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Tonitruale Wrapped: Each of our Music Writers' Favorite Albums of 2023

In our Tonitruale group chat this month, we were diving into discussions on how to unveil our favorite albums of 2023. As the conversation flowed, a bunch of "Fuck, that was going to be my pick!" moments popped up. That got us thinking—why not add a personal touch, embracing the unpredictability with no formality? Welcome to the unfiltered Tonitruale Wrapped, where we're proudly dishing out each of our music writers' top five favorite albums of 2023. We didn't just settle for consensus; we embraced the chaos. This isn't your typical 'best of' article—brace for some déjà vu as certain albums make a repeat appearance.

Spoiler alert: boygenius is causing some real buzz.

Janset's Favorite Albums of 2023

Honorable mentions:

  • bar italia - Tracey Denim

  • Water From Your Eyes - Everyone's Crushed

  • Lil Yatchy - Let's Start Here.

The Dare - The Sex EP

Spotify Wrapped, essentially the year's musical report card, jolted my memory with a blunt reminder: four out of my five most-played songs this year hail from The Dare's Sex EP, to the surprise of absolutely no one. I've been yapping about this EP non-stop. In just 11 short minutes, this EP becomes the ultimate party starter kit—it's the essence of a good time. The horniest project of the year, The Dare's Sex EP doubles down on the "indie sleaze" aesthetic, sometimes teetering on the edge of parody. As you find yourself headbanging to the LCD Soundsystem-infused electronic beats and navigating through wonky choruses, you can't help but as yourself, "What the fuck was that?" Play this EP for anyone, and you're likely to receive a puzzled frown paired with involuntary head rhythmingS

Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want to Turn into You

Caroline Polachek's latest album, Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, stands as a testament to her evolving brilliance. It's more than just her best work—it's a showcase of everything Caroline excels at, elevated to even greater heights. In tracks like "Sunset," her voice is an instrument on its own, wielded with unmatched finesse. In "Billions", she gives a production masterclass. The production on this album reaches new heights of eclecticism, effortlessly navigating through a multitude of genres that Caroline masters. Attempting to pigeonhole this woman in a single genre or style is impossible; her talent is simply too expansive for any conventional categorization. In Desire, I Want to Turn Into You Caroline Polachek not only defies expectations but demolishes them, leaving us in awe of the boundless dimensions her artistry can explore.

ML Butch - Suntub

One of my favorite artists to emerge in the past couple of years, ML Buch, has truly outdone herself with her second record. It's not just a step up from her already impressive debut; it's a leap into an otherworldy musical dimension. The sound design in this project is nothing short of masterful; right from the very first track, it sends shivers down your spine. ML Buch stands in a league of her own when it comes to crafting soundscapes that mimic dream-like states. Listening to this album feels like embarking on an astral journey. It's a dreamy, atmospheric, and ethereal experience that effortlessly transports you to realms beyond the ordinary.

ELOI - Dernier Orage

Dernier Orage signifies the explosive debut of French singer Eloise Leau, positioning her as one of the most promising talents in the emerging French music scene. Dipped in hyper-pop, every track on this record pulsates with soul and emotion. It doesn't only capture the essence of a vibrant dance floor but also delves into the raw emotions of adolescence and the wistfulness of nostalgia. This album feels like a massive celebration, punctuated with occasional drunk-crying moments. Simultaneously loud, angry, sentimental, and incredibly fun, it creates a unique blend that sets it apart from other electronic projects. Dernier Orage is not just a debut; it's an invitation and a bold declaration of raw expression.

James Blake - Playing Robots Into Heaven

"James Blake is a storyteller who thrives on contrast, and it's in this striking interplay of elements that his music achieves its most profound resonance. His artistry soars when he merges sentimentality with powerful production, flirting both with darkness and light. Returning full circle to his roots, James Blake's evolution as an artist is a testament to his fearless pursuit of pushing boundaries. Even as he revisits his origins, he does so with a newfound maturity, incorporating the wisdom and vulnerability he's gained over the years. He continues to stand as a pioneer, crafting not only music but immersive experiences that resonate far beyond the final cadence." Read Janset's full review here

Rob's Favorite Albums of 2023

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation

Fuck this album, seriously. It’s so much fun, I mean, the end of days never sounded so rad, but they really make you work for it. Every song feels four acts long, with three step changes each and a new time signature every 20 seconds, most of which you’ll only notice after your fifth listen. It’s annoyingly complicated at times but still one of the best prog metal albums that came out this year. Just a calculated mess of adrenaline and disturbed riffs which no mere musician could dream up without some sort of otherworldly agreement. I promise you, once it clicks, this album just gets better and better.


If there’s any truth to music being the only true universal language, Sambomaster is living, breathing, composing proof. LOVE&PEACE!MASTERPEACE! looks to spread joy and love and all other heavenly emotions, something not a lot of traditional rock bands are doing these days. While a bit juvenile at times, the bright boys of Sambomaster will stop at nothing to make sure you’ve at least had a good time, if not completely change your outlook.

Mac Ayres - Comfortable Enough

If this isn’t in your top five, you’ve been listening to the wrong stations. Easily one of the smoothest and, well, comfortable listens of the year, and still the most engaging and evocative records I’ve ever heard. Comfortable Enough is Ayers most technically proficient and ambitious album yet, and was an absolute dream to see live in Brooklyn. It’s unhurriedly heavy and unquantifiably passionate, and wouldn’t be strange to name it one of the best soul albums of the year. It’s the perfect introduction for the curious new listener and the perfect evolution for the longtime fans.

Kevin Abstract - Blanket

Kevin Abstract, for me, has always represented growth. I like to joke that his first album, American Boyfriend, was the album that ruined me forever but it very quickly became one of my favorite records and a regular listen to this day. Abstract’s music in my opinion has always been indicative of a coming culture shift, if not the first crack in the dam, and Blanket is no exception. It’s extremely fast paced and mellow in its own exasperated way but it never feels rushed or random. Each piece of this record is placed exactly where it should, and is exemplary proof of not only Kevin Abstract’s growth as an artist, but as a young man that has grown and evolved under the unforgiving public eye.

Problem Patterns - Blouse Club

This album makes me feel like I could run through a brick wall, like I could snatch a cop’s gun out of its holster with one of those lil’ sticky hands, like I could castrate men in golf shirts at the bar with a single waggle of an eyebrow. Blouse Club is angry in the purest sense of the word, and fears no man, woman, child, or elected decrepit vampire. Problem Patterns have described themselves as bigger than The Beatles and hot on Slipknots tail, but their attitudes and punch-your-teeth-out-titude will undoubtedly cement their luminary status.

Ally's Favorite Albums of 2023

Slowdive - everything is alive

Everything is alive is the product of pieced together electronic demos, making for an intimate listening experience. The band tells of getting older, lonely love, and yearning for the future on the hazy-dream pop soundscape they reside on oh so well.

Lil Yatchy - Let's Start Here. (Let's Start Here Count: 2)

Lil Yachty’s new album “let’s start here” holds true to its name, as he embarks on a genre shift from soundcloud rapper into soulful psychedelic-rock. While the sound of this album itself is not necessarily unique, it is done well, and the genre jump on its own is enough to leave me curious as to what Yachty will bring to the table next.

Yves Tumor - Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume

Yves Tumor has done it yet again with newest album “Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which does not Consume”, blaring guitars and dimensional synths blend R&B with alternative rock seamlessly. Yves sound is so unique each song begs for a re-listen.

Glume - Main Character

The nostalgic electronic sounds of 80s synth pop cascade over Glume’s characteristically dark lyricism on second full album release “Main Character”. This album is riddled with impressive features including STRFKR, and ex-Chromatics member Johnny Jewel, yet with these varied musical influences Glume is able to achieve a cohesive theme of feminine rage and compassion.

Vincent's Favorite Albums of 2023

Raven - Kelela

One of contemporary/alt R&B's most experimental talents finally came back to the stage to prove the younger generation that her throne was never vacant. Raven sounds like a night out in a futuristic version of Atlantis. Raven sounds falling in love and then breaking up with a triton. Raven sounds like being in the eye of the storm, or submerged by a tsunami. Raven sounds like floating on the Red Sea and letting the sun slowly burn your entire skin. Raven is an album that matched every season in 2023. Whether it’s while relaxing in a hot bath on a Winter night, for a pool-party with your BFFs on a Summer day, on a bike under a rainy Autumnal day or during a much-needed Spa session sometime in April, Raven is always a good call. Ain’t no party like a Kelela party.

Lil Yatchy - Let's Start Here.  (Let's Start Here Count:3)

If only Yachty did start there. Yes, he was just a teenager when he first released Lil Boat or the fan-favorites iSpy and Brocoli. Yes, it was completely okay for him to just have fun with hip-hop and drop goofy bars because he was just a kid, no matter what Joe Budden had to say. But how great it feels for all of us to hear stuff he’s never tried before. With his such recognizable voice, Lil Yachty swarm his listeners with intensity on songs like IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!! or REACH THE SUNSHINE. Lil Boat makes us jump from our seats with running out of time, sHouLd i B? or the very popular drive ME crazy! Throughout the album, he’s accompanied by fresh voices such as Fousheé and Teezo Touchdown, as well as the evermore talented Daniel Caesar. Very interesting project even if it’s very likely that Lil Boat will resume with his usual flow and instrumentals.

Yaeji - With A Hammer

It is impossible to not connect with Yaeji’s explosive moods or her passion-filled craft. After an impressive first project WHAT WE DREW, the American-Korean Producer is back with her debut album and what a trip inwards this project is. Starting with Submerge FM, Yaeji calls for unity among the 21st century youth as well as introspection. Materializing her anger into a hammer, she leads the revolution against the flawed reality that our parents, grandparents and ancestors built, and take out any remaining generational pain and trauma with it. Yaeji’s words of wisdom were very comforting during a quite awful year for Humanity. So, just as she sings on Track 7, let’s get it done!

James Blake - Playing Robots Into Heaven

I personally really got into Blake’s music with Assume Form and Friends That Break Your Heart and never approached the whole electronic music aspect of his discography. Loading Robots Into Heaven was the most adequate project to do so in 2023. Even if the album is way more production-oriented than lyrics-wise, James occasionally moves his audience with songs such as Loading, Fire the Editor or If You Can Hear me. Just like the two previous projects, even if LRIT has a few “singles”, they truly shine more when the full album is listened from start to end. I’ll also salute the iconography around the project, noticed on the futuristic black and white cover art, as well as in the visuals he created for the project. (Playing Robots Into Heaven Count: 2)

Andre 3000 - New Blue Sun

And what about it? Who cares if it had been 17 years since the last OutKast album? Stop lying and pretend that 3 Stacks didn’t feed us during all those years! With appearances on Ventura, Assume Form, 4, NO ONE EVER REALLY DIES and, obviously, channel ORANGE, he never put his pen down for good. And the man is right: if we want to hear new verses from the legend, they have to be authentic, yet none of us wants to hear about his colonoscopy. So this instrumental album came just right and I’m not growing tired of those 87 minutes of wind instruments.

Kylie's Favorite Albums of 2023

Lael Neale - Star Eaters Delight

Experiencing this album was a reminder that the stars are closer than we think. This is a meditative, nostalgic, dance-friendly, utterly unique record that’s supremely natural and synthetic all at once. It's stripped down just enough to let the magic linger. The real delight is Lael herself, a fellow Virginia native, multimedia artist + true sweetie, who I saw perform this record in a small DIY venue located inside a church property. The audience sat politely criss-crossed on the rubber floors mesmerized (which honestly? was kind of weird), but combined with the music’s gospel-like psychedelic elements, is also probably why this whole thing felt so religious. Bonus: certified convo starter with your local record shop owner. ✅

Fav track: Return To Me Now

Andy Shauf - Norm

Justice for the January releases!! Andy has yet again proved his subtle genius. Who else is making a 3-perspective concept record with God as a narrator that glides through love and lust and lush bops about Spirit Halloween so casually? Choose your own depths: A gentle, easy-listening, sonic delight with heartfelt tearjerkers like “Catch your Eye,” would be plenty to make a great album. But beneath the surface there is also a much darker, thesis-worthy journey into a true-crime universe, where you'll meet characters who leave you questioning humanity entirely. *The most ambitious of listeners may dissect its mysteries in the vinyl format, with a midnight cocktail, a notebook, and a pen.

Fav track: Telephone

Sluice - Radial Gate

Resting humbly in the shaded banks of Asheville’s rapid-flow-2023-superstar-era is Sluice, a project by Justin Morris, who made a beautiful, well-rounded indie/folk record about growing up. To me, this album captures everything that is green and sincere and unspoiled — but far from perfect — about western NC. Fans of the Bill Callahan/Will Oldham universe should add this to their Appalachia playlist immediately. I also heard similarities to Jake Ewald of Slaughter Beach, Dog, whose latest album was another highlight for me this year.

Fav track: Fourth of July

Green Gardens - This is not Your Fault

If you suffered profound emotional damage from Black Country, New Road’s 2022 masterpiece “Ants from Up There,” you may be entitled to compensation! And the compensation is THIS Leeds art-rock band’s debut. :) It’s healing, climactic, earnest, and even desperate at times. Plus, there’s sax! This record won me over from track one.

Fav track: Homeshredder

Kora's Favorite Albums of 2023

Ratboys - The Window

Ratboys have a sound that I’m completely head over heels for. Their new album, The Window, masters their honky tonk indie sound and plays with a fuzzy grunge in various tracks. Ratboys combine relatable lyrics with catchy choruses and strong noisy instrumentals—creating one of my favorite albums of the year.

Indigo de Souza - All of This Will End

Ugh! Indigo de Souza. My favorite thing about her is her songwriting and creativity. She constantly weaves in themes of friendship, love, nature, and the joyful awakrdness of growing up. Her 2023 album, All of This Will End, showcases bursts of a newer electronic sound while staying true to her grounded storytelling. There’s tracks to dance to and one’s that take you back to the dairy queen parking lot in your hometown.

Slow Pulp - Yard

Slow Pulp’s sophomore album, Yard, was released at the end of September this year and quickly became my fall album of the year. This album is cozy, easy going, and punchy. My favorite track is “Yard.” It has a hypnotic tone and feels like an expert from a diary. It’s heartfelt and sly—making the corners of my mouth turn up. I think Slow Pulp has a lot more to come in the future (everyone should hop on the train now).

The Rural Alberta Advantage - The Rise & The Fall

This band is one that I grew up on. The Rural Alberta Advantage is criminally underrated in my opinion. If you like Pinegrove and Shakey Graves you will love the Canada based band. This year, they released The Rise & The Fall. This album keeps their classic sound that is a mix between stomp and hollar, midwest emo, and indie rock. Their songs are passionate and grounded and always grow over time. It’s beautiful to have seen their sound mature while still keeping true to their musical core. Their album Hometowns is also incredible and deserves a listen.

Noname - Sundial

Chicago legend, Noname, kills it again with her album Sundial. Noname’s hypnotic, jazzy, and tounge in cheek flow bounces between self deprecation, celebration, and political criticism. Her lyrics are creative and plays on words like a game of patty-cake. Noname pulls the ear of the listener—making them pay attention to every line.

Gianna's Favorite Albums of 2023

L’Rain - I Killed Your Dog

I Killed Your Dog is a fun, chaotic foray into the unconventional creative mind of Taja Cheek, better known as the NYC experimentalist L’Rain. Dipping into psychedelic pop, post-rock, R&B and everything in between, Cheek subverts expectations for an entrancing third record that’s tender and intense at the same time. Amidst heartbreak and disillusionment, Cheek reckons with her past self and ultimately kills it off on this “anti-breakup record” that is so nuanced and refreshing. There’s so much cleverness to dive into as Cheek tackles love from all angles on I Killed Your Dog, proving how much of an expert storyteller she has become with three records now under her belt.

Home Is Where - The Whaler

On the follow-up to their short yet sensational debut I Became Birds, Florida emo band Home Is Where defies the conventions of the genre with a record about trying to survive in a world that doesn’t change for anything. The band effortlessly fuses scrappy folk-punk and screamo for tracks that are equally fun to sing along to and worthy of reflection. Through often eerie metaphors and passionate yelps, frontwoman Brandon Macdonald begs and pleads for empathy in a relentless world that keeps moving around her, so much so that every day truly does feel like 9/11, as she describes on an aggressive climax of the record. This sonically diverse record proves that fifth wave emo is something worth keeping your attention, and the easily replayable tracks on The Whaler made this record one of my favorites of the year.

boygenius - the record

The return of Boygenius couldn’t have happened at a better time. With all three members—Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus—establishing their songwriting specialties and successful solo careers, “The Record” is a project that is greater than the sum of its parts. Whether through pulsing guitars and drums on a track like “Anti-Curse” or a quieter, more solemn moment like “Letter to an Old Poet,” the three members of Boygenius deliver lyrics of love and growth in the tender, honest way they all have in common. There are tracks that let each individual member shine, but when Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus return together, their harmony is even more powerful and has redefined the “supergroup” for a modern age. Boygenius’ return has led to some of the best memories of my year, not only through their music but through their philosophy on strong female friendship that I’ve carried into my own life.

Julie Byrne - The Greater Wings

Julie Byrne was the artist I didn’t know I needed to discover in 2023. Her first record in six years, The Greater Wings, is an elegy to her late creative partner and highlights both the heartbreak and the healing that come from loss. The beautiful ambience of the record makes it possible to hang onto every word Byrne sings; lyrics like “you make me feel like the prom queen that I never was” have remained with me since my first listen. Though the album is heavy with grief, Byrne has crafted ten cosmic tracks that are a soft place to land when looking for a sense of peace.

Wednesday - Rat Saw God

Wednesday first captured my attention back in 2021 with their shoegaze-laden brand of alt-country. Fast forward to 2023, they’ve rightfully taken over the indie rock scene with Rat Saw God, an electrifying record recounting the mundanities (and sometimes horrors) of living in southern America. Karly Hartzman’s detail-driven songwriting truly shines on this record, telling stories of everyday life and death that hit just as hard on a softer track like “Formula One” or an angst-filled nine minute epic like “Bull Believer.” The sonic twists and turns of Rat Saw God make it such a fun experience to rock out to every time, so much so that it instantly became my favorite record of 2023.

David's Favorite Albums of 2023

Feeble Little Horse - Girl with Fish

Hyperrock is here in full force. Philly shoegaze band Feeble Little Horse takes their sound to the next level with intricate and explosive riff heavy guitar mayhem.

Oneohtrix Point Never - Again

Glitchy soundscapes with more rock and guitar influence than ever before on one of our generation’s craziest producer’s new album. Absolutely transcendent.

Jim Legxcy - homeless n***a pop music

One of the most innovative hip hop projects of the year. Incredible combination of afrobeats, drill and jersey club with math rock guitar licks and emo vocals. Super catchy and infectious and leaves me wanting more after every listen (in a good way)

Jane Remover - Census Designated

A pivot to shoegaze and noise from one of the most exciting up and coming artists out of the emo hyperpop digicore scene. Towering slow burning rock with gratifying walls of distortion and intricate production. Read David's review of Census Designated here.

Oh Me Oh My - Lonnie Holley

Stunning. One of the most unique and powerful records I’ve ever heard, honestly don’t have words for this one.

Anais' Favorite Albums of 2023

boygenius - the record

As someone who has doted on a boygenius return since their 2018 self-titled EP, I was ready to devour this album. With their staple tinge of melancholy, boygenius fills soundscapes like no other, harmonizing in angelic, or rather, godly fashions, layered with poignant rage. The electric guitar shapes songs like “Satanist,” highlighting the booming vocals of Julian Baker, while the tender melodies of “Emily, I’m Sorry” and “We’re in Love” hold endless space for the dreamy soundscapes of Lucy Dacas and Phoebe Bridgers. Boygenius have created an album that is profoundly striking and uniquely well-rounded with ‘the record’ and fully cemented their ongoing legacy in the realm of music. (the record count: 2)

Omar Apollo - Live for Me

Omar Apollo has been a multidimensional artist from the start of his career and with his 2023 EP, ‘Live For Me,’ he takes a pause from the heavy hip-hop beats to break it down and give fans a warm embrace. The four tracks are smooth and go down like honey, with heartfelt lyrics enough to make anybody want to weep. Apollo shows off the range of his vocals with ease, with divine falsettos to a soothing low-pitched rap. With only four songs to prove itself, ‘Live for Me’ did exactly that and more.

Hozier - Unreal Unearth

Hozier took us through each circle of hell with this record and somehow made us better for it. ‘Unreal Unearth’ is intellectual and complex but not inaccessible. It is easy to grip onto these songs and to feel them heavy in your chest. I think I have such deep adoration for this record is because it radiates such warmth but punches you in the gut at the same time. The lyrics and meanings of this journey into hell could be the topic of a university lecture, with metaphors that still bounce around in my brain. Sonically too, ‘Unreal Unearth’ is especially expansive. From the soaring and desperately joyful vocals of “First Light” to the gentle melancholy of songs such as “Butchered Tongue” and “Unknown / Nth”, this record not only has everything you need, but gives even more back to you.

Taylor Swift - 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

This record signaled a rebirth, as it bathed in the fountain of youth and timelessness. With refined vocal power fueling the intoxicating and dizzying, “I Know Places” and even more vulnerability given to tender tracks such as “This Love,” 1989 sparked a delightful growth all while staying keenly aware of its roots. The vault tracks such as “Is It Over Now?” and “Slut!” are arguably some of her best yet and one can dissect each lyric like a surgeon while absorbing the endless harmonies. It was made for every era of one’s life. I’ve carried this record and these songs with me for nearly 10 years, through the most key stages of my life, and I will continue to keep it in my pocket for countless more.

Ryan Beatty - Calico

‘Calico’ is the last thing I expected to come from Ryan Beatty, who as I have gotten familiar with, has stuck with hypnotic and electronic production. ‘Calico,’ however, strips it down yet expands outward, sprawling out before us a wholly new and undiscovered world of delicate melodies and acoustic nostalgia that can’t quite be pinpointed but can be felt all the same. The simplicity is what makes it even more enjoyable to immerse yourself in and explore because beneath it all, the layers are endless.

Jade's Favorite Albums of 2023

Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

Mitski’s most hopeful album yet retains the signature melancholy atmosphere of her previous work. Her heartbreaking songwriting and powerful voice return as well. But what struck me most about the album—which comes in at just over thirty minutes—was the production. My personal favorite song off of the album, “I’m Your Man,” features dogs barking while other songs bring in full choirs. What results is one of the moving albums of the year, and a great addition to an already great filmography.

Zach Bryan - Zach Bryan

If you told me any other year that one of my favorite albums would be a country record by a guy with two first names, I would’ve laughed in your face. I grew up in Texas, where half of everyone had the car radios in their trucks tuned to the country music station, but it never stuck for me—until I was living in New York and a Zach Bryan song came through my headphones. The heavy country drawl and rich acoustic guitars quickly transported me back home, but the lyrics were far beyond any bro country assholes on the football team had blasted. Instead, Bryan writes about grief and loss, old friends and the fear of never feeling quite at home. The album feels like the equivalent of driving down a quiet Oklahoma road, trying to get back to something you’re sure is already gone.

boygenius- the record

The supergroup’s first full album continues the melancholy sonic atmosphere of their 2018 EP while exploring a topic I find often overlooked in music: friendship. From “True Blue” to “Leonard Cohen”, the album feels like a love letter to the kind of intimacy that only comes from your close friends in your early twenties—the people you hold hostage in a car just to play one more song, the people who help you move in and out of new apartments, the people you call crying when you hate your first real job. The album felt like the perfect soundtrack to the beginning of my adult life, and remains a favorite of the year. (the record count: 3)

Indigo DeSouza- All of This Will End

DeSouza’s third album is the perfect soundtrack for whatever slow burn apocalypse we happen to be living through. The album is perfectly danceable and unabashedly angry. In a world where women are not often encouraged to be irritable or bitter, it is a great relief to hear DeSouza scream “I can’t believe I let you touch my body” (“You Can Be Mean”) or simply “you’re bad, you suck, you fucked me up” (“Time Back”). (It was even better to hear live.) But the album is also infused with a well-worn sort of hope. As much as the world seems to confound her, DeSouza keeps returning to love to find her sense of purpose. And what better to hold onto while everything around you seems to be burning. (All of This Will End count: 2)

Maria's Favorite Albums of 2023

Daughter - Stereo Mind Game

My favorite sad girl indie band, Daughter released a beautiful album in mid-spring of 2023, just in time for my yearly existential crisis. Their last release before “Stereo Mind Game” was a 2017 score of the “Life is Strange” prequel, so the anticipation for new music was long and painful. Luckily, my patientce has been rewarded — Elena Tonra once again created a piece-of-art of an album, combining the classic soft indie sound with a more country-pop vibe (and masterful use of cool guitar pedals to brighten up the long instrumental parts). While “If You Leave” will always be my #1 Daughter album (perfect crying-alone-at-midnight record, I highly recommend), “Stereo Mind Game” pleasantly surprised me with its unique sound and an atmosphere of hope — the record is definitely not as devastatingly sad (lyrically and melodically) as most of their previous music.

Waterparks - Intellectual Property

Awsten Knight and his loyal gang strike again with probably their best record to date (although it is very hard for any album to compete with how good FANDOM is) — both thematically and musically, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is an example of how a modern pop rock record should sound like.


This year, PVRIS rewarded us with another grounbreaking electronic rock record after 3 years of partient waiting (at least from my side — basically every song from the album made an appearance on my “Your Top Songs 2023” Spotify playlist). EVERGREEN is an amalgamation of Lynn Gunn’s experimentation with a more electronic soundscape: every song sounds unique, and yet each one possesses a classic PVRIS sound that we were all longing for since the release of “Use Me” in 2020. She seemingly departs from classic pop-punk electric guitar riffs and live drums, instead opting for hearty electronic bass parts with unconvenional samples overlaid by stinging piano chords and distorted, electrifying guitar melodies. Of course, like any other quality record, the album has to include some ballad-ish love songs — “HEADLIGHTS” and “LOVE IS A…” achieve this uneasy goal pretty much perfectly, without losing the authentic feel of what PVRIS’s music has accumulated over the years.

K.Flay - MONO

A deeply personal record from K.Flay honoring her vulnerability and persistent dedication to music after completely losing hearing in her right ear due to sudden-onset labyrinthitis (yikes). MONO is an energetic blend of hip-hop and grunge-ish rock, and contrary to its name, incorporates a lot of stereo elements into the album, making it that much more fascinating to listen to.


SIPHO’s music was probably my most exciting discovery of 2023, genre-wise — combining elements of R&B, soul and even some electronic rock, PRAYERS & PARANOIA is an extraodrinary extravaganza of genres. Every song is a little gem of its own — some will make you wanna dance (SOBER and LOCK IT IN (NO REGRETS), some are soul-stirring piano hymns (PRAYERS, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE), and some are just solid bangers with no other way to put it (FILL ME UP). To be frank, the record is worth listening to solely to appreciate SIPHO’s breathtaking voice and diverse vocals.

Andrea's Favorite Albums of 2023

Jungle - Volcano

Jungle's "Volcano" was a revelation for me, a musical gem that held me captive from the first note. The electronic and whimsical melodies, coupled with the hypnotic lyrics, created an irresistible blend that kept me in a perpetual dance trance for the latter half of the year. It's an album that not only elevates your energy levels but also proves versatile enough to be enjoyed in various settings, whether you're in a club or immersed in the task of completing your latest assignment.

Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS

Olivia Rodrigo's sophomore album showcases the evolution of the distinctive sound we first encountered in "Sour," but with a refreshing new edge. It's the perfect musical companion for those moments of dancing around your room, especially when recovering from the aftermath of a challenging situationship. This record has been the soundtrack of my recent months, and I eagerly anticipate what Olivia has in store for the coming year.

Daisy Jones and The Six - Aurora

While not technically an existing band, the musical project associated with the show and book holds a special place for me. The entire album masterfully captures the essence of the show and book, offering a perfect sonic backdrop to the narrative. The lyrics skillfully guide us through the protagonist's emotions, leaving an insatiable desire for more. It's truly astonishing to discover that Riley Keough and Sam Claflin, not having sung professionally before, deliver such complementary and impressive vocal performances. Their voices blend seamlessly, adding an extra layer of magic to the music.

Aidan Bisset - Supernova

The EP from this emerging star showcases the immense talent and versatility of the singer. Infused with groovy guitar riffs and lyrics that resonate with a universal relatability, each track takes on a new dimension when complemented by Aidan's captivating voice. The combination of musicality and heartfelt expression is so compelling that it's nearly impossible to resist the urge to keep all the songs on repeat. This EP not only establishes the artist as a rising star but also leaves a lasting impression, promising a bright and exciting future for Aidan and their evolving musical journey.

Inhaler - Cuts and Bruises

Inhaler's second album, "Cuts and Bruises," represents a notable evolution from the Dublin band's initial indie rock offering. While maintaining the energetic solo guitars that characterized their debut, Inhaler introduces fresh sounds that are a departure from their previous work. This exploration of new musical dimensions adds depth to their repertoire.

Ash's Favorite Albums of 2023

Leith Ross - To Learn

Leith Ross’ sophomore album shines through their ethereal vocals combined with dreamy instrumentals, and their poetic, honest-to-the-core lyricism. Following the viral success of “We’ll never have sex”, this record once again proves their skills as a writer and musician. The titular “To Learn” is a gentle and introspective reflection on growing up and the lessons we learn through our ups-and downs. Another personal favorite is the – deservedly – angry “Guts”, which really says everything we’ve ever wanted to say to the people who hurt us, and those who turned a blind eye.

Maisie Peters - The Good Witch

This is definitely my top pop album of the year. We get joyful, catchy hits through upbeat breakup anthems like “Holy Revival” and “Lost the Breakup”, as well as moments of vulnerability like “Body Better” (despite its deceptively happy tone). However, it’s far more than just a breakup album. It’s both celebratory and sometimes painfully relatable as a woman navigating life in her 20s. Songs like “History of Man” and “Wendy” don’t just chronicle the faults of a singular relationship, but rather the larger societal patterns we fall victim to, over and over again. Throughout her the record, she shows her full potential to be the next big popstar – glitter and vulnerability combined. My personal favorite song off this record is “There It Goes”, which was part of the deluxe version released in October. It’s upbeat, hopeful, and exactly what I needed this fall.

Hey, nothing - We’re Starting To Look Like Each Other

The debut album of songwriting duo hey, nothing, is folk-rock at its best. It’s unpretentious and honest, with genuine lyrics and skillful storytelling. You have to appreciate a perfectly timed release, because it’s undoubtedly a fall album. The duo’s vocals complement each other beautifully, like on the deceptively upbeat folk-pop track “Flora”, which tells the story of slowly watching someone’s downward spiral. Both singers shine throughout the album, alternating who takes the lead on songs like “Chamomile” and “Like a Brother” respectively. My personal favorite is “Ur Purple Eyes”, a somber and intimate song about seeing someone you love in pain and wanting to make things a little better for them, any way you can.

sheng - DI YU 地狱

In her sophomore EP “DI YU 地狱”, French-Chinese artist sheng showcases her talents as one to watch in the new wave of French rap. She weaves Mandarin and French together in in 7 rap and R&B tracks. Her writing, stemming from a lifelong interest in literature and poetry, shines throughout the EP. Whether they tackle witnessing an abusive relationship in the slower “FROID 冷冷” or feeling torn in her identity between China and France in “HANGZHOU 杭州”, named for her hometown.

AnnenMayKantereit - Es ist Abend und wir sitzen bei mir

The German pop-rock band AnnenMayKantereit returns after 3 years with their new introspective record "Es ist Abend und sir sitzen bei mir", loosely translated as "it's evening and we're hanging out at mine." The band set out to write songs that feel like stories you'd tell your friends, reminiscing over drinks. A personal favourite is Erdbeerkuchen, an increasingly passionate pop-rock ode to strawberry cake - yes, that's genuinely all the song is about. It's an upbeat, lighthearted summer song that never fails to make me smile. It's contrasted by songs like Ausgehen, a slower acoustic ballad about the simplicity of asking someone out that beautifully highlights Henning May's deep, almost enchanting voice. The song was initially released in 2020 and has remained both a personal and fan favourite.

Faith's Favorite Albums of 2023

Hippo Campus - Wasteland

A surprising release, indie rock group Hippo Campus diversified their already hard to classify noise with a country-inspired indie EP. Each song builds off the other, featuring highs and lows, telling the story of outlaws in the desert with intricate instrumentation and irresistible vocal arrangements.

Ice Spice- Like..?

What a year Ice Spice had, releasing a diverse range of booty shaking and sexually liberating singles, compiled into an EP that could make anybody a fan. With classic rap/trap songs and surprising psychedelic arrangements like “How High,” Ice Spice captivates a new generation of rap enjoyers, becoming a symbol of female empowerment.

Gorillaz - Cracker Island

Gorillaz are known for pulling listeners in with their electronic and psychedelic infused sonic landscapes. “Cracker Island” didn’t disappoint with its diverse range of songs with some great futures, like that iconic Tame Impala track. A great album to vibe with or dance to, it is the perfect addition to any chill playlist.

Fall Out Boy - So Much (For) Stardust

After a few years of no releases, Fall Out Boy came back with vengeance with “So Much (for) Stardust,” a dynamic rock infused record that brings the listener on a journey through the throes of the pandemic and growth as a band. Changing their sound from their previous record, Fall Out Boy went back to their roots for some tracks, while adding some pop touches to others.

Waterparks - Intellectual Property (Intellectual Property Count: 2)

The fifth album by the pop-punk band Waterparks proves to be their strongest yet. Lead singer Awsten Knight brings the listener on a journey through his personal life dealing with religious trauma and sexual repression. With a mix of genres incorporated into the album, the band doesn't just stick with one thing. From the dynamic and rock-heavy track "RITUAL," to the acoustic yet haunting "CLOSER," to even bubblegum pop-esque tracks like "2 BEST FRIENDS," Intellectual Property has it all. As a fan since 2016, I've watched Waterparks grow from this small band out of Houston, Texas, to this powerhouse trio of talented musicians. Intellectual Property is one of my favorite albums put out by them, and I can't wait to see what directions they go with this new sonic landscape.


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