Yearend Musings Part 1

A look back on new songs released in 2022

Happy Saturday and I hope everybody has been enjoying the holiday season. As 2022 is beginning to wind down, it’s time to revisit new music released this year. I decided to do this in two parts. Part 1, which draws on my weekly Best of What’s New feature, looks back at some of the new songs I like. Part 2 focuses on new albums that speak to me. To avoid overlap between the two parts, I won’t feature any tunes in part 1 that are on albums highlighted in part 2.

Following are 12 tunes released this year, one from each month. I’m doing this in chronological order. There’s also a Spotify playlist at the end, which includes all highlighted and some additional 2022 tunes.

John Mayall/Can’t Take No More (feat. Marcus King)

I’d like to kick off this post with the amazing John Mayall, who on November 29 turned 89. On January 28, the Godfather of the British Blues released The Sun is Shining Down, a true late-stage career gem I reviewed here. The soulful blues rocker Can’t Take No More, penned by Mayall, features Marcus King on guitar.

Gregor Barnett/Driving Through the Night

On February 19, Gregor Barnett released his debut solo album Don’t Throw Roses in My Grave during COVID downtime for The Menzingers, the Philadelphia-based punk band he co-founded in 2006. Driving Through the Night was written by Barnett like all other tracks on the Americana rock-focused album, a departure from his more punk-leaning music with The Menzingers.

Young Guv/Couldn’t Leave U If I Tried

Young Guv is a solo project of Toronto-based guitarist and vocalist Ben Cook. After playing in two Canadian hardcore punk bands, Cook launched a solo career in 2015 and has since released five power pop-oriented albums under the Young Guv moniker. I immediately loved the beautiful Byrdsy-sounding Couldn’t Leave U If I Tried, included on Guv III, his fourth album that came out on March 11.

The Linda Lindas/Talking to Myself

When I first came across The Linda Lindas in early March, I was struck by the energy of this Los Angeles-based all-female punk pop and garage band. The four-piece was founded in 2018 when their members were still young teenagers. Talking to Myself is a tune from the group’s first full-length album Growing Up, which appeared on April 8.

49 Winchester/All I Need

Va.-based 49 Winchester describe their music as “tear-in-your-beer alt-country, sticky barroom floor rock-n-roll, and high-octane Appalachian folk.” Formed in the mid-2010’s, the group has put out four albums to date. Lynyrd Skynyrd-flavored country rocker All I Need appears on their most recent Fortune Favors the Bold, released on May 13.

Lettuce/RV Dance

American jazz and funk band Lettuce were formed in Boston in the summer of 1992 when all of their founding members attended Berklee College of Music as teenagers. Initially a short-lived venture for just one summer, the group reunited in 1994 and released their debut in 2002. RV Dance is a groovy track from their latest album Unify, which came out on June 3. As I said at the time, you could picture James Brown singing to this great tune!

Dawes/Ghost in the Machine

Los Angeles-based folk rock band Dawes emerged from Simon Dawes in 2009 after that rock group’s co-songwriter Blake Mills had left. His departure did not only result in a new name but also in a change of music style from post-punk to folk rock. Here’s Ghost in the Machine, a cool tune from the group’s eighth and most recent studio album Misadventure of Doomscroller, out since July 22.

Marcus King/Blood On the Tracks

Guitarist and songwriter Marcus King is one of the most exciting young contemporary artists in my book. The 26-year-old has been on stage since he was 8 when he started performing alongside his family. Here’s the soulful rocker Blood On the Tracks from King’s second solo album Young Blood released on August 26.

Ringo Starr/Free Your Soul (feat. Dave Koz and José Antonio Rodriguez)

“Every band deserves a Ringo.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I read that great quote, which perfectly describes Ringo Starr. The ex-Beatles drummer always has been all about the music, never about himself. A perfect illustration is the All-Starr Band, his touring rock supergroup Ringo formed in 1989. Now 82 years young, he’s still rocking – and recording! Free Your Soul is the smooth closer of Starr’s most recent release, an EP titled EP 3 that appeared on September 16.

The Star Crumbles/Desperately Wanting

The Star Crumbles is a cool music project by fellow blogger Marc Schuster from Abnominations and his friend Brian Lambert. After meeting on Twitter and working together on one of Lambert’s songs earlier this year, they hit it off and decided to form The Star Crumbles. Both are into ’80s music and bands like The CureEcho & the Bunnymen, New Order and Ultravox, which is noticeable on their first album The Ghost of Dancing Slow released on October 7. Here’s one of my favorites, Desperately Wanting.

Larkin Poe/Southern Comfort

Sister act Larkin Poe have been among my favorite contemporary artists since they entered my radar screen a few years ago. Not only are Rebecca Lovell and her slightly older sister Megan Lovell great songwriters, but they are also really talented musicians and sing together in perfect harmony. Southern Comfort is a sizzling southern blues rocker from their sixth full-length album Blood Harmony, which came out on November 11 and which I reviewed here.

Mthunzi Mvubu/Mom vs the Bad Man

The final pick I’d like to highlight is by South African-based saxophonist, flute player and composer Mthunzi Mvubu. Playing professionally since he was 14, Mvubu has traveled globally with jazz luminaries since he was 18. Mom vs the Bad Man is a track from The 1st Gospel, Mvubu’s debut album as a leader, released on December 2.

Last but not least, here’s the above-mentioned Spotify playlist. While finding new music I sufficiently like can be quite time-consuming, I feel it’s been another rewarding year. Hope there’s something here that speaks to you as well!

Sources: Wikipedia; 49 Winchester website; YouTube; Spotify


17 thoughts on “Yearend Musings Part 1”

    1. Thanks, Dave. I’m not gonna pretend otherwise, it can take a lot of time! The quantity of new music releases is enormous, but oftentimes it’s tricky to identify songs I sufficiently like. My challenge is I can’t and don’t want to deny my strong preference of ’60s and ’70s music. As such, I always look at new releases through that lens. And, yes, sometimes I do stretch a bit, which I think isn’t a bad thing. Otherwise, it essentially would be ‘same old, same old’ all the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Marcus King has to me…become the face of young blues artists. I like his music a lot. My favorite on here is Larkin Poe…
    Lettuce could have came out in 1975.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Marcus King is super-talented. I like his soulful singing and how he oftentimes blends blues with southern-flavored rock!

      I’m also 100 percent with you on Larkin Poe. These two sisters are amazing musicians and great harmony vocalists. I also find their energy infectious.

      Max, there’s definitely still some decent new music out there. It’s just harder to find than in the ‘60s and ‘70s when a lot of great music was mainstream and in the charts and on the radio.

      Is new music as good as The Beatles, the Stones and The Who in their heyday? Certainly not. But to stay with The Beatles, not even John, Paul, George and Ringo while each had their strong moments could ever replicate the magic of The Beatles during their solo careers.

      While I’m of course biased here, I doubt any other contemporary music artist or band will ever match The Beatles. But that’s okay.

      Hope you get a chance to check out the Spotify playlist at the end of the post, which includes a bunch of additional tunes released in 2022 – some good stuff there!😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I found some stuff I’ve liked. There is stuff out there but yea you have to look…. It certainly won’t be played on mainstream radio.

        I do think rock music will one day return to mainstream but it will be a while. No it won’t match the sixties importance because too many things have changed.

        I sure will Christian. I find out about new music from you, Jeff, and Graham. You guys are my modern radio lol.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s honestly a challenge to remember all the songs that resonated with us throughout the year. That’s why I start compiling my Top 100 list beginning in summer, adding the songs that make the top 10 of my weekly top 30 each week, plus a few great songs I later learned about from reading other music blogs. There were so many really stellar songs this year that I ended up with at least 125 that I wanted to put on my Top 100. It’s frustrating to have to cull so many from my list.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I hear you! To come up with my year-end list, I looked through all of my 2022 Best of What’s New playlists I put together for my weekly new music revue feature. Altogether, there must have been more than 400 songs. Frankly, it was kind of overwhelming, and at some point, I started taking some shortcuts. Otherwise, it would have taken me an entire day. I still ended up spending several hours.

        I think your approach to start the process earlier makes a lot of sense instead of keeping verything until the end – definitely a good learning for 2023!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Larkin Poe are awesome. Southern Comfort is a real gem. If I did a best song list it would definitely be on there. Apart from Wet Leg’s “Ur Mum” many of my favourite songs this year are Americana and folk rock orientated. The Warning and The Flood by synth prog band Blackheart Orchestra also find their sweet spot with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice, eclectic list. I kinda sampled each tune but I think I’ll play the whole list all the way through on Spotify. I actually enjoyed some of the pop more rhan the blues, just because I tend to saturate myself in blues. Dawes is a band I’ll want to hear more from especially.

    Have fun in Germany. Don’t forget to have sauerbraten and perhaps some Karteloffpuffer. And a good strong German bier.

    Liked by 1 person

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