Jason Baygood's Top Ten Full Length Releases of 2022
This marks the end of my third "full" year writing reviews for Punknews (My first review was back in June 2019!) It has been both a privilege and an honor to be able to have a platform for giving my opinion and view on so many bands I already love and those new to my ears. Over time, I have become known as the "pop punk" reviewer as evidenced by many of your comments. I have no issue with this and am simply overjoyed that anyone would take the time to read anything that I have to say. That being said, I have attempted to expand beyond the bubble (no pun intended) in covering albums and artists outside of pop punk. In addition, this year I took a deeper dive into both live reviews and interviews. I am going to explore that avenue even more in 2023 as those experiences have been equally rewarding. For now, I leave you with my top ten full length releases for 2022.
Top 20 albums of 2022
10. Black Russians: Communist Dudes
Black Russians have been somewhat of a mystery these past few years. They seem to pop up out of nowhere releasing both full lengths a split releases. They claim to hail from Russia but that has yet to be proven. What has been proven is their ability to write dark and heavy Ramonescore, similar to later era Lillingtons. On this new release, they take this to the next step. What sticks out most to me is the band's versatility. This is evident when comparing lead of track "Nuke The Moon" to the sugary sweet "Break You." This band is recommended for pop punkers who require more grit than glamour in their Ramonescore.
9. Horror Section: Part II : Rewind Resurrection
Horror Section from St Louis have made quite a buzz in the pop punk scene over the past few years. Like the Misfits before them, this horror themed band has used the 7" single format to keep the momentum going for their band as opposed to waiting to release full length albums. This has resulted in the band's discography containing multiple collections. This time around, the band tackles horror movie sequels as the subject matter. "The Other Side" is one of the standout tracks on this release which tells the tale of search for Carol Ann from Poltergeist II! Musically this band appeals to pop punk staples such as Screeching Weasel and Mr T Experience, making this band one of the most unique going today.
8. Hayley And The Crushers: Modern Adult Kicks
Kitten Robot Records
It seems like just yesterday that the power trio known as Hayley And The Crushers released "Vintage Millennial" to the world. Two years later, after extensive touring, the band has released their fourth proper full length. As I had previously stated earlier this year in my review, this album is a definite grower. The songs are extremely well written and crafted. The sound is more mature punk rock as compared to their previous more contemporary, yet still vintage sounding, rockers. Songs such as "Taboo" and "She Drives" are sure to be surf punk and/or garage punk classics in years to come. Do not miss this trio live if you get the chance!
7. Jerry Only: ANTI-HERO
Here is one which will certainly generate discussion. I have never hid my fandom of the Misfits. This includes all eras of the band and their solo efforts. Jerry's vocal abilities to most are known from his tenure in taking over vocal duties upon the departure of Michale Graves from the Misfits. Reviews for Devil's Rain were lackluster at best. Though it has grown on me, that album was too long at 50 minutes. On ANTI-HERO, Jerry churns out 8 solid songs in just over 25 minutes. Each song has its own unique style and groove to capture your attention. It should be noted that Jerry also sounds more confident in his vocal delivery. From the dark and catchy "Snake Eyes" to the 50s style "Taboo" there is something for everyone. Any Misfits fan should at least give this album one proper listen before casting final judgement.
6. Monkey Mind: Monkey Mind
People Of Punk Rock Records
Thought they formed in 2018, I first heard of Newcastle's Monkey Mind when their 2022 debut album was starting to become advertised. This quickly caught my attention in hearing of the participation of Olga from the Toy Dolls in this project. This band is the brainchild of Lee Wright from the Oi band Crashed Out. For those unaware, Monkey Mind are as tongue in cheek lyrically as Olga's primary band. This is what you would expect. The songs are full of power and energy to please any UK punk rock fan. The majority of the songs are quirky tunes of love and relationships. This band certainly has crossover appeal to pop punk as well.
5. J Prozac: Won't Let Go
Rum Bar Records
Those in the pop-punk bubble are no stranger to J Prozac. The founder of the Prozacs has many releases and compilation appearances under his belt. I was not certain how different a solo album would sound compared to his vast catalog with his band the Prozacs. This album contains some of J Prozac's most personal lyrics, dealing with everything from his love of punk rock to his family. Every song is chock full of hooks and melody. Present are J Prozac's pitch harmonic guitar leads. It should also be mentioned that this album contains many guest musicians such as past and present Prozacs members. On "People I Know" backing vocals are handled by his son's Tyler and Kody. If you are looking for a fun pop punk album with lyrical substance, then this one is for you.
4. No Trigger: Dr. Album
No Trigger from Worchester, Mass is certainly no stranger to the readers of Punknews. These scene veterans have spanned multiple labels during their career. Earlier this year they showcased a brand new sound on the "Acid Lord" EP. This third proper full length appealed to me primarily due to its lyrical content. The band did not hold back on songs such as "Antifantasy" and "Brainwashed" No Trigger takes a more contemporary approach in their musical style without losing touch with its roots. It should be worth mentioning that they are a powerhouse live which resulted in my repeated listening of this album.
3. Pulley: The Golden Life
This one will probably be a surprise to those who are familiar with my reviews. If you told me a year or two ago that Pulley would make my top ten, I would not believe it. Going down the skate punk rabbit hole these past few years, I have reconnected with bands I never took a deep dive into the first time they came on the scene. The latest Pulley is chock full of emotional and powerful punk rock anthems. The opening guitar riff of "Wake Up" will take you right back to all the amazing Fat and Epitaph compilations of the 1990s. This record has gotten much repeat play on my turntable.
2. Spot McRackin: New Tricks
Last Exit / McRackins Records / Little Lost Girl / MBNH
I honestly did not know what to think upon hearing of the pending Spot McRackin solo album. Both Fil and Bil have released solo efforts in the past to critical acclaim. With the McRackins more active than ever, my interest was peaked. What we received was a true power pop powerhouse of an album. The song "Lianna" perfectly set the pace for this ten song collection. Spot has blended a stew of Ramones and Cheap Trick with a pinch of everything else in between.
1. The Manges: Book Of Hate For Good People
Italian pop-punk and Ramonescore veterans the Manges did not wait long to release their new album. Unlike, the previous six year wait, this new platter is the follow up to "Punk Rock Addio" from 2020. The Manges continue to be the global leader with this release. This album covers every spectrum from power pop to heavy Ramonescore. Not much else to be said but this release stuck with me the most this year. Recommended tracks: Lucky Tiger, High On Stress, I'm Not A Sissy