Peter’s Twenty Favorite Albums 2023

Peter’s Twenty Favorite Albums 2023

As tradition calls for, I’m posting my twenty personal favorites among newly recorded albums released in 2023. Each album comes with one or two lines of commentary and a featured track as a taster. Most artists have been around for a while but there are some newcomers. Hopefully, the chosen spread between genres means that everyone can pick up some unexpected listening tips, regardless of what kind of music you’re into.

20. Robert Finley – Black Bayou

Late bloomer Robert Finley’s fourth album contains bluesy soul music filled with stories from the bayous. Producer Dan Auerbach (½ Black Keys) gives Black Bayou a rich atmosphere.

19. Pretenders – Relentless

Chrissie Hynde sounds envialby alert after some 45 years with The Pretenders. This, their twelfth album, is at its best when it deviates from the tepid middle-of-the-road-tempo songs.

18. The Handsome Family – Hollow

Having released a full dozen albums since 1993, The Handsome Family have established themselves as icons of Americana Gothic for some time now. With Hollow, married couple Rennie and Brett Sparks continue to deliver twisted tales with a country music flavor.

17. No Tears– Heart Shaped Eyes

This solo debut by one-man band Christoffer “Stoffe” Karlsson (The Dahmers) reeks of powerful pop. Compare “Stoffe” to a modern day Dennis Linde fueled by a healthy dose of party drugs.

16. The Long Ryders – September November

Sid Griffin and his fellow Ryders continue to perform high-class socially conscious Americana despite the blow of Tom Stevens’ passing away in 2021. Who could have guessed in 1983 that The Long Ryders would go on for another forty years?

15. Son Volt – Day of the Doug

The fact that only two songs on Day of the Doug coincides with earlier tributes to Doug Sahm – Songs of Sahm (2002) and Keep Your Soul (2009) – pretty much tells what a treasure trove of songs Doug Sahm left behind. Credits to Jay Farrar for picking a lot of non-obvious songs.

14. The Men – New York

After fifteen years in operation, The Men have become a Brooklyn landmark that stands for noisy abrasive rock in the vein of The Dictators. Expect some heavy blows.

13. Uni Boys – Buy This Now!

Uni Boy’s second vinyl LP, is filled with praise for classic power pop, making it a nostalgia trip in the best sense. Don’t forget to set your watches back 45 years before you listen.

12. Wilco – Cousin

Wilco is in constant motion. Cousin is a carefully crafted studio product where Jeff Tweedy has enlisted Cate Le Bon for the production assignment.

11. The Evening Sons – Tracks

Brighton Beach is actually known for good surfing conditions, which may explain The Evening Sons’ debut album riding high on the power-pop wave. Unfasten your swimsuits and expect to be washed away.

10. Iggy Pop – Every Loser

Bolstered with fire support by members from Jane’s Addicition, Guns’n’Roses and Pearl Jam, Iggy blasts off this neo punk album. Every Loser means back to basics.

09. The Manikins – Swedish Woods

The Manikins formed in 1999 and have since released six full-length albums. This latest means a backwood progression – fortunately supported by ample power supply.

08. Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys In The Campfire – Wronger

Tommy Stinson’s post-Replacement career involves loads of guest appearances on other artists’ records and fronting Bash & Pop. On Wronger, Stinson is joined by Chip Roberts and a host of other musicians inclined to serve up this smorgasbord of American roots.

07. Country Westerns – Forgive the City

What could have been a backlash after the sensational debut (s/t) 2020 (check # 2 on my list for that year) instead establishes Country Westerns as one of the finest contemporary acts. Country Westerns revolve around Joey Plunket (guitar and vocals; from Gentleman Jesse & His Men) and Brian Kotzur (drums and vocals; from Silver Jews).

06. Barrence Whitfield and The Savages – Glory

Almost a reunion album – featuring two original Savages (Peter Greenberg and Phil Lenker) – whose twelve songs throughout blast out tough Rock’n’Roll like there was no tomorrow. Producer Mike Mariconda (in The Raunch Hands) has brought the saxophones to the front in the mix givning* (giving) the sound a nice energetic 60s feel.

05. King Louie Bankston – Harahan Fats

Posthumous Harahan Fats by this New Orleans free spirit who died far too young features fifteen audio postcards that fuse together into a nice budget gumbo. If you haven’t already, check out his bands: Missing Monuments, The Royal Pendletons, The Exploding Hearts and – for those with good nerves – Bad Times.

04. Cheater Slicks – Ill-fated Cusses

It’s been a while (= a decade) since Cheater Slicks released a new album. That’s why Ill-fated Cusses makes for a much-appreciated revisit to these rowdy and wayward garage punks from Ohio.

03. Eilen Jewell – Get Behind The Wheel

A retreat can give you perspective on things so that you ultimately put yourself in the driver’s seat and take control of your own life. Nine great originals and two well-chosen covers (by Van Morrison and Jackie DeShannon) make this album a truly cohesive experience.

02. Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders – Sons Of The City Ditch

Never underestimate Rock’n’Roll played without frills. Ever since the days of the Lazy Cowgirls, Pat Todd has consistently delivered just such unpretentious Rock’n’Roll of the highest quality.

01. Bass Drum Of Death – Say I Won’t

Say I Won’t, the fifth album by Bass Drum Of Death, is produced by Patrick Carney (½ Black Keys) resulting in a heavier punch than the lo-fi inclination they have shown before. Now a trio, these garage rockers have thus acquired a sound reminiscent of what was in vogue in the 70s. No fillers.

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