Year In Review: Top 15 Indie Pop & Rock Releases Of 2022

Through the ups and downs of every year, music is always there for us. Whether it’s old familiar favorites or the excitement of something new, we can always count on it to take us away from life’s harsh realities. Especially in these past couple of years, as we’ve endured the ripple effect of a global pandemic, political turmoil, societal turmoil, and disorder happening in the world around us. Music allows us to feel grounded and understood.

In particular, indie pop and indie rock seems to never fail to brighten my day, no matter what mood I’m in.

So, on that note, here are my Top 15 Indie Pop and Rock releases (and five honorable mentions) of 2022 that got me through the past twelve months.

15.Prism”Jenny O.

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Los Angeles-based artist Jenny O. released her dreamy track, “Prism,” back in May of this year. This slow jam is swirly and indulgent, and her breathtaking vocals create a dazzling dimension of mythical vibrancy within the piece. Throughout the song, she speaks on the power of love, as her sweetly intoxicating voice sings, “My love for you / Is a prism for your electric art.” The song is featured in a glamorous music video, which captures the soft and sweet energy of this recording, as Jenny O. moves and grooves among misty smoke and brilliant lights. Since the release, she has put out three more vibey singles, including “The Natural World,” “There is a Club,” and “Solitary Girl,” which in harmonious contrast to “Prism” carry a bit more of an upbeat energy. 

Jenny O.

14.Hold Me Like I’m One Of A Kind” – Boy Willows

Another LA-based indie artist to keep tabs on this year is Boy Willows, aka Landon Fleishman, who released his album Choking For A Year in early June. According to the artist, this 4-track EP was inspired by a life-changing injury he experienced, and how he learned to continue to create music through this hardship. The album features one of my favorites of the year, a light breathy track titled “Hold Me Like I’m One of a Kind.” The first thirty seconds alone deliver a feeling of comfort and warmth through Fleishmans curiously soft voice and his ethereal instrumental use.

Boy Willows

13.Sweet Jane” – Playyard

Playyard has a special place in my heart, as this electric duo founded on my very own campus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The pair started creating indie R&B beats in the dorms together their freshman year, and went on to release their first single, “Long Distance,” in 2019. This year, they released their first EP, A Sunny Place For Shady People, which includes five tracks that offer a range of satisfyingly mellow to playful energetic beats for your Saturday afternoon. A personal favorite on the album is “Sweet Jane,” an invigorating track with a catchy chorus and contagious rhythm.


12. “TRUCK”Motorbike James

This summer jam from MBJ titled “TRUCK” dropped in early July of this year, and takes indie pop-rock to a whole new level. Its wide range and varied sound sprinkled with electronic drums and steel-sounding guitar tones truly makes this one of the top songs of summer 2022. This captivating release is Motorbike James’ track of the year, after he released his first EP VIISIONS in April of last year.

Motorbike James

11. “Boy Friday” – Rebounder 

Giving some love to the East Coast, New York-based writer and producer Dylan Chenfeld, along with his brother Noah Chenfeld, as well as Cobery Arner and Zack Kantor, make up the stylish four-piece of Rebounder. Their catchy feel-good single, “Boy Friday,” is without a doubt one of my favorite funky grooves of the year. The track’s radiant energy and joyful vocals are contagiously intoxicating, and the perfect pairing to your Friday night kickback (pun intended). The group has released several other eclectic singles this year as well, including “Factory Girl,” “Young Folks,” and “Premium Fantasy,” which are equally as lush and radiant as “Boy Friday.”


10.wait a minute” – Arlie

Arlie, the four-piece powerhouse that has been quickly rising in popularity in the past couple of years, released yet another killer headbanger in 2022. Their track, “wait a minute,” comes off of their epic album, BREAK THE CURSE, which features eleven adrenaline-inducing jams. This fresh indie pop punk track in particular speaks on the motif of growing older without regrets, and is the perfect feel-good song for a sunny drive down the coast. The track’s accompanying music video personifies the exciting energy of endless summer, in which the group is featured through filmy filters riding in the back of a car and playing in a pool. The group has been busy this year touring across the country, in which they played along with two other rising indie artists, The Wrecks and Flipturn.


9. Help” – Hauskey

Hauskey is a mellow Australian artist I was lucky enough to stumble upon earlier this year. His dreamy, easygoing music is the perfect pairing to any part of your day, whether it’s getting ready in the morning, doing work in a coffee shop, or taking an afternoon walk to clear your head. What’s especially enjoyable about Hauskey’s music is his ability to write about difficult topics while still maintaining a cool and relaxed tone. His song “Help” is the first track off of his four-song album, Help! : Act III, which was released in late September. The artist describes how this album documents his mental health journey, from being suicidal to discovering how to love life again. The lyrics in “Help” in particular have a darker tone to them despite the song’s buoyant sound, as he speaks on his depression and admits that he needs help.


8.Cyclone” – Maude Latour 

This New York-based artist began writing music when she was just fifteen, and released her first EP, Starsick, in 2019. This September, our ears were graciously blessed with Latour’s latest album, 001. Although all seven songs on this album are equally exhilarating, a personal favorite and must-listen is the last track of the album, “Cyclone.” This wildly catchy song is the perfect break-up song of the year, as Latour reminisces about a failed relationship she regrets losing.

Maude Latour

7.Oregon” – Briston Maroney 

Briston Maroney has been awfully busy this year, not only putting out the deluxe version of his previous album Sunflower, but on top of that releasing four brand new singles, and even putting on his own mini-festival in Nashville this past November. A favorite of his singles is the lighthearted “Oregon,” which was released in October in conjunction with his other single, “Harvard.This Tennessee singer, songwriter, and guitarist never fails to impress with his heartfelt releases that seamlessly moves in and out of multiple genres. Maroney has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, and after a few listens it’s easy to see why. 

Briston Maroney

6.Give Up Baby Go” – Peach Pit

Much like Maude Latour, Peach Pit is another big time indie favorite. This year, this Vancouver-based foursome wowed fans again with a sensational eleven-track album, From 2 to 3. Although many bangers came off of this big release, one that really hits is “Give Up Baby Go.” This song describes lead-singer Neil Smith’s struggle with alcohol addiction, though you would never know it from this song’s upbeat and groovy vibe.

Peach Pit

5.Hills of Fire” – Sarah Kinsley

I had the pleasure of seeing this New York-based artist perform this incredible track live at the Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles during her first-ever headline tour, and it did not disappoint. “Hills of Fire” is the first song off of her five-track album, Cypress, which dropped in early June. A fairly newer artist, Kinsley released her first single, “Wine Stained Lips,” in 2019, and her debut album, The King, in 2021. Kinsley has a stunning way with her lyrics, and “Hills of Fire” is nothing less than breathtaking, as she ebbs and flows through her words with passion and grace.

Sarah Kinsley

4. “All is Well” – Hans Williams 

Originally from Vermont, independent singer-songwriter Hans Williams is wise beyond his years. A Tulane University college student at just 21 years old, Williams has been releasing music since 2018, and has accumulated over 800,000 listeners on Spotify. On “All is Well,” Williams’ voice is satisfyingly melodic, and flows harmoniously with the strum of his guitar. In addition to this track, the artist also released two other singles this year in “Checklist” and “Willows.” The artist has mentioned that he is looking forward to touring across the U.S. in 2023, and is gearing up for his debut project.

Hans Williams

3.saw u in a dream / saw u in (another) dream” – Tyke James

This singer-songwriter from Hawaii released this sweet melody originally in 2021, then later this year released the song again as “saw u in another dream,” a gentle acoustic version of its counterpart. No matter what version you listen to, both offer a contagious playful energy paired with sweet vocals, as the artist plays a love ballad to the girl of his dreams. His lyrics speak of his sweet love, as he sings, “Oh oh my goddess / Please never stop kissing me / I saw you in a dream.” Since this release, he also put out a track titled, “Medicine,” which has a similar satisfyingly sugary feel to the lovely “saw u in a dream.” 

Tyke James

2.  “Sex Swing” – Passion Fruit Boys ft. Liz Cooper 

After we featured this artist earlier this year, this song quickly became one of my favorites. “Sex Swing” effortlessly encapsulates the sweet nostalgic feeling of a blasè summer’s eve party coupled with melodically entrancing indie-pop instrumentation. The song is a part of the dynamic ten-track self-titled album, which was released in October of this year. The group also released a lively feel-good music video for the song, chock full of dreamy party sequences, including a magical closet that leads to a theater stage in which the PFB and Liz Cooper find themselves dancing and singing, leaving watchers smitten.

Passion Fruit Boys

1.All I Ever Asked” – Rachel Chinouriri 

Finally, my #1 indie track of the year is “All I Ever Asked” by Rachel Chinouriri. Like many of the previously featured artists, Chinouriri is a singer-songwriter who is a relatively new name in the indie music scene. The vibrant up and coming songstress dropped her debut single,  “What Have I Ever Done,” in 2018. Since then, she has slowly built a following, and has continued releasing singles and albums that have left fans thirsty for more. “All I Ever Asked” was in my Top Five most listened to songs on Spotify this year, because I quite literally could not stop playing it. This track is perfect in so many ways. The song is playful, the melody is catchy, and Chinouriri’s voice is sweeter than honey. If you’re going to do anything before the year ends, give this song a listen, because it without a doubt made this writer’s year better. 

Rachel Chinouriri

Honorable Mentions:

  1. C’est la vie” – Ethan Surman 
  2. Say What You Want To Say” – JP HOE
  3. Unwell” – phin
  4. One Night With the Valet”– Tennis
  5. RIGHT WHEN YOU LEFT” – Mickey Darling

You can check out a complete playlist featuring all of these songs here

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