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MK's Top 25 Albums of 2023!

52The Lemon Twigs
Everything Harmony


“Step Into the Light” – The Acacia Strain
“Strays” – Margo Price
“Midnight Tangerine” – death’s dynamic shroud
“Fatalism” – Polaris
“Versions of Us” – Lanterns of the Lake
"Everything Harmony" - The Lemon Twigs
51Genesis Owusu

25. Genesis Owusu – STRUGGLER

Released: 8/18/2023

Genre: Hip Hop/Soul/Experimental

Scrobbles: 40
50Genesis Owusu

“Leaving the Light” is one of the most hype and fun songs of 2023 and I almost regret not placing it higher on my best songs of the year list. Owusu is firing on all cylinders with this record; it’s melodic, it’s punchy, it’s filled with bops front to back. I love the diversity of the tracks yet their ability to all be fun and interesting, unique and badass. This record completely surprised me with how infectious and addictive it is. I didn’t listen to it nearly enough and I will be absolutely setting aside some time to further explore the densities of these songs soon. But even with my brief experiences with this thing, it earns a spot in the Top 25. Great great stuff!
49Yves Tumor
Praise a Lord Who Chews, But Does Not Consume...

24. Yves Tumor - Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume….

Released: 3/17/2023

Genre: Experimental Rock/Psychedelic

Scrobbles: 37
48Yves Tumor
Praise a Lord Who Chews, But Does Not Consume...

One of many artists that I was unfamiliar with prior to this year and what a surprise it was to hear someone so able to genre hop with such proficiency. Elements of indie, post-punk, alternative dance, electronic, psychedelic, experimental, all weaved into a neat 40-minute package. Each track is inspired, interesting and filled with interesting, unique performances and sounds. Maybe my one gripe is that all the variety hurts the flow of the record a bit but I found the production choices to be consistent and solid with the beats feeling punchy and bassy, the glitchiness of the synths to cut very nicely through the mix, it’s all down extremely well.
The Sin of Human Frailty

23. END – The Sin of Human Frailty

Released: 10/27/2023

Genre: Hardcore/Noisecore

Scrobbles: 41
The Sin of Human Frailty

This is the most pissed record of the year. It’s the dirtiest record of the year. It’s the most unhinged record of the year. Brendan Murphy on vocals feels like someone murdered his cat or something. Will Putney’s riffs are dimension shifting works and his production choices are so raw, so bass heavy yet so grimy and filthy. This record has no right to be as heavy and insane as it is but I’m completely here for it. I think if there’s anything to nitpick about, it’s that there’s not a whole lot of diversity. It’s a pissed record and that’s what it is for 30 minutes.
45Invent Animate

22. Invent Animate – Heavener

Released: 3/17/2023

Genre: Progressive Metalcore/Djent

Scrobbles: 45
44Invent Animate

This was the most hyped metalcore record of the year by far and it delivers in almost every way possible. Marcus Vik’s vocals feel so earth-shattering and dynamic over these songs; it’s impressive how easily he molds these melodies into the chaotic proggy nature of these songs and then can just turn on the demon-side with these viscerally charged screams. I love the ambience which goes hand in hand with Invent Animate when they are mentioned; almost like they invented it or something. I feel like this is a collection of the most beautiful metalcore songs of the year with the breakdowns feeling less like breakdowns and more like transcendence. I think the only downfall of this record is that there’s a couple tracks that feel a bit repetitive, almost like padding for the runtime and while those tracks aren’t bad, they just aren’t up to snuff with the best this record has to offer. I love this thing, I love their resurgence and their popularity explosion, it’s very well deserved!
My 21st Century Blues

21. Raye – My 21st Century Blues

Released: 2/3/2023

Genre: R&B/Hip Hop

Scrobbles: 45
My 21st Century Blues

Raye’s debut record delves into serious topics like depression, eating disorders, sexual assault, insecurity and other sort of “taboo” topics very honestly, lovingly and beautifully. Her lyrical ability is unmatched, and her vocal timbre and choices feel like the perfect vessel for delivering her stories and ideas. I really appreciate just how easy it is for Raye to shift from rapped style flows to R&B/Soul belting in the same line; it’s extremely impressive. I love the overall feel of these songs; the production choices are varied and interesting, everything sounds very crisp and clear. This record is one of the best things to come out of this year and I’m looking forward to more!
41KEN mode

20. KEN Mode – Void

Released: 9/22/2023

Genre: Sludge Metal/Noise Rock

Scrobbles: 24
40KEN mode

Often unhinged and discomforting, KEN Mode have made an entire career of making their listeners feel like psychopaths for listening to their music. It’s sludgy, grungy, noisy, filled with raw power and visceral emotions. I found myself captivated by music similar to this style throughout the year, but KEN Mode and a select few others really did it justice with songs that are intricately craftly yet embrace the noisiness and chaos that it seeks. This was also my first experience with this group so I’m looking forward to visiting their back catalog and seeing how they got to this point.
39Yussef Dayes
Black Classical Music

19. Yussef Dayes – Black Classical Music

Released: 9/8/2023

Genre: Nu-Jazz/Jazz Fusion

Scrobbles: 34
38Yussef Dayes
Black Classical Music

This is the kind of jazz that really tickles my fancy. The intricacies of the drum patterns, the off-kilter horns, the experimental song structures, it’s all so fascinating. Yet all the elements of traditional jazz are still ever-present especially in terms of the overall feel, the flows, the aesthetic, it’s all there with a twist. By far the best drum performances I’ve heard all year feature on this record, it’s entrancing, I find myself just listening to the drums and ignoring everything else at times just because of how impressive and energetic they are. Being a guitar player, that’s usually where my focus goes to, but the drums really take over this thing, they are the forefront and the highlight. I never find myself bored listening to this record; it does go on for well over an hour which can feel a bit draining at times BUT I do feel like it’s worth the time and effort to listen to. These songs shouldn’t be missed or ignored, they are genuinely fun and fascinating.
37Sufjan Stevens

18. Sufjan Stevens – Javelin

Released: 10/6/2023

Genre: Indie Folk/Electronic/Rock

Scrobbles: 29
36Sufjan Stevens

This was actually my first experience with Sufjan Stevens, and I was blown away at just how easy it is for him to engulf a listener with emotions with words and tone. These songs are impressive, diverse and wonderful. I think it’s also fair to say that a lot of the lyrics on here are particularly devasting considering the loss of his partner. The emotional weight and punch of these songs is exhilarating in a way, yet easily could force a tear from your eye. It’s a dynamic that I don’t often find in music where a singular album can force you through a range of emotions, yet Steven’s does so effortlessly. Fantastic record!
Hive Mind Narcosis

17. Thantifaxath – Hive Mind Narcosis

Released: 6/2/2023

Genre: Experimental Black Metal/Progressive Metal

Scrobbles: 21
Hive Mind Narcosis

After waiting 9 years for a new full length from Thantifaxath, it’s finally here and it does not disappoint. The doom and gloom of the pacing, the chaos that ensues when the drums start pounding, the nightmarish guitar plucks and melodies. This thing is sinister, it’s unsettling, it purely exists as nightmare fuel and I’m completely here for it. This is the kind of music that would be playing over the speakers in Hell; the masses would tremble if this music was played at the Super Bowl halftime show. I love these songs, there’s not much I can really say other than these songs are very calculated, very intricate and offer more of what Thantifaxath are great at.

16. Kelela – Raven

Released: 2/10/2023

Genre: R&B/Electronic

Scrobbles: 40

Kelela’s sophomore record is sophisticated, majestic and completely breathtaking. The soundscapes are dense with tension, each track freely moving with ebbs and flows, navigating soft ambient textures building into massive releases of dance beats, R&B with breakbeats and Passionate soulful outbreaks. With this release clocking in at over an hour, there’s plenty of material to fall in love with here. Kelela’s vocals are entrancing and never fail to complete and heighten the power of the songs she sings over. Also, the production value on this album is *chef’s kiss, gorgeous. Very crisp and bassy, a clean yet explosive sound. Easily one of the best records of the year.
31Orbit Culture

15. Orbit Culture – Descent

Released: 8/18/2023

Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Groove Metal

Scrobbles: 44
30Orbit Culture

Orbit Culture have been around the block and their melodic brand of groove metal is very familiar to those who have listened to anything of theirs in the past. However, ‘Descent’ feels like a natural evolution in songwriting ability as well as a transformation sonically into something that defies all genre standards. The James Hetfield-esque vocals, the Meshuggah-esque/Djent chugs laced through the songs, the melodic sensibility of bands like Volbeat all come together into something very unique yet unhinged. I was hoping their follow up to ‘Nija’ would be a bit more explorative and I think we have that here with the songs diving into various sub-genres of metal stylistically yet still being Orbit Culture at the center of it all. Plus, the grooves, the breakdowns, the grandiose nature of it all, it’s captivating and exhilarating. Great stuff!
29Rid Of Me
Access To The Lonely

14. Rid of Me – Access to the Lonely

Released: 11/3/2023

Genre: Noise Rock/Indie Grunge

Scrobbles: 44
28Rid Of Me
Access To The Lonely

Baring the namesake of one of PJ Harvey’s most acclaimed records, this group clearly gains influence from the aforementioned artist and adds their own brand of punk, grunge and melody to this record. Rid of Me is a new band to me and they have blown me away with their songwriting, their vocals and I think most importantly, the attitude of their aesthetic. This band feels dirty, I assume all the members haven’t showered in months. These songs have such a grimy appeal to them with the riffs and melodies complimented by raw, impactful production choices. I love the flow of the record and how each track is able to differentiate itself and add to the aura of this group without sacrificing artistic integrity of pigeonholing themselves within a certain style of genre. Truly one of the best rock/punk records of the year and a band to lookout for in the future.
27Pupil Slicer

13. Pupil Slicer – Blossom

Released: 6/2/2023

Genre: Mathcore/Post-Metalcore

Scrobbles: 40
26Pupil Slicer

Pupil Slicer have come a long way from their mathcore/grind roots. This record sees them at their most vulnerable, at their most willing to experiment with different sounds and genres and do it very well. The vocals are impressive, ranging from shrill and chaotic to angelic. To say that mathcore/grind elements have been abandoned is a misstatement; there’s plenty of calculated chaos that utilizes those quick bursts of insanity. The dissonance of the guitar riffs, the punchiness of the drums, the moodiness and crunch of the bass tones, this record really melds all these elements into something that feels very fresh and unheard of in this scene. The band is also unafraid of delving into proggy territory with some lengthier tracks and unfold slowly and methodically. This record picks up from where ‘Mirrors’ left off and bests it with better songs, more memorable melodies, and bigger breakdowns!
25Complete Mountain Almanac
Complete Mountain Almanac

12. Complete Mountain Almanac – Complete Mountain Almanac

Released: 1/27/2023

Genre: Indie Rock/Folk

Scrobbles: 45
24Complete Mountain Almanac
Complete Mountain Almanac

This debut record helmed by Rebekka Karijord is gorgeous indie bliss with each song representing a month and the lyrics telling a story that corresponds with that month. The record feels like a cool breeze, the flow of each track immaculate the vocal performances are soothing and relaxing to the point that this record would make a lovely soundtrack for a nap in a hammock on a cloudy September afternoon. This was one of my first loves of 2023 and has remained in my playlists and rotation throughout the year. Hopefully we get some more amazing stuff like this in the future from these artists.
23Dying Wish
Symptoms of Survival

11. Dying Wish – Symptoms of Survival

Released: 11/3/2023

Genre: Metalcore/Melodic Death Metal

Scrobbles: 59
22Dying Wish
Symptoms of Survival

What Dying Wish accomplish so well is taking an older, riff-based style of metalcore and polishing it with beefy, crisp production. The songs here are pulse-pounding, aggressive slabs of intensity with vocalist Emma Boster unleashing fantastic vocal performances throughout, in both harsh vocal stylings and her clean voice. This record expounds upon what worked with previously by adding more melody, more dynamics and more aggression, with each track playing a vital role in the flow and success of the entirety of this product. While I loved their previous record, ‘Symptoms of Survival’s’ songs pack a bigger punch and offer an even brighter future for this group because these tracks go and don’t stop.
21Billy Woods and Kenny Segal

10. Billy Woods + Kenny Segal – Maps

Released: 5/5/2023

Genre: Hip Hop/Experimental

Scrobbles: 44
20Billy Woods and Kenny Segal

With their second full length collaboration, Woods and Segal up the anti with 17 awesome tracks that feature some of Woods’ best lyrics, best flows and best energy and of course, features some of Segal’s best production work and beats. As someone that is not super into hip hop music and is a novice at what works and doesn’t work, I feel confident in identifying Wood’s proficiency at unraveling narratives and vignettes with his words. His descriptions, his word choice, his references, they’re all so calculated and interesting. Every listen through this record is like a new experience because there’s so much to take in and listen to. I really love the brevity of some of these tracks; they don’t waste time with useless features or choruses where it’s unnecessary. But then on the tracks that do have features like “Soundcheck” with Quelle Chris or “Year Zero” with Danny Brown, the features are killer, the lyrics are sharp and awesome. Just a really great record!
19Jessie Ware
That! Feels Good!

9. Jessie Ware – That! Feels Good!

Released: 4/28/2023

Genre: Nu-Disco/Soul

Scrobbles: 35
18Jessie Ware
That! Feels Good!

With Jessie taking the number one spot on my songs of the year list with the gorgeous, sensual track “Begin Again”, the rest of the record is no slouch harnessing vibes and energy of the late 70’s with disco infused pop melodies. These tracks are infectious, fresh and fun; these are the kind of songs that you dance in your living room with a broom in a night gown to on a Thursday night after the kids have gone to bed. One of the things that feels most satisfying are Jessie’s vocals and how she’s able to shape-shift to various identities and styles throughout all these songs; quickfire melodies, drawn out belts, soft whispered melodies, it’s all seamless and she’s so proficient of a vocalist that nothing seems out of the realm of possibility for her. Fantastic record!
17Viscera (UK)

8. Viscera – Carcinogenesis

Released: 3/3/2023

Genre: Technical Deathcore

Scrobbles: 87
16Viscera (UK)

One of the fiercest most aggressive records of 2023; combining the breakneck pace of technical deathcore with somewhat melodic sensibilities and brain-bending chugs and breakdowns. Having followed this group since their inception, I can confidently say that this record encompasses the best of their abilities with 9 tracks that allow each individual instrumentalist and vocalist to shine. The songs are brutal, it’s not overstuffed with ‘content’ which is an issue I have with some modern-day deathcore bands that feel the need to have hour long plus records that are just non-stop. Viscera finds a good balance and I think we as the listener are rewarded with a very awesome slab of heaviness.
15Anohni and the Johnsons
My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross

7. Anohni and the Johnsons – My Back was a Bridge For You to Cross

Released: 7/6/2023

Genre: Indie Rock/Soul

Scrobbles: 31
14Anohni and the Johnsons
My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross

A devastating and passionate effort from vocalist Anohni that tackles very difficult social subjects involving the trans community, love and acceptance. As the first track signals “it must change,” Anohni begs the human race to just be more accepting and loving to those finding their way and trying to be themselves. The vocals are so torn and soulful with the instrumentals taking influence from soul, rock and pop all while being complimented so naturally by Anohni’s gifted vocal cords. This record brings a tear to my eye and while it’s a difficult listen, it’s very rewarding and lovely in many ways.
13Great Falls
Objects Without Pain

6. Great Falls – Objects Without Pain

Released: 9/15/2023

Genre: Sludge Metal/Noise Rock

Scrobbles: 21
12Great Falls
Objects Without Pain

If I wanted to make someone feel uncomfortable or just completely unsettled, I would turn this bad boy on. It gives me a similar feeling to when I heard ‘God’s County’’ by Chat Pile last year. The vocals are draining to listen to in the best way possible; almost encapsulating a bestial or primal form with just how raw and unfiltered they are throughout the record. The instrumentals are noisy, abrasive and unrelenting leaving me breathless at the end of each track. It’s a stressful listen in many ways; it feels like you’re watching someone have a panic attack while on fire. This was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me along with a very late entry as I didn’t listen to this till the end of November. Absolute beast of an album.
Flesh + Blood

5. Judiciary – Flesh + Blood

Released: 3/10/2023

Genre: Hardcore/Thrash Metal/Metalcore

Scrobbles: 61
Flesh + Blood

Moving away a bit from their crossover thrash roots into a more metallica hardcore sound, Judiciary explore these new soundscapes admirably with insanely fun riffs, massive expanses of sonic space leveled with dissonance and breakdowns and not to mention, a certain knack for songwriting in this style. These tracks are punishing, every second feels like someone is trying to rip the nails from your fingers. There are tasteful guitar solos interspersed, most noticeably on the opening track “Flesh” which fucking slaps by the way. This album is just a super fun time, it doesn’t waste time, it doesn’t waste energy on bad ideas, it only employs the best of the best, and I’m confident in proclaiming this record as “All Killer, No Filler.”
9Sigur Ros

4. Sigur Ros – Atta

Released: 6/16/2023

Genre: Post-Rock/Ambient

Scrobbles: 50
8Sigur Ros

The long-awaited return of Sigur Ros does not disappoint with their signature ambient tones and slow-moving melodies being at the forefront of this record, each song delivers emotional weight and sonic satisfaction unlike anything else released in 2023. While I can certainly see that the vocals might not be for everyone with the high pitched, head voice style of singing that feature on most tracks, but I find it extremely dizzying and entrancing in the best way possible. The songs here of the highest quality and rival some of their best works on albums like ‘Takk’ and ‘( ).’ This is one of the most satisfying returns I’ve heard this year and I hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next entry in their discography.
War of Being

3. TesseracT – War of Being

Released: 9/15/2023

Genre: Progressive Metal/Djent

Scrobbles: 38
War of Being

I’ve been a pretty big fan of what this band has done in the past but I feel all their work has culminated in this ultimate expression of musicianship that easily surpasses any music they’ve written previously. The songs feel incredible, the production is crisp and clear, it smacks you in the face with its power and precision. The real highlight for me is vocalist Dan Tompkins and the unfathomable improvement that he’s made since the release of ‘Sonder.’ He seems so confident, his highs soar above the clouds, the choices he makes feel so much more natural and decisive and even his harsh vocals feel fuller and more well-rounded. The melody choices are addictively good and each track benefits so much from these choices. Songs like “Tender” and “Echoes” which are more melodic by nature, still have as much of impact as some of the more aggressive songs like “War of Being” and “The Grey.” Overall, I’ll plainly say that this is their best work yet and I’m very excited for where they go next!
5Lana Del Rey
Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd

2. Lana Del Rey – Did you Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd…

Released: 3/24/2023

Genre: Dream Pop/Indie Pop

Scrobbles: 90
4Lana Del Rey
Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd

Elizabeth Grant, better know as Lana Del Rey, needs no introduction with her records and singles touching many a heart over the last decade plus. Her latest release is long, winding, enchanting and bold. While not every track is a smash hit, the consistency of the record puts it on par with the excellence of her new age classic ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell.’ Having recently listened through some of her earlier records, I can distinctly hear the maturity of her vocal performances and her heightened lyrical ability with these newer tracks. Songs like “Sweet”, “Candy Necklace” and “A&W” have the same saccharine, haunting mood as her earlier work with just better sounding instrumental palettes and vocal deliveries. Overall, I think it’s fair to say that this is her second-best output of her career and I look forward to hearing more.
3PJ Harvey
I Inside the Old Year Dying

1. PJ Harvey – I Inside the Old Year Dying

Released: 7/7/2023

Genre: Folk Rock/Grunge

Scrobbles: 112
2PJ Harvey
I Inside the Old Year Dying

Harvey’s long and versatile discography is now bookended with one of her most mysterious and mystical releases to date, combining folk sensibilities with raw, grungy stylings; a beautiful blend of falsetto wails and whispered chirps cascades through these odd melodic yet harrowing passages of music. Each song feels like a slight extension of the previous track, building off it’s strengths and continuing this very unspecific story arc. This record is hard to pin down, and often, understand, but that’s what makes it so interesting to me and why it’s been my most listened to album of the year. I feel like with every listen, there’s a nugget of brilliance that I uncover for the first time that heightens this records grandiosity.
1PJ Harvey
I Inside the Old Year Dying

While humbly hushed and quieter than her early records, a similar angst pervades some of these tracks just as intensely without the necessity of distorted guitars and aggressive drums. This record wasn’t an immediate banger and that’s what makes it special; the necessity of repeated listens and time to digest each track. It’s hard to imagine PJ topping this one but that doesn’t stop me from looking forward to what comes next from the legendary songstress.
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