The Best Albums Of 2023 – the Editor’s picks

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I’ve been putting this off for a few weeks, but as our Review Of The Year issue is about to come off sale, I figured now’s a good moment to post this very personal list of my favourite albums of 2023.


I’ve added in Bandcamp links to each entry – despite all the worrying news coming out from there in recent weeks, I think it’s still the best place to get money direct to the artists. Where the artist is not on Bandcamp, I’ve put in Linktree or similar so you have a choice of, basically, not using Spotify to listen to anything that takes your fancy.


This list is chronological, so there’s no No 1 or other ranking involved.

What else? Well, I think it’s been another strong year for music – some typically strong work from returning favourites like Yo La Tengo, Robert Forster and Wilco as well as valiant upstarts like Brown Spirits, Wednesday, Sam Burton and Kassi Valazza. Some great new-to-mes this year, like Joshua Van Tassel and Ryan Davis, while I’m fairly astonished at the level that our senior artists like Paul Simon and Ryuichi Sakamoto are working at; Sakamoto’s 12, of course, had the added poignancy of being his final work. Simon’s Seven Psalms was just incredible.

At one point, I had a couple of live albums in here – including the Feelies‘ terrific Velvets tribute, Some Kinda Love – but as those were recorded prior to 2023, I didn’t include them.


Anyway, please forgive all this indulgence. And we’re off…

Meg Baird – Furling (Drag City)

Ryuichi Sakamoto – 12 (Milan)

Sunny War – Anarchist Gospel (New West)

Robert Forster – The Candle And The Flame (Tapete)

Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World (Matador)

Lisa O’Neill – All Of This Is Chance (Rough Trade)

The Necks – Travel (Northern Spy)

Jana Horn – The Window Is The Dream (No Quarter)

Trees Speak – Mind Maze (Soul Jazz)

Lonnie Holley – Oh Me Oh My (Jagjaguwar)

Elijah McLaughlin Ensemble – Elijah McLaughlin Ensemble III (Astral Spirits)

Lana Del Ray – Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd (Polydor)

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily – Love In Exile (Verve)

Lankum – False Lankum (Rough Trade)

Billy Valentine – Billy Valentine & The Universal Truth (Acid Jazz)

Eddie Chacon – Sundown (Stones Throw)

Sissoko Segal Parisien Peirani – Les Égarés (NØ FØRMAT!)

Steve Gunn & David Moore – Reflections Vol 1 Let The Moon Be A Planet (RVNG)

Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra – Lightning Dreamers (International Anthem)

North Americans – Long Cool World (Third Man)

Wednesday – Rat Saw God (Dead Oceans)

Spencer Cullum – Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection 2 (Full Time Hobby)

Rose City Band – Garden Party (Thrill Jockey)

Cian Nugent – She Brings Me Back To The Land Of The Living (No Quarter)

Craven Faults – Standers (Lead Label)

Paul Simon – Seven Psalms (Owl Records/Legacy Recordings)

Sarabeth Tucek (SBT) – Joan Of All (Ocean Omen)

Kassi Valazza – Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing (Loose Music)

Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay – Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay (Topic)

Shirley Collins – Archangel Hill (Domino)

Califone – Villagers (Jealous Butcher)

Brown Spirits – Solitary Transmissions (Soul Jazz)

Sam Burton – Dear Departed (Snowball)

Danny Paul Grody – Arc Of Day (Three Lobed Recordings)

Cory Hanson – Western Cum (Drag City)

Brigid Mae Power – Dream From The Deep Well (Fire)

Jim O’Rourke – Hands That Bind (Drag City)

PJ Harvey – I Inside the Old Year Dying (Partisan)

Blake Mills – Jelly Road (New Deal/Verve)

Blur – The Ballad Of Darren (Parlophone)

Dot Allison – Consciousology (Sonic Cathedral)

The Clientele – I Am Not There Anymore (Merge)

Damon Locks & Rob Mazurek – New Future City Radio (International Anthem)

Bush Tetras – They Live In My Head (Wharf Cat)

Buck Meek – Haunted Mountain (4AD)

Hiss Golden Messenger – Jump For Joy (Merge)

Jaimie Branch – Fly Or Die Fly Or Die Fly Or Die (World War) (International Anthem)

Slowdive – Everything Is Alive (Dead Oceans)

P.G Six – Murmurs & Whispers (Drag City)

Matthew Halsall – An Ever Changing View (Gondwana Records)

Margo Cilker – Valley Of Heart’s Delight (Loose Music)

Connie Lovatt – Coconut Mirror (Enchanté)

Alabaster DePlume – Come With Fierce Grace (International Anthem)

Wilco – Cousin (dBpm)

Setting – Shine A Rainbow Light On (Paradise Of Bachelors)

Modern Nature – No Fixed Point In Space (Bella Union)

Animal Collective – Isn’t It Now (Domino)

Daniel Villareal – Lados B (International Anthem)

Mary Lattimore – Goodbye, Hotel Arkada (Ghostly International)

Virginia Astley – The Singing Places (Bandcamp)

Emma Anderson – Pearlies (Sonic Cathedral)

Israel Nash – Ozarker (Loose Music)

Robert Finley – Black Bayou (Easy Eye Sound)

Kacey Johansing – Year Away (Night Bloom Records)

Ryan Davis & The Roadhouse Band – Dancing on The Edge (Sophomore Lounge)

Jeffrey Martin – Thank God We Left The Garden (Loose Music)

Thandi Ntuli with Carlos Nino – Rainbow Revisited (International Anthem)

Daniel Bachman – When The Roses Come Again (Three Lobed Recordings)

Joshua Van Tassel – The Recently Beautiful (Forward Music Group)

Harp – Albion (Bella Union)


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