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Operation Manatee Music Prize 2022: The Long List

The amount of excellent new music being produced these days is staggering. I’m sure COVID played no small part in this: musicians on lockdown collaborating over email and dropbox for months or years, then suddenly being able to go out and play again. I know I’ve said it before but if nothing else, the past 2+ years have provided us with a lot of great music!

The long-running, highly-coveted Operation Manatee Music Prize Long List is here!

This is my own wrap up on 2022! This is a list of stuff that got repeat listens or deep dives from me. I figure I’ve listened to around 249 days x 9 hours = 2241 hours of almost entirely new music(based on listening during work days – not counting any other listening, ie, car, morning, evening, etc.)!

With that in mind, in an attempt to keep this list from growing out of control (as it’s been known to do in the past), there are so many really good albums that just aren’t listed here. That said, the ones below are my faves. Have a listen. Anything great you heard this year that I missed?

Anteloper – Pink Dolphins
Spacey, synthy, yet groovy jazz explorations.

Rich Aucoin – Synthetic: Season One
Playful, daceable, fun, mostly instrumental synth pop.

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field
Excellent pop rock with a particular knack for melody.

Mariel Buckley – Everywhere I Used to Be
Alt/folk/country/rock stuff with an irresistable groove and vibe.

Ezra Collective – Where I’m Meant To Be
Jammy Afrobeat Latin jazz grooves.

Alex Figueira – Maracas, tambourines and other hellish things O.S.T.
Strange and wonderful Latin-flavoured oddities.

Flock – Flock
Contemporary synth, wind, and percussion jazz.

Flore Laurentienne – Volume II
Gorgeous symphonic and synthesized orchestra.

Guinu – Palagô
Excellent modern Brazilian grooves with humable vocals.

Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity
Synth-heavy, UK-dance drenched Nigerian funkiness.

i-sef u-sef – consistency
Hip-hop beats, beautifully arranged wind instruments and intriguing vocals.

kaada – And If In A Thousand Years
Like a soundtrack filled with prepared piano, combined instruments and new sounds.

Kokoroko – Could We Be More
Lively, groovy, jazzy Afrobeat.

Pierre Kwenders – José Louis And The Paradox of Love
Chill, dancey, cool AF with a Congolese flair.

Daniela Lalita – Trececerotres
Like a tiny, wild, raw gothic soundtrack with some seriously unexpected groove.

Hubert Lenoir – PICTURA DE IPSE : Musique directe
A strange and wonderful mixture of lo-fi bedroom rock, funk, field recordings and pop.

Kristofer Maddigan – Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course Original Soundtrack
Fantastic throwback to orchestral jazz band recordings, but in a game soundtrack.

Dan Mangan – Being Somewhere
Personal, introspective tunes presented in a beautiful acoustilectric sonic palatte.

NNAMDÏ – Please Have a Seat
Playful, genre-free, pop-adjacent with incredible vocal work.

P’tit Belliveau – Un homme et son piano
Fun, highly musical franco pop with a very confident amount of cheese.

Raz & Afla – The Cycle
Insatiable mixture of UK dance, African rhythm and anthemic vocals.

Ruby My Dear – A Dada
Playful happy hardcore with a warm, child-like touch.

SAULT – 11
Raw, funky, yet peaceful and very pretty stuff.

Sessa – Estrela Acesa
Warm, groovy Brazilian vibes.

SOUL GLO – Diaspora Problems
Relentlessly fun and noisy, high-energy, raw punk/hip hop madness.

Tapioca – Voyage
’70s/’80s-inspired groovy Brazilian jazz/pop stuff.

Toro y Moi – MAHAL
Groovy, laid-back, flowy, lo-fi, funky weirdness.

Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Modern psychedelic piano pop songs with ’70s-flavoured vocals.

Wilma Vritra – Grotto
Surprising and unique music with strings, beats, and a big variety of flavours and colours.

Wu-Lu – LOGGERHEAD
Weird, avant-garde, psychedelic hip hop rock stuff.

Stay tuned for the ever-coveted Top 5 Albums of the Year!

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