadence of Normal Bias‘ first EP was awash in the crooning vocals of Matt Weiner (That Which Is Not Said) overtop the luminous EBM compositions of Multiple Man‘s mastermind, Chris Campion. Normal Bias is sexy, lush and oh-so danceable—it hit all the right notes.

Overall, this list harks back to the 1980s (if you know me at all, this is no surprise). It spanned several genres such as Italo-disco via Nuovo Testamento or Luca dell’Orso, freestyle by way of Community Theater, or rough and tumble EBM from Spansish-speaking artists such as Un Hombre Solo or Puerta Negra. Fueled by movement, my year end list dives into bleak darkness but always seems to come up for air.

LPs:

1. Spike Hellis – Spike Hellis

2. Filmmaker – Fictional Portrayals

3. Soft Crash – Your Last Everything

4. Minuit Machine – 24

5. Un Hombre Solo – Desilusión Total

6. Buzz Kull – Fascination

7. The Ire – What Dreams May Come

8. Harsh Symmetry – Display Model

9. Sacred Skin – The Decline of Pleasure

10. Sleep Forever – Boyhood

11. Sydney Valette – Home Alone

12. L.O.T.I.O.N. – W.A.R. In The Digital Realm

13. Vandal Moon – Queen of the Night

14. Coatie Pop – Deathbed

15. Night Sins – Violet Age

EPs:

1. Normal Bias – Normal Bias

2. Skelesys – Epsilon

3. Krishna Goineau feat. MCL – 80s Tapes

4. Community Theater – Having Everything

5. Puerta Negra – Costo Humano

6. Lathe of Heaven – Demo

7. David J Bull – Body & Beat

8. Luca dell’Orso – Drive Fast, Brake Hard

9. Unhuman & Petra Flurr – Disintegration

10. Midnight Passage – Sleepwalker

Tracks:

1. Boy Harsher feat. Ms.Boan – “Machina”

2. Nuovo Testamento – “Heartbeat”

3. M!R!M feat. Nuovo Testamento – “Desert Love”

4. Ultra Sunn – “Can You Believe It”

5. Secret Shame – “Hide”

Listen to our neatly 6-hour-long Best of 2022 playlist on Spotify below:

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