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Hannah Levin’s Top 22 Music Moments of 2022

December 30, 2022
Hannah Levin

Thank you to all my wonderful colleagues, our volunteer DJs, and our amazing listeners who helped KXCI continue to thrive in 2022. Holding so much gratitude for all of you and hopes for a healthy and happy 2023.

In no particular order here are the musical moments that moved me the most in 2022.

1. Sudan Archives on Instagram

The pure joy and beauty that was Sudan Archives’ jaw-dropping sophomore release Natural Brown Prom Queen is full of stunning, wildly imaginative moments and watching her richly deserved success unfold was delightful. She chronicled it all with unfiltered vividness on her Instagram account (which she has subsequently pared down, presumably setting the stage for 2023). Whether she was crowd surfing with her violin to adoring crowds in London and Berlin or going live backstage, she took her fans along for the ride.

2. The Beths “Silence is Golden”

3. Mitski “That Was Our Lamp”

4. Fontaines D.C. “Jackie Down the Line”

5. Sprints “Modern Job”

6. Faith, Hope and Carnage by Nick Cave and Sean O’Hagan

At equal turns heartbreaking and hopeful, this collection of interviews between the enigmatic Cave and seasoned Irish journalist O’Hagan is a master class in what a deep dive into grief, religion, and creativity can look and sound like. I highly recommend the audiobook version to get the full impact of their dialog.

7. Hurray For the Riff Raff “Pierced Arrows”

8. Desire “Black Latex”

9. Weyes Blood “It’s Not Just Me It’s Everybody”

10. Journalist Evie Nagy’s brilliant obit-essay on Olivia Newton-John

11. Spoon “Wild”

12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Fleez”

13. 11, AIIR, Earth, Today & Tomorrow, and Untitled (God) Sault

The mostly anonymous collective helmed by British producer Inflo continued to generously surprise us with this multi-album drop, available to download only for a limited time via a password riddle. At a time when every element of working artists is available for instantaneous consumption and scrutiny, it’s heartening and refreshing to have a little mystery in place, especially when the music is this good.

14. Nilufer Yanya “Midnight Sun”

15. Special Interest “Herman’s House”

16. Maybe We’ll Make It by Margo Price

While it wasn’t surprising that a songwriter as talented as Price successfully translated her voice to the pages of her harrowing autobiography, it was remarkable to witness her candor and vulnerability as she chronicled her struggles with drugs and alcohol as well as the agony of her son’s death. While these are indeed the topics classic country songs are gleaned from, Price is coming from a more triumphant standpoint of lessons learned, wisdom acquired, and a clear desire to transcend tragedy rather than marinate in it.

17. Taylor Swift “Lavender Haze”

18. Archers of Loaf “In the Surface Noise”

19. Golden Boots “Lookout!”

Local musicians Ryen Eggleston and Dimitri Manos have never been shy about making their political passions visible and why should they? They are veteran Tucson musicians who care deeply for their community, so it only makes sense that they’d write a pointedly critical but utterly catchy ditty about gentrification in the Old Pueblo.

20. Kevin Morby “This is a Photograph”

21. Big Joanie “In My Arms”

22. Drive By-Truckers “Grand Canyon”

This song was released in 2014 but it took on major significance for myself this year while mourning the loss of my husband and beloved local musician Al Foul. We lost him tragically to laryngeal cancer on May 25th.  DBT frontman Patterson Hood gave me permission to use this in the “In Memorium” video myself and KXCI videographer Julius Schlosburg created to honor Al’s life and work. I invite you to take a moment to watch it here.


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