Here is a list of my favorite albums from January 2022, featuring Darkside, Fred Again, Sierra Ferrell + more 🔈
This month’s listening was heavily influenced by albums that I missed last year and that showed up in various lists of people’s favorites, notably the KEXP DJs top albums.
Not sure if this list is for you? My musical tastes vary widely, but you’ll generally always find hip-hop, jazz, funk, or a blend of each in the selections along with the occasional country, rock, and reggae album. I’m always looking for new (and old) music so any recommendations are welcome!
Want more? Check out my other favorite music posts.
Also, you can find a playlist of tracks that I love on my Right About Now playlist. 🎧
Released last year (like almost all my picks this month), this dark, brooding, instrumental electronic album has been the perfect companion for the dark days of winter. I don’t know what it is exactly about it, but it’s haunted me all month. My most-listened to album so far.
Actual Life (1 & 2)
Much more upbeat than Darkside, these house/eletronic albums are brimming with interesting samples and life-affirming beats. I learned just now that Fred Again produced 30% of the number one singles in the UK in 2019 (who knew?) and this is him now branching out solo. I’ll definitely take more please!
All of his tracks are built around a sound, a vocal, a poem, or something in the same vein taken by the producer either from “scrolling too long on social media” and stumbling across the perfect sample, or simply mid-conversation using his phone. “Everyone hates the sound of their own voice on those pristine podcast microphones, there’s no room for the world. But when you record something with your iPhone and stop speaking for a second, it amplifies the room around you. Everything,” he says. “It has these very crass compression algorithms that I love, so I record everything from drums, vocals, piano, all on my phone.”
The Musalini & 9th Wonder
The Don and Eye
With all the dark broodiness of January going on, this hip-hop album from my favorite producer is the perfect escape. The lyrics are about pimping and gettin’ dat money, sure, but it all blends perfectly with those beats. Lose yourself and feel like a boss.
Long Time Coming
Time for something else! This country roots album was something listed too on a whim from last year’s KEXP top albums list. The backing band players are so good and Sierra’s voice seems near-perfect for the material. Beautiful stuff.
Ozay Moore & Tall Black Guy
On Process and Progression
Another hip-hop pick for the month, this one is squarely in my strike zone. Jazzy and effortless, it feels like a familiar throwback to Tribe and People Under the Stairs. The Pharcyde cover of “Runnin’” is just one of many gems.
Honorable mentions ✌️
Speaking of folk and country music, I’ve been listening to the new Jake Xerxes Fussell (this year) and Charley Crockett (last year). Other notable albums in rotation are the new Bonobo, L’Rain, Nubya Garcia’s Source ⧺ We Move, and Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band’s Expansions.