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2023 Year End Best Of

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2023 was full of great listening. Seriously, lots of good albums were released, and there also seemed to be a lot of great records re-released in various forms. Good for listening, bad for my bank account.


2023 was actually a good year for albums and even though i enjoyed many this year, these these are the ones that i think will stand the test of time.

  1. Aprede a Sur by Mint Field. This Mexican dreampop band have been slowly growing and improving, and here on their third album they are at the top of the field. This is beautiful music that flows lightly.

  2. Future Falling by The Album Leaf. After a long hiatus James Lavelle is back to making electro ambient pop music. This is realxing and catchy at the same time.

  3. Rat Saw God by Wednesday. Wednesday can be summed up as "if Sonic Youth had a pedal steel guitarist and a female vocalist with a Southern drawl", but they are so much more than that. This band takes noise guitar, shoegaze drones, folk storytelling, and country melodies and creates something that seems very fresh and new. And, at the same time, they are catchy as hell with toetapping melodies driving the record along.

  4. REZN - Rezn released 2 albums this year, one on their own called Solace (released in March) and then followed that up in August with Silent Future, a collaboration with Mexican doomers Vinnum Sabbathi. Solace is a deep meandering album of doom metal mixed with dub, but Silent Future is a strange science-fictional metal album with Rob McWilliams's high-pitched vocals interspersed with spoken word bits from Vinnum Sabbathi's Manuel Wohlrab, all buried under some intense riffing. Both records are impressive and have gotten quite a few spins in my world during 2023.

  5. Media by Cor De Lux. Noisy guitar rock is my thing, and Cor De Lux do it well.

  6. Limestone Ritual by Doom Flower. Mellow dream pop with trip hop beats. This is the halfway point between Mazzy Star and Portishead, and it's pretty cool.

  7. Motionless I-VI by Landing. Six tracks composed during 2022 and her mixed into two long tracks that ebb and flow. This is landing at their spacey, ambient jammiest.

  8. The Record by Boygenius. Boygenius is a supergroup of female musicians who are all successful in their own right, and they combine here to create a wonderful pop record.

  9. Girl With Fish by Feeble Little Horse. Bands don't often come out of my ancestral homeland of Pittsburgh, PA, so when Feeble Little Horse started getting some buzz, i was curious to listen in. This is quality indie pop with excessive quirkiness. Songs jump around, sometimes changing styles in the middle. But they never lose sight of making the songs catchy and fun.

  10. Jaywalker by MAA. MAA is a gothy dreampop act from Seattle, and here on her second album she releases a batch of moody, catchy, darkwave tunes.
Compilations, Re-releases, etc.:

AKA, other things released in 2023 i listened to a lot that were not new albums.

  1. Misfits & Mistakes: Singles, B-sides & Strays 20072023 by Superchunk. So this is Superchunks' fourth collection of b-sides and outtakes. Each time the release something like this, it gets longer. Tossing Seeds was only one record back in 1992, but now it takes four records to sum up their non-album work! For their next collection they will have to put together five records worth of material... At any rate -- there is some great stuff here, from compilation tracks to odd covers. But it's probably mostly for 'Chunk completists, like myself. And i am very pleased with this deluxe four record set -- the band have done a good job of creating nice physical products for us nerds, and i apprecaite that.

  2. Illuminated 1989 by The Veldt. The Veldt are a shoegaze band from Norht Carolina who had Robin Guthrie produce this record in 1989, but then the label decided not to release it and it ended up in legal limbo. Well, they got the rights back this year and put it out themselves. And it's good -- in 1989 it would have fit right in with what i was listening to back then.

  3. Sunset 666 by The Jesus and Mary Chain. Capturing 2 live shows from Los Angeles at the end of the 2018 tour. Their shows are always more about the later material than the early stuff that i love, but hey, it's JaMC. Play it loud!

  4. Stratosphere by Duster. The 25th anniversary edition of Dusters debut. Classic slowcore for listening and relaxing. This sounds great on vinyl.

  5. Altar by Boris and Sun O))). The 2005 collaboration between these two very prolific bands in finally pressed on vinyl. The physical copy of this is great, with lovely artwork and liner notes from Soundgarden's Kim Thayil. And the music is simply amazing -- Sunn O)))'s drone with Boris's crazy all over the place rock.

  6. There's Always Someplace You'd Rather Be by SIANspheric. It's been 25 years since this shoegaze classic came out, and SIANspheric have released a lovely vinyl edition. This is quality noise rock, the guitars a blurred roar over echoed voice. SIANspheric is one of the few bands tha treally figured out what was happening on Loveless, and it shows here.

  7. The Art of Self-Defense by High on Fire. A vinyl re-issue of High On Fire's debut, which alothough not fully formulated yet, would set the stage for what High on Fire would do. You have the great riffing, the thunderous rhythm, and Matt Pike's scratchy vocals, still working out how to fit together. Still, its a good listen.

  8. Elaborations of Carbon by Yob. This long out of print debut record from Oregon doomsters Yob sort of sets the scene for the rest of their career: long tunes that drag out the riffs.

  9. Spooky by Lush in 2023 Lush re-released their three records, and i picked up this excellent remastered version of their Robin Guthrie produced 1992 debut. A classic of the shoegaze genre.

  10. You'd Prefer an Astronaut by Hum. Until the 2020 release of Inlet, this was Hum's masterpiece. In 1995 i listened to the heck out of this record and went to see the band play at the old Cotton Club on Peachtree, across from where the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank now sits. It's a great record, and i am glad to finally have it on vinyl. Polyvinyl Records did a fine job with this re-release.
Singles and EPs:

Enjoyable short releases of the year.

  1. Stay Lost by Sharks and Minnows. This long silent local act actually released two eps plus a christmas single this year, but my favorite is the first new release that i reviewed. Gad they are still at it.

  2. Bound By This by Dutch Experts. Gothy synthpop from Vermont, of all places. This debut EP revels in the 80s, and does a wonderful job of it.

  3. For Some Other Reason b/w Fair Warning and What Would You Say?. Superchunk's Mac MacCaughn pairs with his label signee Mike Krol and band for three songs of catchy indie rock. These sound like lost Superchunk tunes from the mid 1990s, but i guess that it what Mike Krol's material sounds like. Guess i need to check out this band...

  4. Gebel Bakal b/w Version by Om. Al Cisneros of Sleep releases 2 tracks of dubbed out spacey bass ambient. I understand that Om might not be for everyone, but i really enjoy the strange mellow journeys that they release.

Due to health issues, i only saw two concerts in 2023.

  1. The Church at Variety Playhouse on Saturday 14 October 2023. By this point, The Church is basically Steve Kilbey, who is still carrying on at 69 years old. His voice is slightly weaker with age, but it is still mostly there, and he certainly is still full of ideas for songs. This tour was Kilbey with long time gutiarist Ian Haug, Alabaman (formerly of Remy Zero) Jeffrey Cain, and a few other replacement members, playing songs from the complementary albums The Hypnogogue and Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars, both released in 2023. They played 26 songs over 2 hours, dipping back into the late 1970s for some songs. It was a great concert, and the ninth time i have seen the band, but Steve is getting awfully old to still be touring, so who knows if i will ever be able to see them again. This was an excellent concert, and a fitting end if it is the last time i see them.

  2. Dry Cleaning with Nourished by Time at Terminal West on Sunday 29 January 2023. I have enjoyed the two records by quirky English post-punk act Dry Cleaning, and in fact i bought tickets to see them in 2022, when the concert was mysteriously cancelled (still have not ever heard why from anyone), and then rescheduled to this January. They were a lot of fun, playing a short set of tunes from their two records, all done very faithfully and quite well. This was fun.
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