2023: The Year in New-Old Music

Before we get too far into the new year, and before I wrap up my favorite movies of 2023, here are my five favorite albums from the twelve months ending in December. You’ll notice a trend: even though these are all new, they all sound like they could’ve been recorded before Taylor Swift was out of diapers. As I get older, for better or worse, I find that when I seek out new music I almost invariably prefer it to sound like old music.

5. “Gushing” by Crayola Eyes

Five Albums from 2023

Immaculately reconstructed shoegaze from Jakarta, Indonesia, of all places. Unfortunately, the album cover is pretty bad.

4. “Self Destruct” by Errorr

Five Albums from 2023

Joy Division-esque noise pop from Berlin, with a dose of The Jesus & Mary Chain, Swervedriver, etc. Not unlike the work of Charlie Megira. Best album cover of the year.

3. “Pin Drops” by The Black Heart Death Cult

Five Albums from 2023

Ride, Slowdive, early (The) Verve, etc. Another whiff of an album cover, but a great record.

2. “Interiors” by The Vacant Lots

Five Albums from 2023

If you count their EPs, this band has been on a seven-album winning streak—now eight. They started out sounding like Suicide, Spacemen 3, The Jesus and Mary Chain, etc., but they’ve evolved into an electro sound, e.g., Yaz, New Order, etc. A brilliant album cover—actually, just the latest in a brilliant series of album covers, as can be seen here.

1. “Rat Saw God” by Wednesday

cFive Albums from 2023

The best album of the year, by miles. Of all the bands on this list, Wednesday are destined for the greatest fame. You might describe them as “trailer park shoe gaze”: My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Ride and Drive-by Truckers in a blender. Also, a wonderful album cover.