We haven’t done this before, but our team felt compelled to speak about our favorite albums so far in 2023 because it’s been a pretty wild year already and it looks like it’ll only get wilder (September alone is very stacked with potentially cool releases). Most of our team wanted to shout out an album and the end result is a very diverse list of music where pretty much no album sounds the same as another. That’s what I love most about us here at Everything Is Noise – our diverse tastes make this site what it is and allows us to cover a ton of ground when we combine efforts. We’re like Voltron if it was modeled after a boombox or something. That was two washed references in one sentence – time to go. Enjoy!
Vyva Melinkolya and Midwife go together almost too perfectly. Blending dark, atmospheric tones with gut-wrenching lyrical subject matter, the duo blessed the ears of all willing to listen with something I consider one of the best releases of 2023 so far. Midwife’s vocals are simply melancholically haunting in the most pleasant way possible, almost like she’s chanting spells to lull the listener in. Vyva’s addition of lap steel, backing vocals, and added layers just puts the icing on this shoegazey cake; It is hard not to get lost in this one in a way that both immerses you into a completely different realm, while also freeing your spirit simultaneously.
Dylan Nicole Lawson
The Ocean – Holocene
May 19 // Pelagic Records
Holocene is a huge milestone for The Ocean. Any post metal enthusiast should be well acquainted with them, but this time around the German giants have incorporated proggier, synth-heavy elements to their songwriting, creating an album that treads on new territory while retaining their unmistakable massive sound. The result is a complete banger that feels both epic and introspective, engaging new listeners and old fans alike to look forward to this new era of their music. As the lyrics to “Subboreal” perfectly sum it up: ‘Something quaint, something neat/Must have been quite a treat’
Incendiary – Change The Way You Think About Pain
May 26 // Closed Casket Activities
From the scathing opener “Bite The Hook” to the tense ending of the title track, Change The Way You Think About Pain is a clinic in modern hardcore. Incendiary have now spent four albums honing their craft, culminating in the album of 2023 thus far. With pointed lyrics, biting riffs, and a pummelling rhythm section underneath, this album has everything you need. Brendan Garrone’s trademark Long Island twang lends a very particular personality to a band that take from its predecessors, updating them and adding in their own musical prowess to create an album akin to a raging bull.
Jungstötter – One Star
April 28 // PIAS
With a voice that lies somewhere between Anohni and David Sylvian, and arrangements that seamlessly weave together abstract experimentation and catchiness, how could you expect me not to love this new album by German art pop phenomenon Fabian Altstötter aka Jungstötter? His sound is cerebral yet instantly accessible; provided one approaches One Star with an open mind, that is. 2023 hasn’t been a slouch when it comes to class records, and yet it’s Jungstötter who has captured my attention and imagination with his shadowy ambient pop. A voice to die for.
Paramore – This Is Why
February 10 // Atlantic Records
It’s been a down year so far from some of the bigger names in the world of music unless you’re really into Taylor Swift, but there was one band that dropped some of their best work to date – Paramore. This Is Why features some of the best tracks from the iconic mid-2000’s pop-punk band to date as they shift their sound (again!) to a much more mature post-punk with Taylor York and Zac Farro doing the best they’ve ever done at matching Hayley Williams performance. Tracks “The News”, “Figure 8”, and “Running Out Of Time” are some of my favorite songs the band has ever made and are better than almost all their early work, and the more I listen to it, the more I start thinking that “Thick Skull” might just be the best song Paramore has made, and it’s the most blown away I’ve been by a track so far in 2023.
OAA – Source and Origin
February 10 // carpet group
OAA’s Source And Origin is the perfect soundtrack to the cacophony of the world surrounding you. What I’d characterise as easily the producer’s finest work to date, Source And Origin is a seamless blend of glitchy heavy electronics and sombre ambiances, coming together in a rather unique fashion. The production value is skyhigh, with the effort being pure ear candy to fully immerse oneself with for years to come. Easily one of the strongest – if not the strongest – electronic albums I’ve encountered in a long ass time. Just utmost excellence throughout its 34-minute run.
Cinder Well – Cadence
April 21 // Free Dirt Records
Cinder Well‘s Cadence shows a marked shift in tone and character, with Amelia Baker’s mellifluous voice and stirring, varied compositions nestled within a perceptible warmth. Her unmistakable, contemplative folk palette is used to sublime effect – weaving evocative lyrics with trademark guitar and strings. Cadence even welcomes percussion to the fray, broadening Baker’s sound further still: opener “Two Heads, Grey Mare” provides immediate evidence of its effortless integration. Venture beyond the haunting, sombre gaze of “Cadence”, or the jaunty plucks of “Overgrown” or “Gone the Holding”, and by the time you reach the pianistic finale of “I Will Close in the Moonlight”, you’re comfortably enthralled by wistfulness. It really is staggering stuff.
Ne Obliviscaris – Exul
March 24 // Season Of Mist
Even after enduring an expansive and at times challenging career, Australia’s progressive extreme metal outfit Ne Obliviscaris have remained consistent in producing incredibly complex and expressive layers to their sound over time. Their fourth studio album Exul acts as the next chapter driving the band’s creative direction forward. From epic pieces like “Misericorde” parts I and II to the darker leanings of tracks “Equus” and “Graal”, this record features evolving death metal riffs, organic basslines, dynamic vocals, and emotive string sections that emits a sense of melancholy that hasn’t quite been explored by the band in as much depth before.
Parannoul – After the Magic
January 28 // Independent
Back in 2021, Seoul-based shoegaze musician and producer Parannoul took online music circles by storm with his seminal release To See the Next Part of the Dream, a nostalgia-infused lo-fi escapade with a jovial wholeheartedness that is yet to be contested. This trend continues with After the Magic, further cementing Parannoul’s keen sense of reminiscing, crafting a musically expansive record that celebrates presence, spontaneity, and memories – all filtered through a wistful undertone that hits too close to home. There is much power to the little things in life, and After the Magic captures that so damn well.
Herod – Iconoclast
May 1 // Pelagic Records
So far this year, nothing beats the energy or grooves that are delivered through Iconoclast. Despite smashing my way through countless new progressive metal, doom, sludge, and post-metal albums this year, nothing compares to the fury delivered in tracks like “The Edifice”, or delights my ears with refreshing sounds like “The Ode to….”. Metal fans across the board, looking for a dose of vengeance in music form should be tuning into this. Herod’s music swallows the beating sun of this hot summer and dishes those joules of energy into your limbs. Will it make it to the end of the year as my number one?
Acid King – Beyond Vision
March 24 // Blues Funeral Recordings
Like summoning esoteric knowledge from the ancient deep, Acid King‘s Beyond Vision continues to develop cosmic meditative stoner metal that’ll melt your brain, and open your consciousness to new realities. It’s an introspective trip with 40 minutes of beautifully dense riffs to let your mind wander free. I’ve spent more time on this album than anything else this year. It’s a welcome addition to my routine spins with the only downfall being the entire run time. I hope we don’t have to wait another decade before we get 40 more minutes of this trio’s work. Truly a psychedelic metal blessing.
VHS – Quest for the Mighty Riff
May 19 // Wise Blood Records
VHS (Violent Homicidal Slasher) have made a musical career based on horror film themes but this year the band decided to pivot to another staple of the 1980’s pulp: fantasy. Gaining inspiration from The Barbarians, Highlander, Conan The Barbarian and more, this is a death metal trip into swords, sorcery, fair maidens, and beheadings that is undeniably fun. From tracks like “Cleave ‘Em and Leave ‘Em” to “Are You Afraid of Dragons?” this album runs the gamut from knuckle-dragging to cathartic heroics and every moment is pure joy. With guest spots from Hellripper, Exhumed, and Molder, it’s a headbanger’s delight.
McKinley Dixon – Beloved? Paradise? Jazz!?
June 2 // City Slang
I thought recency bias was getting the best of me, but after listening and, more importantly, wanting to listen to Beloved? Paradise? Jazz!? all June, I can confidently say that it’s the best album of 2023 so far. Taking big inspiration from Toni Morrison (who McKinley Dixon calls the ‘greatest rapper of all time‘), Dixon takes a luminous, reflective approach to hip-hop, imbued with tragedy, love, joy, and, yes, jazz. I haven’t been moved by a rap album like this since Saba‘s Few Good Things, and now that I’ve said that, I wonder what a collab between the two thoughtful wordsmiths would sound like.
The God In Hackney – The World In Air Quotes
April 28 // Junior Aspirin Records
The attribute ‘it sounds like nothing else’ is usually a good start, but obviously not enough to make for good music. There is enough stuff out which is totally busy with being different and non-conforming – making great music on top of being one-of-a-kind is the real beauty. And this beauty shines especially bright and mesmerizing with The God In Hackney‘s breathtaking and jaw-dropping album The World In Air Quotes. It’s got a lot going on, settling somewhere between jazz, art rock, and pop, but none of these genres comes close to describing how this albums feels, how it moves, how it grows. The World In Air Quotes put me on the edge of my mind, and I can’t stop bathing in its glory.