Our Favorite Local Albums of 2022 So Far…

Our Favorite Local Albums of 2022 So Far, Boston, WERS 88.9
Graphics by Kasvi Bhatia

There’s nothing we love more than celebrating the local talent coming out of Boston, and with releases as great as the following, it’s not difficult to. 2022 has already seen some stunning albums and EPs from local artists, and our writing staff is ready to take you through our favorites. 

 

THE Q-TIP BANDITS - MELANCHOLY FLOWERS

You won’t be sad you listened to Melancholy Flowers, so clean out your ears for the latest from The Q-tip Bandits. 

This easy, breezy collection of tunes will effortlessly complement the soundtrack of your summer cookouts, hangouts, or beach days. The opener, “Chasing Cars,” blows Snow Patrol out of the water, while “Lifeline” shows off the band’s love for meticulous wordplay and intricate lyricism. The five-piece Boston-based group eloquently blends Jazz with modern, uplifting hooks. And the title track, a beautiful yet mournful string arrangement, offers a moment of reflection amidst valleys of deep pockets and heavy grooves. You don’t need to be melancholy in order to listen to Melancholy Flowers. Regardless of mood, this album has something for everyone and proves itself more than worthy of your summertime playlist. 

Favorite tracks: “Lifeline,” “Wrong Address,” and “Daisy”

Local Tour Dates: Catch the Q-Tip Bandits at Cambridge Crossing Summer Nights from 5:30 to 8:30 on August 18th or in Medfield, Mass. at the Bellforge Arts Center Summer Sounds Festival on August 27th between 12 and 7pm. 

- T.J. Grant, Staff Writer

 

MINT GREEN - ALL GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN

All Girls Go To Heaven from Mint Green is pure heaven captured in an album! 

If you were lucky enough to catch Mint Green’s performance on 617 Day in June, you already know just how incredible this Boston-based band is! This three-piece band is full of personality and flare. Each of them brings something so different and unique to the group and all together they create amazing songs (ones you definitely want to keep on repeat)! Their most recent album, All Girls Go To Heaven, showcases their talent impeccably. Mint Green’s vulnerable and very visually descriptive lyrics pair perfectly with their pop-punk and alternative sound. This album proves how they have most certainly created their own intriguing and cohesive sound, setting themselves apart from other indie artists at the moment. 

Favorite tracks: “Body Language,” “Trying,” and “What I’m Feeling” 

Local Tour Dates: None at the moment! 

- Erin Norton, Membership Assistant

 

BARRIE - BARBARA

Why we can Barrie-ly contain our excitement about Barbara:

Barrie’s debut solo album is amazingly explorative and cohesive at the same time. With electro-pop songs like “Frankie” to beautiful instrumentals like “Harp 2 Interlude,” Barbara pushes the bounds of indie music and feels like music straight from the soul. Dance, cry, or just sit and listen – all are appropriate ways of listening to this gorgeous record. Barrie is certainly someone to watch and I can’t wait to see where her innovation takes her next.

Favorite Tracks: “Jersey,” “Frankie,” and “Dig”

Local Tour Dates: None at the moment! 

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator

 

HORSE JUMPER OF LOVE - NATURAL PART 

No need to calm your horses; it’s natural to jump into loving Horse Jumper of Love’s new album.

Horse Jumper of Love’s new album Natural Part is lovably sincere. Listening through the tracks, I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite songs, “Ghosting” by Mother Mother. The semblance is not quite concretely definable, but to me, the songs hold a similar quirkiness— uneasiness, even. From slow synths to irregular drum and guitar rhythms, it’s not quite something you know how to dance to; but it makes you want to move along nonetheless. And if anything, you’ll get a kick of the spontaneity and humor in titles and lyrics like “I Poured Sugar In Your Shoes.”

The first time I was introduced to Horse Jumper of Love, it was from one of their tracks being at the top of a playlist titled “The Sound of Boston Indie.” Listening to this album, I can’t help but to think that they serve well in that spot— representing this corner of Boston’s music scene that I’ve so lovingly devoted myself to writing about. Horse Jumper of Love are Boston creatives at their finest, and Natural Part might just crawl its way into your heart as it did into mine. 

Favorite Tracks: “Sitting On the Porch at Night,” “Snakeskin,” and “Ding Dong Ditch”

Local Tour Dates: Horse Jumper of Love have been touring across the U.S. this month. Luckily, they’ll be swinging back locally on August 18th for a show at the Sinclair with locally tied bands Joyer & LUCY.

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

 

TALL HEIGHTS - JUNIORS

Tall Heights reach new heights of success on their album Juniors!

With a lush, gorgeous sound, Juniors contains a new height of beauty for Tall Heights. They’re experts at layering sounds to create amazing sonic landscapes for every single track on the record, and it’s all brilliantly cohesive. These songs could stand alone as instrumentals, but add on Tim and Paul’s voices and you’re in awe. They’ve come so far since their days busking on the streets in Boston – they’re both married and have children, but have experienced a lot of loss along the way (both of them lost grandparents earlier this year). Ultimately, all of those experiences have culminated in this beautiful record that touches on an emotional sensitivity through a more exploratory, electronic sound.

Favorite Tracks: “Hear It Again,” “The Mountain”

Local Tour Dates: Tall Heights will be the opener for The Ghost of Paul Revere at Paradise Rock Club on August 13th. On September 7th, they’ll be in Holyoke at Race Street Live with Tow’rs playing a headlining show.

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator

 

COURTNEY SWAIN - SILVER LINING

Why listening to Courtney Swain will be your Silver Lining:

Courtney Swain’s new avant-garde, indie album is genre bending, and we are here for it. With soft vocals that resemble artists like Regina Spektor or Fiona Apple and electronic sounds with reverb and repetition, Swain has created our silver lining. Songs like “Silver Lining (enough with the)” start with hard clashes from MIDI drums and end on drifting harp-like sounds. Other tracks like “The Player” and “June 10th, 1996” sample her talk as a child over fuzzy static. “Magic Mirror” plays with her vocals, autotuning her tone to match the sounds she’s working with. Some tracks even have dark, drifting echoes that linger even after the song is over (“Inanimate Object”). Swain’s abilities to have us both daydreaming and floating in space is both haunting and reassuring. Trust us, you won’t regret listening to the trippy, yet natural album that is Silver Lining.

Favorite Tracks: “Inanimate Object” and “Derange Yourself” 

Local Tour Dates: None at the moment! 

- Lauren Surbey, Staff Writer

 

AOIFE O’DONOVAN - AGE OF APATHY

It is impossible to be apathetic about Aoife O’Donovan’s mesmerizing new album, Age of Apathy. 

The highly-anticipated release Age of Apathy comes six years after Aoife O’Donovan’s last studio album, In the Magic Hour. Although much has changed since the folk musician’s last album, one thing remains consistent: her extraordinarily multidimensional lyrics. In 2016, O’Donovan wrote about her experience visiting Ireland as a child, though the lyrics of In the Magic Hour are not as straightforward as they appear. Likewise, on Age of Apathy, the Grammy award-winning musician contrasts her memories of the past with hindsight from the present. The album’s second track, “B61,” describes O’Donovan’s relationship with a former lover. Although the lyrics are reminiscent of the past, listeners are jolted back to the present with the line, “But I can feel it in my hands. And I’m wringing them more now that I’m older.” With nostalgic lyrics, acoustic melodies, and fine-tuned harmonies, Age of Apathy proves to be a quintessential example of contemporary folk music. 

Favorite Tracks: “Sister Starling,” “Prodigal Daughter,” and “What Do You Want From Yourself?”

Local Tour Dates: On August 26th, Aoife O’Donovan will play at the Beach Road Weekend Music Festival in Martha’s Vineyard. On August 27th, she’ll play at the Lowell Summer Music Series in Lowell, Mass. And on September 24th, O’Donovan will take on the FreshGrass Music Festival in North Adams, Mass. 

- Claire Dunham, Staff Writer

 

SQUIRREL FLOWER - PLANET EP (EP)

You won’t want to leave the planet Squirrel Flower transports listeners to on her latest EP.

Squirrel Flower has followed up her 2021 full-length release “Planet (i)” with Planet EP, and the return sees her as ethereal as ever. Many of the tracks are solely her smooth, airy vocals and an acoustic guitar. The tracks are mixed and distorted in a way that makes her voice have a haunting resonance; consuming and calming all at once. “I was an open wound, you were a band aid,” she sings as one of the EP’s opening lyrics, the first sliver into the deep sense of vulnerability that runs through each track. They are largely melancholy-tinged, but occasional flashes of hope bring out a rounded emotional journey, which the instrumentation follows. Warmer, more grounded-sounding acoustics appear on “Long Day’s Gone” amongst lyrics of serene, nature-filled imagery. And lively synths bring a new energy towards the end of “Ruby at Dawn” as she admits “Now I know not to feel regret.” Ultimately, the seven songs seem to truly transport you into another planet— Squirrel Flower’s very own sonic and emotional landscape.

Favorite Tracks: “Your Love Is a Disaster,” “Long Day’s Gone”

Local Tour Dates: None at the moment! 

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

 

JVK - HELLO, AGAIN (EP)

‘Hello, again?’ How about ‘bye, bye I’ve got to be my own man!’

JVK’s fierce album Hello, Again starts off with a song by the same name. “Hello, Again,” is a track about fighting forces to have one’s loved one back in their life; a song about not giving up. JVK moves to her song “Freak” where she reveals she’s a freak but that her lover loves it. Then, she has a realization that a relationship might not work out in the next song. She concludes in her song “My Own Man,” “I’m not your mommy, not your savior, not your dog,” …, “And I won’t be damned to let a man play God,” …, “I gotta be my own man.” It’s a song about an epiphany most women need according to the themes in her lyrics. JVK then sings “Déjà Vu,” where she confesses, she’s been that girl whose “tryna to fit the man.” By her fifth song, “Bye Bye,” she says bye to her lover and tells them “It’s my time to go.” Her album is a combination of hard rock with almost borderline metal music accompanied by her powerful, contralto voice. JVK is one of the few frontwomen singing hard rock. Her album Hello, Again makes you want to rock along and forget about the pain from romance. 

Favorite Tracks: “Freak,” “My Own Man,” and “Bye Bye”

Local Tour Dates: Catch JVK and her band on tour this August. On the 12th, they’ll play New Cafe in Providence, Rhode Island. And on the 14th, find them at Friends of Allston in Boston.

- Mina Rose Morales, Staff Writer

 

RAAVI - IT GROWS ON TREES (EP)

It won’t take long for Raavi’s new EP to grow on you.

Raavi’s five-song EP It Grows On Trees may stand at just shy of fifteen minutes of listening, but it packs an emotional and sonic punch that lingers long after its first run-through. The catchy guitar melody that rings out at the start of lead single “Lazy Susan” encapsulates the sweet yet edgy feel that continues to be present on the EP. While the instrumentation is exceptional and carries an important role of building alongside peaks of emotion, it is carefully subdued enough to not cloud over Raavi’s stunning vocals. Carrying raw emotion in her voice, Raavi delivers the equally vulnerable lyrics with genuinity. “I wanna be better for you,” she sings on the tender track AJ. It’s a clearcut example of the sense of yearning running through the release. And on “Chorus Girl,” there’s a relatable sense of self-doubt expressed as she admits she might cave. It Grows On Trees is affirmatively one of my favorite releases from 2022 — whether the list contains only Boston artists or artists from all over.  

Favorite Tracks: “Lazy Susan,” “AJ,” “Chorus Girl”

Local Tour Dates: None at the moment! 

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

 

MEI SEMONES - TSUKINO (EP)

Mei Semones has us over the moon with her delightful EP, Tsukino (translating to “the moon” in Japanese). 

This charming Berklee grad skillfully intertwines jazz, bossa nova, and modern indie pop sensibilities into five tracks of pure jubilation within this package of blissful sound. Weaving lyrics in both Japanese and English throughout her lush compositions, Tsukino is an EP well-suited for soothing walks in the Boston Public Gardens, or a quick study session at a cute cafe. Semones demonstrates her mastery over blushy, tender soundscapes in “Hfoas - demo,” and quickly flips the switch on the bolder and brighter sound heard within “Yoake.” And while Mei Semones is moving to New York City at the end of Summer, her time spreading her gorgeous melodies throughout Boston has earned her a rightful place in the hearts (and ears) of many Bostonians forevermore.

Favorite Tracks: “Tsukino,” “Muchuu” 

Local Tour Dates: None at the moment! 

- Sophie Severs, Staff Writer

 

CHRYSALIS - MARGARITA SUGAR (EP)

Don’t be fooled by the title — chrysalis’ Margarita Sugar EP is not sugary in the slightest.

Full to the brim with devastating breakup anthem after anthem, chrysalis has crafted a truly heartbreaking EP that will throw someone right back into that dreaded post-breakup state months after they thought they recovered from it. The musician assumes a supple acoustic sound, softly lulling listeners into a morose trance, painting images of rose-tinted memories with their lyrics that adeptly purvey the pain of losing someone you love. Chrysalis takes us through the end of a relationship — beginning with “200 miles,” a track that narrates the longing that comes hand in hand with long distance, and ending with “dreaming in the day,” a nostalgic remembrance of a relationship that was once so joyful. And while their discography might bring a tear to your eye, you can reap some joy out of the fact that chrysalis is just getting started — they have plenty of songs in the works, one of which you can hear in their incredible Berklee Two-Track. But until their next release, you can find them peacefully metamorphosing, healing a little more every day. 

Favorite Tracks: “margarita sugar,” “july,” 

Local Tour Dates: You can catch Chrysalis live at the Cantab Lounge on Sept. 9th.

- Sophie Severs, Staff Writer

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