Dec 27, 2023 | Favorites

It has been a year of many concerts and heavy music. I had always thought my tates would mellow out as I got older, but they seem to be doing the opposite, I crave intensity and depth. I want brutality and melody in equal measure. Maybe it’s a reflection of how fucked up and beautiful the world can be.

You can find my Favorite Songs 2023 playlist on Apple and Spotify.


10. Avenged Sevenfold – Life is but a Dream…

This was a random find. I saw the album on a “best of the year so far” list and hadn’t listened to them since college. I love the genre-bending elements, and the song “Nobody” in particular.


9. Atmosphere – So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously

A friend of a friend of mine did the album artwork and I saw a post about it. I admire the output Atmosphere has been maintaining, but I can’t always keep up. Glad I snagged a vinyl of this one and gave it a spin, though.


8. Gunship – Unicorn

This was recommended by a friend just the other week and I didn’t realize it was exactly what I needed. I love good synth-pop and epic dark fantasy, and this album delivers on both. It’s better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.


7. Janelle Monae – The Age of Pleasure 

I’ll admit that I didn’t love this album out of the gate. It wasn’t until seeing the live show and understanding the intention behind it that I grew to love it. The Age of Pleasure is a queer oasis. It might not be my favorite record of hers, but it more than succeeds in it is aims and is a fantastic gay party album.


6. Mammoth WVH – Mammoth WVH

This album doesn’t re-invent anything, but I am a sucker for good riffs and catchy hooks. Wolfgang Van Halen’s debut effort delivers solid musicianship and some fantastic choruses. This album will either very much be your thing or it won’t.


5. Turnstile – Glow On

Just a solid album from start to finish. I love the variation in tempos and the blending of genres. I wasn’t familiar with the bad before this, but I am a fan now.


4. Narrow Head – Moments of Clarity 

Dierre got me into these guys, and we had a ton of fun seeing them live. This was even after we realized that we were older than everyone on stage and most of the audience. This album is a great blend of pretty and heavy, which is my sweet spot.


3. Baroness – Stone

Another band we got to see live this year, and twice. I love the element that Gina Gleason lends to the band, from the kick-ass shredding to the backing vocals. I’ve been obsessed with the song “Under the Wheel” ever since we saw them perform it.


2. Lorna Shore – Pain Remains 

If I had listened to this album a few years ago, it probably would have been too heavy for me. But as I’m getting older my tastes keep getting heavier, and this album satisfies my desire for things to be as pretty and brutal as possible at the same time. 


1. Johnny Booth – Moments Elsewhere

These guys played some of their first shows in my living room in college, and I love to see that they are not only still going, but evolving. This is by far and away my favorite thing they have recorded. it’s heavy and beautiful. It tells genre to go fuck itself. In a year of good music, it is my favorite album from start to finish.


Honorable Mentions:

It was a year of good music. The albums here had a lot of my favorite songs this year, but I didn’t find myself putting them on from start to finish. That doesn’t make them bad records. Albums from my honorable mentions in previous years have gone on to become some of my all-time favorites. Sometimes an album needs time.


Shea Coulee – 8
Khemmis – Deciever
The Dead Daisies – Holy Ground
Sampha – Lahai
Des Rocs – Dream Machine
Rival Sons – Darkfighter



Rediscovered Gems:

Seeing Gojira and Mastodon in concert made for an epic deep dive into both of their catalogs and gave me a new appreciation for their stuff. I also had an epic stoned bike ride listening to Gojira which is one of my favorite memories from this last year. In a year of heavy music, I’ve had a lot of good heavy music to pick from.


Gojira – The Way of All Flesh
Alter Bridge – Fortress
The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium
Evanescence – The Open Door
Trivium – Shogun
Mastodon – Hushed & Grim


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