Reviews 22
Approval 89%

Soundoffs 146
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Last Active 12-19-22 9:35 pm
Joined 06-08-18

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Doof Top Albums 2023

Same format as last year - these albums are ordered by scrobbles (track listens) rather than by my own ranking of preference. My traditional rankings are listed too, as are 'Top 30' song of the year picks (and the number one song of the year is marked up too). Usual second favourite 2023 album I discovered...yesterday! Threw a bit of a spanner in the works did that. Enjoy. Playlist:
1The Bathers

Scrobbles: 287

An unexpected comeback after twenty three years and really I was just hoping for something above passable in quality...what was delivered is a slab of symphonic chamber pop majesty and one of the most emotionally resonant recordings Thomson and chums have ever recorded. It took one listen to realise this was AOTY - a victory by KO!

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 1st

Top song of the year: Sirenesque
2Mac DeMarco
One Wayne G

Scrobbles: 201

What is this B-Sides data dump doing in second position in this list you may well ask - good question. This dropped early in the year with less competition for listening time and I thought it would be a lark to try and definitively rate all of the 199 songs included here...I gave up on that. Eventually I just made a comp of all the full vocal songs and listened to that instead (yes, that's what I should have done from the start, hindsight is a wonderful thing).

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify.
3James Elkington
Me Neither

Scrobbles: 180

The Elk returns with a double set of improvised acoustic guitar pieces which he'd add layers to, some of which were processed or had the speed altered later. One of the most enjoyable to listen to experimental guitar players out there right now.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 98th
4Chase and Status
2 Ruff, Vol. 1

Scrobbles: 159

Feeling less like they're a 'guilty pleasure' act by the release, they're on a real run of form. If you can take all the laddishness along with some good ol' wub wub you might just have fun with this.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 58th
5Exit North
Anyway, Still

Scrobbles: 158

Thomas Feiner returns after another extended hibernation period and once again he delivers the goods - everything here sounds 'ready aged' somehow, another weather beaten but sturdy set of chamber pop with art rock aspirations.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 9th

Top 30 song of the year: In the Game

Scrobbles: 157

If there’s one album that speaks for itself in 2023 it’s this one; some of 'Albion' sounds as if dungeon synth music was allowed up into the fresh air once a year, was in awe of all the space and scenery, but soon realised frostbite hurts and winter above ground can feel even lonelier than life without the sun. So it’s a strange combination that music can sound ‘so. painfully. ‘80s.’ but at the same time like a fully signed up mead swillin’, maiden savin’, medieval babe.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 3rd

Top 30 song of the year: Throne of Amber
7Sufjan Stevens

Scrobbles: 157

Just when you thought Stevens was happy to arse about, I mean 'experiment', late in his career he suddenly drops his (arguably) second most consistent album out of nowhere. Not as stark or pained as 'C&L' but more cathartic and transcendent despite still focusing on some troubling themes.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 4th

Top 30 song of the year: Will Anybody Ever Love Me?
Hard Cold Fire

Scrobbles: 142

The best produced, written and performed album from Therapy? of the last two decades, and that places ‘Hard Cold Fire’ in their top five (maybe top four) releases in what’s been a very long and prolific career. I can’t think of many things more out of fashion than a punky three piece alt rock/metal band in 2023 - but if you can get over that you might just get into this.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 81st
Bird Machine

Scrobbles: 134

The most essential posthumous album since....Elliott Smith's 'From a Basement on the Hill'? That this feels like a fully completed Sparklehorse record and very much the logical follow up to 'Dreamt for Light Years...'. is itself a small miracle.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 10th

Top 30 song of the year: Kind Ghosts
10Ben Howard
Is It?

Scrobbles: 132

It doesn’t always figure that just because an artist has experienced recent hardship that this will inevitably translate into writing darker or more depressive material, in many cases the opposite transpires with new music becoming a soothing balm or some form of escape; this seems to be the case on ‘Is It?’, an album so bright and shimmering I’m struggling to imagine it could have been released at any time other than the start of summer.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 11th

Top 30 song of the year: Days of Lantana
11Sleaford Mods
UK Grim

Scrobbles: 129

The most varied Mods album yet met with a half muted/half 'actively anti' response - but that reflects more on the tastes of yer average music listener in 2023 than the inherent quality of 'UK GRIM'. So they're now TOTALLY out of fashion...but this was great.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 26th

Top 30 song of the year: Don
72 Seasons

Scrobbles: 127

'72 Seasons' - the meter circumference pizza that never took off? Look, this is nowhere near their best but also, somehow, it did repay repeat listens to the point where it was perhaps my favourite 'tallica since the black album (it landed somewhere near 'Load' and 'Death Magnetic' in the 'better latter career attempts' pile anyway).

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
This Is Ours

Scrobbles: 124

Call it nepotism but this is my brother's latest album - mellow downtempo jams with some vocal features (Liam Bailey in particular contributes on three songs). I like the album a lot and my brother's had a difficult year in some big ways so pleased he got it out - if you think you'd prefer MCs over this sound then head to his 'Refuge' EP which also came out this year, the record company insisted they didn't want to scare the hoes with any rapping on the album itself so that's the compromise they reached.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
14Be Your Own Pet

Scrobbles: 123

Every year has one, and this was my 'shaving album' of 2023 - perfect for full volume competing against an assortment of electric razors and clippers. Beyond that, this is also the most 'on the nose' album of the year lyrically which is at least amusing; 'I can't be that way no more...I've got two kids and a mortgage, what the fuck?', 'I want wages for housework, I want childcare for free', etc. Cant lie, this band was all about being scrotty youths (not empowered moms full of righteous anger), and making getting older the theme of this comeback album as a semi-joke sort of works but then's not their best album and ends up very 3 out of 5.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
15Yo La Tengo
This Stupid World

Scrobbles: 121

If it has already been established that maturity suits YLT pretty well, this A Tier comeback still qualifies as a surprise as it really shakes up the established (and admittedly decent) groove they've been operating in for about a decade. Name another band who've released something this close to a career best effort fifteen or so studio albums deep into their career? I'm waiting.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 16th
16Blake Mills
Jelly Road

Scrobbles: 120

If the last Blake Mills album ‘Mutable Set’ was somewhat evasive and hard to get a precise handle on then ‘Jelly Road’ is even more so. In many ways Mills reminds me of Cass McCombs; both started out as alt country and then moved towards a faintly retro and sometimes psychedelic sound that’s hard to pigeonhole. Similar unhurried and ‘foggy’ arrangements abound, usually matched with cryptic and unconventional lyrics.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 25th
17Jonny Nash
Point of Entry

Scrobbles: 120

One of those happy circumstances where I'd already been really getting into the Jonny Nash discog....and then suddenly there's a new album. So one of my favourite new artist discoveries of 2023 in general and this latest album might honestly be his most engaging slice of guitar-centric ambient yet.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 28th
18James Holden
Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities

Scrobbles: 119

Can almost see a heat shimmer forming in the distance just over there…

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 48th
19The Church
The Hypnogogue

Scrobbles: 118

As with most Church albums since the mid '90s this comes across as dense and impenetrable at first but then the mist rolls away and beauty pervades. This sounds first and foremost like another unique yet familiar album that's distinctly 'The Church' but if pressed to draw outside comparisons then there are flashes of melody that recall mid career The Cure, 'Talk Talk Talk' era The Psychedelic Furs and even some latter career Bowie, all mixed together with the bright psychedelics of Mercury Rev.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 20th
20Oneohtrix Point Never

Scrobbles: 117

A second excellent OPN album in a row - this might be his most sprawling and maximal bag of tricks yet, and that’s saying something. Any genre that was still left on the shelf untouched he’s pretty much gone about incorporating this time.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 12th

Top 30 song of the year: Krumville
21Grian Chatten
Chaos For The Fly

Scrobbles: 113

With a Grian Chatten solo album realistically you’d have anticipated one of two approaches being adopted; either an expansion of the trad leaning rustic folk influences that pop up on the slower Fontaines D.C. material or a stab at a more mature/polished classic singer/songwriter style. ‘Chaos for the Fly’ most definitely opts for the latter and does about as good a job as anyone could have reasonably expected; the clean folk/chamber pop aesthetic is one that works well with his subdued vocals here.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 23rd

Top 30 song of the year: Fairlies
22Yves Tumor
Praise a Lord Who Chews, But Does Not Consume...

Scrobbles: 112

I’m hearing a tweaked formula this time, a different combo…Blood Orange and Tame Impala, maybe some Bloc Party. So this feels a bit more casually contemporary; yes it’s still ‘rockstar’, but with a lower case ‘r’ compared to this album's predecessor. The song writing itself still isn’t wildly engaging all the time, and I don’t hear a genuine ‘hit’ among these tunes, but there’s a satisfying ebb and flow to this tracklist. There’s now a feeling Yves Tumor is settling into this approach and a tighter release could follow...maybe....hopefully.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify

Scrobbles: 110

If a ghost was indeed born then this is its cousin - a similar numbed and medicated atmosphere comes in and out of focus on both this, the band’s thirteenth full length, and their troubled fifth from way back in 2004. There are differences in approach despite this kinship; certainly ‘Cousin’ doesn’t puncture these ‘brain fog’ moments with the same cathartic bursts of lead guitar therapy that ‘A Ghost is Born’ did, rather it comes from a wearier but also more accepting place - exactly what you’d expect from a band this long in the game.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 18th

Top 30 song of the year: Pittsburgh
24The National
Laugh Track

Scrobbles: 109

A deluge of nu-National material this year and this second set is the better one, but still gives off major 'auto pilot' energy - it seems the band's essence has been diluted so much at this stage. Sad dad weak sauce.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
25Damien Jurado
Motorcycle Madness

Scrobbles: 107

Another busy year for Jurado but this was my favourite of the three full albums he released - a near concept album that lands on a classic sound somewhere close to the excellent 'The Horizon Just Laughed'.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 30th
26The Felice Brothers
Asylum On The Hill

Scrobbles: 106

The late December gatecrasher of 2023 - this 'ForFansOnly' bandcamp album is well worth investigating or indeed paying for.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 15th
27Depeche Mode
Memento Mori

Scrobbles: 105

A late career album marked by tragedy and so often that leads to something heartfelt and profound - so it is here. ‘Memento Mori’ feels like a conscious revisiting of near enough every musical path this band has walked before, with nods to the more straightforward pop of the early ‘80s albums, the gothic tones of the classic Depeche Mode period and a rock influence from the mid to late ‘90s releases.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 21st
28Jason Isbell

Scrobbles: 102

On 'Weathervanes' we're not looking at a complete reinvention from Isbell or anything that extreme, more just a renewed focus and an effort to make his songs feel vital again. So for instance if we focus on the opening pair of ‘Death Wish’ and ‘King of Oklahoma’, as much as they don’t shake up the established formula too much, there’s a noticeable increased confidence in how the vocals sell the material, a Springsteen swagger in attendance.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 13th

Top 30 song of the year: White Beretta
29Cory Hanson
Western Cum

Scrobbles: 101

The guitar eargasm of the year. For the longest time I wanted this 'future cult classic' to take the title of AOTY but to make the top ten in an ultra competitive 2023 is good going all the same.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 7th

Top 30 song of the year: Driving Through Heaven
Rat Saw God

Scrobbles: 101

The undisputed Boney-core album of the year, in the end I had to rate this equal to bandmember MJ Lenderman's solo effort from last year because, despite this album being overall more substantial and also boasting the unbelievable 'Bull Believer', I probably still find the Lenderman more entertaining in the purest sense.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 14th

Top 30 song of the year: Turkey Vultures
31Anohni and the Johnsons
My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross

Scrobbles: 100

Anohni does away with the previous electro angle and instead delivers something 'warm', 'classic' and 'timeless'. A good choice.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 8th

Top 30 song of the year: Why Am I Alive Now?
32King Creosote

Scrobbles: 99

Not much fanfare for this release (a silent fart of non promotion) but hey, it's the usual great stuff from the Scotty folk master - reminds me a little of that Tuung concept album about death that came out during lockdown, though a little less morbid.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 6th

Top 30 song of the year: Ides
33Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You

Scrobbles: 99

This one reminds me of ‘Master & Everyone’ and it’s almost as good - like ‘M & E’ this set is somewhat subdued, consistent in tone, understated in delivery…but the lyrics carry some real weight. His best ‘regular’ Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album in quite some time (all the way back to 2006 and ‘The Letting Go’?) and certainly makes a claim for top folk release of 2023.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 19th
34JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown
Scaring the Hoes

Scrobbles: 99

The artwork is fly, the jazz influence is fly...the strange thing is this album IS quite experimental but unlike say, the last Injury Reserve album, this (for better and worse) easily becomes agreeable background music. Just nice really, underwhelming in terms of being an 'album of the year' candidate...but that's not the fault of the album itself.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 67th
35Robert Forster
The Candle And The Flame

Scrobbles: 98

A solid acoustic folk rock album from Forster where the big draw (as ever) are those engaging, somewhat chewy mannered vocals of his. The quality control is kept as high as it needs to be, as this is effectively a naked exercise in pure unadorned songwriting - the heartfelt ‘Tender Years’ and wry ‘I Don’t Do Drugs I Do Time’ are the highlights, but at worse there’s only really one or two ‘close to average’ tunes included here.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 86th
36The Murder Capital
Gigi's Recovery

Scrobbles: 93

If you still have stamina for yet more post-punk stuff then knock yourself out, you could do a lot worse than this.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 46th
37King Krule
Space Heavy

Scrobbles: 91

One of those artists where the less they actively try to grab your attention, the better - this is the most laidback he's sounded since his solo 'Archy Marshall' release from 2015...maybe even since the first debut EP from all the way back in 2011. Give it time but 'Space Heavy' may just reveal itself as the most enjoyable - as well as most natural and reflective sounding - King Krule release so far.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 51st
38The Clientele
I Am Not There Anymore

Scrobbles: 91

A fair amount of the material here is very much ‘typical Clientele’, overfamiliar even, but thanks to the 'experimental double album' framing this issue isn't as immediately obvious as it would otherwise be. There's an argument that 'I Am Not There Anymore' would make for a strange introduction to The Clientele, but for me this is their best album so I recommend it whether you start here or elsewhere in their discography.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 36th
39Empty Country
Empty Country II

Scrobbles: 88

I fear this type of earnest and intense emo informed indie rock is a bit ‘out of step’ in 2023 and might struggle to reach an audience; if ‘Empty Country II’ had been released in 2005 following Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’ it might have been ‘semi massive’. Beyond that I’m of the opinion this is likely his best work all things considered, just nudging ahead of the Empty Country debut and the two strongest Cymbals Eat Guitars albums - the standalone beauty of the David Bergman tribute track (simply titled ‘David’) and the grandiose swell of ‘Bootsie’ won me over and led me to the conclusion this is the runaway best indie rock album of 2023.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 5th

Top 30 song of the year: David

Scrobbles: 88

Still not sure how seriously I can take this outpouring of emotion and intensity...when half these songs are channeling Jamie T. Mostly enjoyable but yeah.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify.
41The National
First Two Pages of Frankenstein

Scrobbles: 88

Probably the weakest thing they've released (and yes that includes the self titled debut) - this thing is flat as a pancake. Think of B-Sides from the 'High Violet' period like 'Think You Can Wait' or 'Exile Vilify'...they MURDER every single song here. That should illustrate just how far they've fallen from their peak creative period.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify.
42Greg Mendez
Greg Mendez

Scrobbles: 87

Lands somewhere between Elliott Smith and Elvis Depressedly, this cat really has some potential.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 42nd

Top 30 song of the year: Goodbye / Trouble
43Bob Drake
The Room in the Tower

Scrobbles: 83

Big Bad Bob is back and he's asking the all important questions like 'and since there was a planet of apes why can't there be a planet of dogs?'. As most people are aware, nearly all modern prog is abhorrent to me, but the homemade feel of Drake's stuff just warms on me I can't help it. This is 'The Skull Mailbox' quality but a little more conventionally rockist which is a welcome variation.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 27th

Top 30 song of the year: The Belua Bell
44Armand Hammer
We Buy Diabetic Test Strips

Scrobbles: 83

Not my favourite recent year for hip hop but this was my favourite Billy Woods since 'Hiding Places'.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 56th
45Baxter Dury
I Thought I Was Better Than You

Scrobbles: 80

The album cover is the clue: this is a far more lo-fi and scrappy affair compared to his last album, ‘The Night Chancers’.
Lyrically concerned with Dury’s complicated upbringing (working class roots, frequently absent famous musician father, new bohemian lifestyle, being educated at ‘posh school’) and the musical backing also harks back to the past with retro hip hop stylings that give the impression this is a nostalgia piece.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 75th
46Devendra Banhart
Flying Wig

Scrobbles: 80

The general response to this album has been muted, many listeners still questioning where the indie folk stylings in his writing have disappeared to, others preferring another of his recent artistic experiments to this one; I can understand that reaction as I feel nine times out of ten it could well have been mine. Instead, after immersing myself in the works of Eno, of Cale, Arthur Russell, as well as a whole heap of ambient music this year, this 'ambient pop' record now feels instantly familiar and comforting.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 60th
(Whirring Marvels In) Consensus Reality

Scrobbles: 79

Once again by turns elegant and cosy modern classical combines with mostly warm toned ambience to make for something close to ‘instant nostalgia’. If you removed all the ‘rock’ from Sigur Ros or Mono you’d likely be left with something similar, so if that appeals you won’t go wrong here; indeed ‘Void Manifest’ might just be the prettiest four minutes of music you’ll listen to all year.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 82nd

Top 30 song of the year: Void Manifest
48Complete Mountain Almanac
Complete Mountain Almanac

Scrobbles: 79

Initially a close to impenetrable folk release that slowly surrendered up it's charms on repeat listens.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 53rd
49Buck Meek
Haunted Mountain

Scrobbles: 77

Like Vic Chesnutt on happy pills, this thing is joyous.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 45th

Top 30 song of the year: Where You’re Coming From
50Matt Maltese
Driving Just to Drive

Scrobbles: 77

He's back on track - Maltese has finally married the extra smoothness he's been perfecting across the last two albums with the level of tunefulness and understated wittiness he exhibited on the debut.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 73rd

Top 30 song of the year: Mother
51Current Joys
Love + Pop

Scrobbles: 76

Scattergun bedroom pop that's hit and miss but also strangely diverting all the same - I really tried to get into this one anyway.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
52Will Johnson
No Ordinary Crown

Scrobbles: 75

Certainly one of the best alt country records of the year and thanks to its diversity, directness and for being unafraid to show off some more rocking chops, I mark this down as the best entry point to Johnson’s work and his greatest set of songs so far.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 37th
53Chris Stapleton

Scrobbles: 75

Despite the lack of surprises or wild creativity Stapleton remains a compelling presence, that voice showing its range whenever these mostly safe and steady compositions allow for a little showboating. A thoroughly pleasant listen (if overlong at 55 minutes) - just don’t expect these tunes to have any real bite to them.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 90th
54Iggy Pop
Every Loser

Scrobbles: 74

Clearly a lot of tongue in cheek stuff here and Iggy’s personality shines through, his voice has that same defining quality and somehow doesn’t sound seventy five years old - it retains that all important trademark power; there’s still a twinkle in those eyes. Saying all this, ‘EVERY LOSER’ is far from perfect, the verses throughout are MOSTLY better than the choruses while the outright punk tunes are a little throwaway.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
Formal Growth in the Desert

Scrobbles: 73

The Captain Dependables of post-punk march on.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 40th
One Star

Scrobbles: 72

This album takes a lot of risks compared to his debut to state it mildly, but despite a few early doubts most every song won me over eventually, irrespective of how many initially head scratching elements were thrown in the mixing bowl. When the results are at their best, like on the soaring orchestral 'Ribbons' or the queasy Scott Walker dirge 'Burdens' (that's expertly punctuated by intense climaxes of freakish noise), 'One Star' feels unstoppable.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 17th

Top 30 song of the year: Ribbons
State Of Emergency

Scrobbles: 71

Along with Helmet another one of the old metal bands I got most into this year - I didn't get on with the new Helmet album at all really, but I quite enjoyed this one from Prong. Wouldn't make their top 5 albums or anything like that, but solid 3 outta 5 quality all the same.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
58Smoke Fairies
Carried in Sound

Scrobbles: 71

Another grower, in the chamber folk ballpark which usually is a good start, the atmosphere and subtle approach to melodies won me over in the end.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 97th

Scrobbles: 70

Listening to new music from Califone now is like returning to an established tree in a childhood park you used to walk through every day - you’ve aged but Tim Rutili’s voice and the band’s entire style hasn’t perceptibly changed in all that time. You give the tree trunk a gentle pat with your hand, reassuring.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 72nd

Top 30 song of the year: Sweetly
60Shame (UK)
Food For Worms

Scrobbles: 70

This one sneaks up on you - at first I had it pegged as agreeably loose and raw but not so creative or artful. Over time the experimentation and unique spirit of this release have become apparent, and once you realise how well this ambition has meshed with the aforementioned looseness you can’t help but be sold.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 31st
61The Veils
...And Out of the Void Came Love

Scrobbles: 69

Here The Veils sound like recent Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds meshed with some mellow contemporary artist like Bon Iver or maybe Ry X. This isn’t as ‘different’ as ‘Total Depravity’ was, but it’s still intriguing.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 52nd
62Guided by Voices
Nowhere To Go But Up

Scrobbles: 69

I think it might mainly be Pollard's 'none more indie' voice but I was most reminded of the made up band from the film 'Frank' (The Soronprfbs) when listening to this - and I think that says everything.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify

Scrobbles: 68

Angry northerner says 'yes it's fucking political' - this grew on me a bit but to say 'you have to be in the mood' is an understatement.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
64Kurt Vile
Back To Moon Beach

Scrobbles: 66

Reassuringly great ‘minor’ (it’s still an hour long) EP from KV - if you’re expecting brevity this is still only a little more tight than his usual sprawling releases. Leisurely is the word, these are tunes to kick back to and let wash over you, but the impressive thing here is the quality is as high as usual and the songs flow very nicely thank you very much.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
65Genesis Owusu

Scrobbles: 65

Something about this album bugs me 🐛 Yes, part of that’s down to the lyrics which are half heavy handed concept (bugs aplenty! ‘what’s a roach to a God?’ etc etc) and half silly references (‘are we god or are we dancer?’, ‘vogue strike a pose’). If not quite a sophomore slump it’s at least a sort of easygoing slouch.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
66PJ Harvey
I Inside the Old Year Dying

Scrobbles: 65

Has just enough high points to stop the album landing in the realms of the indistinct, or falling foul of the cursed 'arty for the sake of artiness' minefield.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 100th
67James Yorkston, Nina Persson and The Second Hand Orchestra
The Great White Sea Eagle

Scrobbles: 62

Tough to write an album about family and parenthood without the sentimentality becoming cloying but Yorkston manages to avoid that here.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 62nd
68bar italia
Tracey Denim

Scrobbles: 60

One of the better '90s throwback albums of the year, almost mixtape like in its approach, not every song is a gold plated classic but a lot more hits than misses.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 85th
69Spencer Krug
I Just Drew This Knife

Scrobbles: 59

So if it's established he remains an acquired taste through and through, this is still almost certainly his most consistently intriguing release since the bizarre, minotaur obsessed, 2018 concept album 'This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet' - and if he's patently not making too many compromises to court a new generation of listeners then at least this one might surprise a few people.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 61st
70Maria BC
Spike Field

Scrobbles: 59

Atmospheric folk release with a Grouper ambience at times, plus some other experimental touches. Mesmeric.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 24th
71Margo Price

Scrobbles: 59

Someone had to jump in and take over from Tom Petty as the leader of radio country/ heartland pop rock…wasn’t sure it’d be Margo Price. Jonathan Wilson’s influence is very welcome here, and the Fleetwood Mac’isms on the ballads are top notch.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 70th
Optical Delusion

Scrobbles: 59

I appreciate the attempt to tie all these tracks together under a dystopian / ‘post covid’ state of the nation concept - the opener is particularly successful in setting up this theme with the clever adoption of the old Black Death historical nursery rhyme ‘Ring a Ring o’ Roses’.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
73The Streets
The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light

Scrobbles: 58

Have a soft spot for this, feels like taking pity on the kid who's been getting battered in fights for ten years but keeps on coming back to the same old spots - should we give Skinner a break? I can't tell if his voice is just shot or he's completely lost the knack of using/producing it well. I kept coming back to this like a dog returning to that a magic marshmallow chunk over there. Probably not there something palatable here?

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
74The Smashing Pumpkins

Scrobbles: 58

Up an' ATUM! Curse the length of this thing!

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify

Scrobbles: 57

Probably the best thing they've released so far, certainly the most immediate - still I definitely enjoyed a handful of tracks here far more than the others.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify

Top 30 song of the year: Bloodbunny
Everything is Alive

Scrobbles: 56

This album really feels like a hybrid of the ‘90s dreamy wash of ‘Souvlaki’, the chilly atmospherics of ‘Pygmalion’ and the more ‘modern touches’ of the 2017 self titled. It leaves this set feeling like perhaps the most representative of the bands overall sound out of any of their albums…but then also the exact appeal of what this collection offers is harder to nail down.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 32nd

Top 30 song of the year: Skin In the Game
Sus Dog

Scrobbles: 56

Well colour me neon and slap a choke chain collar on it, ’Sus Dog’ has ended up rating as one of the electronic albums of 2023; an unexpected artistic rebirth, the influence of producer Thom Yorke has definitely helped Clark find the right path this time. The singing (from Clark himself), beats and ambience are all well judged and the compositions boast both immediacy and depth.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 69th
78Art Feynman
Be Good the Crazy Boys

Scrobbles: 56

Feynman has been searching for the right formula for a while now - you know he wanted to move away from his previous indie folk work and go all in with this 'playful art pop thing with a funky backbone' but the previous two albums missed their mark. This one shows he's on the right path and could even drop a minor cult classic next time perhaps? David Byrne would approve.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 78th
79Animal Collective
Isn’t It Now?

Scrobbles: 54

Their best release since 2009's 'Fall Be Kind' EP?

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 46th

Top 30 song of the year: Defeat
80Slauson Malone

Scrobbles: 54

This was probably better at playing a similar game to the King Krule...I just didn't listen to it quite enough to know for sure.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 77th
81The Tubs
Dead Meat

Scrobbles: 54

Has a cool 'throwaway' or maybe even 'scrappy' feel to it, and those Richard Thompson style vocals dripping in cynicism and snark are a great addition. Not going to change the world of music but enjoyable.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 84th
82Robert Finley
Black Bayou

Scrobbles: 53

Finley's voice is top notch, really translates the man's character, and the writing does the job even if at times it comes over as a bit too formulaic. The two tracks that break away from the expected 'funky themes' are two of the best; 'Nobody Wants to Be Lonely' is the weepy here and shows heartfelt compassion towards the elderly and abandoned, while 'Alligator Bait' spins a great yarn about a childhood 'coming of age' experience. Worth a go.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 76th
83Glen Hansard
All That Was East Is West Of Me Now

Scrobbles: 53

This is Hansard's most consistent album, but consistent in a way that's very mature and traditional in the classic singer/songwriter fashion. For me it scores lower than the preceding 'This Wild Willing' because it isn't as adventurous and the highs aren't as high - the lows also aren't anywhere near as low but I generally listen to music for the highs (who doesn't?) so that's my reasoning there.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 39th

Top 30 song of the year: Sure as the Rain
84Avey Tare

Scrobbles: 52

The first three songs show off the more immediate and pop focused side of AT’s song writing (and ‘The Musical’ is his finest ode to the pleasures of creativity yet) while the middle pairing of ‘Hey Bog’ and ‘Sweeper’s Grin’ are more expansive, exploratory and trippy. The closing pair of songs are slightly weaker but not by too much and certainly ‘Cloud Stop Rest Start’ is a striking way to wrap things up even if it’s only partially successful.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 59th
85The Chemical Brothers
For That Beautiful Feeling

Scrobbles: 52

At first I thought this was quite an adventurous album...but then the reality hits that for the boys themselves, this is formulaic to the max. Still, probably ranks in their top four albums but more accurately it sounds like one of five Chemical Brothers releases that all, give or take, sound near identical - this is the 2nd or 3rd best out of that gang that've all attempted to perfect this exact track order and sound combo. Which is fine. But it only ranks 2nd or 3rd. So why not listen to the one that ranked 1st? That's the killer realisation here.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
Love's Holiday

Scrobbles: 50

Impressive for a band this long in the tooth to still be able to mix up their formula so successfully; this set is instantly recognisable as Oxbow, thanks both to those 'one of a kind' expressive vocals from Eugene S. Robinson and the oppressive atmosphere conjured by his bandmates, and yet it's also so obviously a very different proposition to all that has come before. This is (primarily) a slow paced collection of what could be classed as twisted gothic ballads - and that's most unexpected.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 38th
87Water From Your Eyes
Everyone's Crushed

Scrobbles: 50

A hard one to pigeonhole in the current indie landscape - I've heard people throw this in with the crop of recent post-punk acts and that doesn't feel quite right. To my ears this is more like mixing some BSS, Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem with additional noise and 'no wave' orientated elements - somehow it still maintains a direct, almost commercial rockist and/or indie appeal throughout.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 42nd

Scrobbles: 49

Maybe their best album, solid Benji, was my 'go to gym jam' for about a week.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
False Lankum

Scrobbles: 48

'Trad folk with experimental flourishes' - there were a few Irish releases that fitted that description in 2023, and while this wasn't my favourite (that honour went to the John Francis Flynn), the scrobbles count suggests it was the one I ended up listening to the most anyway.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 66th

Top 30 song of the year: Go Dig My Grave
O Monolith

Scrobbles: 48

It seems there must always be one indie band carrying the Radiohead'isms torch because just as soon as Everything Everything put it down with the release of their last album this gang seem to have picked it up. Hey it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it!

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 54th

Top 30 song of the year: The Blades
Are We Good

Scrobbles: 46

One of those solid 'under the radar' singer song writers along the lines of Damien Jurado or Andrew Bird who's slowly gone about putting together a worthy discography that's now deep enough you could easily spend a month getting lost inside it. Long time fan Matt Berninger provides a writing assist on the title track and hopefully that draws in a few more potential listeners as this is a very consistent set of acoustic rock speckled with the occasional piano ballad.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 83rd
92Sigur Ros

Scrobbles: 46

An underwhelming comeback from a band who dominated my listening between 2002-2008 sort of time - very pleasant background music sure, not really enough to thoroughly engage or live up to their rep.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
93Matt Elliott
The End of Days

Scrobbles: 45

The jazz instrumentation is integrated so well here and the song writing is up to standard too - I was impressed by this album’s predecessor but I think this is better still.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 44th
94Thomas Azier
The Inventory of Our Desire

Scrobbles: 45

A very overlooked album of 2023, by myself too to some extent - I should have returned to this a lot more, more excellent art pop from Azier.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 50th
95Young Fathers
Heavy Heavy

Scrobbles: 45

A bit hit and miss but the highlights are worth the effort.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
96Queens of the Stone Age
In Times New Roman...

Scrobbles: 45

This is an acceptable late career nod to 'classic rock' complete with (at times) theatrical Bowie style vocals which compete with some consistently tasteful lead guitar work for your attention; this approach strikes the right chord on the last three songs here, but only sporadically outside of that.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
97King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of...

Scrobbles: 43

Twenty four albums in and this up and coming band are just starting to find their feet.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 33rd
98Hotline TNT

Scrobbles: 45

I have some trouble connecting deeply with shoegaze or finding it particularly memorable - as much as I respect the sound here, those two problems persist.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: didn't qualify
99Peter Gabriel

Scrobbles: 43

Twenty seven years it's taken for this work to be completed and for Peter to learn how to do the perfect Mona Lisa smile for the cover. Yes it's arguably too laboured, somewhat (hah!) self indulgent and even pompous sounding in places, Gabes doesn't give a fuck because he knows he's delivered the goods on over half of this material.

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 68th
100Evil Blizzard
Rotting In the Belly of the Whale

Scrobbles: 43

The boys are back in town - this might be their most convincingly hard hitting album yet, great production this time, ferocious sounding and that helps their cause a lot (as much as i also dig the trippy aesthetic in the mix).

Actual Position in my 2023 Top 100: 80th
101Current Value
Beneath the Sonics


Remaining Top 100:

2nd: Current Value - Beneath the Sonics
22nd: Christian Kjellvander - Hold Your Love Still
29th: John Francis Flynn - Look Over the Wall, See the Sky
34th: OZmotic & Fennesz - Senzatempo
35th: Parannoul - After the Magic
43rd: Panopticon - The Rime of Memory
49th: Blut Aus Nord - Disharmonium, Nahab
55th: Matthew Halsall - An Ever Changing View
57th: Geese - 3D Country
63rd: Godflesh - Purge
64th: Jonathan Wilson - Eat the Worm
65th: Stimming - Elderberry
71st: Iris DeMent - Workin' on a World
74th: Colin Stetson - When we were that what wept for the sea
79th: Helena Deland - Goodnight Summerland
87th: Mutual Benefit - Growing at the Edges
88th: Modern Nature - No Fixed Point in Space
89th: Youth Lagoon - Heaven is a Junkyard
91st: Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
92nd: BT - The Secret Language of Trees
93rd: Big Blood - First Aid Kit
94th: Murlo - Puckle
95th: Gezan - Anochi
96th: RF Shannon - Red Swan in Palmetto
99th: Dying Fetus - Make Them Beg for Doof
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