WDIY's Top 10 Albums of January 2022
Ring in the new year with our first Top 10 album list of 2022! These were the most played albums from the past month. If you want to see your favorites on next month's ranking, feel free to call WDIY's studio line with a request at 610-694-8100 x1 or leave your picks on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.
Jump for Joy
June 4, 2021
Jump for Joy is Gary Louris’ second solo album after dedicating years to The Jayhawks as a founding member, primary songwriter, and frontman. There’s a 13-year gap in between his first solo album and now. All in all, Jump for Joy doesn't feel radically different from an early-2000s Jayhawks album, aside from its spare arrangements and stripped-down production. Louris wrote all the songs and played all the instruments on Jump for Joy, and his signature sound doesn't stray very far from what he's been doing with his band since the 1980s, but he does give himself a chance to explore a few avenues outside his traditional framework. The intimacy and honesty in this solo album along with the slight shift in musicality makes it stand out from his work with The Jayhawks without being presumptuous.
Lake Street Dive
March 12, 2021
Boston's Lake Street Dive returned triumphantly with their seventh studio record, Obviously almost a year ago now, and they’ve been riding a wave of success ever since. The band has matured since its creation in 2004 into sophisticated purveyors of vintage-inspired soul, funk, and adult contemporary pop. Along with their warm, rich, and heavily layered musical stylings, there’s also a palpable undercurrent of feminism and progressive social consciousness running throughout the album as Lake Street Dive wrestle with some of the issues their generation and the next seem to be coming to terms with.
Path of Wellness
Mom + Pop Music
June 11, 2021
Path of Wellness is the first Sleater-Kinney record without longtime drummer Janet Weiss since 1996, and their first self-produced record ever. A shift began in the band in 2019 with the release of The Center Won’t Hold, the closest Sleater-Kinney has ever come to making a pop album. While Center stradled the line between new wave and art-pop, Sleater-Kenney have returned to their roots on Path of Wellness. The band is decidedly having some fun on this newest release, opting for an effortlessly relaxed songlist.
The War on Drugs
I Don’t Live Here Anymore
October 29, 2021
Philadelphia-based band The War on Drugs began working on their new album in 2018 with frontman Adam Granduciel, bassist Dave Hartley, and multi-instrumentalist Anthony LaMarca retreating to a studio in upstate New York where they jammed and cut demos. The album was fine-tuned over the next three years, with work taking place in seven studios around the world. The album is a love letter to the band’s biggest rock influences like Dylan, Springsteen, and Petty. The War on Drugs have put out five albums now since their inception in 2005.
In the Blossom of Their Shade
October 15, 2021
Pokey LaFarge, the stage name of Illinois-born Andrew Heissler, has released a delightful blend of old-time country, vintage jazz, and pop on his seventh studio album, In the Blossom of Their Shade. The album first appeared on our top 10 lists in November and nhas returned for yet another month. LaFarge has said that In the Blossom is his pandemic record, a result of being forced to stop, slow down, and reflect. But unlike some other artists, the results here are decidedly optimistic and a celebration of love.
September 10, 2021
Until Now is a record and complementary poetry book by Indiana native Carrie Newcomer. The album’s first single, “A Long Way Up,” calls the pandemic, “the great unraveling.” Confronting the challenges of this unraveling is a recurring theme on Until Now, which is Newcomer's nineteenth album overall. The accompanying poetry book further shows the folk singer's outpouring of thoughts, feelings, and reflections about the last two years — something many of us can relate to.
July 30, 2021
Son Volt are ten albums deep into their 27-year life as a band at this point. Electro Molodier has Son Volt's tried and true alt-country sound with songwriting that sees Jay Farrar penning protest songs that directly confront our increasingly chaotic world, including “War on Money” and "Livin' in the U.S.A.," his version of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." But, in true Son Volt fashion, there's hints of hopefulness buried amidst Farrar's condemnations. The band has been a WDIY favorite over the years which is why our on-air hosts put the band's latest album, Electro Melodier, into regular rotation soon after its July, 2021 release.
Wary + Strange
June 18, 2021
Amythyst Kiah has an impressive musical resume for a Tennessee singer and guitarist. On her Rounder Records debut, Strange + Wary, Amythyst Kiah channels her heartland musical background through the lens of her lived experiences as a Southern Black LGBTQ+ woman. Musically, Kiah's old-time American roots music has a modern rock and pop sheen with impressive production that helps showcase her talents. Wary + Strange has been topping our monthly album lists since October, and it continues to be a go-to album for WDIY's music hosts.
My Bluegrass Heart
September 10, 2021
Whatever musical adventures Béla Fleck embarks on, the title of his latest album makes it clear that, deep down, his heart belongs to bluegrass. My Bluegrass Heart is the third chapter of a trilogy which began with the 1988 album, Drive, and continued in 1991 with The Bluegrass Sessions.
On his newest album, Fleck has assembled some of the greatest instrumentalists in bluegrass music’s history alongside some of the most promising new generation players. These include mandolinists Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, and Chris Thile; fiddlers Michael Cleveland and Stuart Duncan; celebrated multi-instrumentalist Justin Moses; bassists Mark Schatz and Edgar Meyer; and guitarists Bryan Sutton and Molly Tuttle.
My Bluegrass Heart falls from last month's number one spot, but still has a strong showing this month.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
November 5, 2021
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nite Sweats' third studio album, The Future, finds the band firing on all cylinders. Lehigh Valley music fans will remember the band's stop at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks in Bethlehem last summer. After coming in at the number two slot in December, The Future has topped our monthly albums list for the first time this month. Look no further than the boisterous singles like "Survivor" and "Love Don't" for why WDIY's on-air hosts have been playing The Future more than any other album in the new year.