"It could have been etched into stone or written in the stars and it would still feel like it was delicately crafted just for me."

Glorious debuts, vital returns and new leftfield favourites, our appreciation for the eclectic masterworks of 2022 reaches beyond our blockbuster Albums of the Year list. We hand over the baton to our dedicated Rough Trade staff to discover a further selection of impressive releases we should be celebrating this year.

Featuring the likes of Rosalía, Jockstrap,Warpaint, Steve Lacey, Whitney K, Wu Lu, Aldous Harding, Fontaines D.C, Makaya McRaven and more, our staff have been busy digging into some of the best new music out in 2022. The releases they've been waiting for all year, killer hidden gems and the records which we have "never played in the shop and not sold", these personal recommendations are some of the most unique and compelling albums to look back on from this year, along with a dose of hot tips for 2023 and beyond.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to enjoy the music. See you in 2023!

Rough Trade Nottingham


S. Carey - Break Me Open

S. Carey is a modern-day virtuoso and continues to demonstrate so in his work with Bon Iver. It's a triumph to be part of a recognised, brilliant touring outfit alone, but 2022 saw S.Carey releasing his fourth studio album which oozes thoughtful arrangements and clever production. It's a very well done record, one many musicians would be proud to write and without too much polish which I just love. It makes me excited to find out where he goes on the next.

Best track: Sunshower
Honourable mentions: Olafur Arnalds - Some Kind of Peace, Courtney Marie Andrews - Loose Future, Alexisonfire - Otherness


Charli XCX - Crash

Makes me wanna dance and put on a really hot outfit.

Best track: New Shapes
Honourable mentions: Aldous Harding - Warm Chris, Katy J Pearson - Sound of the Morning, FKA Twigs - Caprisongs


Arctic Monkeys - The Car

When my favourite band release a new album it's safe to say it'll be my album of the year. This time round its space suits off and back down to Earth! On The Car, Arctic Monkeys prove once again that to make great albums all they need to do is forget the noise and follow their instincts. It's a stunning, wistful, cinematic album. Full of lush strings, moody moog synths and Alex Turner's ever-brilliant lyrics.

Best track: Big Ideas
Honourable mentions: Jack White - Fear Of The Dawn, Angel Olsen - Big Time, Bjork - Fossora


Martha - Please Don’t Take Me Back

Martha give me hope! It's been a few years since their last release and Please Don't Take Me Back is as good as anything they have done before. From Hope Gets Harder, Please Don't Take Me Back and Baby Does Your Heart Sink?, there are some real bangers to dance to. Recorded in Nottingham by Phil Booth at the wonderful JT Soar (along with many other great albums this year). They were also amazing live!

Best track: Hope Gets Harder
Honourable mentions: Sea Power - Everything Was Forever


Sally Shapiro - Sad Cities

In February, the underrated but much loved Italo-Disco-Revival duo finally returned with their first album in 9 years, and it turned out to be their best yet - full of their trademark whispery vocals, sparkling synths, fat kick drums and typically perfect pop song craft. I once read an article which talked about why the Swedish are so good at pop music, and I can't remember the conclusion but it really is true.

Best track: Forget About You
Honourable mentions: Björk - Fossora Hikaru Utada - BAD Mode Maria BC - Hyaline

Rough Trade Bristol


Skullcrusher - Quiet the Room

A devastating combination of Grouper-esque ambient field recordings and lo-fi-emo-bedroom-pop introspection. One for the morning, when mourning. Flawless.

Best track: Building a Swing
Honourable mentions: The Web of Lies - Nude With Demon, Thee Sacred Souls - Thee Sacred Souls, Charli XCX - Crash


Palm - Nicks and Grazes

Palm have always been a band that have stretched my preconceived notion of not just guitar music, but what music as a whole can be. Cogs are used as percussion, guitars are wound with garden wire - and I think that's the best way to sum this album up. It's unlike any other piece of work I've heard this year.

Best track: On The Sly
Honourable mentions: Animal Collective - Time Skiffs, Horse Lords - Comradely Objects, Kristine Leschper - The Opening, Or Closing Of A Door


Warpaint - Radiate Like This

My most-played album by a landslide. It's no secret I listen to Warpaint a lot. Like a lot. And since Radiate Like This came out, at least once a day – then more if I insist on playing their whole back catalogue. No one minds promise *Josh rolls eyes*. I don't have to justify what this album makes me feel intellectually, aesthetically, sentimentally… if it’s another seven years for their next one, I’ll wait. All hail Warpaint.

Best track: Proof, Altar, Melting; played in that order
Honourable mentions: Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, Crack Cloud - Tough Baby, Horsegirl - Versions of Modern Performance


The Beths - Expert In A Dying Field

The album that I had been waiting for all summer for landed just in time for my birthday. Absolute wall-to-wall bangers from a band that fill their tracks to the brim of happy, sad, jumpy, dancey goodness. When life gets overwhelming Elizabeth Stokes is there to say "I know, right?" and then do a sick guitar solo like a real friend. Legend.

Best track: Silence is Golden
Honourable mentions: Taylor Swift - Midnights, The Big Moon - Here is Everything, Big Joanie - Back Home


Pinegrove - 11:11

Is January too early to release the best album of 2022? No way! Full to the brim with sweet melodies and beautiful sentiment, Pinegrove revitalise my emo heart.

Best track: Silence is Golden
Honourable mentions: Charli XCX- Crash, Warpaint - Radiate Like This, Los Bitchos - Let The Festivities Begin


Birds in Row - Gris Klein

Having had this album and three-piece band introduced to me for the first time this year, I instantly fell in love with the technical hardcore/punk themes. An album that builds in momentum as it goes and has me going back to replay songs just as they finish every time.

Best track: Noah
Honourable mentions: Viagra Boys - Cave World, Conjurer - Páthos, Alexisonfire - Otherness


Gilla Band - Most Normal

My album of the year changes weekly. To be honest everything under 'honourable mentions' is my album of the year but I have to pick one, so this week it's Gilla Band - Most Normal.

Best track:
Honourable mentions: Charlotte Adigery and Bolis Pupul
- Topical Dancer, Chat Pile - God's Country, Ithaca - They Fear Us


Florist - Florist

This album is like a warm hug or a gentle elbow squeeze, with a dizzying blend of twinkly indie and millennia folktronica so seamless all you can do is close your eyes and let it wash over you. Despite being overshadowed by the surprise drop of one of her best albums to date (Beyonce’s Renaissance), a feverish album that grabbed a moment in time and said “fuck you, this is mine now”, Florist’s self-titled could have been etched into stone or written in the stars and it would still feel like it was delicately crafted just for me.

Honourable mentions: Tomberlin - idkwntht, Charli XCX - Crash, Alex G - God Save The Animals

Sam L

Chat Pile - God's Country

Painful noise that my boss hates, which makes me love it even more.

Best track: Slaughterhouse
Honourable mentions: The Chats - Get f**ked, PVA - Blush, Scalping - Void

Rough Trade Office


Wu-Lu - Loggerhead

The Brixton multi-instrumentalist and producer leaves us shaken not stirred with his anticipated Warp Records debut. A sonic frenzy of moody electronica, hazy hip hop and a more visceral punk angst for today's generation. My favourite in store of 2022!

Best track: Broken Homes
Honourable mentions: Daniel Avery - Ultra Truth, Soul Jazz Records - Life Between Islands, Scalping - Void


Gang Of Youths - Angel in Realtime

Australian sensations GOY finally get the recognition they deserve overseas. After a sell-out UK tour, culminating in a sold-out show at the infamous Brixton Academy the world is the Aussie's band's oyster. This album represents everything great about them, from lush production to thought-provoking songwriting all wrapped around groove-laden drums and percussion. If you want to listen to a perfect album look no further than Angel In Real Time.

Best tracks: the angel of 8th ave
Honourable mentions: The Beths - Expert In A Dying Field, Sick Joy - We're All Gonna F***ing Die, Horsegirl - Versions of Modern Performance


Steve Lacy - Gemini Rights

This album is just unbelievably good. It’s smooth, vibrant, funny, and sexy. At times the production calls back to those vital Steve Lacy’s Demo songs, especially on Sunshine with Fousheé, where the instrumental sounds like it could have easily been lifted from his GarageBand vault, not forgetting that this exact production style catapulted him into the worlds of Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend and Solange. So despite the claims that Steve is still struggling to find his voice and place in pop music, Gemini Rights is a gorgeous, confident and soulful continuation of his impressive contribution to the music world, and even without his handful of viral hits, he has truly cemented his status as one of the most exciting musicians in the world.

Best track: Static
Honourable mentions: Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B, Aldous Harding - Warm Chris, Arctic Monkeys - The Car


Hater - Sincere

I've been flying the flag for this album hard all year - and I'm not going to go stop now. This as good as it gets, front-loaded with shoegazey pop bangers and with a second half that opens out beautifully - no album has done it as well this year.

Best track: Something
Honourable mentions: Alvvays - Blue Rev, Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B, Charlotte Adigery & Boris Pupul - Topical Dancer


Whitney K - Hard To Be a God

Can't believe more people haven't contracted the Whitney K love bug yet, but this second mini album is sure to quietly breed a hoard of die-hard fans over the coming year. It's exquisite. And the live show? Go, then we'll talk.

Best track: Song For A Friend
Honourable mentions: Fontaines D.C. - Skinty Fia, THUS LOVE - Memorial, Marina Allen - Centrifics


The Delines - The Sea Drift

Country got soul's finest.

Best track: The Golden State
Honourable mentions: Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler - For All Our Days That Tear the Heart, Margot Cilker - Pohorylle


Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B

It's all glitch and emotion. A glorious debut from the most exciting duo around. Looking forward to seeing where they go next.

Best track: 50/50
Honourable mentions: Alex G - God Save The Animals, Naima Bock - Giant Palm, Sorry - Anywhere


Boy Harsher - The Runner (OST)

Not sure whether to run for the hills or for the d-floor. Heart-racing beats and primal screams that have been haunting me all year. An absolute must for anyone who loves sinister synths and horror films by the skip load.

Best track: Too hard to choose... Autonomy, no Tower
Honourable mentions: Alex G - God Save The Animals, Naima Bock - Giant Palm, Sorry - Anywhere

Rough Trade East, West & Soho


Rosalia - Motomami

If there ever was a time to start learning Spanish it's now. She better chew that gum!

Best track: Cuuuuuuuuuute
Honourable mentions: Northlane - Obsidian, Bonobo - Fragments, Fontaines D.C - Skinty Fia


High Vis - Blending

Every now and then an album comes along that lives up to what you hoped for!
Full of attitude and groove with the edge of it's just about to kick right off.

Best track: Trauma Bonds
Honourable mentions: The Comet is Coming - Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam, Alvvays - Blue Rev, Viagra Boys - Cave World


Soul Jazz Records - Life Between Islands: Soundsystem Culture - Black Musical Expression In The UK 1973 - 2006

This has been my I've-never-played-it-in-the-shop-and-not-sold-it album this year. And rightfully so! I don't think I knew a single track on it before I heard it. It's been my musical education this year and it can be yours too. As suitable for the kitchen as it is for the dance floor.

Best track: One Bible by Asher Senator
Honourable mentions: Jockstrap
- I Love You Jennifer B, Katy J Pearson - Sound Of The Morning, Charlotte Adigery and Bolis Pupul - Topical Dancer


Jeshi - Universal Credit

Few artists capture real-life Britain on record but East Londoner Jeshi does just that with his debut album Universal Credit, released via Because Music in May. Speaking on topics such as late nights, bad trips and more cigarettes, Jeshi is portraying a familiar reality for many people. The cover shows Jeshi being presented with a Universal Credit cheque for a total sum of £324.84 with many smiley faces congratulating him. This kind of satire doesn't go unnoticed and Jeshi is bringing something refreshing and exciting to the table. Tracks like Sick, Generation and Hit By A Train have a very grimey feel to them, with the music videos further enhancing the mood. The video for 3210 was awarded an AIM Award (Association of Independent Music) and DJ Mag nominated Universal Credit for Best Rap Album. With production from Kelvin Krash (A$AP Rocky, Slowthai and Lancey Foux) and features from Fredwave and Obongjayar, it's clear to see Jeshi is the future of UK Rap and we are excited to see where he takes us next.

Best track: National Lottery
Honourable mentions: Future - I NEVER LIKED YOU, K-Trap - The Last Whip II, Pusha T - It's Almost Dry


Loyle Carner - Hugo

If you know me you know I love Loyle Carner. All of his albums tackle his personal situations and his ongoing struggles with dyslexia and ADHD, these have always struck a chord with me personally. Layer upon layer of beats, samples and poetry coupled with real-life recordings make this album my go-to for 2022.

Best track: HGU
Honourable mentions: Fontaines D.C. - Skinty Fia, Jeshi - Universal Credit, Steve Lacy - Gemini Rights.


CMAT - If My Wife New I’d Be Dead

The debut album of Ireland's brightest pop star is an exceptionally written and produced collection of Americana and Country inspired tracks. Brimming with personality, it's every bit as charismatic, as it is tender, humorous, self-deprecating, and glamourous. Don the cowboy hat and leather boots.

Best track: I Don't Really Care For You
Honourable mentions: Danger Mouse and Black Thought - Cheat Codes, Jack White - Fear of Dawn, Black Country, New Road - Ants From Up There


Just Mustard - Heart Under

Beautifully noisy debut from a band that is only gonna get better and louder; looking forward to seeing which direction they decide to go...

Best track: Still
Honourable mentions: Katy J Pearson - Sound of the Morning, Charlotte Adigery - Topical Dancer, Touching Bass presents: Soon Come.


Huerco. S - Plonk

This collection of dubbed out beatless excursions build and breathe like a stream of consciousness. The crisp synths that feel so unique to Huerco. S echo modern nostalgia and rich emotional layers. Seemingly fitting for any occasion, be it a midnight stroll, morning commute or a post-club wonder. The record is rich in drips of rhythmic synths and has chords to soothe a head trip from the night before.

Best track: Plonk IV
Honourable mentions: Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul
- Topical Dancer, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cool It Down, Coby Sey - Conduit


Kokoroko - Could We Be More

Steeped in the highlife hits of Pat Thomas and Ebo Taylor, London's Afrobeat ensemble debut a bright and uplifting record that homages the soulful grooves of West African funk.

Best track: Dide O
Honourable mentions: Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul
- Topical Dancer, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cool It Down, Coby Sey - Conduit


Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

A beautifully composed experimental soundscape that really pushes the boundaries of indie folk rock. With lyrical themes of personal growth and found family, Big Thief have reunited to create maybe their best album to date.

Best track: Simulation Swarm
Honourable mentions: Maggie Rogers - Surrender, Sunflower Bean - Headful of Sugar, Aldous Harding - Warm Chris


Paolo Nutini - Last Night in the Bittersweet

The album that probably only I have been overtly eagerly waiting for...but you all have been really. The man with the face, the voice and the charisma. Last Night in the Bittersweet is a door into the mind of Paolo and all of his influences, just go and take a wander, you know you want to.

Best track: Acid Eyes
Honourable mentions: Jamie T - Theory of Whatever, Oliver Sim - Hideous Bastard, Dope Lemon - Rose Pink Cadillac


DOMi and JD Beck - Not TiGHT

Every generation has it's mind-bending musical geniuses emerge, Domi & JD Beck are easily this one. I've been following their progression for years and finally, they have gifted us with a debut album, the sheer amount of legends who feature on this album can only be a testament to their talent. The album is a journey of pure muscianship with the added bonus of slick production and influence from Anderson PaaK. I can't wait for the whole world to recognise the talent of these two and for many many more records. Highly recommend watching a live performance to understand the skill they have over their instruments.

Best track: PiLOT
Honourable mentions: Wu-Lu - Loggerhead, ELIZA - A Sky Without Stars, Ezra Collective - Where I'm Meant To Be


Show Me The Body - Trouble the Water

Abrasive in all the right ways.

Best track: War Not Beef
Honourable mentions: Danger Mouse & Black Thought - Cheat Codes, Hinako Omori - a journey..., Daniel Avery - Ultra Truth.


beabadoobee - Beatopia


Best track: You're here that's the thing


Lucius - Second Nature

I love power ballads, disco bops and gorgeous harmonies. And it's produced by Brandi Carlile.

Best track: The Man I'll Never Find
Honourable mentions: Orville Peck - Bronco, Just Mustard - Heart Under


Makaya McCraven - In These Times

In These Times' seems to lament the current state of the world whilst giving us the space to breathe and reflect. Some may call it spiritual jazz but its orchestral arrangements and folk influences defy such a simple categorisation. Moving between heavily textured, polyrhythmic segments and tranquil, repetitive minimalism, McCraven pulls us under and then allows us to float. As ever, this album is the result of a rich collaboration between past and present, and the performances of Jeff Parker and Brandee Younger are outstanding. Allow this album to take you to the edges of the astral plane.

Best track: Lullaby
Honourable mentions: Bruno Berle - No Reino Dos Afetos, Shabaka - Afrikan Culture, COIO3 - Force Of The Wind


Soccer Mommy - Sometimes, Forever

My 13-year-old emo self has returned in sad girl form and made sure that this is played at least once a week cover to cover. Superb songwriting and layers of crunchy guitars have cemented this as my top album of the year. Cover art is also beautiful. 10/10 would recommend.

Best track: Shotgun
Honourable mentions: Bartees Strange - Farm to Table Alex G - God Save The Animals


Aldous Harding - Warm Chris

Aldous Harding’s music is bold and intricate and pushes the boundaries of ‘bizarre’ with every album. Warm Chris is a collection of beautifully crafted songs which after the initial surprise is a grower you cannot go without. We’ve been playing it since it came out in March and still cannot get enough!

Best track: Tick Tock
Honourable mentions: Tess Parks - And Those Who Were Seen Dancing Astrel K - Flickering i, Indigo Sparke - Hysteria


Danger Mouse and Black Thought - Cheat Codes

Absolute banger from start to finish.

Best track: Tick Tock
Honourable mentions: Oldboy - Bloody, Shit And Shine - New Confusion, Osees - A Foul Form


Fontaines D.C. - Skinty Fia

They just keep getting better.

Best track: Roman Holiday
Honourable mentions: Kendrick Lamar - Mr Morale and the Big Steppers, Danger Mouse and Black Thought - Cheat Codes, Makaya McCraven - In These Times


Katy J Pearson - Sound of the Morning

This album cured my tonsillitis.

Best track: Float


Kurt Vile - Watch My Move

I love you Kurt.

Best track: The Sally Song
Honourable mentions: Alex G - God Save The Animals, Charli XCX - Crash, Jay Duncan featuring Ben Vince - In Limbo (Incl. Ricardo Villalobos Remix)