Record of the Year

Despite the digital age’s persistent threats to its primacy, the album (and its relatives) is still the pre-eminent format – allowing artists the freedom to indulge their creativity in greater depth, and to make more complex and substantial statements. In 2022 these Sydney acts delivered cohesive collections that kept us locked in from start to finish. Which was your record of the year?

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Tasman Keith – A Colour Undone

‘A Colour Undone’ is Tasman Keith’s triumphant debut album. A profound and soul-baring journey, the record deeply explores multitudinous experiences of love; whether that be the romantic or familial, as well as love for community and self-love. The record sees Tasman Keith as his most vulnerable self, undoing ego, envy, self-expectation and intergenerational trauma, eventually leading to a true and fulfilled understanding of self. ‘A Colour Undone’ is a 14 track odyssey that is sonically Tasman Keith’s most far-reaching effort yet, ranging from stripped back ballads through to auto-tuned R&B, bass-heavy hard rap to jazz and gospel-influenced hip hop and beyond.

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After years spent cultivating a strong community as members of various different projects in the local hardcore and metal scenes, Sydney collective SPEED released their debut EP ‘Gang Called Speed’ through Last Ride Records and Flatspot Records this year. SPEED’s no-holds-barred approach comes through not only sonically but also lyrically throughout the six track release; tackling issues of misogyny, masculinity and racist hate crimes, elevating the importance of authenticity and taking ownership of your identity. ‘Gang Called Speed’ sports molten riffs, wailing guitars, and a pummelling rhythm section, all combined with a powerfully charged vocal delivery.

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Party Dozen – The Real Work

‘The Real Work’ is the monumental third album of experimental icons Party Dozen. The prolific duo of Kirsty Tickle and Jonathan Boulet have developed a cult following for their distinctive, improv-driven sound; drawing from a bevy of stylistic touch points including doom, jazz, noise, punk and industrial music. Having already proved on their previous LPs that the duo can go larger, wilder and more inventive than many bands triple their size, Party Dozen take a quieter, more considered and at times tongue-in-cheek turn on this album. ‘The Real Work’ showcases Party Dozen as the unparalleled masters of their own bizarre and magnificent corner of the musical universe.

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Milan Ring- I’m Feeling Hopeful

‘I’m Feeling Hopeful’ is the stunning debut album from prolific Sydney artist Milan Ring. A deeply respected and established member of Sydney’s music community, Milan Ring already had a reputation as a sought after collaborator and creative visionary both at home and abroad when this album was released. On her debut, Milan Ring plays the role of singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and mix engineer, unifying her widespread talents to deliver a poignant and cohesive 14-track odyssey. Exploring themes of inward and outward love, relationships, control and freedom, the critical mind, depression, desire and addiction, ‘I’m Feeling Hopeful’ sees Milan Ring interrogate differing perspectives on the human experience; finally arriving at a considered but optimistic outlook.

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Donatachi –

Donatachi unleashes an unbridled expression of pop ecstasy on ‘’. A hypercolour mixtape drawing inspiration from the formative years of rave, jungle and breakbeat, refreshed with Donatachi’s signature sugar coated production. Linking track features with Cowgirl Clue, Rromarin, Chymes and LÂLKA, the tape expands Donatachi’s sonic corners outwards with their musical peers. ‘’ is about embracing the ideals of a bright utopian future, drawing on Donatachi’s desire to capture the energy of collective joy. 

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Body Type – Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising

‘Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising’ is the raucous debut LP from four-piece and fixtures in Sydney’s live scene Body Type. The record reflects Body Type at a riotous high – it was recorded over eight days with Jonathan Boulet of Party Dozen, just before the global pandemic placed a dampener on touring and recording. ‘Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising’ showcases the Body Type’s searing guitars, cathartic choruses, lyrical sourness and justified rage; all sugar-dusted with wry humour and wrapped up in catchy hooks, creating a record that is both biting and empowering.

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BARKAA – Blak Matriarchy

‘Blak Matriarchy’ is the highly anticipated debut EP from Malyangapa, Barkindji rapper BARKAA. Having already established herself as a masterful storyteller with a unique, characteristically fierce and rapid-fire delivery, BARKAA’s debut cemented her place as one of the most vital figures in local hip-hop. An embodiment and celebration of BARKAA’s matriarchal ancestors, her family and Blak women throughout the generations, ‘Blak Matriarchy’ is a heartfelt testament to independence and a staunch indictment of the colonial mindset.

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1300 – Foreign Language

‘Foreign Language’ is the debut mixtape from trailblazing Eora/Sydney collective 1300. 13 exhilarating tracks showcasing the Korean-Australian crew’s trademark bilingual hip-hop prowess, encased in bass-heavy production informed by the electronic and club underground. Having built a reputation for their rowdy and high-energy live shows, 1300 not only deliver on the enormous critical anticipation, but brush it off with style. Shattering genre-limitations and featuring hot guest performances from contemporaries including Raj Mahal, Agung Mango and Qim Isle, ‘Foreign Language’ is a game-changing release from 1300.

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