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radio414's wholly objective list of the top ten (10) albums of 2023 in their opinion

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‘Sup, nerds.

This one took a bit longer than expected partly because I was just a little lazy in getting around to organizing everything and partly because oh my goodness there was so much good music this year. There are some albums on here that people love that just didn’t happen to make my list this year, like JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown’s collaboration or Geese’s new 3D Country album. And this isn’t to mention all the music I didn’t get a chance to listen to this year! There’s too much music!

Anyway, if you’ve been following this list for the past few years now, you know the drill. The honorable mentions are in alphabetical order by artist, and then the actual Top 10 list with remarks:


100 gecs - 10,000 gecs

Algiers - Shook

Blue Lake - Sun Arcs

big|brave - nature morte

Charismacom - MOBSTRONG

Colin Stetson - When were we that wept for the sea

Fucked Up - One Day

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

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - The Silver Chord

Memnon Sa - Offworld Radiation Therapy

Oneohtrix Point Never - Again

slowdive - everything is alive


like i said, there was too much music this year so don't be too disappointed if your personal top picks don't make the cut. leave which snubs made you the most mad in the comment section below.


10. MSPAINT - Post-American

MSPAINT is the one band out of all of the bands on this list that I have a band shirt of. I actually got to discover them ahead of the hardcore scene in my area, which let me walk into work and tell the two punks, “I know something you don’t know,” which is, as we all know, very fulfilling, producing the good brain chemicals. Of course, they got to turn around and say, “Yeah, well, we found out they’re opening for Soul Glo in a couple months,” so we’re even now, punks.

I’m not super into hardcore, but MSPAINT does have what I tend to like in hardcore bands, which is some sort of interesting instrumentation (in this case, the addition of a synth track) and audible, understandable lyrics. It’s a riotous debut album and I look forward to the next one.

9. Sufjan Stevens - Javelin

Switching gears entirely into baroque pop or whatever genre we’re calling Sufjan’s projects, this one has the singer-songwriter doing to Carrie and Lowell what the seminal Illinois album did to Michigan, which is to say, taking the same themes and maximizing the production. The first thing I heard about Javelin was the backstory, which I won’t go into detail about here, but I will just say, while I am sad about the circumstances of this album’s release, I am also glad both for the life that was lived and that Sufjan got to reveal it on his own terms. A fitting tribute.

8. The Murlocs - Calm Ya Farm

The requisite King Gizzard contribution to my list is technically Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s side project, yes, but listen, both of King Gizz’s albums this year (oh my god they have so many albums) are a bit too focused on their ends of the Gizzard spectrum -- heavy metal for PetraDragonic Apocalypse and noodle-y synths for The Silver Chord. And hey, sometimes I want those things, but sometimes I just want some jaunty tunes and a harmonica. It’s not new, but it is consistently good.

7. Fever Ray - Radical Romantics

You would be forgiven for, after listening to the first half of Radical Romantics, thinking this was a full reunion of The Knife -- Karin Dreijer -- and their brother Olaf, but as Karin sings on opening track, “It’s a common misperception: This is not a band,” so your funky Swedish electro-pop dreams are dashed right at the start. No, instead Karin-as-Fever-Ray collaborates with all sorts of producers, maintaining just enough of the same tone throughout to create a cohesive whole. It helps that they’re all bangers, from the unashamedly horny “Kandy” single to the melancholic “Looking for a Ghost” to even the somber “Bottom of the Ocean” finale. I don’t think anyone would be upset if you put this on at a party. Good stuff.

6. Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy

Heavy Heavy is an aggressively fun album. That’s a word with a couple of different meanings attached. It’s aggressive in that it demands that you bounce along with it, what with its heavy beats and jubilant instrumentation, and it’s aggressive in that it demands a sort of nihilistic glee in some of its lyrics. Sink or Swim, for example, contains the bar, “Stop crying 'bout the state of things // Don't always have to be so deep // Survivors on a sinking ship // Let's stay together, not give in // Let's play together, start again.” The opening song, Rice, is a preparation for the apocalypse. If you’re that sort, then yeah, check this one out.

5. ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT - Darling the Dawn

After two albums of songs that get you bouncing up and down and feeling good about yourself, it’s time to come back to Earth a little bit with ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT’s debut album. This is this year’s post-rock slot for me, and I know technically this is some other genre but it’s an Efrim Menuck side project, so into the pigeonhole it goes. This isn’t to discount Ariel Engle’s contribution, of course. The haunting vocals peppered throughout are more than half the reason I enjoyed the album.

I don’t really know how to describe it. Every time I listen, Darling The Dawn washes over me at the speed of an incoming tide. It sneaks up on you until it’s up over your head.

4. Klara Lewis and Nik Colk Void - Full-On

The other day, a friend of mine asked me, “Why do I feel so anxious right now?” and then I saw their phone screen with a noise album playing and I said, “I think that answers your question.” Then the next thing I said was, “Hey, listen to this one next,” and I pulled up Full-On. I don’t know when or how I started liking noise albums, probably through slowcore mixed with my appreciation for some of the artist further down on this list, but this album hit me in just the right spots at just the right time that when I went back to revisit it for this list, I immediately went, “Oh right, this all still slaps.” The moral of the story is to try new music sometimes, but I guess if you’re reading this you’re already doing that. Some of this is even melodious!

3. Lauren Bousfield - Salesforce

Any album containing a song with “feat. Ada Rook” in the title has both an aesthetic and a statement of intent built into it. “This album is, at some point or another, going to try and melt your ears off.” And I admit to giving this album some light ribbing for that prior to its release, but as we discussed in the last entry, sometimes you just need the right amount of ear-melting at the right amount of time.

Salesforce is not all ear-melting, though. For every "Hazer" there is an equal and opposite "Hail Sound." "Hail Sound" is still chaotic, but it is relatively simple in its chaos. Both of these songs are part of the same cohesive whole with everything in between.

2. Katie Gately - Fawn / Brute


If you’ve been within earshot of me since about March of last year, then I’ve probably tried to force this album on you already. I don’t know what it is about Katie Gately’s music that inspires this in me so fiercely. It’s probably that she’s just so identifiably weird in her compositions and yet still maintains a fundamental grounding in both her style and inspirations. Her album Loom came out in the wake of her mother’s death and is structured her mother’s favorite song. Fawn/Brute is dedicated to Katie’s newborn daughter, and intended to grow up as she does, starting youthful and jubilant before crashing into a touch of teenage edge. That’s the reason for the dual title -- it’s two sides of the coin.

1. Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - Saved!

I was raised Lutheran and spent a week out of my childhood summers -- all the way up through high school -- going to a church camp an hour out of town. I have good memories there! I got to spend some time with my grandfather, a pastor who volunteered at the camp. There was a program where we got to play soccer all day, running around in the field playing shirts vs pennies. All that stuff complicates one’s relationship with religion when you drift away from it, which is why I think projects like Kristin Hayer’s -- both as a reverend and her former alias, Lingua Ignota -- appeal to me so much.

According to interviews, Kristin has had a complicated relationship with faith as well. Her final Lingua Ignota album, Sinner Get Ready (top two album 2021 btw) contained several direct prayers -- most notably "I WHO BEND TALL GRASSES" -- and the overall mood was one of “I can’t be here anymore.” The silence of capital G God is overpowering. In a way, Saved! is the opposite: finding spirituality where one might have thought impossible before. It’s also a reclamation of the self. There’s a reason this is Kristin Hayter’s first album under her own name.

The intended aesthetic is this: You’re walking in the woods. There’s nobody around and your phone is dead. There, at your feet, is an old, slightly damaged cassette tape and contained within are the songs of a forgotten offshoot. This is all that is left, with its recording issues, glossolalia interruptions, and overall low-fidelity quality. It’s not a place I think I would want to visit in person, but it’s important to know it exists.


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