Lots of good stuff this year. Here’s a playlist:
My very favorites
Additionally, here are a few albums and singles I wanted to call special attention to. They’re presented alphabetically becasue I’ve choosen to ditch the “best of” framing I often go with; I’m not writing music criticism here, and I have no editor telling me what to do. I don’t even know how many things I called out, so this isn’t a top-ten list, either! It’s just What I Loved in 2023. Mostly captured for me, but if others get something out if it, all the better.
Album: Animal Collective: Time Skiffs ✅
Their best group of songs since MPP, for my money.
A rare double record that never overstays it’s welcome, but rather creates a world I want to live inside, not unlike the White Album or Wildflowers.
Album: Destroyer: Labyrinths ✅
After nearly two decades of dabbling, I have finally become fully Bejar-pilled.
Song: Gabriels: Remember Me
If you’re not moved when the full strings kick in at about 2:30, I don’t know what to tell you.
Song/Video: Ghost: Spillways
I have no commentary on this band or their schtick, but I do know a well-written sugary pop-metal jam when I hear it.
Song: Goose: Dripfield
The vapors of this song have seeped into my bones.
We all need a bit of classic Dischord sound in our lives, and this tune checks that box with authority.
Albums: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s entire 2022 output, specifically Omnium Gatherum and Changes
I am intimidated by this band. They are very Extra in the best sense of the word.
Song: Steve Lacy: Bad Habit
R&B from another planet. I dig. A lot.
John Darnielle is a national treasure.
Album: Aofie O’Donovan: Age of Apathy ✅
I’ve really been enjoying Aofie’s work since I fell down a deep Live From Here well several years ago. She truly brings all of her unique talents as a songwriter, vocalist, arranger and guitarist together on this record. (Related: this Tiny Desk concert is delightful.)
Song: Angel Olsen: Go Home
Album: Beth Orton: Weather Alive
Haunting, but in a different way. So great to have new music from Beth Orton.
This record gave me a lot of reminders of my mom’s early-90s pop country radio phase. (I mean this as a compliment, obviously.)
Another single that grabbed me by the lapels and demanded my full attention from its first notes.
Album: Will Sheff: Nothing Special
I couldn’t describe this record better than Sheff himself did in this wonderful interview with Fluxblog’s Matthew Perpetua:
My experience of art is like the wind in the trees. You blink and you miss it. A little bit of it is like “Did you guys hear what I heard?” It’s a very quiet, subtle thing that gets under your skin.
Album: Sister Ray: Communion ✅
If I had to pick a “favorite” record of 2022, it would probably be this. Those that know me and my tastes will have no problem figuring out why.
Album: Soccer Mommy: Sometimes Forever ✅
A nearly perfect distillation of my late-90s record collection. I mean this as a high, high compliment. Truly another one of my absolute faves on the year.
Album: Spoon: Lucifer On The Sofa
Their best since probably 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. All killer, no filler.
Song: SRSQ: Winter, Slowly
The first time I heard that little whammy-bar vocal effect on the chorus (starts around 0:50), something in my brain slipped loose and my thoughts still aren’t thinking right.
Album: Bartees Strange: Farm to Table ✅
This is truly an Important Record, a call-to-arms, a statement of purpose.
Song: Tenci: Two Cups
Tenci came onto my radar after seeing them open for Hop Along in 2021, and I’m really glad they did.
Much like the Destroyer record, this was the one that converted me from “hey, SVE is pretty cool” to a full-fledged fan.
Album: Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand ✅
A gifted arranger who can still layer sheets of sound with the best of them.
(✅ indicates that I’ve purchased the album on vinyl, for accountability’s sake. Support the musicians you love, folks!)
Tuesday January 10, 2023