2023 Year End Best Music List

Welcome To The New Curious City…

Here is the best music we could find in 2023. It’s been a ride, so here’s 50 albums I think you should check out, plus some honorable mentions, and then some… totaling at 100 albums. Check out our Staff Picks from Patti, Madeline (Mirror Kissers Radio), and Joey further down. There’s also a Song of the Year List attached below with our top 150 songs from 2023. These tracks have been ranked #1 to #150 (with a limit of 3 songs per artist). Songs on this list have been marked throughout the article with their ranking. Feel free to give it a listen while you read through the list.

Now… let’s get into it. Starting with the top 50 projects of the year.

The New Curious City’s Favorite Music of 2023

I’m giving out 2 album of the year awards for 2023.


1. Heartworn – sunnbrella:

Heartworn is a beautifully nostalgic yet forward thinking debut from London shoegazer, sunnbrella. Released on February 24, 2023, the album feels plucked out of the 90s house and dream pop scenes. Now, placed into the new context of the 2020’s. Heartworn is ever adventurous, dashing through a myriad of genres to the effect of an album that feels like a cinematic experience. This was definitely my most anticipated album of 2023 and has been the soundtrack to so many of my days. I’m beyond excited to see where David Zbirka takes us next. I caught wind that fans should be excited for early spring 2024…

Read the full review here.

Genre: Shoegaze / House / Dream Pop
Favorite Tracks: “Ivy League [#6],” “Dovetail [#7],” and “House Arrest [#9]” 

2. Drive Home – Portraits of Tracy:


At just 19, Tracy Amare has given us a glimpse into the future of what the next generation of artistry has in store for us. Having long since studied the beats of her influences (Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator, Steve Lacy and Madlib), Portraits of Tracy, (a nod to the Jaco Pastorius track) implements mountain high peaks and dazzling beat switches that flow into grandiose choruses and top notch bars. Her music swells in succession entangling into an epic that escapes the bounds of genre. Tracy’s usage of ambient storytelling in this album is also worth commemorating. It supercharges the project, putting listeners in an emotional chokehold that doesn’t just let up when the music stops. Full credit goes to Swans Nest Radio for the discovery of this gem.

Read the full review here.

Genre: Genreless Hip-Hop
Favorite Tracks: “Graceland [#2],” “Someday [#8],” “W. McKinley,” “Drunk*,” and “Aeternum [#12]”

Moving forward…

3. Worlds Worst – Worlds Worst:

The most explosive rock release of 2023 comes from Salt Lake City’s finest, Worst Worst. The album boasts some of the sickest guitar riffs of the year, massive breakdowns, and a rough and rowdy delivery. It’s a rollercoaster of a rock album with 10 tracks clocking in at just under 30 minutes. Notably, Stereogum recently placed them on their “Top 40 Best New Bands of 2023” list. Believe the hype.

Read the full review here.

Genre: Garage Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Rhino [#13],” “Challenger [#10],” “8th East [#52],” “Knockout,” and “Gate”

4. Ooh Rap I Ya – George Clanton:

This album is a dive into the world of hypnagogic vaporwave that’s driven forward further by George Clanton’s songwriting with a touch of edge. George has distilled a lot of wisdom into these tracks. As it swirls in mysterious sounds, it’s easy to get lost in Ooh Rap I Ya. With its heavy synths and churning vocals, this album is meant to be played loud. Another stellar record in the discography of the Vapor King.

Genre: Vaporwave / Neo-Psychedelic
Favorite Tracks: “Everything I Want [#24],” “For You, I Will,” “I Been Young [#18],” “Punching Down [#16],” and “Justify Your Life”

5. Burning Desire – MIKE:

A masterclass in modern hip-hop. Mike’s beats and bars are pristine as he paves his way through a new ambitious era. We’re blessed with everything from jazz to experimental sounds on this top shelf rap album.

Genre: Hip-Hop
Favorite Tracks: “Set the Mood [#27],” “REAL LOVE with Fashionspitta [#96],” “plz don’t cut my wings – feat. Earl Sweatshirt,” “U think Maybe? – feat. Liv.e and Venna [#64],” and “98”

6. Live At Bush Hall – Black Country New Road:

With witty yet heartbreaking lyricism, BCNR brings 9 tales in the form of post-rock tracks that are completely bursting with colorful and creative instrumentation. The acoustic cascades and droning horns simply transport me away. It makes me feel like I’m running down the English countryside circa 1945. BCNR FRIENDS FOREVER FR FR- god, this album was so beautiful.

Genre: Post-Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Up Song [#95],” “Laughing Song [#82],” and “Dancers [#46]”

7. Life Under The Gun – Militarie Gun:

This record shocks listeners with an unrelenting energy that courses through the riveting riffs all over this album. With heavy hooks that splinter into angsty earworms, Militarie Gun are prepared to give the very best a run for their money as they blaze down the road, leaving a fiery inferno of guitars in their wake.

Genre: Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Do It Faster [#14],” “Very High [#66],” and “Big Disappointment”

8. Heavy Heavy – Young Fathers:

A blessed genreless hip hop release from 2023. This album sails to new heights on tracks like “Tell Somebody” and “Be Your Lady,” showcasing the band’s ability to entwine their beautiful approach to both songwriting and production. Tracks like “Rice” and “Drum” display afro-beats and fire beat switches that keep listeners dancing and on their toes. The variety in this album is abundant, constantly revealing new aspects of itself.

Read the full review here.

Genre: Ethereal / Afrobeat / Hip-hop / RNB
Favorite Tracks: “Holy Moly [#55],” “Be Your Lady [#34],” “Tell Somebody,” & “Rice [#79]”

9. a.s.o. – a.s.o:

a.s.o craft an alien-like listening experience on their self-titled trip-hop debut. As they planeshift through phasers and arpeggiators, they sing in hypnotic lullabies, all the while mesmerizing listeners with moody electronics. Their whispery delivery comes off as cold and in control, driving the project forward with a powerful sense of self. Everything about this album is just so cool as a.s.o. explores the field of modern love through their glacial sonics. Full credit goes to Patti for the discovery of this gem.

Genre: Trip-Hop / Dreampop
Favorite Tracks: “Go On [#56],” “My Baby’s Got It Out For Me,” “Rain Down [#22],” “Falling Under [#63],” “Love In The Darkness,” “Thinking,” and “Understand”

10. Erotic Probiotic 2 – Nourished By Time:

Smooth, brilliant, entrancing, and addicting all come to mind when attempting to pin words to this masterwork from Marcus Brown. It’s so soulful and danceable, the opening 3 track run is easily one of the best 3 track runs of the year. It’s a little bit front-loaded but it just feels awesome to listen to this thing. As fresh as it gets in the year of our lord 2023.

Genre: R&B
Favorite Tracks: “Quantum Suicide [#11],” “Shed That Fear [#80],” “Daddy [#69],” “The Fields,” and “Workers Interlude”

11. It Was As If – Ghost Pop:

It Was As If feels like soft-spoken poetry over jazzy instrumental, with the best brought out by Ghost Pop’s distinct touch of Lofi production. Ghost Pop’s lyrics are so vulnerable and give character to the voice behind the lyrics, which often come off as timid yet curious. True to the name, the project exudes a haunting energy that is quelled only by the quirky sweetness found in the lyrics, endless lines of longing, and lonely imagery. Quiet flushes of static fill the spaces between tracks and give texture to the transitions throughout. 

Read the full review here.

Genre: Lofi Indie Pop
Favorite Tracks: “Transformation [#25],” “A Different Rain [#45],” “Never To Return,” “It Was As If,” and “Our House On The Left”

12. Like Leaves – villagerrr:

villagerrr released Like Leaves on January 1st, kicking off 2023 with what would be one of the best releases of the year. Like Leaves makes beautiful use of pedals, soft-spoken lyricism, and plenty of slide guitars. Like Leaves compiles a creative conglomerate of sounds and meshes them together into an incredibly diverse listening experience. From soft, coated, fuzzy melodies that could go on for hours without dulling, to honey-sweet vocal melodies, to chugging folk guitar below heartfelt lyrics, there’s really nowhere that you’d wanna go that this album doesn’t already take you to. Make no mistake, this is essential listening for fans of Alex G’s music. 

Read the full review here.

Genre: Indie Folk Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Pretty Little Liar [#4],” “Alone [#85],” and “Honky Tonk Romance”

13. The Misadvice Of Junie – Portraits Of Tracy:

After dropping album of the year for 2023, Tracy Amare decided to drop a 2021 project for streaming services on the last Friday of the year. I don’t care that this was made in 2021- this is a perfect excuse for me to talk about one of the best indie artists out right now. I will say, this album is definitely backloaded, there’s a feeling of mastery that the second half seems to have accomplished. The Kanye influence is all over, especially on Defectum Vitae, which includes a sample of Rick James in the very same “Runaway” style. Portraits of Tracy is one of the most exciting artists in the indie sphere currently. I can’t wait to see what the future will hold for her.

Genre: Genreless / Hip-Hop / R&B
Favorite Tracks: “Imperium,” “Glorious Bastard,” “Rule,” and “Defectum Vitae”

14. Rat Saw God – Wednesday:

As cool as country music gets in 2023. This project, fueled by the riffs of MJ Lenderman and the lyricism of Karly Hartzman, showcases just how nuanced country music can be in a world full of “I listen to everything but country” people. Rat Saw God topped Stereogum’s top 50 albums of 2023 list.

Genre: Indie Rock / Country 
Favorite Tracks: “Formula 1 [#44]” and “Bath Country [#31]”

15. Fountain Baby – amaarae: 

A rollercoaster of an album that takes us through everything from love to violence. With a flood of fresh sounds, Fountain Baby surprises you at every turn. Singer-songwriter, producer, and engineer amaarae demands attention as she slides through a whirlpool of dancey, multi-faceted musical approaches. 

Genre: Genreless / R&B / Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Come Home To God [#21]” and “Angels In Tibet” 

16. Maps – billy woods:

billy woods is just as good as it gets this decade. My buddy Benny wrote a fantastic review of this record so I’ll let his words do the talking here:

“Though uncompromising, Maps poises itself to be woods’ most accessible record yet. Lead single “FaceTime” features the closest thing to a pop chorus billy woods will ever approach, and features by Danny Brown and Aesop Rock promote the record as a must-listen for anyone tapped into the dark and dusty world of underground hip hop. Not to be mistaken for a compromise on woods’ end, these features enter the world of woods and Segal, not the other way around. Features from common collaborators boast unreal chemistry, no matter if it’s woods’ Backwoodz Studioz signees ShrapKnel trading bars amongst one another, or a verse from partner-in-crime E L U C I D.”
Read up on Benny’s review here on staticmag.

Genre: Hip-Hop
Favorite Tracks: “Year Zero [#40],” “FaceTime,” “Soundcheck”

17. the videostar – rain’s room:

so normally I would not include singles in a list like this but this 2 song single contains 2 of the best songs I’ve heard all year. rain’s room is incredible. Do yourself a favor and just trust me on this one. Here is my favorite video on the internet, a performance from rain’s room at Morning Rise Fest earlier this year. This is where I first heard oceanwaves and have forever been changed. Rain has been all over the music sphere in the past year, releasing music under both rain’s room and wontstopdreaming.wsd. Within the two, you’ll find a plethora of interesting experimental lo-fi tracks ranging from vaporwave to hardcore to slowcore to ambient. Absolutely incredible, tune in.

Read up on Morningrise Fest here.

Genre: Ethereal / Breakbeat / R&B
Favorite Tracks: “the videostar [#68]” and “oceanwaves [#3]”

18. Mana – Wishy:

Wishy AKA Kevin Krauter delivers a delectable 23 minute and 23 second listen on Mana, with icy tones and static wrapped riffs. This project winds around warped vocal effects that leave a killer ripple on the sound of the project. There’s this one moment on “If Only” (my favorite track on the EP) where Krauter shouts, “yeah!” and after it wavers for a moment, a killer riff comes back like a comet. Krauter’s production skill absolutely takes center stage on this 6 song EP.
Genre: Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “If Only [#23],” “Happy Days,” and “Another Night [#58]”

19. Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? – McKinley Dixon:

One of the most underrated rappers in the game right now. Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? Is a beautiful modern jazz rap album, chock full with so much charm as it slides between poignant pengame and smooth sax solos.

Genre: Jazz Rap

Favorite Songs: “Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? [#41],” Run Run Run [#98],” and “Live! from the Kitchen Table”

20. Our Skies Smile – gingerbee:

The world’s first beemo band makes their debut with an EP that pieces together bits of hardcore skramz, electronica, chiptune, and 5th wave emo. Something interesting about this EP is that it was based on a book about bees found somewhere in Europe. Gingerbee asked the question, “what if these were screamo lyrics?” and now we have one of the most fun releases of 2023.

Read the full review here.

Genre: Beemo
Favorite Tracks: “We float together [#17],” “Its wings have become so frayed and worn it can no longer fly,” and “Our sky’s smile [#74]”

21. Where the Fields Run Away – Jesse Shafer:

A landscape of sprawling sound. Jesse Shafer of the experimental rock band Inn Vinegar brings us another work of genre-bending jazz music through his newest EP, titled Where The Fields Run Away. The album takes elements from blues, folk, jazz, forming them into something greater than the sum of their parts. The album is a flood of creativity from the mind of Jesse Shafer, through the hands of his own playing alongside Tyler Ross, Zach Gilbert, Zoe Walker, James Cannon, Fisher Wilson, Mccarthy Fitch, and Kain Taylor. The passion in the saxophone solo of title track “Where the Fields Run Away” will always knock me off my feet.

Read the full review + interview on Extra Chill.

Genre: Jazz/Folk/Blues Fusion
Favorite Tracks: “What Are You Trying To Tell Me [#59]” and “Where the Fields Run Away [#20]”

22. New Blue Sun – Andre3000:

Andre3000 enlightens us with a transportive experience that redefines an already beloved GOAT. This was his first album in 17 years. I’m almost too in awe of the whole thing to properly give my thoughts. Front to back, this album is an incredible, tranquil, and meditative piece of music; it’s a world unto itself constructed by the sounds of flutes. There are no bars on this, instead, Three Stacks gleans his wit through hilarious song titles such as, “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a ‘Rap’ Album but This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time” or “That Night in Hawaii When I Turned into a Panther and Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control … Sh¥t Was Wild.” 

Genre: Ambient / Flute / Instrumental
Favorite tracks: “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a ‘Rap’ Album but This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time,” “The Slang Word P(*)ssy Rolls Off the Tongue with Far Better Ease Than the Proper Word Vagina. Do You Agree?,” “BuyPoloDisorder’s Daughter Wears a 3000® Button Down Embroidered,” and “Ants to You, Gods to Who?”

23. softscars – yeule:

softscars is intimate and intense, dealing with vivid emotions amidst vulnerable songwriting that can be described as anything but conventional. With some of the highest highs of the year, yeule weaves masterwork out of trauma. It’s glitchy, it’s shoegaze-y, it’s icy, it’s ethereal, it’s digital as ****, it’s awesome. I totally see why this is so many people’s AOTY. Also, “dazies” is a top 5 song of 2023.

Genre: Goth, Shoegaze, Indie Rock, Emo
Favorite Tracks: “dazies [#5],” “Sulky Baby [#99],” “x w x [#115],” “4ui12,” and “bloodbunny”

24. Let’s Start Here – Lil Yachty:

The next step in Lil Yachty’s adventures takes him to the vast world of psychedelic rock. The album kicks off with some rolling guitar riffs before unveiling a vocal performance you’d expect from a grandiose psychedelic project like Dark Side of the Moon. The highs on this album are heavenly and although there are a few rough patches on Yachty’s part (namely, “running out of time”), the feature list of this project gilds it with so much star power that it’s almost blinding to its flaws. Side B to this album is just perfect though.

I love the ambition in this project. I’ll never forget the world’s reaction to Lil Yachty releasing a psychedelic rock record. Kevin Parker must have given him something when they made that Breathe Deeper remix. Justin Raisen also supercharged this project with magical powers he gained by working with Yves Tumor; Diana Gordon also has these aforementioned magical powers. Lastly, the Jimmy Kimmel performance of “WE SAW THE SUN!” is awesome, you can check it out below.

Genre: Neo-Psychedelic Rock / Bubblegum Trap
Favorite Tracks: “drive ME crazy! [#29],” “WE SAW THE SUN! [#119 ],” “paint THE sky,” “sHouLd i B? [#75],” “the BLACK seminole.,” “pRETTy,” and “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!!”

25. scaring the hoes – JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown:

A wonderfully weird and wild ride through the production and rapping skills of two of the most interesting artists in the world of hip-hop right now. Easily the best collaboration between the two. The project samples are exciting and eccentric, showcasing a collage of nostalgia and taste from Danny & Peggy.

Genre: Experimental Hip-hop
Favorite Tracks: “Kingdom Hearts Key [#39],” “Burfict!,” “Steppa Pig,” and “Lean Beef Patty”

26. Lahai – Sampha:

If I had to describe this album in one word, it’d be “angelic.” With production that captivates listeners in heavenly beatwork and a voice from above, Sampha creates an otherworldly album for our listening pleasure (and that it is). Some of the chillest track of 2023- you might just start levitating while listening to “Suspended.”

Genre: R&B
Favorite Tracks: “Suspended [#43],” “Dancing Circles [#114],” “Evidence,” and “Wave Therapy”

27. We Buy Diabetic Test Strips – Armand Hammer, billy woods, E L U C I D: 

The first time ever that one rapper has held the two highest rated hiphop albums of the year on RYM. All this to say, billy woods is the best rapper of the 2020’s thus far, and it’s not even close. The duo of woods and E L U C I D shines brilliantly on the beats and bars all throughout this project. billy woods seems unstoppable right now.

Genre: Hip-hop
Favorite Tracks: “Empire BLVD,” “Trauma Mic,” “I Keep A Mirror In My Pocket,” and “Y’all Can’t Stand Right Here”

28. 3D Country – Geese:

This rowdy rodeo of an album blasts us with distortion while a sultry cowboy sings us tales of his adventures. This project keeps the listener’s attention close, whether they’re shouting backed by explosions or they’re serenading us over slide guitars. It’s truly a rockstar’s country album. My favorite moments are when the guitars are full speed ahead and the vocals are screaming out to the sky. It’s so refreshing and sick to hear it all in a modern country album.

[retro active top 10 of 2023]

Genre: Country / Garage / Rock
Favorite Tracks: “3D Country [#53],” “2122 [#110],” “Crusades,” “St. Elmo,” and “Mysterious Love”

29. Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love?:

Kara Jackson’s emotionally poignant folk album is brimming with bittersweet acoustic riffs and perfect pen game. A new folkstar is born.

Genre: Indie Folk
Favorite Songs: “Pawnshop [#49]” and “Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love? [#42]”

30. ULTRA PARADISE – Angel Electronics:

Exhilarating and unapologetically bold, Angel Electronics’ debut album, ULTRA PARADISE, is a sonic journey that defies conventions and pushes the boundaries of musical exploration. With their self-proclaimed genre of “brutal euphoria wave,” Ada Rook and Ash Nerve have crafted a collection of tracks that pulsate with raw energy and captivate with their intricate melodies. Needless to say, electrifying. This feels like listening to an amped up nightcore album. 

Read the full review here.

Genre: Hyperpop / Hardcore Electronica / Brutal Euphoria Wave

31. S/T – Show Me Mary:

Charleston shoegazers Show Me Mary take us on a ride through the stratosphere on this brilliant debut EP. Dreampop elements are woven in throughout the EP without letting the listener forget that this a hardcore project. The sky comes crashing down on tracks like “A Dream” while walls of sound envelop the listener on “Ivy.” Charleston is beyond lucky as well as proud to have ya.

Read up on the band here.

Genre: Shoegaze
Favorite Tracks: “A Dream [#19]” and “Ivy [#106]”

32. Girl With Fish – feeble little horse:

Raucous, heavy, and noisy. The cuts on this album are earworms, textures you can’t find anywhere else that just happen to keep you coming back to the project. In that way- it almost reminds me of BTTIGTP’s “Bye Storm.” The effortless delivery from lead singer, Lydia Slocum, juxtaposed by the heaviness of this project makes it a very unique listen.

Genre: Experimental / Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Freak [#33]” and “Steamroller [#47]”

33. Frontega – Frontega:

Frontega is a bolt of lightning that splits into splintering guitar solos, ravishing drum fills, and epic bass lines followed closely by the thundering shouts of their vocals tearing through the mix. Full credit goes to Mirror Kissers Radio for the discovery of this gem. It is absurd how good this band is. Go run up their numbers PLEASE (at least above 500 monthly listeners). Did I mention they’re high schoolers??? Unbelievable.

Genre: Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Garden(s) [#81]” and “Jaguar / Raptor [#102]”

34. Cartwheel – Hotline TNT:

As they rip through garage rock on wild runs, Hotline TNT hits us with some of the hardest hooks of the year on their sophomore release, Cartwheel. The indie rocker’s indie rockers haven’t let us down yet, reaching out into the vast soundscapes of pedal soaked riffs and reverb coated vocals to lay down an electrifying soundtrack for speeding down the highway (and maybe doing a cartwheel or two).
Genre: Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Beauty Filter [#50],” “I Know You [#108],” “BMX [#127],” “Out of Town,” and “Son In Law”

35. Games Of Power – Home Front:

Games Of Power a fresh coat of paint for a tried and true sound. Released March 3rd, this album is like if New Order, The Cure, and Fugazi fused and displayed their talents in light of modern production that still somehow manages to feel everso nostalgic. This new sound works to help avert the listeners eyes towards current societal issues, using its lyrics to speak on problems that remain prevalent in the modern world. Everything came together so cleanly on this post punk new wave record. The album feels extremely cohesive, so much so that it’s hard to listen to just one track. The guitars are rocking, the synths are punching, the vocals are impassioned, and the drums drive each track forward. Definitely a slept on gem from the year.

Genre: Post-Punk New Wave Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Nation [#91],” “Real Eyes,” “Crisis,” “Games Of Power,” “Overtime [#103],” and “Face Value”

36. Space Heavy – King Krule:

This album is a voyage across sonics that at times feel like a shifting sea and at others, a vast and desolate reach of space. As we breach through various genres of strange jazz, indie rock, and slowcore, we’re taken to various worlds of Archy’s design. This is yet another oceanic immersive experience from King Krule.

Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative, Jazz, Experimental

Favorite Tracks: “Seaforth [#54],” “Seagirl,” “Flimsier [#109],” “Hamburgerphobia,” “Tortoise Of Independence,” and “From The Swamp”

37. The Great White Sea Eagle:

An absolutely gorgeous folk album from the likes of James Yorkston, Nina Persson, and The Second Hand Orchestra. Some of the best songwriting of the year came from this album on tracks like “A Forestful Of Rogues” and “The Harmony.” This is an essential album for fans of Black Country, New Road, Big Thief, and The Cardigans (the singer, Nina, is on this album).

Genre: Folk
Favorite Tracks: “A Forestful Of Rogues [#107]” and “The Harmony [#94]”

38. MINI – Mayberg:

German songwriter Mayberg delivered a splendid project from across the pond, combining his talented songwriting and smooth production for an easy listen. On MINI, Mayberg’s words flow like syrup- lazily pulling us along a river of indie pop.

Genre: Indie Pop
Favorite Songs: “Endlos [#70],” “Wien [#84]”

39. Goodnight Summerland – Helena Deland:

Helena Deland provides music to soothe the soul. Goodnight Summerland is a delightful folk listen from the voice behind JPEGMAFIA’s best song, “Free The Frail.” Fantastic music to fall asleep to.
Genre: Folk

Favorite Tracks: “Spring Bug [#26],” “The Animals,” and “Swimmer”

40. And the Wind (Live and Loose!) – MJ Lenderman:

MJ Lenderman cuts through in full swing with a live set brimming with personality and rockin’ riffs. It’s sweet and intimate one moment, backed by swinging slide guitars, and then it’s a volcanic eruption of angst completed by a blast of distortion and some southern twang.
Genre: Country / Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “TLC Cagematch – Live [#120],” “SUV – Live [#123],” “Rudolph – Live”

41. 10,000 gecs – 100 gecs:

Honestly, a bit of a mixed bag for me personally but the standout tracks on this album more than make up for the slackers. 10,000 gecs is full of gags- and it’s awesome. The songs I like are legitimately some of my favorite songs of the year, but there are a few songs that I can’t get behind. The only song I really dislike is the ska approach on “I Got My Tooth Removed”- but maybe I just hate fun (ska). Regardless, this album rocks and 100 gecs deserves credit for releasing genre defining hyperpop time after time.

Genre: Hyperpop
Favorite Tracks: “757 [#38],” “Dumbest Girl Alive,” “Hollywood Baby, [#]” “Frog On The Floor,” and “Mememe”

42. PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation: 

King Giz is way too much fun. Whether they’re chanting “Gila! Gila! Gila!” or melting our faces with sludgey psych-rock solos, these aussies are having a blast while shaking the world of rock to its core with their magic. This is the band’s 24th studio album, and they don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. 

Genre: Metal
Favorite Tracks: “Supercell” and “Gila Monster [#86]”

43. Chaos For The Fly – Grian Chatten:

The mixture of synths, horns, and guitars provide a beautiful backdrop to the poetry of Chatten’s songwriting. As we swirl through varied ornate instrumentals on this Fontaines D.C. side project, Grian Chatten channels a bit of Morissey’s long winded vocal sauntering and a bit of Alex Turner’s edge to strike at a timeless sound. 

Genres: Folk
Favorite Tracks: “Salt Throwers Off A Truck [#128]” and “All Of The People”

44. 棲居在溪源之上 Seeking the Sources of Streams – Cicada:

a luscious landscape of sounds that somehow transports listeners into its album art, with symphonic piano arrangements that sprawl out like the valley on its cover.  A beautifully ornate listen.
Genre: Instrumental
Favorite Tracks: “Birds and Moist Pine Needles,“  “On the Way to the Glacial Cirque,” and “Foggy Rain”

45. Bridge Underwater – Club Casualties:

Club Casualties is an anomaly, a duo that thrives within the strange sounds of symphonies backed by club beats. Anything janky or clunky about their style is entirely intentional, adding to their avant garde swagger. Using this unique palette of sounds, Club Casualties weave earworms out of the unlikely- creating a truly one of a kind project in the process. 

Genre: Genreless / Indie / Experimental
Favorite Tracks: “Fate [#72],” “Heaven Awaits [#126],” “Fall of the Leaves,” “Many Years,” and “Dirt”

46. Twin – Stars Word:

The newest member of Patience Tapes blesses us with a curious debut EP. As guitars twirl in shimmering fashion, whispered melodies rock back and forth in the background. The riffage is seriously crazy; it’s a beautiful little piece of music and I’m stoked to see what the future has in store for Stars Word.

Genre: Janglepop / Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “K.O. [#104]” and “Key”

47. Today I Laid Down – bl4ck m4rket c4rt:

A 17 year old made this EP. Shortly after he took his own life. It’s a heavy sentiment to carry into this beautiful piece of music that’s brimming with chiming bells and beaming shoegaze guitars. The vocals are toned down a bit (for better or for worse). As an avid listener of Lonerism, I kind of love the far back vocals; I think they give off a nice quiet sound that’s contrasted by the loud fuzzy guitars that howl throughout. As we move between whispers and floods of static, it’s hard not to tear up over the tragedy of it all.

Genre: Shoegaze
Favorite Tracks: “Good Morning Texts [#117],” “No Food [#135],” “Alive, Always,” and “Today I Laid Down”

48. SPEED RUN – Frost Children:

The dynamic duo of Frost Children tear up the digital age with SPEED RUN. The album is a flash of creativity that manages to breathe new life into the hyperpop space. As they slide between ion blasts and devilish earworms, their approach remains unconventional yet cool as ever.
Genre: Hyperpop
Favorite Tracks: “WONDERLAND [#136],” “COUP [#89],” “FLATLINE,” and “SERPENT”

49. blue garden – DreamWeaver: 

DreamWeaver’s 2023 blue garden is a hypnotic electronic dance record that slips through space and time within its 39 minute runtime. Released June 3rd, blue garden is the third album we’ve gotten from Tokyo, Japan’s DreamWeaver. They meld cybernetic spaces through soothing voices and synthesizers that are driven forward by meticulous breakbeats.

Read the full review here

Genre: Breakbeat / Trance
Favorite Tracks: “winter wing,” “blue garden,” “blue sun,” and “splash”


This album dodges the typical confines of genre while incorporating illustrious breakbeat into beautiful floods of shoegaze. This post-rock instrumental project utilizes everything from house beats to sprawling saxophone solos in order to create an ever-evolving sonic journey for the listener.

Genre: Breakbeat / Shoegaze
Favorite Tracks: “The Sky Fell [#87], “Crawl Space,” and “Dive”

Best Deluxes of 2023:

1. Lonerism (10 Year Anniversary Edition / Unreleased Demos) – Tame Impala:

Lonerism is my favorite album of all time so it almost feels like it’d be cheating to put this as my favorite release of 2023 but the feeling I have when peering into this portal of a project is akin to a curious familiarity for something that I’ve never heard before. 

Getting to hear this myriad of unnamed Lonerism era ideas was nothing short of a dream come true; they all seem to come from that same place that made Lonerism so special to me in the first place. 

These tracks are all from the vault and the very best of this project isn’t even on streaming (as much as I love “Retina Show” and “Sidetracked Soundtrack”) so I’m putting this in the deluxe category to display my undying love for Kevin Parker while maintaining the sanctity of this list.

You can listen to the sketches here.

(my favorite sound that have come out this year)

Read the full review here.
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Retina Show” and “Endors Toi (sketch).”

2. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST: The Estate Sale – Tyler, the Creator:

This is one of the best deluxe albums we’ve got in a minute. The 8 new songs bring a whole new splash of color to an already vibrant project. With features from West and Rocky, the project is exploding with new life. It’s hard to not have a blast while listening to these bonus tracks.

Genre: Hiphop
Favorite Tracks: “SORRY NOT SORRY [#73],” “DOGTOOTH [#142],” and “HEAVEN TO ME [#139]”

3. Random Access Memories (10 Year Anniversary Edition)

Another portal into the past was presented to us with the 10 year anniversary of RAM. This album is already so special for its ability to entwine the past, present, and future through its collaborative voices. Middle 8 has a great deep dive into the project that you can watch here.

Finally, we get to hear “Horizon,” a track that was exclusively released on the Japanese CD version of RAM. It starts as a light instrument that dimension shifts into an extra-planetary experience.

Then we have “Infinity Repeating,” another collaboration between Daft Punk and the singer of The Strokes, Julian Casablancas. This is the star of the project. Julian excels at subversive down tempo hooks and Daft Punk’s instrumentation sets the perfect stage for it. As he sings of a cyclical relationship that seems too easily to fall into place, the track dives through spiral; the destination is a never-ending circuit.

Genre: Electronic
Favorite Tracks: “Infinity Repeating [#77]” and “Horizon [#132]”


Me Chama – Ana Frango Eléctrico: This funky project bounces atop groovy bass lines as it experiments with both eccentricity and chilled out yet dance worthy pockets, all the while Ana’s vocals sprinkle into the soundscape like a light drizzle. The production on this project is razor sharp; every voice and instrument comes in so cleanly and uniquely in order to cast a proper spotlight for the show that is Little Electric Chicken Heart (english name for this sophomore album).

Genre: Funk
Favorite Tracks: “Dela,” “Nuvem Vermelha,” and “Boy of Stranger Things [#62]”

Jupiter Return – Fleur Geurl: 26 minute EP. Beautifully soft spoken lyrics dance atop violins. This album feels like rolling down a blissful river of guitar while being serenaded by forest fey.

Read the full review on Extra Chill.

Genre: Folk
Favorite Tracks: “The Woods,” “Gross,” “Moors Lullaby,” and “Sadie (sorry for leaving)” 

UTOPIA – Travis Scott: After a 5 year wait and plenty of industry controversy, Travis Scott released his fourth studio album, UTOPIA, on Friday, July 28th. With hidden features from the likes of Drake, Playboi Carti, Kid Cudi, Future, The Weeknd, SZA, Westside Gunn, Beyonce, Young Thug, and many more this album uses its star power to take us through the pantheon of modern hip-hop. In a lot of ways, this album reminded me of the Donda- maybe it’s the hidden features, the black background, or because it too was largely bloated- but also in the sense that both UTOPIA and Donda fall into the category of big blockbuster hip-hop albums with so many hands at work behind them. They’ve got this MARVEL hype scene around to them and they’re always culturally significant, for better or for worse. The production highs on UTOPIA are comparable to that of Donda too. This just feels like a proper Donda 2. One last note, SZA’s verse on “TELEKINESIS” is easily one of the best moments on the album if not the very best.

Genre: Hiphop
Favorite Tracks: “TELEKINESIS [#116]”, “FE!N,” DELRESTO (ECHOES),” “LOOOVE,” and “SIRENS”

F / O – Fell Off: A whirlwind of distortion. This indie shoegaze album clocks in at 33 minutes and doesn’t waste a second of it. With massive hardcore riffs that tear the tracks to shreds and vocals that rest behind walls of sound, this album delivers what you need from an indie shoegaze band while keeping it fresh with a flair of their own.

Genre: Shoegaze
Favorite Tracks: “Spun [#111],” “Fucked Up [#121],” and “Drag”

Shedding – E.S.S.: Dream-like. Charleston’s very own Elijah Sky Springs releases 3 years of work from the vault with Shedding. From soft spoken chorus soaked songs to revved up guitar solos, this album is a blast to listen to. It’s a quilt stitched together by sweet indie riffs and Elijah’s brilliant knack for mixing vocals. I seriously haven’t heard many albums this year where the vocals sound better than on this one. As indie as you can get in 2023 (if you like this you should check out his band tree limbs).

Genre: Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Lightheaded [#148],” “You Go,” “Shallow Cup,” “This Devil,” “and When I’m Back Home”

the record – boygenius: The supergroup comprising of indie stars: Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus summons a varied track selection, fit for rocking out to in your room or to stare out the window on a rainy day to. One moment you’re tangled in the beautiful songwriting and acoustic guitars, the next you’re dragged along into a garage rock riff, and then you’re drifting away in some far off chorus.

Genre: Pop / Indie Rock
Favorite Tacks: “Satanist [#131],” “Leonard Cohen,” “Anti-Curse,” and “Letter To An Old Poet”

Barrett Marshall – All That You Can Imagine: Splendidly creative and ever-evolving beats that feel airy and inspired. As winds blow around your ears, a diverse cast of instruments brings an energy to life. Some of the coolest beats of the year.

Genre: Beat / Instrumental
Favorite Track: “Kotorebi”

FREE BREAKFAST FOR CHILDREN – Ghais Guevara: This mixtape showcases the various flows of Ghais Guevara while he spits atop classic hiphop beats. It’s a pretty fun listen, hearing the reimaginings of these tracks with new spins and energy from Guevara.

Genre: Hip-hop
Favorite Tracks: “Four 44’s” and “Dudley Boyz”

Romantic Piano – Gia Margaret: This album is exactly as its title states, “Romantic Piano,” a gorgeous voyage across the keys through various detours. A beautiful instrumental album, full of the sounds of nature and life. 

Genre: Ambient / Piano / Instrumental
Favorite Track: “Ways of Seeing”

Rosa do Deserto – mais uma: Atmospheric and adventurous, this album released onto bandcamp on the very first day of 2023 and snuck under the radar for the most part. This album is fearless in its experimentation from acoustic ballads to latin techno. Admittedly, I am of the belief that the best of this record comes out of these acoustic ballads.

Genre: Experimental / Acoustic
Favorite Tracks: “dorme dorme,” “Escorpião,” and “se essa rua fosse minha II”

Raven – Kelela: This electronic R&B record explores a new sound for Kelela, soaking us in synths as basslines wade through the sonics, leaving ripples across the tracks.

Genre: Electronic R&B
Favorite Track: “Let It Go”



One Wayne G – Mac DeMarco

Read up on Joey’s favorites from the 8 hour behemoth here!


AOTY: a.s.o – a.s.o.

you iii everything else – no cosmos

elliott sharp – the neverwas hasbeens

songs 2013 – 2023 – ane brun

anhonii and the johnsons – my back was a bridge for you to cross

pro rock – canyons

ariel kalma – ariel heart songs

shelter – alice phoebe lou

nonconnah – unicorn family

four hand piano pieces – aki takase

11.23 – charlène darling

sky flesh – marta de pascalis

return to archive – matmos

galo – o yama o

*1 – ran cap duoi

acts of light – hilary woods

lots of hands – fantasy

MADELINE’S PICKS (Mirror Kissers Top 10 Albums of the year):

    1.    Grian Chatten – Chaos For the Fly

    2.    Lana Del Rey – Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?

    3.    Sin. – Wax Figures With Thoughts of Violence

    4.    Brigitte Calls Me Baby – This House is Made of Corners

    5.    Olivia Rodrigo – GUTS

    6.    Frontega – Self Titled

    7.    Shame – Food For Worms

    8.    Blur – the Ballad of Darren

    9.    Various Artists – Priscilla

    10.    Let’s Start Here – Lil Yachty


2023 has been an awesome year for music. This has also been the first year of the NCC blog and we’re just getting started. We threw the first official NCC show on 11/11 with the help of Cat Uncle, Monsoon, PINKIE, and Chase Heffron (article on the way). We’ve covered shows stretching from Charleston to Chicago between Mirror Kissers and myself. We’ve expanded to movies with the help of our writer Alex Cameron. We’ve done our best to dig up the freshest hidden gems as well as long forgotten treasures in the music world. We will do our best to do all this again and more in 2024. Thank you, the reader, for being here. Stay curious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *