A new year inherently means shaky self-promises, thresholds of achievement outlined in loose guidelines, and a reflection on what was.

While we hope your self-promises and achievements set for the coming year include discovering more music and supporting local and independent music from around the world, we’d like to remind you that music, as The Record Exchange put it, is self-care.

2022 was a year of growth and slowly emerging from the darkness of uncertainty. It was also a year of incredible music from across the globe, in so many languages, in so many genres. The year gave us visions brought to fruition from being shut down and shut in. It was a year of life, a year of hope, if only self-created.  

A sincere thank you to all those who shared their music, their love of music, or just gave Nanobot Rock a read in the last year, shared a new discovery with friends, and/or recommended a song, record, video, or performance with us. With our sights on 2023, here are Nanobot Rock’s Top 10 (but more like 15) discoveries of 2022:

15. The Districts – Great American Painting

14. Curtis Stigers – This Life

13. The Murlocs – Rapscallion

12. The Bye Bye Blackbirds – August Lightning Complex

11. Mattiel – Georgia Gothic

10. Bill Scorzari – The Crosswinds of Kansas

Bill Scorazri has captured the sonic embodiment of the Tolkien quote “not all who wander are lost” with each album he’s released, yet The Crosswinds of Kansas bleeds this sentiment with each chord and word. The vivid storytelling balance delicately on masterful musicianship to create a massively memorable album.

9. The Schizophonics – Hoof It

Digging deep into the well of influence, if only in the formulaic foundation of what would become Hoof It, The Schizophonics “take one step back to take two massive steps forward” with their latest and months after it’s release have us reeling in the energetic prowess and bleeding rock we simply can’t get enough of.

8. Reptaliens – Multiverse

From the very beginning of 2022, through the end, Reptaliens captivated us with Multiverse. We still find it apt to “think of Alfred Molina staring at Benedict Cumberbatch, delivering some iconic “Hello Khan” moment, then handing over a copy of Multiverse. Off in the distance is a very confused looking emo Tobey Maguire, next to him Topher Grace is eating a soft pretzel.”

7. Guided By Voices – Tremblers And Goggles By Rank

For those who venture into the realm of Guided By Voices, they’re sure to find one record (of which there are plenty) that becomes their favorite; for some, that was Tremblers and Goggles by Rank. Any way you look at it, Guided By Voices imagined and executed a complexly rich record vividly established in a psych post-punk sound that is more than worthy of many year-end lists.

6. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Nightroamer

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers’ Nightroamer is, was, and will be, a definitive marker on the year 2022. The staunchly unapologetic Shook is a must-see in concert and equally must-hear on record making this release a surefire addition to, and easily one of our, favorite discoveries of the year.

5. Marco Benevento – Benevento

“The microdosing of nuanced experimental rock and diverse jazz undertones that make up the latest release from the Woodstock, New York artist will make you feel like you’re drifting, if ever slightly, just outside your own self and it is utterly glorious.” Marco Beneventos’ aptly titled Benevento is an alluring and massively rewarding record with every spin.

4. The French Tips – All the Rage

If your path in life hasn’t brought you to The French Tips, it’s about time it did. The fiercely energetic, raw presence of this power femme trio is something we cannot let sit idly by any longer. We will scream it from the mountain tops and shove it in your ears with All the Rage. P.S. be a good friend and pass it along. Your friends will thank you.

3. Gareth Dunlop – Animal

From the moment the title track of Gareth Dunlop’s 2022 release Animal hit our ears it became glaringly apparent this was genuinely something special. The ensuing ten-track release seeps with an honesty and conviction most seek, but few achieve. Years from now, if not himself, someone will be accepting some grand award and this album will be referenced as an inspiration.

2. Walt Disco – Unlearning

Unlearn it. All of it. All of your hesitancies, predisposed opinions, and misguided beliefs. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be ready to hear what is, undoubtedly one of the most completely enjoyable bands of 2022 and their debut record. Walt Disco asked “How Cool Are You?” and few will surpass how massively cool Unlearning is to have experienced again and again.

1. Wallis Bird – Hands

Each layer of Wallis Bird’s Hands is an expansive sonic landscape filled with subtle, and not so subtle, discoveries that confuse complacency and evoke a wonder of imagination to both inner and outer reflection of the world in which we all exist. Strong approach with gentle bends around every turn keep this record moving, but never breaking. Masterfully paired with stunning songwriting, Hands is an obvious choice for our favorite discovery of 2022 and a favorite for many, many years to come.