Exclaim! Staffers Share Their Favourite Vinyl Finds of 2022
Including a whole lot of Alvvays, Nilüfer Yanya and Wet Leg
Published Dec 19, 2022Late last year, vinyl sales hit a new high during the holiday season. History is bound to repeat itself this year; capitalism may not have the crushing weight of Adele's 30 on its side, but Tool's ultra-deluxe Fear Inoculum pressing could balance things out.
It's safe to say that even regular-degular records are pretty pricey these days. Picking up a copy of an album on vinyl, then, is perhaps a greater testament to a fan's love than ever before. For this year's final edition of Exclaim!'s Staff Picks, we're inviting you to take a peek inside our record collections. See how they've expanded (and our wallets have shrunk) with some of the best albums of 2022 and even a great Canadian album you might have missed or two.
Kaelen Bell, Reviews Editor
I acquired a depressingly small number of new records in 2022, but the ones I did manage to snag are special — I listened to Nilüfer Yanya's PAINLESS pretty religiously all year, and was blessed with a copy by none other than the social media goblin herself, Sydney Brasil. Booter's 10/10 was an obvious get, having watched the band play these hot hot songs up, down and around Winnipeg all summer, while the Poppy Family's Which Way You Goin' Billy? finally made its way into my collection after years of obsessively listening to "You Took My Moonlight Away" alone in my room. Thank you to the old Italian man who was willing to part with it for two Canadian dollars! Arrivederci!
Sydney Brasil, Social Media Manager
Having a record store-working partner has been bad for my bank account, but great for my collection in a year filled with stellar new releases. I snagged a copy of Alvvays' Blue Rev — my album of the year — the day it came out, unleashing my inner giddy music fan as I looked through its crystalline disc. Household talks of reorganizing our vinyl by genre have been soundtracked by Ibibio Sound Machine's Electricity, and when guests don't know what album to pick, I default to PAINLESS by Nilüfer Yanya. And if you haven't gotten ready for a night out to the roar of Wet Leg, it's about time that's changed. While this is the case most days, it rings especially true around the holidays: there's no comfort like putting on a record in a space you've made your own.
Allie Gregory, Online Editor
Mountain Man's debut album Made the Harbor came out when I was 19 years old and dipping my toes into folk music (that wasn't made 50 years ago) for the first time. The group would go on to spur numerous successful side-projects, including Alexandra Sauser-Monnig's Daughter of Swords, Molly Sarlé's solo work, and, of course, Amelia Meath's Sylvan Esso, but before all that, they had this understated a cappella project — 13 tracks of three-part harmonies, Appalachian imagery and a general ghostliness that really appealed to my youthful outsider tendencies. For its 10th anniversary, the group reissued an expanded version of the album (27 tracks!) on 2LP cherry-red vinyl, which included a bunch of live recordings that almost fill the void of never having seen them perform IRL.
Alex Hudson, General Manager
One of these things is not like the others. I picked up a few of my favourite 2022 albums that my girlfriend and I like to listen to around the house — Big Thief's Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You and Wet Leg's self-titled — but then I also had to get the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Unlimited Love (deluxe edition with the poster!), because they were my favourite band when I was 14. On the list to buy before the end of the year: Blue Rev, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, and of course Return of the Dream Canteen.
Megan LaPierre, Staff Writer
I picked up my album of the year, i don't know who needs to hear this… (followed closely by Blue Rev, of course), when I saw Tomberlin play at the Baby G. At the end of the night, I just so happened to have the perfect amount of cash left without needing to use the crusty venue ATM. Interviewing Maggie Rogers for Surrender was a huge full-circle moment for me (and such a lovely experience!), and I happened upon a copy of the album at Dead Dog Records while our Maya Hawke issue was on newsstands — there were copies in the store, actually, and I kind of regret not asking someone to take a photo of me holding both. Speaking of Insta-worthy, the interior sleeve design of Tess Roby's Ideas of Space vinyl is a gorgeous scrapbook after my own heart.
Calum Slingerland, Print Magazine Editor
At the outset of 2022, I finally happened upon last year's excellent album from Bernice, Eau de Bonjourno. I have loved this Toronto group's pop experimentation since the moment I saw them live, and this LP finds them pushing it in enticing new directions. To its right is a copy of Denzel Curry's Melt My Eyez See Your Future, which I was fortunate enough to have signed by the artist (along with his Exclaim! magazine cover) at an in-store event that featured both a performance and a wild Q&A session. In the middle, we have Soichi Terada's Asakusa Light, a fantastic new full-length from the Japanese house producer that follows the success of 2015's '90s retrospective comp Sounds from the Far East, which I also made a point to pick up this year. In the bottom left is Jamie Leeming's Resynthesis, the proper solo debut from the English guitarist whose memorable lines and phrasing are all over albums by Alfa Mist, and to its right is January 12 from ex-BADBADNOTGOOD keyboardist Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty. This recording of their improv jazz session, captured live at Toronto's Burdock Brewery on its titular date, marks the last live concert I saw in a pre-pandemic world.