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Operation Manatee Music Prize: Top 5 Albums of 2022

Another year of incredible music! There are still so many great projects going on and once again I’ve found myself listening to more new music than in any year prior.

After relistening to all of the incredible releases I’ve found this year, I’ve boiled it down to the 5 essential; the very best, the most interesting, the most exciting.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of any of these albums and supporting the makers of music that you love.

With that said, I give you my top 5 albums of the year!

Pedro Guinu – Palagô
Just a wonderful, Brazilian jazz/r&b album! I keep finding myself going back to this one over and over. I can't stop listening. I won't! It just pulls you right in and keeps you grooving. I've heard a lot of great music from Brazil this year, but this release is just so damned good. The band is absolutely pro, and even though I don't speak a lick of Portuguese, I find a lot of these lyrics and licks getting stuck in my head. Great stuff!

Fave track: Palagô
SOUL GLO – Diaspora Problems

This album makes me want to smash things and scream my voice raw! SOUL GLO's brand of hardcore/punk/rap/whatever this is is just great! The band is absolutely on fire, but the vocalist, Pierce Jordan... holy shit! I haven't heard this kind of frontman energy since Amen in the '90s. Like most hardcore bands, this is great to listen to for a boost, but I highly suspect this excellent recording pales in comparison to their live show. Now, here I go to YouTube to confirm my suspicions...

Fave track: Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?)

Alex Figueira – Maracas, tambourines and other hellish things O.S.T.
This is such a great, weird jam! I love the cover art, the title, and all things contained within. Not to mention: it's accompanied by an equally interesting short film. This curious mixture of Latin percussion meets acid synthesizer meets shrieking and droning and dancing and playing and having fun is just one of the most creative things I've heard this year. It's a wild mood setter that keeps you on your toes. While at a first listen, you may be tempted to write it off as weird and too hard to tap your foot to, you keep relistening and find more and more to get out of this!

Fave track: Maracas

The Beths – Expert In a Dying Field
This band may seem like an anomaly on this list: they're catchy, poppy, guitar-based, chorus-driven, pretty mainstream-sounding alt rock. Maybe not what I tend to gravitate toward, typically - at least these days. What drew me in first was the choice of melody. It's not as straightforward as it first seems and it's not as easy as it seems. I might have expected this sound a little more in the '90s. What kept me listening is these wonderful songs! The arrangements are just excellent: vocal harmonies, catchy hooks, enough surprises to keep things interesting. This record just feels really good to listen to. Have a listen to the title track, then Silence is Golden. You'll be hooked!

Fave track: Silence is Golden

P’tit Belliveau – Un homme et son piano
I wish I could tell you how many times I've listened to this album (a lot). Seriously! What the hell is this? It's amazing! What a great, original, creative release! It's like a children's record that was pieced together by a compositional genius. It's all at once beautiful, silly, complex, catchy, nostalgic, and totally unique. Remember those demo songs that were included on cheap, old electronic keyboards? It's like if someone took one of those hokey, ridiculous tunes and grew it into a gorgeous symphony - to which you're invited to sing along, tap your foot, grab a partner and dance into the galaxy.

Fave track: Meteghan River
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