It's hard to believe we're rapidly approaching the halfway point of 2022. Music-wise, it's been a great year. The lo-fi COVID album is well behind us and we're finally getting fully-fleshed campaigns. It's resulted in some of the best entrances that we've had in years. Here are our favourite albums from new artists.
Wet Leg - Wet Leg
The debut album everybody is talking about this year comes from Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg. They have already crashed onto the triple j Hottest 100 countdown with Chaise Longue but their debut houses plenty that could end up in the countdown next year. It's a party record at heart but every party has its moments and there's plenty of frustration, boredom, and anger that creeps its way into Wet Leg. The duo's delivery is always on-point as if you're being stared directly in the eyes and are forced to have a reaction.
Mallart - Butterfly Blue
We've waited a long time to hear the debut album from Australia's Mallrat but it's worth the wait. She's been using that time to keep learning and growing. Butterfly Blue introduces us to a singer, songwriter and producer who is unafraid to pen pop songs that are both pointed and vulnerable. We move from something beautifully delicate like Wish On An Eyelash to something twisted like Surprise Me which houses a showstopping Azealia Banks verse.
Ethel Cain - Preacher's Daughter
American artist Ethel Cain has been intriguing those who have been following for a while. She began influenced by Gregorian chant music and has since expanded into a dark, powerful artist unafraid to tackle any subject. Her debut Preacher's Daughter is as dense as they come with many tracks extending over six minutes but it's never anything but captivating. Her voice hovers, haunting at every turn while the songs meander in a way that's decisive enough to pull you on the journey.
daine - Quantum Jumping
Quantum Jumping is technically not an album but at 7-tracks, it's good enough to be. Experimental pop artist daine occupies a captivating space between Bring Me The Horizon and Charli XCX. She has the pop hooks to take over the radio and the angst to take on a pop/punk music festival. Quantum Jumping is the work of an artist who knows her vision early on in her career and has the tools to execute it.
Omar Apollo - Ivory
Omar Apollo has been building his sound for a while but he makes a leap forward on Ivory. He's never sounded as fearless as he does on his debut record. Vocally he attacks every song with guttural passion moving from soaring ballads to experimental, mind-bending cuts. Invisible with Daniel Caesar is one of the most intriguing songs of the year while Petrified is an emotional sucker-punch. On Ivory, Omar Apollo goes from hyped to adored.
Koffee - Gifted
Jamaican reggae singer Koffee already counts Rihanna as a fan but she's won plenty more with her debut album Gifted. It's a glistening record that sticks in the reggae pocket, elevating it by her masterful feel for melody. Koffee honours where she's been and celebrates where she's going on a record that just feels like sunshine. From the thankful x10 to the uplifting Gifted, it's hard to wipe the smile off your face for the whole listen.
Ravyn Lenae - Hypnos
Ravyn Lenae had a breakout moment with Crush but then she disappeared for a moment to work on her debut album Hypnos. It's finally arrived and it's worth the wait. It's a meticulously crafted work that pulls together elements of dance, R&B and pop. With a stunning production list that includes KAYTRANADA and Steve Lacy, it sounds expensive and laboured over without losing any heart. Lenae's stunning voice caresses every beat it touches. Couple that with slippery hooks and you've got an addictive debut record.
READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Omar Apollo On Advice From Pharrell, Authenticity & Restarting 'Ivory' From Scratch
Tate McRae - I Used To Think I Could Fly
Tate McRae's you broke me first made her a pop superstar but in the past year or so she's been slowly developing her sound, exploring new niches. I Used To Think I Could Fly couples the dark pop sound that she's mastered with a youthful pop/punk flair and it works so well. On songs like she's all i wanna be she's raucous and unhinged in the best way while songs like hate myself find an introverted delicacy.