NoName-Sundial Album Cover
Jungle-Volcano is the fourth album from the London duo that is officially an electronic act, but I consider them more of a funk, soul, and disco act. The first three albums are favorites and just a lot of fun. They are among the most credible dance albums of the last decade. This album is no different. I am actually a little behind on writing this list, as I got really stuck on listening to this album repeatedly as it was so much fun. It is dance music, so don’t look for any lyrical or topical substance here, though there are guest vocals and raps. It’s just fun, and where a lot of fun albums lose their luster quickly, this one will not.
G Flip-The-Drummer is the second album from the Australian pop artist. G Flip has been a drummer since they were children, and that is still a big part of their music. They are playing the drums in all of the videos so far for this album, and they are in a drum on the cover. The music is very pop, and they keep the live instruments in the mix, but this is more Miley Cyrus than Boy Genius. There are some very good songs on here, like “The Worst Person Alive”, which is hands down one of the best singles of 2023. A lot of the songs don’t fully connect with me, which may be because they are not meant to connect with me, but I like a lot of mainstream pop music, and while this sounds very good, only a handful of songs are ones that I will keep on playlists personally.
Public Image Ltd., End of the World So I am one of the few people who wasn’t very into the song “Hawaii”. This is a song by John Lydon that was written as an ode to his wife of forty-plus years and her battle with Alzheimer’s. He took it to the Eurovision contest and tried to represent Ireland in the contest. He did not make it very far. I very much appreciate Lydon’s sentiment, and it is a heartfelt, genuine, and beautiful song. I don’t know why, but I just don’t like it a lot, but people were raving about it. So, I didn’t have high hopes for this album. It is much better than my expectations. The title track has a great guitar line that drives the song and works with this chugging anthem, and it works with Lydon’s vocals. “Car Chase” follows with just as much vigor. The album has clunkers as it goes on for fifty minutes, concluding with “Hawaii”, but there are a handful of songs here that really work, and honestly, a couple of those clunkers have the potential to grow on me. It might end up being a pretty decent album.
Hurry, Don’t Look Back—This is the sixth album, I think, from this band. This is one of the best power pop albums I have heard in awhile. There is no new ground to be broken with power pop; you either have good playing, good songs, and good production, or you don’t. For some reason, a lot of power pop I hear just doesn’t have good production, and the songs suffer for it. This one sounds great. They are in the Big Star, Teenage Fan Club, and Matthew Sweet arena on this, and listening to this made me long for more great power pop.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You I always listen to Wil Oldham albums and enjoy them, but I never end up with them in my collection except for a couple Palace albums and the first Bonnie “Prince ” Billy album. There is no real reason why, just never do This album was recorded with musicians around Louisville, Kentucky, in a living room. It’s a beautiful album that is truly made special by the contributions of the other vocalists, the occasional horn, string, and whatnot. Maybe this will end up in the collection. There’s no reason it shouldn’t.
Andy Frasco & The U.N.: L’Optimist is a new album from the fun blues rock band from LA. Fun band live.
Anyma is the debut album from Matteo Milleri, who is one half of the duo Tale of Us.
The Band Camino: The Dark is the second album from the popular mainstream pop rock band.
Cases: Reflections is the second album from the UK hard rock/pop/electronic sounding band.
Darrell Scott String Band—Old Cane Back Rocker—a new album from Scott You have heard songs that the longtime musician has written; they have just been sung by other people. Americana, blues, bluegrass, and country
Karol G-Manana Sera Bonita is a massive reggaeton artist with a new album. Like a billion streams, massive.
Kataklysm is the 15th album from the popular Canadian death metal band Goliath.
Jason Eady, Mississippi I am a big fan of Jason Eady, but not a fan of country blues, blues rock, or southern rock. Not my thing at all. It repels me personally. So Eady is going for a country blues thing on this album. This will appeal to a lot of people, just not me for the most part. I do enjoy the songs that are a bit more stripped-down and traditional, such as “New Tradition”. This has the potential to cross him over to a wider audience, for sure. Sounds great.
Cordovas: The Rose of Aces—this is Joe Firstman’s band. He was the bandleader for Carson Daley’s band (Kamasi Washington and Thundercat). I actually hung out with him; maybe I booked him on a show, like 20 years ago. Nice guy. Anyway, this is an Americana rock record, and it’s an absolute blast. Obviously, we have been listening to a lot of The Band the last couple days, so they are on my mind. Maybe that is tricking me, but this album really sounds like The Band (and The Grateful Dead). If you are into those things, this may be for you. Solid.
Laura Groves, Radio Red She used to perform as Blue Roses, and this is the UK singer-songwriter’s first album under her name, though she has been putting out singles and EPs for a decade now under her name. It’s a nice adult singer-songwriter album that is a bit hipper than most of this nature. I hear both Olvia Newton John and Harriet Wheeler here. Nice listen.
The Hives: The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons I never dug super deep into The Hives. I know the first album, saw them live, and know some other singles. I preferred other straight-ahead rock bands at the time. Here they are with their first album in over a decade, and it sounds pretty good. I’m not sure if it is something I need in my life, but it sounds relevant; it’s full of rock; it’s fun; and it doesn’t sound dated. Probably a record a lot of you need in your lives.
Andrew Hung: Deliverance Just an FYI, this is not a spelling error. There is Andrew Huang, who puts out silly amounts of music. This is not that person. Hung was in the band Fuck Buttons and put out soundtracks and solo albums. I am really enjoying this. I have listened to it a few times, and while the vocals are not the strongest (and maybe that might be why it works also), it’s a dance and synth pop album with great depth. Most synth-type albums just ape the 80’s and do so thinly. That can be enjoyable, but here there is a lot of relevant music happening that is not reliant on nostalgia.
Joell Ortiz and L’Orange, Signature—another hip-hop artist that is hard to keep up with as they put out so much stuff. Ortiz is always worth a listen as it’s not cliche, and there are usually some good tracks as there are here and benefit further with production from L’Orange. Check out “Therapeutic”.
Curling: No Guitar-There are a lot of things I like here. The power pop harmonies and the guitar work, but it fizzles out big time in places. It’s kind of weird how some songs are so strong and some just become limp, obviously on purpose. I try to be a bit experimental and such, but it’s some serious right turns, and I am not sure it works. When it clicks, it is very good. I am curious enough to keep trying, though. I am intrigued.
Grabitz: Let Them Only See Butterflies-Grabitz is an EDM-ish producer and artist. Been around quite awhile. I like the vibe of this a lot. The things I don’t like are the modern flourishes, which are not meant for me and are probably awesome for those that are into that kind of thing.
Gloss Up: Shades of Gloss is a new album from the Memphis Rapper.
Hail the Sun-Divine Inner Tension, the sixth album from the Equal Vision band.
Emotional Oranges—Still Emo I don’t know if the definition of Emo is something that has expanded, but if Emo is now pop R&B, then here we are. Pretty fun, though.
Kind: Close Encounters: Stoner Rock
Lawrence English and Lea Bertucci, Chthonic-Very deep ambient noise. I didn’t hate it.
Les Imprimés—Rêverie—I guess this Norwegian has been making music for a long time. Maybe some hip-hop stuff. This is his first album under this name, and it is pure soul music and really, really good. It is that retro-soul thing that has been happening on Daptone, Colemine, and such. This is right up there with a lot of that. I will be listening to this more.
Louis Cato: Reflections: He has been in the band for Colbert’s late show and is now the bandleader. Middle of the road soul music, including a cover of Rolling Stones “Miss You”. Has a Stevie vibe, but nothing exciting here.
MEGAHERZ: In Teufels Namen—Not gonna lie—the first song I listened to—I thought they were doing a metal cover of Falco—which I would be all about. It wasn’t. I did listen to the whole song, though.
Noname: Sundial- I waited five years for this. Noname put out Room 25 in 2018, and it was one of my favorite hip-hop albums in a long time. Still is. She went on hiatus for a long time for various reasons, one of which was that her audience ended up being pretty white. I always wonder about that. Then this was supposed to come out in July, and people found out that Jay Electronica was on it and there were issues with him. She defended him and then deleted her account. Now the album is out and probably will be dismissed, but it’s damn good. There is a ton happening here lyrically, and it’s no bullshit. Musically, it’s jazzy, and the vocals and flow are buttery and full of hooks. Possibly the best hip-hop album of the year.
O.N.E. The Duo: Blood Harmony-pop r&b and country music. It seems pretty manufactured, but it’s not awful.
Olive Klug’s Don’t You Dare Make Me Jaded-Folk music-Klug has a young voice that young people can relate to. It’s good, and I am not young. Pure folk also
Peter McPoland-Piggy-talented young man who has some great ideas happening here. Out of all the young mainstream TikTok like pop artists, he is one of the best. Not going in my collection or anything, but if anyone is doing this genre right and making it interesting, he is.
PJ Western: Here I Go-pleasant adult pop singer-songwriter. Lots of production and hooks. Mainstream, but trying to come off with some cred. It’s ok.
Reason: Porches This is pretty good; the music is good. A lot of the ciche hip-hop lyrics, but better than most,
Spencer Zahn: Statues I-Pretty Piano Music
Sundressed: Sundressed-pop punk The first song was about “crying about it.”