As we hit the halfway mark fo 2023, I'm sharing my favorite releases of the year so far.
This year has proved to be another one full of exceptional new releases from longtime greats as well as rising new sensations. Whether it's the country-fried rock of Wednesday, the enduring majesty of Yo La Tengo, the continuing hot streak of billy woods, or the enigmatic return of fuzzed-out rock from Tanukichan, Bully, of Feeble Little Horse, this year has already had so much to offer, it's hard to believe there are still six more months of new releases ahead of us to contend with all of these awesome songs and albums we've already had the pleasure of having on repeat.
01. WEDNESDAY | Rat Saw God
Merging big-time country riffs with the guitar squall of Dinosaur Jr has made Wednesday's latest album one of the most enjoyable of the year and easily the hardest sounding rock record to date. Swelling hooks are met with deeply personal lyrics and place Wednesday atop the list of the best rock bands out there.
02. FEVER RAY | Radical Romantics
Karen Dreijer returned with a new Fever Ray album earlier this year after a lengthy hiatus, but showed that everything about their twitchy electro-pop had aged wonderfully over time and has revealed new layers to their mind-bending electronics. Collaborating with their brother for the first time since the split of the Knife was already one massive highlight, but the addition of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails really put this one into hyperdrive.
03. JESSIE WARE | That! Feels Good!
On her fifth record, Jessie Ware fully embraces her disco desires and unleashes a spectacular album full of the most luxurious rhythms and sparkling beats that will have you shaking your hips all night long. One of the most joyful records of the year, it feels really good indeed.
04. YO LA TENGO | This Stupid World
The fifteenth studio album from Yo La Tengo is a late-career masterpiece and their most triumphant release in over a decade. Specializing in all of their best moments from noisey-squalls, pristine ballads, and bonafide rockers, it's a fantastic entry-point for those who've never taken the plunge and serves as a solid reinforcement that they're one of the greatest indie rock bands of all time.
05. BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT | The Land, The Water, The Sky
Katerine Paul records music under the name Black Belt Eagle Scout and her third record is an homage to her upbringing in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community on the Puget Sound in Washington. Over lush guitar tones and soothing vocals, Paul has created a record that sounds immediately familiar all the while still giving the listener much to explore and discover through mutations of post-rock and shoegaze that create full-realized sonic landscapes as breathtaking as the title would suggest.
06. CAROLINE POLACHEK | Desire, I Want to Turn Into You
Two years after her indie-conquering single "Bunny Is a Rider," the track has found a home on Polachek's massive new album Desire, I Want to Turn Into You. A stunning collection of bold hyper-pop and gymnastic-level vocal work, the record sounds like a beacon from the future of all the magic that pop music still can hold. Lucky for us, Polachek has found a way to tap into that power and share it with the rest of us.
07. BOYGENIUS | The Record
Five years after releasing their debut EP, the long-awaited full-length from the trio of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker seemed destined to fail. As each member has risen in fame through their solo efforts (and guest spots), it seemed certain that they'd succumb to the supergroup phenonmenon where they'd all amount to more than the sum of their parts. Jokes on all of us as they somehow created an album better than all expectations.
08. YVES TUMOR | Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
Yves Tumor continues their conquest for genre-pushing anthems like a rock and roll alien, blasting in from the same realm as David Bowie and ready to reinvigorate planet Earth with nothing but pop bangers mixed with walls of noise shrapnel.
09. BILLY WOODS / KENNY SEGAL | Maps
billy woods has been on an unstoppable hot streak over the past few years whether on his own or as half the duo of Armand Hammer. This year, he's teamed-up with Kenny Segal for yet another sprawling record of dizzying lyrical confessions and killer guest spots that brings the Brooklyn rapper's distinctive drawl and dazzling word play to the forefront over dusty grooves and woolly beats.
10. FRED AGAIN.. / BRIAN ENO | Secret Life
After blowing up alongside his friends Four Tet and Skrillex to headline Madison Square Garden and the closing night of Coachella Weekend Two, Fred Again.. went even deeper by collaborating with the Godfather of Ambient music, the one and only Brian Eno. Together, the paid unveiled their stunning works of tranquil compositions ready to act as the ultimate comedown music after nights of non-stop raves.
(11-30 listed alphabetically)
ALGIERS | Shook
AVALON EMERSON | & The Charm
BAR ITALIA | Tracey Denim
BILL ORCUTT | Jump On It
BLUE LAKE | Sun Arcs
BULLY | Lucky for You
CINDY | Why Not Now?
FEEBLE LITTLE HORSE | Girl with Fish
FROZEN SOUL | Glacial Domination
INDIGO DE SOUZA | All of this Will End
JANELLE MONAÉ | The Age of Pleasure
JESS WILLIAMSON | Time Ain't Accidental
MILITARIE GUN | Life Under the Gun
MODEL/ACTRIZ | Dogsbody
PARANNOUL | After the Magic
WHITE REAPER | Asking for a Ride
ALAN BRAXE | "Never Coming Back" (ft Annie)
APHEX TWIN | "Blackbox Life Recorder 21f"
ARLO PARKS | "Devotion"
AVALON EMERSON | "Karaoke Song"
BE YOUR OWN PET | "Worship the Whip"
BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT | "Nobody"
BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT | "Nobody"
BOYGENIUS | "Satanist"
BULLY | "Days Move Slow"
CAROLINE POLACHEK | "Blood and Butter"
COLE PULICE | "If I Don't See You in the Future, I'll See You in the Pasture"
COUNTRY WESTERNS | "It's a Livin'"
ICE SPICE | "In Ha Mood"
INDIGO DE SOUZA | "Younger and Dumber"
JACK J | "Foolish Man"
JESSIE WARE | "Pearls"
JESS WILLIAMSON | "Hunters"
JESS WILLIAMSON | "Hunters"
FATBOI SHARIF | "Scrabble Board Pieces" (ft Roper Williams and E L U C I D)
FEIST | "Love Who We Are Meant To"
FEVER RAY | "Kandy"
FOUR TET | "Three Drums"
FRANKIE ROSE | "Anything"
FREAK HEAT WAVES / CINDY LEE | "In a Moment Divine"
GEESE | "Cowboy Nudes"
GEORGIA GETS BY | "Easier to Run"
GLOBEMASTER | "No Internet"
GORILLAZ | "Silent Running"
L'RAIN | "New Year's Unresolution"
LANA DEL RAY | "A&W"
MILITARIE GUN | "Do It Faster"
MODEL/ACTRIZ | "Crossing Guard"
MOMMA | "Bang Bang"
THE NATIONAL | "Grease in Your Hair"
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS | "Really Really Light"
OLIVIA RODRIGO | "vampire"
OVERMONO | "Is U"PATIO | "En Plein Air"
PALEHOUND | "The Clutch"
PETER ONE | "Cherie Vico"
RÓISÍN MURPHY | "CooCool" (ft DJ Koze)
SKRILLEX | "Rumble"
SLOWDIVE | "Kisses"
SLOW PULP | "Cramps"
THE SMILE | "Bending Hectic"
SPIRIT GHOST | "Walk Back"
TANUKICHAN | "Thin Air" (ft Enumclaw)
TELEPHONE NUMBERS | "Weird Sisters"
U.S. GIRLS | "Future Bets"
WEDNESDAY | "Chosen to Deserve"
WHITE REAPER | "Pink Slip"
YO LA TENGO | "Aselestine"